A comprehensive funding strategy is one of the most important elements of implementing a successful digital learning plan. E-rate will only fund certain technologies, and, as a discount program, it requires that schools and libraries provide matching funds for projects.

Successful schools and libraries budget for matching funds and identify grants and other programs to help make up the difference. Whether you are out of E-rate funds, will miss the deadline (Form 470 must be filed by February 22 to ensure the 28-day bidding period), or want to learn more about funding alternatives, this blog suggests other sources you can consider to fund your digital learning initiatives.

First, know that you’re not alone: 63 percent of E-rate applicants report that funds from the program are not sufficient to meet their needs.

Grant Funding
There are countless grant programs available to fund your technology projects. While many of these grants are not specifically “technology grants,” they are open to funding technology as a way of meeting the grant priorities. Some of the grant programs are competitive, while others are formula grants, such as Title I-Part A funding. Be sure to consider competitive and formula grants at the federal and state levels and look at foundations that provide grant funding to K-12 institutions. For more information, please visit the Cisco Grants and Education page here.

Through either general obligation or technology-specific bonds, schools are able to fund their technology projects, both big and small. General obligation bonds are for building and modernizing facilities, but you are often able to include technology projects while the walls are open. Technology-specific bonds are just that: they specifically address the tech needs of the district. While bonds vary from state to state and from district to district, they are another way to fund your technology projects.

Cisco Capital
Cisco Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, specializing in providing innovative financing solutions for Cisco customers across the globe. More than just a finance company, Cisco Capital offers you the most competitive and flexible financing, supporting your education goals and technology needs now and in the future. Technology financing may help you in many ways. From conserving cash and preserving credit, to providing fixed payments and cash-flow management, financing is here to make sure you are staying up to date and help you avoid technology obsolescence.

Cisco Capital is not a one-size-fits-all way of financing; they can work with you to discover which options will best meet your needs. Learn more here. Please note, while you cannot finance your E-rate projects using Cisco Capital, this is a great option for all of your non-E-rate projects.

So What’s Next?
The E-rate filing window is open from January 11 through March 22, 2018, and if E-rate is the funding route you choose, your form 470 must be filed by February 22, 2018 to allow for the required 28-day bidding period.

And, check back for more blog posts in the coming weeks that share other important information about E-rate and what Cisco customers like you have been able to achieve with E-rate and other sources of funding.


Hillary Hall

Public Funding Advisor