We’re kicking off a new season—for E-rate funding
I’ve long believed that the ancient Romans had it wrong when they assigned January 1 as the start of a new year. While I admit that I enjoy the extended holiday that takes place for many at year-end, for me, the “new year” really begins right about now, in the waning days of a New England summer and at the start of a colorful fall.
For those of us with children (or for those who work in schools), the change at this time of year is even more dramatic since the last days of “summer” mean the beginning of a new school year. It can be an exciting and emotional time; I haven’t had a school-bus rider for several years, but I still felt a tug the first few times bus D10 drove down my street.
Students arrive at school with new pencils or backpacks or shoes, and are greeted by smiling teachers and principals, shiny desks and lockers—and, possibly, exciting new technology that promises to transform the way teachers teach and students learn. For many schools, this new technology is made possible in part through funding from E-rate, the program created to help bring affordable access to schools and libraries across the U.S. Since it began in 1996, E-rate has helped more than 100,000 schools and libraries connect to the Internet.
Surprisingly, in spite of the nearly $4 billion available in the program for Funding Year 2018, the number of schools who apply for their share of E-rate funding is on the decline; applications have decreased by 29 percent since 2015.
There are many reasons a school district may decide not to apply for E-rate, but it’s important to know that the funds are there and to take advantage if possible. These tips from E-rate pros, who’ve learned how to make the most out of E-rate dollars, may take some of the guesswork out of the application process. You can also visit www.cisco.com/go/erate for a lot more information, including success stories from schools who’ve used E-rate, like Wayne Highland School District in Pennsylvania and El Centro Elementary School District in California. These schools deployed new wireless technology and increased network capacity with funding support from E-rate.
So many schools have made progress thanks in part to E-rate, but we still have work to do to help other schools address high technology costs, a lack of capacity, and challenging reliability as they act to transform their own learning environments. The E-rate program is strong and E-rate funding can help. No school should miss this opportunity!
Happy new year!Tags: