E-Rate 101

The Education Rate (E-Rate) is the result of a regulatory decision made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on May 7, 1997 to implement the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Starting in January 1998, the FCC decision made K-12 schools and libraries eligible for up to $2.25 billion a year in discounts for a wide range of telecommunications services.

E-Rate Infographic Blue

Who can apply?

  • Schools and school districts
  • Libraries and library systems
  • Consortia-groups of eligible entities that band together to aggregate demand and negotiate lower prices

Discounts range from 20% to 90% of eligible costs. The discount for a school or library depends on:

  • percentage of eligibility of students for National School Lunch Program
  • urban or rural location of school or library

For more information, please use the link below to access the USAC website:
USAC website

E-Rate Filing Process

  1. Filing of the FCC form 470 starts the mandatory 28-day period for accepting proposals based on the applicant’s (school/library) request for proposal (RFP).
  2. After applicants choose a service provider, they file the FCC form 471. Service providers can assist applicants with the FCC form 471, especially with the description of service filed separately from the form (the item 21 attachment). This is the actual request for funds.
  3. Applications undergo review of their FCC form(s) 471 by program integrity assurance (PIA). Service providers can assist applicants with answers to the technical questions during the PIA review.
  4. After USAC reaches a funding decision, both the applicant and the service provider will receive a funding commitment decision letter (FCDL). USAC issues the FCDL to announce its decision on funding requests.
  5. FCC form 486 notifies USAC that services have started. It also certifies to USAC that a technology plan has been approved and the applicant is in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). At this point, your service provider may begin discounting invoices or processing BEARs.

Note: The Form 486 must be submitted by an applicant within 120 days from when services begin or when a funding commitment is issued, whichever is later.   Unfortunately, missing this deadline can result in a reduction of funding.

OneNet Knowledge of E-Rate

OneNet has been an E-Rate approved internet service provider since 1999.   OneNet staff has been involved in the Federal Universal Service program since the beginning of the program.  OneNet staff attends service provider trainings presented by USAC and participates in monthly service provider conference calls. Also, OneNet staff attends annual E-Rate training sessions for service providers presented by Kellogg and Sovereign Consulting.  OneNet is accustomed to working with USAC and consultants to assist the applicants’ needs.

Upon completion and notification from USAC of the successful approval of the applicant’s form 486, OneNet provides discounted invoices to the customer.  Our database was designed to accommodate E-Rate discounts.  OneNet receives electronic versions of all service provider letters from USAC.  OneNet successfully processes an average of 645 line items per month through electronicly invoicing USAC with service provider invoices (SPI).

Our preferred invoicing mode is SPI. OneNet will work with the customer for the best mode of E-Rate discounts.

OneNet’s SPIN is 143015254.

For questions concerning E-Rate, please contact:

Ami Layman
Business Director

Shelley Sanderson
Accounts Receivable Supervisor

Toll-free: 888.5.OneNet
In Oklahoma City: 405.225.9470
Billing@onenet.net 

Learn more!

Read about how OneNet makes the E-Rate process simple for schools and libraries.