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Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

The 2016 E-rate season is upon us and there are several changes in the program that are critical to know about and act on now. Read more »

Process  |  Discount Levels  |  E-rate Resources  |  Procurement Information  |  Informational Webinars


E-rate is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Funding is requested under four categories of service: telecommunications services, Internet access, internal connections, and basic maintenance of internal connections. It is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services.

Library Eligibility


Discount Levels

Applicants use the discount matrix below to determine the correct discount level for an individual school or library outlet.

INCOME Category One
Schools and Libraries
Category Two
Schools and Libraries
The discount level is measured by % of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Discount Level: Discount Level:
Urban Discount Rural Discount Urban Discount Rural Discount
Less than 1% 20% 25% 20% 25%
1% to 19% 40% 50% 40% 50%
20% to 34% 50% 60% 50% 60%
35% to 49% 60% 70% 60% 70%
50% to 74% 80% 80% 80% 80%
75% to 100% 90% 90% 85% 85%

E-rate Resources

Additional Resources for Illinois Schools and Libraries

Illinois Procurement Bulletin: Master Contracts

Schools and libraries may use the Statewide Master Contracts listed below to purchase items for E-Rate Category 2, or use the information provided in them as a reference when completing Form FCC 470. To begin the process of seeking funding for eligible services under the E-rate program, applicants must initiate the required competitive bidding process by filing FCC Form 470 online with USAC.

Please note that the Cisco Equipment and Services Master Contract (CMS8293460) is only valid for customers of the Illinois Century Network (ICN). The Statewide Telecom Network Voice and Data Services Master Contract ( CMC131864A) may be used by all eligible applicants. However, since it lists several equipment vendors, an applicant would need to perform a mini-bid to select equipment.

Informational Webinars


If you have any questions about E-rate, please contact your library system E-rate consultant or call the State Library at 217-524-6411.