For an entity to be eligible for an E-rate funding discount, it must meet the program’s definition of a school or library.
School E-Rate Funding Eligibility:
A school must meet the statutory definition of elementary and secondary schools found in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. Section 7801(18) and (38)).
An elementary school is a non-profit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school, that provides elementary education, as determined under state law. A secondary school is a non-profit institutional day or residential school, including a public secondary charter school, that provides secondary education, as determined under state law, except that such term does not include any education beyond grade 12. A school is also eligible if they have an endowment less than $50 million USD and are not-for-profit.
Non-Traditional Education facilities can also be eligible such as pre-k, head start, juvenile justice, and adult education facilities. E-Rate eligibility depends on whether the facility fits within the state’s definition of elementary and secondary education and whether the school facility fits within the state’s definition of an elementary or secondary school. USAC provides a Table to look up whether or not your state sees each type of facility as eligible.
Library E-Rate Eligibility:
A library must meet the statutory definition of library or library consortium found in the Library Services and Technology Act of 1996 (LSTA) (20 U.S.C. Section 9122) and must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under that Act. A library can be:
A public library
A public elementary school or secondary school library
An academic library
A research library, one that makes publicly available library services and material suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available to the public and is not an integral part of an institution of higher education
A private library – but only if the state in which such private library is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of this definition
A library’s eligibility also depends on it being an independent entity. It cannot be a part of an elementary or secondary school, a college, or a university. Its budget must be separate in order to be eligible to receive discounted services.
Consortia E-Rate Eligibility:
Consortia are also eligible for E-Rate discounts. A consortium is a group of E-Rate eligible entities that seek competitive bids or E-Rate funding for eligible services on behalf of its members. Schools and libraries both can form consortia.