Use the E-Rate Program to Save on Your Tech Purchases

Did you know that if you’re a school or educator, you can take advantage of a unique program to save money on technology purchases? It’s called the E-Rate Program, and it’s something you should definitely consider when it comes time to buy IT equipment.

At Huber & Associates, we understand the challenges of staying up-to-date with technology while also keeping to a budget. That’s why we want to share our expertise with you and help you get the most out of the E-Rate Program. With our guide, you’ll learn how to apply for funding, who qualifies, and the different types of eligible goods and services available.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in and see how we can make your next tech purchase more affordable.

What Is the E-Rate Program?

You can save thousands of dollars on your school’s technology purchases. It’s all thanks to the E-Rate program, which offers schools and libraries subsidies for telecommunications and internet services. Whether you arere looking to update classroom computers, install better Wi-Fi, or catch up on educational content subscriptions, the E-Rate program can help.

But how exactly does it work? The E-Rate program provides discounted rates on eligible products and services through “discounted pricing,” allowing schools and libraries to purchase these products at discounted rates. Discounts range from 20-90%, depending on a variety of factors including the location of the school, size of student population and economic need of their service area.

For those who qualify, this means that schools can purchase essential tech tools at a fraction of the cost! The E-Rate program also offers additional discounts for rural schools as well as additional incentives for purchasing certain technology solutions such as broadband access or voice services. So if your school is in need of a tech upgrade, why not check out the E-Rate Program?

Qualifying for the E-Rate Program

Qualifying for the E-Rate Program is no small feat, so it’s important to read the guidelines closely and understand them thoroughly. There are two main criteria that must be met in order to qualify—eligibility and need.

First, to be eligible, you must be a public or private school (K-12), library, or group of schools and libraries (e.g., consortia, districts, systems) that provides a telecommunications service, internet access, or internal connections within the US. Additionally, you must prove that they are a non-profit, or state and local education agency.

Second, you will have to demonstrate that your tech needs are valid. This includes providing evidence of how you intend to utilize the funding as well as proof of existing infrastructure (e.g., cables). You’ll also need to provide a budget outline detailing where your funds will go and show that you won’t be able to meet those needs without E-Rate assistance.

By meeting both eligibility and need requirements in full, you will have successfully qualified for the program and can now start researching providers and applying for discounts on your tech purchases!

Steps to Apply for the E-Rate Program

Here are the general steps you need to take to apply:

  1. Assess your connectivity needs.
  2. Submit an FCC Form 470 online, and certify that you’ve provided proper notice to bidders.
  3. Wait for 28 days to give potential bidders time to respond.
  4. Evaluate bids and select a service provider.
  5. File the FCC Form 471, which is an application for discounts.
  6. Submit invoices for eligible services and products.
  7. Receive and implement your new services and products.

Through Form 470 and Form 471, you can apply for discounts on telecommunications services like Internet access, phone services and more—all with just one form! Huber & Associates has professionals ready to help you get started with this application process.

Tips for Making Smart Tech Purchases Using the E-Rate Program

Maximizing your savings with E-Rate is about making smart purchases, and here are a few tips to help you do that:

Make a Plan & Prioritize

Make sure to plan in advance for your tech purchases so that you can take full advantage of the discounts available through the program. Understand what items are just nice to have and which ones you really need; this will help you manage your budget and prioritize what items are more important for an immediate purchase now, versus items that you can wait on until later in the year when more funds may be available.

Research Technology

It’s important to understand the features and capabilities of various technology products. You’ll want to buy something that will not only suit your needs now but will also be able to grow with you as your needs expand or change.

Utilize Huber & Associates for Your E-Rate Needs

Ready to take advantage of the E-Rate program? It can be time-consuming and confusing to navigate the rules, regulations, and forms associated with this type of funding. That’s why the professionals at Huber & Associates are here to help.

With over 35 years of experience in helping businesses make smart IT decisions, there’s no better team to help you get what you need at the lowest possible cost. With Huber & Associates, you benefit from:

  • Precision application guidance tailored to your district’s needs
  • Expert advice on a wide variety of IT topics to suit your ideal program implementation
  • Experienced professionals who help identify the right technology solution for your district.

Huber & Associates is here to make sure that all of your E-rate needs are met as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Get in touch today, and see how we can help you.