Technology Planning & Sustainability
E-rate is a federal program that provides technology discounts for schools and libraries. E-rate is administered by the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC) under the oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Schools and libraries are eligible to receive discounts on the following products and services:
- Category 1: Internet/broadband (and for a limited time, voice)
- Category 2: Internal connections, managed internal broadband services, and basic maintenance of internal connections. All schools have a pre-discount budget of $156.23 per student for Category 2 over a 5-year period; discounts range from 20 to 85 percent based upon poverty level and whether the district is rural or urban. Rural districts and districts with higher poverty receive greater discounts. Almost all Massachusetts public schools receive at least a 40 percent discount.
Products and services must be purchased from eligible contracts, and an application must be approved by USAC.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all external links go to the USAC website.
Before You Begin [Eligible Services, Eligibility, E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), Entity Numbers]
Frequently Asked Questions — Updated 2/3/2017
PowerPoint Slides for Superintendents — Updated 11/11/2015
Application Process Flowchart
Step 1: Competitive Bidding (Filing FCC Form 470, RFP, Open & Fair Process)
Filing Checklist — Updated 10/29/215
Statewide Contract User Guides (Operational Services Division)
Chapter 30B Procurement Resources (Office of the Inspector General)
Step 2: Selecting Service Providers (Bid Evaluation Matrix, Contracts)
Step 3: Applying for Discounts (Filing FCC Form 471, Calculating Discounts)
Step 4: Application Review [Missing Information, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) Review]
Note: During PIA review, USAC often asks districts for third-party verification of student participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). DESE can provide verification using the counts reported to DESE via the food service reimbursement claims system. To request verification, please send an email to with the following information: (1) the name of the district or school, and (2) the specific month and year of the reimbursement claim that will serve as the basis of the discount level. Please allow up to 2 weeks for processing of the data. (There are certain acceptable email@example.com discount mechanisms.)
Step 5: Starting Services (Filing FCC Form 486, CIPA Compliance)
Step 6: Invoicing (Invoice Methods, Filing Deadline)
Before You're Done (Making Changes, Deadline Extensions, Appeals)
Massachusetts Funding Status (as of November 1, 2018)
|Funding Year||Schools (#)||Requested||Committed||Disbursed|
|* Still under review
** Disbursement requests will continue through May 2019
*** Disbursement requests will continue through May 2020
Last Updated: March 6, 2019