COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 216
December 3, 1999

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Universal Service, E-Rate Telecommunication Discounts


The Federal Universal Service program, also known as E-Rate, which provides schools 
and libraries with discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and 
communication wiring in buildings is now accepting applications for year three 
funding.  The application window will remain open through January 19, 2000, and 
covers products and services purchased between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2001.

Virginia schools and libraries received more than $25 million in funding commitments
during each of the first two program years.  The vast majority of school divisions 
have received funding for eligible services.  E-Rate discounts have significantly 
augmented technology funding for participating schools.  One division received 
funding of almost $400 per student in year one.

Eligible discount services include local and long-distance telephone lines to schools,
high-speed telecommunications and Internet connections, Internet service to schools,
school building equipment and wiring for communications, installation of equipment, 
and maintenance contracts.

Discounts range between 20 and 90 percent and are based on the number of students 
eligible for free and reduced-price lunches, and school location.  In the first two 
funding years, the lowest discount for a Virginia school division was 35 percent and 
the highest discount was 84 percent.



Details on the program can be found on the Virginia Department of Education website
at: http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Technology/erate.html.  The Department has produced
a brochure providing guidance on the program that is available on the website.  The
Department of Education contact person for the E-Rate program is Greg Weisiger at 
(804) 692-0335.

PDS/GW/emt