COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

 

SUPTS.MEMO NO. 160

November 9, 2001

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:

Universal Service, E-Rate Telecommunications Discounts

The federal Universal Service program, also known as E-Rate, to provide schools and libraries with discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and communication wiring in buildings is now accepting applications for year five funding. The application window will remain open through midnight January 17, 2002, and covers products and services purchased between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003. Applications for discount must be postmarked by January 17, to be considered for process.

 

Virginia schools and libraries received an average of $25 million in funding commitments during each of the first four funding years. Every Virginia school division has received E-Rate funding in at least one year of the program. E-Rate discounts significantly augment technology funding for services schools would normally purchase.

 

All applicants should receive discounts on services such as local and long distance telephone lines to schools, high speed telecommunications connections, and Internet service to schools. Internal connections such as Local Area Network communication equipment, wiring, conduit, installation of equipment, and maintenance contracts are also eligible for discounts, but will be funded only for schools and libraries in the highest discount categories.

 

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. The average discount rate for commonwealth schools is 61 percent.

 

Details on the program may be accessed at http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Technology/erate.html. The Department has produced a brochure providing guidance on the program, which is available at this location. Department contact for the E-Rate program is Greg Weisiger at (804) 692-0335.