Jun 17 2016

Schools, Libraries Miss Out on Millions in E-Rate Funds

Nearly 30 states across the country failed to claim E-Rate funding for schools and libraries.

Schools and libraries nationwide missed out on more than $245 million in E-Rate funds in fiscal year 2014, analysis shows.

According to StateScoop, Midwestern states — including Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin — failed to claim more than $38.7 billion of E-Rate funds, or nearly 11 percent of the money allotted to them in fiscal year 2014.

The tally was worse on the East Coast, StateScoop reports. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia forwent $73.4 million in E-Rate — nearly 23 percent of the grant money committed to the states.

The latest figures from the West Coast show that Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming also missed out on more than $133 million in grants, or more than 26 percent of available funds.

Gary Rawson, the federal programs coordinator for Mississippi's Department of Information Technology Services, questioned the wasted resources at a presentation before the National Association of State Technology Directors earlier this year.

“Why are we leaving these dollars on the table?” he asked. “We don’t need to be.”

Looking Ahead to Fiscal Year 2017

While this year’s E-Rate deadline just passed, Rawson recommends that applicants collaborate with state IT officials to get the most out of the federal program.

School and library administrators can also get a head start on next year’s application by reading this list of eligible services and checking EdTech often for the latest E-Rate updates.


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