School is out, and E-Rate season is in full swing. In fact, as of June 8th, the first three waves of funding for 2015 have come and gone, providing disadvantaged schools with $267.68 million in federal E-Rate funding. On the flip side of that, $17.22 million funds have been denied. What determines whether an application will be accepted or rejected is ultimately up to government officials. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that not only is your request granted, but that all of your technology is implemented as soon as possible.
GET YOUR APPLICATION IN EARLY
According to a report from “Funds for Learning,” school officials who filed early for the first round of funding have already received their funds. Not only that, but those who filed within the first six days were six times more likely to get funded. So when it comes to federal E-Rate funding, the early bird definitely catches the worm.
KNOW THE RULES
Getting your E-Rate application right the first time is critically important. If 30% of your request is found to be ineligible, your entire application will be denied. How do you prevent this? You need to know all the rules. For example, this year, requests must fall under the five categories of service: telecommunications, telecommunications services, Internet access, internal connections and basic maintenance. However, if you’re not sure where to start, talking to a certified E-Rate provider, like UDT, can help you determine what kind of technology you need and even assist you with submitting your request.
USE BEST PRACTICES DURING IMPLEMENTATION
Once you know what your school needs and you’ve requested funding, you’ll need to get everything installed and implemented — preferable before school starts up again. While an E-Rate-approved technology plan is no longer required for FY2015, you’ll still want to make sure that your school is following best practices. Doing so will create a safe and secure learning environment that supports the various devices and programs your students and teachers use.
FIND AN IT PARTNER
An IT company that specializes in education, like UDT, can help your school navigate the complex world of E-Rate federal funding. Many of our employees have backgrounds in education and understand the unique challenges you face. UDT works with multiple vendors to bring you the latest educational technology while making the most of your E-Rate dollars. Ready to bring your school into the 21st century? Contact UDT today.