Policy & Funding | News

E-rate Survey: Funding Increase Deemed Critical

An E-rate funding increase is critical to the success of many school districts, according to a new survey from the consulting firm Funds for Learning.

The company released the results of its Funds For Learning 2014 E-rate applicant survey at the ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta last week. It was the fourth such survey from the company. Previous surveys were conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2012.

Funds for Learning has shared the results of the survey with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The FCC is in the process of reforming the E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries pay for Internet access, and this survey is intended to give administrators and school technology leaders a voice in the E-rate reforms. "The data serves to inform debate over the direction of the program and involve those who haven’t had an opportunity for their voices to be heard," according to Funds for Learning.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 92 percent of respondents said the E-rate program is critical to their success;
  • 58 percent expect their budget for telecommunications and Internet access to increase over the next five years;
  • 43 percent said their technology infrastructure is lagging;
  • 51 percent said their telephone infrastructure is lagging; and
  • 48 percent feel that their Internet access is not adequate for their current needs.

According to Funds for Learning, the most popular E-rate changes are raising the funding cap, multi-year funding commitments and simplified application paperwork.

The survey was conducted online through SurveyMonkey from May 20 to June 8, 2014. Respondents included 626 school and library technology leaders from 44 states.

Full results of the survey are available at fundsforlearning.com.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].