Ed-Tech Policy

E-Rate Program Told to Direct Money to Schools Now

By Andrew Trotter — October 11, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Trying to alleviate a severe cash crunch in the federal E-rate program, the Federal Communication Commission directed the program’s manager last week to convert $210 million in investments to ready cash that could be provided to schools and libraries.

But an official at the Universal Service Administrative Co., the nonprofit company that runs the E-rate program, was unsure whether any schools and libraries would receive funding commitments before November—usac’s most optimistic estimate before the FCC’s announcement last week. (“Cash Freeze for E-Rate Hits Schools,” Oct. 6, 2004.)

“It’s almost fluid every day—we are taking a look at available cash on hand, funding commitments that are obligated right now, and how much money we get from [telecommunications] carriers,” Mel Blackwell, USAC’s vice president for external communications, said Oct. 7.

Capitol Hill Heat

In August, USAC halted funding of nearly $3.4 billion in requests for the “education rate” discounts on telecommunications services, which are awarded each year to support eligible projects and services requested by schools and libraries. Most of those projects go nowhere until the E-rate funding commitments are mailed out.

Usac froze funding for projects because officials feared that they did not have enough money to meet their obligations under accounting rules for federal agencies that went into effect this month, according to Mr. Blackwell.

Over the past few weeks, however, a chorus of protest has risen from state and school officials. And a hearing last week of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that had been scheduled to focus on waste, fraud, and abuse in the E-rate program instead highlighted the fiscal jam.

In a statement released before the hearing, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, charg ed that the accounting change “could imperil a program that helps countless communities around the country. As a result, no school or library in the country has received any funding, nor even a commitment for funding, since Aug. 3.”

Related Tags:


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Personalized Learning Webinar
Expanding Teacher Impact: Scaling Personalized Learning Across Districts
Explore personalized learning strategies that transform classrooms and empower educators.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
How to Leverage Virtual Learning: Preparing Students for the Future
Hear from an expert panel how best to leverage virtual learning in your district to achieve your goals.
Content provided by Class
English-Language Learners Webinar AI and English Learners: What Teachers Need to Know
Explore the role of AI in multilingual education and its potential limitations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Ed-Tech Policy Proposal to Use E-Rate for Wi-Fi on School Buses and Hotspots Runs Into GOP Opposition
Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers asked the FCC to “rescind this unlawful plan to vastly expand the E-Rate program.”
5 min read
School kids looking at a girl's mobile phone across the aisle of a school bus.
Ed-Tech Policy What the Head of ChatGPT Told Congress About AI's Potential
Sam Altman, the CEO of the company that created ChatGPT, thinks that AI-generated content needs to be labeled as such.
3 min read
Artificial intelligence and schoolwork image with hand holding pencil with digital AI collage overtop
Ed-Tech Policy Schools Are Major Targets of Cyberattacks. A Bipartisan Effort in Congress Aims to Help
There have been 1,619 publicly disclosed K-12 cyberattacks between 2016 and 2022.
3 min read
Silhouette of a hacker in a hoodie using laptop with binary code overlay.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Ed-Tech Policy We Asked ChatGPT: Should Schools Ban You?
The debate about the benefits and drawbacks of artificial intelligence, and more specifically ChatGPT, is heating up.
1 min read
Vector illustration of the letters AI partially breaking through the red circle and slash symbol representing it being banned
Tech luminaries and prominent AI researchers signed an open letter calling for temporarily putting the brakes on development of AI technologies.