The eRate program is a federal program administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a goal of helping schools and libraries offer and expand internet access capabilities.
The most directly impactful component of this program for ADM is a federal subsidy for our internet connection bandwidth. Depending upon a school’s free/reduced lunch rate, the eRate program subsidizes internet connection costs, with ADM receiving a 47% subsidy in recent years. This allows us to expand our internet bandwidth to meet the demands of media-driven instructional content, online testing, cloud-based file storage, and other growing data needs.
While it used to be the case that ADM was generally unable to obtain Category 2 funding due to program rules, the federal government recently updated the program in such a way as to allow ADM to qualify for this additional funding. In 2015, the district was able to update its wireless network in two buildings with partial funding through eRate, and we are planning to apply for eRate funding for similar access improvements in 2016.