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E-Rate, Oklahoma Universal Service Fund, and the Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative


The E-Rate Program

The E-Rate program lowers the costs of Internet access, telecommunications, and network data services for all schools and libraries.

The amount of your E-rate reimbursement is based, in part, on the free and reduced lunch program data you report. If you need a copy of the Child Nutrition Low Income Report, please file an open records request using the online Open Records Act Request Form. For E-Rate purposes, virtual students are reported as a separate line item. Fulltime off-site virtual students are not included in the National School Lunch Program numbers for your district since they are not afforded the opportunity to participate.

Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Services Administrative Company.

SPIN Number & NCES Code

  • Use the SLD search engine to find the SPIN number (Service Provider Information Number).
  • Use the NCES search engine to find the NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) code for your school.

E-Rate Helpdesk Support

The helpdesk provides schools and libraries with access to expert guidance from experienced E-rate professionals.  Applicants often have questions about calculating their discount rate, submitting their funding applications, and determining the eligibility of products and services for support.

The helpdesk is available free to all Oklahoma schools and libraries. Contact help@fundsforlearning.com or call 405-471-0912 for assistance.


E-Rate Training and OUSF Training Presentations

In October 2019, Funds for Learning and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Public Utility Division hosted joint E-Rate and OUSF training sessions. In these sessions, they focused on completing the FCC Form 470 and the OUSF process. 

You are able to access PDF copies of both presentations using the following links:  

If you have questions about the Funds for Learning presentation, please email help@fundsforlearning.com. If you have questions about the OUSF presentation, please email OUSF@occ.ok.gov.

In early 2020, the two organizations will offer four additional training sessions focused on completing the FCC Form 471 and will also revisit the OUSF process. The details from these sessions will also be posted on the Public Utility Division's website.


Annual E-Rate and OUSF Trainings

The Public Utility Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission offers free E-Rate and Oklahoma Universal Service Fund (OUSF) training for schools and libraries.

These trainings take place twice a year around February and September. 

The training will include discussion on the following topics:

  • OUSF Update: Common pitfalls and errors, requesting preapproval, requesting funding, changing funding and common issues during funding review
  • E-Rate Update: Completion of the bidding process in making a selection for cost-effectiveness, filing the FCC Form 471 with service detail, responding to PIA requests, document retention and knowing when to file various FCC forms required to retain funding

This training is for all schools and libraries. Even if you use a consultant, you are encouraged to attend so you will know why your consultant is asking for certain information.

For more information, contact Maura Shortt, OUSF Manager Preapprovals, at m.shortt@occemail.com or (405) 522-1376.

Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative

Welcome to the Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative (OCLI) home page. The OCLI was launched by Governor Mary Falllin in 2016 as a coordinated effort between the Governor’s Office, Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), and the national non-profit organization EducationSuperHighway (ESH) to ensure that all Oklahoma students have access to scalable fiber (or equivalent) infrastructure, affordable high-speed bandwidth, and sufficient WiFi connectivity to support digital learning opportunities in every classroom throughout the state.

Our Vision

The Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative aims to transform education in Oklahoma by personalizing every student’s learning plan to increase access to upper-level courses and concurrent enrollment. The initiative is a voluntary program that will work with school districts to use existing funding efficiently and effectively to maximize opportunities to bring high-speed broadband and digital learning opportunities to school districts across the state.

By building out the core infrastructure to school districts across the state, we have an opportunity to help our students become more connected to advanced digital learning opportunities. Providing these connections is the first step to supporting Oklahoma students in the present, and preparing them with the skills they need to be competitive and thrive in the future workforce.

Our Goals

  • Connect every school to fiber infrastructure to ensure school districts can scale their Internet to meet bandwidth needs over time
  • Upgrade every district to 1Mbps/student, the recommended amount of bandwidth needed to utilize digital learning in the classroom
  • WiFi connections to every classroom to ensure sufficient uninterrupted learning
  • Enhancing the affordability with a cost of less than $3 per Mbps per student.

Fiber to Every School District

  • The State of Oklahoma has a historic opportunity to support school districts for new fiber builds when fiber does not exist to the school. The FCC is expanding funding to school districts for special construction as well as providing an incentive for state support of last-mile broadband facilities.

    The incentives to the state include:

    • E-rate match of up to 10% of the cost of construction will be provided to match state funding for special construction charges for high-speed broadband connections.
    • E-rate match will also be provided for Tribal school districts and libraries matched by state, Tribal government and other/or federal agencies.

    The Oklahoma Universal Service Funds is the source for the State Match Funds. When OUSF program requirements are met, most districts can receive fiber-based broadband to their school for no cost. The Connect and Learn team will guide school districts through the E-rate and OUSF application process to ensure that they are taking advantage of all available funding.

    The completion date for this phase of the program is December 31, 2017; as funding for special construction will end at the beginning of 2018.

    All Districts to Meet 2018 Bandwidth Objectives

    At the recommendation of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the Connect and Learn Initiative set an objective of 1 Mbps per student (1.5 Mbps per student by 2018) for their broadband connections.

    The current FCC funding changes provide Oklahoma school districts an opportunity to meet this objective giving flexibility to school districts seeking high-speed broadband connections.

    To achieve this objective the Connect and Learn team will begin to:

    • Support school districts in designing their infrastructure to meet the recommended broadband capacity objective and the needs of their digital learning environments.
    • Encourage school districts to be proactive in network design and capacity management for anticipated growth.
    • Standardize best practices with service providers to install underlying circuits that can support at least 25% more capacity. This will allow for seamless upgrades based on increased demands.

    Make Broadband Affordable

    In order to support equal access and opportunity to digital tools, resources, and services to increase digital knowledge, awareness, and skills (digital equity) the Connect and Learn Initiative set an objective, based on the SETDA standards, of less than $3 per Mbps for a broadband connection. This objective will begin to close the fiber connectivity gap and increase the affordability of high-speed broadband connections. This will have the greatest impact on rural and low-income students.

    The Connect and Learn team will strive to provide affordable and efficient broadband access to all school districts no matter where they are located. To achieve this objective the team will:

    • Educate and encourage school districts to speak to have an open dialogue with their service providers to ensure that they are receiving adequate pricing.
    • Encourage school districts to leverage state resources such as the state's broadband network and statewide contracts.
    • Support school districts as they develop plans for equity of access to ensure that students have access to devices and affordable and effective high-speed broadband both at school districts and at home.
    • Develop plans and establish community partnerships to provide students access to the internet outside of school.

    Wi-Fi in Every Classroom

    With the expansion of 1:1 and BYOD programs, school districts are beginning to see a need to strengthen wireless networks to help meet the demand for internet access. In order to ensure effective and efficient use of bandwidth delivery to the classroom, school districts will need to be able to increase capacity while decreasing costs.

    The Connect and Learn Initiative supports the need to have Wi-Fi in every classroom. In order to achieve this objective, the state will provide school districts access to a Managed Information Broadband Services Statewide contract Wi-Fi for the classroom service offering.

    The team will deliver guidance to school districts in order to support the district’s needs. While guiding them through the process of obtaining E-rate funds for local area network infrastructure and related services.

    The completion date for this phase of the program is  December 31, 2019; as special funding will end at the beginning of 2020.

    Benefits of the Program

    There are countless benefits that Oklahoma school districts will receive from the Connect and Learn Initiative. Through this program, we have an opportunity to provide effective and affordable broadband connectivity to all students. This will have the greatest impact on rural and low-income students.

    Oklahoma school districts have a historic opportunity to receive funding for fiber builds. With the support of the state to reduce the burden and increase the success of digital learning environments, school districts can focus on providing students a 21st-century education and prepare them for college and career. The Connect and Learn team will guide school districts through the process of applying for the necessary funds. With expanded funding available from the FCC, school districts can take advantage of up to 90% funding for broadband connectivity and $150 per student for Wi-Fi network buildouts.

    The Connect and Learn Initiative will provide opportunities for the team to encourage school districts to leverage state resources such as the state’s broadband network and statewide contracts to develop plans for equity of access. This will ensure that students have access to devices and affordable and effective high-speed broadband both at school and at home.

    The Connect and Learn team will promote collaboration among school districts and ensure that the state is making resources available to all school districts to be proactive in network design and capacity management to anticipate growth. This will allow for seamless upgrades based on increased demands.

    Partnering to connect all students to the Internet they need to take advantage of digital learning.
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Last updated on July 24, 2020