Results from annual survey of E-rate applicants reveal program’s consistency as a trusted resource, while indicating urgent demand for network security improvements
Funds For Learning, the nation’s leading E-rate compliance services firm, releases findings from its 11th annual E-rate Trends Report. The report arrives as school systems work through COVID-related impacts, including the “Homework Gap” and on- and off-campus broadband needs. Responses from a record-breaking 2,164 applicants indicate that E-rate remains a trusted resource to bring mission-critical access to schools and libraries, and network security is now an urgent concern.
Key 2021 report findings include:
- E-rate remains a vital program for schools and libraries to achieve connectivity. With a record number of sites served in 2021 (130,418), 97% of respondents agree that more students or library patrons are connected because of the E-rate program. Ninety-five percent agree that E-rate funding is vital to internet connectivity.
- Network security is a critical issue deserving of E-rate support. Seventy-six percent of applicants say network security is a serious and urgent concern. Ninety-seven percent of applicants agree that network security should qualify for E-rate support.
- Applicants see the E-rate program’s administration in a positive light. Only 9% of applicants are dissatisfied with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the program administrator. Since 2016, overall satisfaction with program administration has steadily increased.
“This year’s Trends Report indicates that the E-rate program is solid and steady,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “While connectivity needs continue to evolve, the Trends Report tells a very important story about E-rate as a vital resource for schools and libraries. The past two school years have showed us that school communities depend upon broadband access and network security.”
Participation in this year’s survey was at an all-time high with 2,164 responses counted, equivalent to 10.1% of all FY2021 E-rate applicants.
Findings from the report will aid and inform key policymakers and administrative members in maintaining the value of the E-rate program and adapting funding to meet stakeholder needs. To learn more about Funds For Learning’s mission to ensure connectivity for all students, click here.