Y’all.
 

If you don’t think this is the jam, it’s not likely that we can be friends.  If you aren’t old enough to remember this song on the radio, we definitely can’t be friends.

So what gives me occasion to dust off my In Square Circle cassette?  This question I received a couple days ago:

Hi Brian,

Can you shed some light on the impact eliminating part-time students from the budget starting in 2021 will have?

Analytical Anne
 
Glad you asked, Anne!1 I hit up the ol’ FFL E-rate Stat-O-Tron HD™ and totaled enrollment statistics as reported in EPC applicant profiles as of this morning (February 7, 2020.)  The total “student count” value for any applicant BEN with a reported student count value of greater than zero was 63,841,0262 .  The total of all students listed in the “peak part time” column? 189,408.

Currently, USAC bases a site’s C2 budget on total student count plus peak part time count, so at first glance it looks like we’re talking about 0.3% of the total students reported on E-rate applications. That’s not a terribly impressive percentage. I mean, on the perceived-effort-to-percentage-improvement scale that one really isn’t a winner.

But that .03% still represents around $31.6M at $167/student. And since the FCC says that they will no longer allow part time student counts in C2 budget calculations come FY2021, there must be some schools who will be missing out on funds to which they formerly had access. Wonder who they are?

Turns out there’s a shockingly consistent pattern. There are 538 school sites which report zero “student count” but have at least one “peak part time” student. Their names? XYZ Alternative School. XYZ County Vocational Center. XYZ Technical Institute. They’re nearly all sites where it would make perfect sense that the K-12 population is part-time.  
 
In a recent Petition for Reconsideration filed with the FCC, Fred Brakeman, CEO of Infinity Communications and Consulting notes the same observation:
 
“…they are trade schools or career centers that serve multiple school districts but are not part of any single district, and all of their students are part time… limiting student counts to full-time enrollment means that schools like this will not be eligible for any Category 2 E-rate funding at all.  They do not reap the benefits of district-wide budgets because they are not part of any school district, so they are essentially in a no man’s land, ineligible for any C2 E-rate funding.”
 
I agree, and am hopeful that the FCC will work with USAC and stakeholders to find a solution to ensure that all students have access to critical network infrastructure - no matter where they attend class.
 
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Special thanks to Anne for sending in such a great question!  Do you have an E-rate statistical query keeping you up at night? Drop us a line!
 
1 This really isn’t my contact’s name.  If your name is Analytical Anne, your name being referenced here is entirely coincidental.  Please accept my apologies… twice.
2The National Center for Education Statistics projects the total number number of K-12 students nationwide to be around 56,572,000.  In looking at the data, the E-rate numbers appear to be skewed due to some special case scenarios where states and ESCs were assigned single-school BENs with massive enrollment numbers. In any event, using the NCES’ total enrollment the E-rate “peak part time” percentage would still come out to about 0.33%.