Survey question one asked applicants to rank four aspects of E-rate funding – predictability, speed, amount, and flexibility – in order of least to most important to their organization.
Question One Fast Facts
- The largest majority of respondents indicated that the predictability of funds was most important, followed closely by the amount of funding.
- Flexibility of the use of funding was ranked least important by a significant margin.
Questions and Responses
Please rank the following in order of importance to you. (1=most important, 4=least important)
Predictability of funding Knowing exactly how much E-rate funding your organization can count on receiving each year Ranked most important: 237 Ranked least important: 55
Speed of funding decision Example: receiving a funding commitment decision letter by no later than July 1 Ranked most important: 123 Ranked least important: 124
Amount of funding commitment Receiving as much E-rate funding as possible Ranked most important: 223 Ranked least important: 60
Flexibility of funding commitment Flexibility to prioritize your own funding requests, if USAC does not have enough money to fund all of them (e.g., assigning higher priority to internal connections than to telecom services) Ranked most important: 45 Ranked least important: 389
It is clear from the responses that applicants value funding predictability and amount over speed and flexibility. Sixty-two percent of applicants ranked funding flexibility the least important of the four aspects provided. Responses to question one were consistent between small and large applicants, as well as applicants who had or had not received Priority 2 funding in recent years.
School administrators are required to plan many aspects of their organization’s operation far in advance. Shrinking budgets nationwide mean that schools need as much funding from outside sources as possible, and the stability and predictability of those funding sources is critical to ensuring that the school can carry out its plan. It is clear that enhancements to the E-rate program such as establishing permanent filing window dates and increasing the annual funding cap speak directly to schools’ needs and can greatly enhance their chance of success.
In Part 3 of our analysis, we will take a look at applicants’ responses regarding the state of their current technology environment, as well as future technology initiatives and budgets.