On July 31, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to USAC regarding schools who participate in the USDA’s Community Eligibility Option (CEO) school lunch reimbursement mechanism. Pending further guidance, the FCC has stated that E-rate applicants “utilizing the CEO may use the NSLP eligibility data that they previously submitted to USAC regarding participation in the NSLP for the most recent funding year in which such schools did not participate” for determining their E-rate discount rate for current and future funding years.

According to the letter, as of July 1, 2012 six states (KY, MI, IL, NY, OH, and WV) and the District of Colombia were eligible to participate in the CEO, with four more states slated to begin on July 1, 2013. The option will be available nationwide beginning July 1, 2014.