In the spring of 2014, Funds For Learning® conducted an online survey of schools and libraries who receive funding via the federal E-rate discount program. Approximately 3% of E-rate applicants responded to the survey. This group represented a cross-section of school sizes, locations and E-rate discount levels that closely reflect the distribution of the overall population of E-rate applicants.
Some notable survey results are summarized below:
- Among the survey respondents, there is a consensus that schools are dependent on E-rate funding for Internet access and telecommunications. 92% of survey respondents agree that the E-rate program is critical to their success, and a large majority (74%) expressed concern over the lack of adequate funding for the program.
- Most applicants currently require (or soon will) updated communications infrastructure to meet the growing demands for connectivity placed on their networks. This demand is driven in large measure by an increased need for wireless access and telephony services.
- Less than 12% of applicants believe that their Internet access and communications infrastructure is adequate to meet educational needs in the near future.
- Survey respondents, overwhelmingly, would like the FCC to focus on increasing the amount of available E-rate funding. In addition to that, respondents expressed a strong desire for the FCC to set a permanent filing window date and clarify program rules.
Over the course of the coming weeks, Funds For Learning® will provide additional analysis of the applicant survey results, breaking down how different types of applicants responded to the survey and what conclusions can be drawn from the results. You can download a copy of the complete survey results here.