On April 9, 2016, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) published guidance for Educational Service Agencies (ESAs) who submit E-rate applications. Nationwide, ESAs have many different functions and responsibilities, and, as a group, ESAs do not fit neatly into one category. Because all E-rate applicants are designated by their type, such as school, library, or consortium, the varying scope of ESAs has created a challenge for these applicants since the beginning of the E-rate program. The EPC system has further brought to light the need to clarify precisely how ESAs should identify themselves to USAC on E-rate applications.
The new guidance from USAC provides specific guidelines for the application type of an ESA. This will help ESAs determine their E-rate discount rate and identify the services for which they can request discounts. USAC groups ESAs into one of three types:
ESAs who file as school districts. These entities have their own schools and pay for services. These ESAs qualify for both Category 1 and Category 2 discounts and submit applications using the entity type: School District.
ESA with no schools. These entities are comprised solely of non-instructional education-related facilities. These entities, who will only qualify for Category 1 discounts, will submit applications under a new entity type: ESA School District with No Schools.
ESA as a consortium lead. These entities act as a consortium lead for procurement and may also purchase goods and services on behalf of schools or school districts. These entities, who do not, themselves, qualify for E-rate discounts, will be designated: EPC Consortium. If the consortium lead also qualifies as an individual E-rate applicant, they will be required to file separately using a different EPC account for their individual E-rate discount requests.