The E-rate program provides discounts on certain services and products that are essential for classrooms and libraries to receive voice, video, and data communications. The amount of the discount depends on the level of poverty and location of the school or library receiving service. The discount ranges from 20% to 90% of the cost of eligible services.

To be eligible to receive discounts, a school or library must meet certain eligibility criteria. In general elementary and secondary schools are eligible to receive discounts--including many private schools and religious schools. Public libraries and library systems can receive E-rate discounts, provided they meet the eligibility requirements of libraries.