The E-rate program provides discounts on certain services and products that are essential for classrooms and libraries to receive Internet connections. The amount of discount depends on the level of poverty and location of the entity receiving service. The discount ranges from 20% to 90% of the cost of eligible services.

School districts, charter schools, and library systems can all apply. 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 also receive E-rate discounts.