Successfully navigating the E-rate process can save schools thousands of dollars each year.
Schools across the country face a daunting challenge over the next few months. While many teachers have leaned into remote instruction, successfully guiding their students through the challenges of distance learning, many will soon have to switch back to fully in-person or hybrid schedules that will require a mix of traditional and virtual teaching methods.
While schools are likely to have at least some in-person instruction by the beginning of the next academic year, technology will likely remain at the forefront. School leaders, many of whom have presided over an entire year of distance learning, are likely to adopt at least some of the positive benefits of remote instruction.
To successfully implement these benefits, administrators may have to procure additional technology, which can cost their schools thousands of dollars. Thankfully, the E-rate process can ease the financial burdens on schools and allow them to offset the costs of new hardware.
The K12HSN trainings guide schools through the annual E-rate process.
K12HSN, a program funded by the California Department of Education, offers several webinars, three of which will occur in January 2021, to help schools successfully navigate the E-rate process. From drafting their bids to selecting an E-rate services provider, K12HSN trainings outline the basic tenets of the E-rate process and allow school leaders to take full advantage of the program.
Without at least some guidance, whether from an E-rate consultant, K12HSN, or administrator with extensive E-rate experience, schools risk losing out on thousands of dollars in funding each year. With state legislatures facing funding shortfalls, school leaders face an uncertain budgetary future and may be forced to make a hard choice about what to spend each dollar on for the upcoming year. By attending a K12HSN training, school leaders can offset at least some of this economic pain and use federal supplements to offset their technology spending totals.
The K12HSN trainings can teach schools how to evaluate their E-rate bids.
In January, one of the most important K12HSN topics concerns bid evaluation. To comply with E-rate’s requirements, schools must conduct an open and fair bidding process and evaluate proposals according to a set list of criteria, the largest of which must be cost-effectiveness.
The upcoming K12HSN training will outline best practices in bid evaluation and provide schools with easy-to-use templates they can use to objectively analyze each provider’s proposal. Schools may decide, for example, to establish a four-factor test consisting of cost-effectiveness, provider track record, overall bid fulfillment, and interviews to ultimately make their selection. The K12HSN training will show schools how to build these evaluation systems and provide them with a clear sense of how best to select an E-rate service provider for their school.
Schools who attend K12HSN trainings will learn how the E-rate reimbursement process works.
In addition, another K12HSN training in January will show schools how to successfully navigate the E-rate reimbursement process, the main benefit of the program. Whether the school decides to pay for the full cost of E-rate services upfront and apply for federal reimbursement or, alternatively, shift this responsibility to their E-rate service provider, the training will expose schools to best practices in reimbursement, which requires submission of a number of FCC forms.
While submitting these forms and complying with the program’s reimbursement process may seem cumbersome, E-rate consultants and providers themselves are often able to assist the school with the reimbursement process and ensure it receives any applicable discounts.
At CTS, we help our partner schools execute their E-rate proposals and accomplish their unique missions.
Our team has worked with more than 60 schools across the United States to successfully execute their E-rate proposals and free up scarce funding for other instructional priorities. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we work directly with school leaders to evaluate their existing technology resources, align our services and expertise with their unique missions, and make the most of every dollar. Contact us today to learn more about our E-rate services and how we can help your school accomplish its technology goals.