The E-rate program has helped countless K-12 schools afford telecommunications services and Internet access. However, there are still a few necessary investments that E-rate doesn’t cover, such as physical security and many cybersecurity solutions.
Since the introduction of the E-rate program in the late 1990s, public and private K-12 schools across the country have received discounted telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to purchase equipment and services that strengthen their curriculum.
Though nothing is free for eligible schools, they can receive hefty discounts for Category One services (including telecommunications, telecommunications services, and Internet access) and Category Two services (such as managed internal broadband services, internal connections, and their maintenance). For example, discounts for Category Two can range between 20% and 85% depending on the school’s finances and its proximity to a metropolitan area.
Items schools often use the E-rate program to purchase include switches, routers, structured cabling, broadband circuits, firewalls, controllers, and wireless access points. While all of these purchases are vital, one category of products is glaringly missing: those tied to security. Although there are ongoing efforts to bring cybersecurity under E-rate’s scope, the program still doesn’t cover everything you need to keep your school and students safe, both physically and online. Read on to learn more about what E-rate doesn’t cover and what you can do to ensure your school is protected.
Public and private schools with an endowment below $50 million are generally eligible for E-rate, meaning there are few restrictions to access. These K-12 schools can use the E-rate program to purchase a wide variety of equipment, but E-rate won’t offer discounts on physical security or cybersecurity solutions.
Between break-ins, vandalism, and school shootings, physical security is a must for all K-12s. However, E-rate won’t cover several items required to keep your students and staff safe, including:
While both cameras and access control systems are important on their own, the best way to secure your space is by having interoperable security solutions instead of siloed ones. With interoperable systems, your cameras and access control system can communicate seamlessly, eliminating the need for human involvement and the ensuing risk of human error. Instead, they will automatically share information, which equals faster reaction times, increased safety, and the ability to better monitor entry points from a centralized system.
As with physical security, the E-rate program falls short when it comes to cybersecurity solutions. The E-rate program won’t cover:
E-rate can be a game-changer for K-12 schools, but the program doesn’t cover everything — which means you can’t buy all the physical security and cybersecurity solutions you need to ensure your school is safe and your students are successful through E-rate alone. You’ll need to make some purchases on your own.
That means it’s even more important to get your bang for your buck and make smart financial decisions when you’re making purchases that aren’t covered by E-rate. The good news is, working with Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is one of the best decisions you can make! When you work with TTI, our experts can advise which technologies can make the biggest difference and help maximize your E-rate funding while also pointing you toward the best non-E-rate purchases that will keep you secure without breaking the bank. And when you partner with TTI, your relationship doesn’t end at installation. With our unique PAVTAC offering, you’ll have access to 24/7/365 support free for the first year.
Ready to see the true value that TTI offers to our partners? Contact us today!
April 19, 2023
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