How to Purchase School Equipment with E-Rate Funding

In part one of our transcript series from a Cisco Meraki webinar, we shared information about the 2015 E-Rate flow and the effect of BYOD on schools. In part two we started to review how schools can purchase equipment using their E-Rate funding. This article picks up where we left off.

 How to Purchase Equipment

There are three models here that you can typically use. One where the school or the library owns and manages their own network Category 2 equipment. One where the library owns equipment, but a third party is actually managing it. And one where the school or libraries are actually leasing the equipment from a third-party who owns and manages the network.

In the first model, where the school and the library owns and manages the equipment, they’re able to spend that $150 per student, or $2.30 per square foot over five years, anyway they choose. Again, as I mentioned above, over one year or over multiple years.

The school-owned third-party managed model, again, schools and libraries are able to use the above budget anyway they see fit to purchase those Category 2 eligible services and equipment. However, when a third-party manages those services, the schools and libraries are limited to a yearly funding of $30 per student per year for that third-party management and that amount is actually going to be deducted from the overall $150 per student over five-years amount that the school is allotted.

The last model here is where the school and the library leases the equipment from a third-party who owns and then manages these services as well. Now, in this scenario, the equipment and services are part of that managed service contract. And once again, there is that limit of $30 per student per year that is deducted from the overall $150 per student over a five-year pool.

Now I want to take a moment and look at the equipment and services that are not going to be covered under E-rate. These are services, and as you see the bottom on the slide here, you must have cost allocations. So, these services that are ineligible must be removed from the application for E-rate funding.

Now, examples of these types of equipment and services are things like end-user devices. So, desktops including virtual desktops, laptops, handhelds, tablets, large format displays, projectors, cameras, speakers, the end-user application. And then, there’s the noncritical network infrastructure. This includes services like file servers, online backup, and certain types of cloud services. When I say cloud services, I’m not talking about Meraki Cloud Networking here. I’m talking about web hosting and email services; those specific types of cloud services. Also, Anti-virus, Anti-spam, IDS and IPS, content filtering, Mac, physical security those types of noncritical network infrastructure are not going to be eligible for E-rate.

One thing to keep in mind as you’re assessing what is eligible or what is not eligible for E-rate, is an overarching question of, “If a device is removed from your network and the network continues to function, that device is probably not a critical part of your network infrastructure.”

When I say “if a device is removed from the network,” I’m not talking about one access point in the grand scheme of many access points. I’m referring to all access points within your network. If all the access points are removed, will your network continue to function? The answer is no. However, if online backup is removed from your network, your network will continue to function. So, it is a noncritical portion of your network infrastructure.

This is part three of our series featuring transcripts from recent Cisco Meraki webinars. This webinar covered the 2015 E-Rate Funding. If you would like to learn more about the right equipment to purchase for your school, please contact a Team One Solutions representative.

Posted in Cisco Meraki, E-Rate

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