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Schools Urged to Apply for E-Rates

In a letter, a group of U.S. Senate Democrats last week urged local education officials to assess their technology needs and apply for discount service rates available through the $2.25 billion universal service fund created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The discount rates, referred to as Education Rates, or E-Rates, are intended for telecommunications services, internal connections and Internet access. They will be available starting in January 1988.

"To get ready to apply, schools and libraries should develop long-terms plans for implementing technology, if they have not done so already," the letter said. "Schools will need to assess their technology needs and conduct inventories of available technology and resources."

To benefit from the E-Rate, schools must submit applications to the E-Rate fund administer. Discounts for eligible schools range from 20 to 90 percent, depending on the geographic location and economic status of the school district. More information about the E-Rate and how to apply is available at the Education Department's Web site at www.ed.gov/Technology.

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