With the basic objective of fostering Internet access and telecom services to help out schools and libraries across USA, the Federal Communications Commission or FCC came up with something known as the Schools and Libraries Program. This program is conducted or administered by the USAC or United Service Administrative Company. This program is also part of the USF or Universal Service Fund. At the core of this program is the fact that communications connectivity can become key for the development of the school or for the library. A school can request for funding in order to establish Internet access and even for help in maintenance of various internal connections.
Since its inception in the year 1997 this program has had a lot of impact across the USA. There is indeed quite a bit of evidence to support the positive impact that the school and libraries program otherwise known as E-Rate has had across various academic institutions. For instance there was a study that was conducted in the year 2005 by a student in the University of Texas. The study resulted in the finding that the Erate program has been able to increase college admission rates, college graduation rates and even test scores in various school districts of Texas.
FCC has also brought about machine readable data on the impact of the E-Rate fund or program. The most visible proof of the positive impact of this program lies in the fact that only 14% of the schools in USA had access to the Internet in the year 1996-97 when the program was first introduced. As of 2012 this figure has risen to more than 97%. Probably there can be nothing more telling than this figure as far as the impact of this program is concerned. The fund also has $2.3 billion every year to give away to schools and libraries whowill benefit greatly as far as broadband access and telecom services are concerned.
More proof that this program has had a positive impact can be found in the analysis of the number of K-12 students in the USA. In the year 2000, 44.7 million were covered by Erate requests. Last year, that is 2012, this number has risen to 52.2 million. This figure also represents 95% of the K-12 students in the USA. The request for funding from schools has also been increasing steadily. In fact such has been the growth of these requests that it has become a slight concern as well. There has been an 8% growth every year as far as annual priority one demand is concerned.
James is a writer and blogger with 5 years experience.