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E-rate Entity Validation

In order to qualify for E-rate, applicants must meet three validation criteria.

E-rate Entity Validation Matrix

There are eight different traditional and non-traditional school or program types that are eligible for E-rate discounts. Each is represented by a tab in the E-rate Entity Validation Matrix (validation matrix) below. Regardless of the type of school or program, all E-rate applicants must demonstrate that they are a qualified E-rate entity, verify enrollment and poverty, and determine their urban/rural status.

The first step, when using the validation matrix, is to select the tab that corresponds to the type of school or program. Each tab contains a table with the E-rate entity types (school, annex, non-instructional facility [NIF]) listed across the top row and the criteria for validation (site, enrollment and poverty, and urban/rural status) listed in the leftmost column. The information in each field in the body of the table is specific to the corresponding E-rate entity type (column header) and the criteria for validation (row header).

Criteria 1: E-rate Entity Types

There are three types E-rate entities that qualify for E-rate services: E-rate school entity (school), non-instructional facility (NIF), and annex. For a definition of each of these entities, view the E-rate Glossary of Terms.

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

The primary measure for determining Schools and Libraries Program discounts is the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) External link opens in new window or tab..

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status

If more than 50 percent of the schools in a school district are considered rural, the school district is eligible for a rural discount. If 50 percent or less of the entities are considered rural, the school district is eligible for an urban discount. Learn more about urban/rural status External link opens in new window or tab..

Public K-12

  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)

Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the school in the California School Directory.

Option 2: Submit an Entity Validation Letter.

Option 3: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Use the Unduplicated Student Poverty – Free or Reduced Price Meals Data 2016-17 to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 2: Use the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 3: Run the monthly Child Nutrition Information Payment System (CNIPS) site claim report broken out by site.

Examples: CNIPS

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Charter Schools

  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the school in the California School Directory.

Option 2: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Use the Unduplicated Student Poverty – Free or Reduced Price Meals Data 2016-17 to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 2: Use the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 3: Run the monthly Child Nutrition Information Payment System (CNIPS) site claim report broken out by site.

Examples: CNIPS

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Private Schools

Schools operating as for-profit businesses or that have endowments exceeding $50 million are not eligible.

  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the school in the California School Directory.

Option 2: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Lookup enrollment in the Private School Directory to document enrollment.

Option 2: Use the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document poverty level.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Head Start

  • All Head Start schools qualify for the maximum discount level.
  • Head Start services for children less than three years old are not eligible for discounts and must be cost allocated.
  • Home-based Head Start programs are not eligible.
  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the Head Start in the Head Start Locator External link opens in new window or tab..

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Poverty: Head Start automatically qualifies for the maximum discount level.

Enrollment: Use the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document enrollment.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Pre-Kindergarten

  • Services for children less than three years are not eligible for discounts and must be cost allocated.
  • Home-based Pre-School programs are not eligible.
  • Transitional Kindergarten (TK) are included in Public K-12 schools and should not be included in Pre-Kindergarten.
  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Submit a copy of your license.

Option 2: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Use the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 2: Run the monthly Child Nutrition Information Payment System (CNIPS) site claim report broken out by site.

Examples: CNIPS

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Adult Ed

Adult education is a public education program for all adults. Adult schools offer free to low-cost classes for adults 18 and older. Students can get a high school diploma, general education diploma (GED), learn about jobs, learn to speak English, and learn how to become a U.S. citizen.

  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the school in the California School Directory.

Option 2: Submit an Entity Validation Letter.

Option 3: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Use the Unduplicated Student Poverty – Free or Reduced Price Meals Data 2016-17 to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 2: Use the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document enrollment and poverty level.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Juvenile Ed

The purpose of juvenile court schools is to provide mandated, compulsory public education services for juvenile offenders who are under the protection or authority of the county juvenile justice system and are incarcerated in juvenile halls, juvenile homes, day centers, juvenile ranches, juvenile camps, or regional youth educational facilities. Juvenile court schools are operated through the county office of education.

  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the school in the California School Directory.

Option 2: Submit an Entity Validation Letter.

Option 3: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Use the Unduplicated Student Poverty – Free or Reduced Price Meals Data 2016-17 to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 2: Use alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document the enrollment and poverty level.

Option 3: Run the monthly Child Nutrition Information Payment System (CNIPS) site claim report broken out by site.

Examples: CNIPS

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

Special Ed

Per the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), special education students who are 3-21 years of age are eligible in all states.

  School Annex Non-Instructional Facility (NIF)
Criteria 1:
E-Rate Entity Type

Option 1: Lookup the school in the California School Directory.

Option 2: Submit an Entity Validation Letter.

Option 3: Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Create the site as an annex of the associated E-rate eligible school in the EPC.

(Validation is not required.)

Create the site in the EPC as an NIF associated with a qualified school district.

(Validation is not required.)

Criteria 2: Enrollment and Poverty

Option 1: Use the Unduplicated Student Poverty – Free or Reduced Price Meals Data 2016-17 to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 2: Use alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. provided by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to document enrollment and poverty level.

Option 3: Run the monthly Child Nutrition Information Payment System (CNIPS) site claim report broken out by site.

Examples: CNIPS

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Annexes do not get their own Category Two budget. However, they are eligible to receive funds from the school they have been associated with as an annex. Enrollment information is aggregated with related E-rate School Entity.

Category One: Eligible

Category Two: Not eligible

(NIFs do not have student enrollment, so they are not eligible for Category Two services.)

Criteria 3: Urban/Rural Status See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab. See USAC Web Site External link opens in new window or tab.

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Questions:   Education Data Office | E-rate@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9394
Last Reviewed: Friday, August 25, 2017
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