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E-rate Glossary of Terms

A glossary of key terms related to eligible E-rate entities.

For a more complete listing of E-rate terms view the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) program frequently used terms External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).


The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) uses the term “annex” to mean a remote location or secondary site associated with an E-rate school entity (school) that provides educational services to students, and does not independently operate as a school.

The term "annex" was introduced in the USAC Schools and Libraries Program News Brief on October 9, 2015. This is a term established by the USAC and is specific to the administration of the E-rate program. In the state of California, this term does not have implications for any other education programs except for E-rate.

Common attributes of an annex:

  1. Provides instruction to students
  2. Does not have a County-District-School (CDS) code
  3. Accountability reports not reported independently, rather they are reported as part of an E-rate school entity

USAC has determined that annexes do not qualify for their own Category Two budget. However, their enrollment is included when calculating the Category Two budget of the school with which they are associated. An annex is eligible for expenditures from the Category Two budget that included their enrollment. USAC has also determined that annexes qualify for Category One services.

Billed Entity

The entity that receives the bill and pays for the supported service. A Billed Entity may be different from the physical location being supported.

Billed Entity Number

The Billed Entity Number (BEN) is a unique number assigned by USAC to each billed entity (school, library, or consortium) that pays for services.

E-rate School Entity

The E-rate school entity is commonly referred to as a “school” by the USAC and within the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

For purposes of universal service support, schools must meet the External link opens in new window or tab. found at 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) section 7801 (19) and (45):

  • An elementary school is a nonprofit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school, that provides elementary education, as determined under state law.

  • A secondary school is a nonprofit institutional day or residential school, including a public secondary charter school, that provides secondary education, as determined under state law, except that such term does not include any education beyond grade twelve.

The California Department of Education (CDE) defines a school for administrative purposes as an educational institution having one or more teachers to give instruction, an assigned administrator, is based in one or more buildings, and has enrolled or prospectively enrolled students. See the CDE Web site for additional information on the definition of a school.

The methods for validation may vary depending on the type of school or program (e.g., K-12, juvenile justice, Head Start, etc.). View the validation matrix on the E-rate Entity Validation Web page to learn more about the methods and resources for available for validating California traditional and non-traditional schools or programs.

Non-Instructional Facility

A Non-Instructional Facility (NIF) is a school building without classrooms or a library building without public areas. Examples of school NIFs include administrative buildings, bus barns, and cafeteria facilities.

NIFs qualify for Category One services.

NIFs do not qualify for Category Two services or for a Category Two budget.

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Questions:   E-rate |
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 13, 2022
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