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Get a head start on the FY 2019 E-rate season

January 08, 2019

For the past two decades, K–12 schools and libraries across the United States have been able to take advantage of billions of dollars in technology discounts, thanks to the E-rate program created by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
 
Despite the generous funding available (about $4 billion in discounts a year), a lot of it goes unused. In fact, the 2019 funds include $1.9 billion that was left over from 2018—boosting the total to about $5.9 billion. Studies show that E-rate applications have declined 25% since 2015. Clearly, K–12 schools need IT solution providers’ help applying for E-rate funds.
 
Although funding year (FY) 2019 doesn’t begin until July 1, 2019, there are lots of forms that must be filled out and steps that must be followed beforehand. (Click here for more information about the forms.)
 
The E-rate application process is complex, but Ingram Micro and Cisco make it easier
Ingram Micro partners are encouraged to join the Ingram Micro Public Sector Advantage program, which includes E-rate support. Additionally, Cisco offers several programs and special offers that align with E-rate:
 
  • U.S. K–12 bundled warranty offers—This program offers discounts on E-rate-eligible products and provides 12 months of access to Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center (TAC), software updates and up to three years of advance hardware replacement with annual service renewal.
     
  • Wired and wireless bundles—Here are a couple of bundles Cisco is offering for the E-rate 2019 season:
    • 5 for the price of 2: Buy 5 Cisco Aironet access points for the price of 2 when buying the Cisco Catalyst 9300 48-Port PoE (power over Ethernet) switch bundle with a 5-year Cisco DNA Advantage subscription.
    • 15 for the price of 6: Buy 15 access points for the price of 6 when buying the Cisco Catalyst 9400 144-Port Switch Bundle with a 5-year Cisco DNA Advantage subscription.
  • Cisco Commerce Solution Advisor portal—The portal includes a K–12 Configurator tool designed to help partners minimize the time to build bills of materials (BOMs) for access switching and wireless. The tool is part of the existing Build & Price Configuration Advisor workflow. Highlights of the K–12 Configurator tool include:
  • Asks 12 to 13 questions and provides three options to choose from (best competitive, value optimized, balanced performance)
  • Targeted for BOMs for less than 10,000 students 
  • Support for Cisco access switching and wireless 
  • Support for Meraki MR access points and Meraki MS switching product lines, Catalyst 2960-X and 3650 Series switches, Mobility Express, Cisco WLC, Cisco Aironet 1850 Series access points with Wave 2 and Cisco Connected Education SKUs 
  • After making a selection, the BOM will be converted to a CCW (Cisco Commerce Workspace) quote 
  • Multiple options can be chosen if multiple quotes are requested (e.g., a cloud quote and an on-premises quote). Please direct your feedback to usk12casupport@cisco.com
For more information about E-rate resources, contact Kevin Wills, senior channel account specialist—Cisco public sector at Ingram Micro.