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Sunday, March 03, 2019

Buh bye

I have plenty of complaints about the E-Rate, but you know what the *biggest* problem is?

The 35% drop in the number of schools and libraries applying for E-Rate.

Where'd I get that number?  Well, Funds for Learning counted the number of applicants filing Forms 470 in FY 2014 at 26,059.  In FY 2019 they counted  16,976.

The count of 470s is not a perfect count of participation, since applicants under multi-year contracts or will only a cable modem don't have to post a 470, but it's a good indicator of participation.

I compared this year's numbers to an analysis I did back in 2011 using FY 2009 numbers.  I looked at how many applicants could have applied vs how many did.  Now I've added in 2019 numbers.  (Call me lazy, but I didn't update the number of districts, schools and libraries; I just don't think the numbers have changed that much.)
Applied 2009 Applied 2019 Change
Total Number Participation Number Participation Number Participation
School district 13809 12833 93% 9627 70% -3206 -25%
Single School 33740 7142 21% 5072 15% -2070 -29%
Library 9225 3672 40% 1915 21% -1757 -48%
Consortium n/a 439 n/a 362 n/a -77 -18%
24086 16976

Wow, almost half the libraries that were applying in 2009 have left the program.  I would have expected a bigger drop among individual schools.

The drop in school districts is bigger than I would have expected.  We've certainly seen clients leave the program because the meager E-Rate reimbursement isn't worth the hassle of applying, but I wouldn't have expected a drop of 25%.

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