Advocacy, Legislation & Issues

Description of Discount Calculation Change

In the past, library outlet/branches were instructed to use the Weighted Average Discount for the school district in which the library outlet/branch was located. Library systems were calculated by using a simple average of the weighted average discount for each outlet/branch in the library system. Using this approach, it was virtually impossible for libraries to obtain 90% discounts for internal connections, the level at which discounts are currently being funded. Further, this approach to calculating discounts for libraries meant that libraries were never allowed to use the FCC's discount matrix to obtain their discount. It also meant that libraries had to collect National School Lunch Program data for EVERY school in the school district. The FCC and the SLD agree that it was the intent of the FCC for libraries to be able to use the discount matrix. Specifically, the FCC rules on this issue state that "For libraries and library consortia, the level of poverty shall be based on the percentage of the student enrollment that is eligible for a free or reduced price lunch under the national school lunch program or a federally-approved alternative mechanism in the public school district in which they are located."

Library Discount Calculation Method to be used for FY 2003 and Beyond

The following simplified approach for calculating library discounts should be far less burdensome since NSLP data is no longer required to be collected from individual schools or calculated on a weighted average basis.

To correctly calculate the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program, libraries will need to obtain just two numbers for the entire school district in which the library outlet/branch is located:

1. the number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program
and
2. the total number of K-12 students in the school district.

Library outlets/branches will then divide # 1 above by # 2 above to calculate the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

The library outlet/branch will use this percentage along with the Rural or Urban status of the library outlet/branch to determine their E-rate discount using the FCC's discount matrix found in the Form 471 Instructions.

Example:

  • If the number of students eligible for the NSLP in the school district in which the library outlet/branch is located (# 1 above) is 675
  • And the total number of K-12 students (# 2 above) in that school district is 906
  • The percentage of students eligible for NSLP (#1 above divided by # 2 above is 75 percent.
    (Note that discount calculations may be rounded up only when fully half a discount point is reached.)

Using the FCC's discount matrix below, the library outlet/branch would determine their E-rate discount by locating the % of students eligible for the national school lunch program in the first column-75% in this example-and finding their discount in the second or third column depending on whether the library outlet/branch is located in an urban or rural county by using the guidance on the  SLD web site.

The E-rate discount in this example would be 90%.

Schools and Libraries Discount Matrix
 Percent of students eligible for national school lunch program
Discount Level -- Urban
Discount Level -- Rural
< 1
20%
25%
1 to 19
40%
50%
20 to 34
50%
60%
35 to 49
60%
70%
0 to 74
80%
80%
75 to 100
90%
90%

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