An E-rate discount can range from 20% to 90%, depending whether your school is located in an urban or rural area and the economic need of your students. The level of economic need is determined by the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program. Both of these sets of information are then used to determine the school’s discount by using the E-rate Discount Matrix.
Rural Urban County Designations
Rural/Urban Designations are based on definitions adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP/HHS). To determine whether your school is located in an urban or rural-designed county, see PA Urban/Rural County Designations.
NSLP Participation Data
Each October, schools submit to PDE their NSLP participation data, which is validated and typically available for public review in late January. The following are links to current and previous years’ NSLP Data as reported by schools:
|NSLP Data for Pennsylvania
National School Lunch eligibility is based on 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Whether a student participates in NSLP or if the school serves lunches is irrelevant. The issue is whether or not a student's family falls within the income eligibility guidelines of NSLP. See NSLP Income Eligibility Guidelines for the most recent income requirements which are updated each July 1.
If you use NSLP participation data to calculate your E-rate discounts, you have two choices of data sets.
1) The data that was reported to the PA Department of Education LAST year, or
2) The data that was or will be reported to PDE around October of THIS year (preferable).
PIA staff is aware that NSLP data is posted on the state web site and will look there for their first verification of discounts. If the data sets do not match, they will contact the applicant to determine how they arrived at their NSLP data.
Determining NSLP Eligibility vs Actual Participation
If your school does not participate in the National School Lunch Program or has a school(s) that is undercounted, you may wish to seek alternative methods to determine eligibility vs participation. For guidance on these alternative methods, see NSLP Alternatives.