March 20, 2020
On March 18, 2020, the Federal Communication Commission (the “FCC”) waived the E-Rate program gift rule which bars service providers from gifting anything of value in excess of $20.
The rule waiver permits certain E-Rate eligible schools to accept gifts that can assist schools and school staff with remote learning needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. These items could include, but are not limited to, free upgrades to connections, connected devices, equipment, Wi-Fi hotspots, and networking gear.
The waiver ends September 30, 2020, and is limited to E-Rate eligible schools that are closed or preparing to close as a direct result of COVID-19, regardless of funding year. However, schools are required to record and document the gifts or things of value in excess of $20. These records must be retained in accordance with the FCC document retention rules and time periods.
Despite this waiver, schools must remember their continuing obligation to comply with applicable procurement laws, as well as with all other applicable E-Rate rules and requirements. The FCC states it will attempt continue to recover funds through normal processes if funds are not used properly.
Our team of dedicated education attorneys can assist your institution with taking advantage of this new flexibility in legally compliant ways. Please contact Suzann Wilcox at email@example.com, Cheryl Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org, Timothy Fitzgibbon at email@example.com, or Josh Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These materials have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.