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Bill Would Create iPad, Kindle Subsidies for Low-Income Students

February 12, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Edward Markey [D, MA-7] introduced legislation recently to bring E-Rate, the federal program that provides subsidies for schools and libraries to afford internet access and other technologies, into the 21st century.

One update Markey is proposing in his new bill, which he is calling the “E-Rate 2.0 Act,” is a four-year pilot program that would provide $50 million per year to give particularly low-income students the “opportunity to apply for meaningfully discounted services and technologies for the use of electronic books.”

Ars Technica explains how it would likely be administered if it becomes law:

E-Rate (or “Schools and Libraries” as it’s formally called) publishes a lengthy eligible services list of generic devices for which it will reimburse K-12s. They, in turn, buy the equipment through contractors chosen on a competitive basis. So the chances are that bulk purchasing will be the rule. Nobody’s going to be handed a coupon and pointed to the nearest Apple Store or Best Buy (sorry kids).
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