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Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and E-Rate

A quick roundup of the CIPA regulations designed to promote Internet safety in K–12 schools.

Congress enacted the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in December 2000. Why?

As the Internet began to play a bigger role in schools and libraries, there were concerns that children could access obscene or harmful content while online. CIPA was an Internet-safety measure designed to protect students from pornography and other inappropriate material on the web.

In early 2001, the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) issued rules to implement CIPA. Now any school or library that receives E-rate funding—federal discounts for Internet access, internal connections, and basic maintenance of internal connections—is subject to CIPA regulations.

CIPA Requirements in a Nutshell…

In order to qualify for the E-rate program, schools and libraries must certify they’ve implemented Internet-safety policies that:

  • Block or filter Internet access to obscene pictures, child pornography, and other content harmful to minors
  • Monitor the online activities of minors
  • Educate minors about appropriate online behavior when interacting on social networks, in chat rooms, via email, etc.; plus, teach cyberbullying awareness and response (per the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act)

Internet safety policies must also address:

  • Unlawful online activity, such as unauthorized access and “hacking”
  • Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors
  • Curtailing access to materials detrimental to minors

For more information on CIPA or to apply for Universal Service, contact the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Schools and Libraries Division (SLD).
SLD also operates a client-service bureau to answer questions (888-203-8100).

Wondering which K12USA products are E-rate eligible?

Have questions about CIPA, E-rate, or K12USA products and services? Email or call 877-225-0100 now, and we’d be happy to help you.

Note: We believe our statements about E-rate eligibility are accurate based on our reading of the new FCC guidelines. Actual eligibility is not guaranteed and will be determined by the USAC and/or FCC after applications are submitted.


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As every IT admin in K–12 schools knows, CIPA and E-rate are key considerations when buying and deploying certain technologies. Here's what you need to know.