The Educational Impact of Broadband Subsidies for Schools Under E-Rate
27 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 17, 2016
The U.S. has spent over $25 billion to subsidize computer access in schools since the 1996 Telecommunications Act on the rationale that broadband Internet usage improves learning. In 2013, President Barack Obama directed that, based on the successful experience of a school district in North Carolina, annual E-Rate subsidies (as the program is called) be nearly doubled, to about $4 billion. In this paper, we evaluate how federal expenditures correlate with students’ academic performance. Examining data from all North Carolina public high schools, 2000-2013, we find no gain in student test results associated with Internet subsidy levels.
Keywords: E-Rate, Broadband Subsidies, Educational Policy, Internet Access
JEL Classification: H20, H52, L86, L96
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