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Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-1999
NCES: 2000086
February 2000

How much progress have public schools made in connecting classrooms?

In 1994, 3 percent of all U. S. public school instructional rooms 1 were connected to the Internet, by 1999, 63 percent were connected. Classroom connectivity is expected to continue to grow due to the allocation of funds through the Education rate (E-rate) program, which was established to make services and technologies in telecommunications available to schools and libraries at discounted rates based upon the income level of the students in their community and whether their location is urban or rural. The poorest applicants receive the largest discounts (90 percent) and rural communities receive up to a 10 percent additional discount. As of November 22, 1999, $1.9 billion 2 has been committed to E-rate programs throughout the nation.

Differences by school characteristics remain regarding Internet access in instructional rooms (Table 1). For example, 39 percent of instructional rooms had Internet access in schools with high concentrations of poverty (71 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches), compared with 62 to 74 percent of instructional rooms in schools with lower concentrations of poverty. The percentage of instructional rooms with Internet access in public schools with high concentrations of poverty did not increase between 1998 and 1999, while there were increases in the percentage of connected instructional rooms in schools with lower concentrations of poverty.

The Stats in Brief series presents information on education topics of current interest. All estimates shown are based on samples and are subject to sampling variability. All differences are statistically significant at the .05 level. In the design, conduct, and data processing of NCES surveys, efforts are made to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors, such as item nonresponse, measurement error, data processing error, or other systematic error.

This Stats in Brief was prepared by Catrina Williams. This Stats in Brief To obtain standard errors or definitions of terms for thisStats in Brief, or to obtain additional information about the Fast Response Survey System or the FRSS telecommunications surveys, contact Edith McArthur at To order additional copies of this Stats in Brief or other NCES publications, call 1-877-433-7827. NCES publications are available on the Internet at


1Instructional rooms include classrooms, computer and other labs, library/media centers, and any other rooms used for instructional purposes.

2The "Year 2 Funding Commitment Data" was found at the Schools and Library Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administration Company website,