The demand for funding through the federal E-rate program has grown since its inception in 1996, when just 14% of schools had Internet access. Now, the program is struggling to keep up with the growth in demand, receiving $5 billion in requests recently with only $2.33 billion in available funds -- a cap that has remained largely flat since the program was established, except for growth due to inflation. In addition, demand is expected to increase further amid a transition to the Common Core State Standards, which require online testing.

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