FY 2016 E-rate Timeline – What to Do and When
November 30, 2015
About three weeks ago my husband lost his mind at the end of the Penn State/Northwestern game because of, what he called, “poor clock management” (note, I omitted the @#$%@). Since then I’ve thought that often schools and libraries have their own struggles with the play clock — that being the E-rate window play clock. This message is devoted entirely to helping you develop your own internal timeline so that you have plenty of time to get your applications filed.
First, USAC has not yet set the FY 2016 Form 471 filing dates. I expect USAC won’t set the dates until mid-late December, and when they do, I expect the Form 471 application window will be open from around mid-January – late March. Because we don’t yet know these exact dates, I can’t give you a firm schedule. But for the sake of developing your E-rate play clock, let’s assume that the last day to file the 471 will be about March 15. Working backwards from this date, here are the milestones:
1) File Form 470 by December 15
– Must be in EPC to file your Form 470.
– Must be Full Rights user to create and certify the form
If Using PEPPM for Category 2 Purchases:
– PEPPM Mini-Bids should be issued no later than January 4
– No Form 470 required, as PEPPM has its own 470
2) Approve New Contracts at the January or February Board Meeting
– All requests must be based on a contract that was signed prior to submitting the Form 471. The only exceptions to having a signed contract are if you have a multi-year contract that was signed in a previous year, or if you are filing for MTM services, such as cell/voice services/cable modem service.
– All PEPPM-based funding requests must be based on a district-signed contract (can be a signed vendor quote).
– Do not wait until your March board meeting because of the uncertainty of when the Form 471 deadline will be.
3) Upload Contracts into EPC Contract Wizard by March 1
– The EPC Contract Wizard hasn’t yet been released. All contracts will be required to be uploaded, including existing contracts that were signed in previous years — if they will be included in your FY 2016 funding requests.
– The Contract Wizard will ask for contract signing dates, expiration dates, # of extensions, vendor name and SPIN, how many bids were received for that procurement, etc. so you’ll want to have this info on hand.
4) File Form 471 no later than March 7
– The FY 2016 Form 471 will be entirely new, so don’t plan to file this form on the last few days. It will request more data and likely will be more than a few hiccups because it’s built on the new EPC platform.
– Plan to have this form filed two weeks before the Form 471 deadline.
If you have any questions on the suggested E-rate timeline, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator