A New Year’s E-rate Update!
January 4, 2016
Happy New Year, E-raters! There is so much happening in the E-rate world and the next 3 months wiIl be undoubtedly the busiest in E-rate history (yes, I realize I said this last year). Please take a minute and read the updates below…
FY 2016 Form 471 Application Window – The FY 2016 Form 471 filing window dates have not yet been set because USAC is still working on creating the new Form 471 in the new EPC system. We know the window will not open BEFORE January 20 and will not close BEFORE March 31. This is great news for the E-rate procrastinators! You still have time to file your Form 470′s and take your contracts to the March board meetings.
Set Up in EPC? – This is a friendly reminder that if you haven’t yet set up your EPC account, you must do this before you file your 470 for FY 2016. If you’re unsure if your school or library has their EPC account established, please call USAC at 888-203-8100.
File 470s NOW! – I know many of you are very focused on the Category 2 procurements this year, but please don’t forget that you must file a Form 470 for your Category 1 services (Telecommunications services and Internet access) unless they are under a multi-year contract that was competitively bid using a Form 470 in a previous year. After the 470 is filed, you must accept vendor proposals for at least 28 days, and on the 29th day or later you may file your Form 471 (assuming your contract is signed, unless it’s a MTM service).
Upcoming E-rate Trainings – As soon as the Form 471 and/or E-rate Contract Wizard is/are available, I will schedule webinars to make sure you understand the new forms. In the meantime, if you’re attending PETE&C in Hershey, please join me for two E-rate workshops:
9:15 – E-rate 101 – Crystal A
10:30 – Filing the 471 in the EPC Portal – Crystal A
NSLP Data – The October 2015 NSLP Data hopefully will be available in by late January. As soon as I receive it, I’ll send it to the listserve
PQA E-rate Audits – Several PA schools and libraries received notices of a Payment Quality Assurance audit (PQA) in mid-December. PQA audits are designed to gather specific information from applicants in order to calculate the rate of improper payments, a requirement under the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA). Numerous applicants are randomly selected each quarter for the PQA audit, although it appears that applicants with higher-dollar disbursements stand a greater likelihood of being chosen. The PQA request is sent to the entity’s contact person from the e-mail address “email@example.com.” Although they are not technically called ‘audits,’ that’s what they are because if an improper payment is discovered, USAC will then recover those funds. If you are selected for a PQA audit, please let me know and I can help to answer any questions you may have. They look daunting, but most applicants find that the information is very easy to compile.
FY 2014 BEAR Extensions - For those of you who filed invoice deadline extension requests on or before October 28, you should have received an approval e-mail by now. If it was approved, you will have 120 days from the notification date to submit your BEAR to USAC. To check whether your IDER request was approved, you can look up your FRN number on the FRN Extension Table at http://www.sl.universalservice.org/utilities/FRN_CurFundExt.asp. If you FRN is not listed, the IDER was not yet approved. You also can call USAC to determine the status at 888-203-8100.
FY 2014 $0-Funded BEAR Appeals – If you submitted a BEAR but it was $0-funded, you can submit an appeal to USAC requesting a 1-time extension to correct the mistake and resubmit the BEAR. The appeal must be submitted within 60 days of the BEAR notification letter, and after the appeal is granted, you will have 30-days to resubmit the BEAR. Please contact me if you would like a copy of a sample $0-funded BEAR appeal letter.
FY 2015 Form 486s – Please don’t forget to file your Form 486 to ‘turn-on’ funding with USAC. A list of applicants with 486 due dates as of December 17 is available at: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=10341.
If you have any questions about any of these issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator