Ensuring Your EPC Profile is Accurate
January 16, 2016
~ Review these steps now ~
Within the next week, USAC is expected to announce the dates for the FY 2016 Form 471 application window. As I’ve previously mentioned, the window is opening later due to the continuing development of the new 471 within EPC, and is expected to close later (perhaps mid-late April) to give applicants enough time to complete the required application elements. The new Form 471 will look and act much different than in previous years, as all of the building data, discount calculation data and contract information will be ported into the form directly from your EPC portal. Therefore, it’s very important that the data in your EPC portal be 100% accurate before you attempt to file a FY 2016 Form 471. Please be sure to review and complete the following three tasks in the next few weeks:
1) Complete the setup of your EPC Account. Be sure your school district or library (or consortium) has obtained an EPC log-in and the Account Administrator has logged into the EPC Portal and accepted the Terms and Conditions. After you’re in the portal, be sure you’ve completed these tasks:
- Give your Account Administrator (AA) Full Rights Status. The default setting is View Only which allows them to do almost nothing.
- Add any additional school or library employee “Users” that you would like to have access to your filing information.
- Designate your E-rate consultant (or anyone that is not a school or library employee who you would like to be able to help with your application), if you use one. This is a 2-part process – a) add the consulting firm and then adding the actual consultant as one of your Users (and assigning their permissions).
- Join any consortium for which you are a member.
- If you need to change your AA, contact USAC at 888-203-8100 and have them create a case #. Then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org from the school or library’s e-mail account, using that case # in the subject line, with required AA information.
2) Ensure all school or library buildings are in your EPC profile and have accurate data (including all non-instructional facilities). When USAC created your EPC account, they tried to pre-populated it with Block 4 building data from your FY 2015 Form 471, Block 4. Unfortunately, no NIFs (non-instructional facilities) were loaded, and some entities are finding out that school or library buildings are missing as well. Therefore, it’s important for you to review closely the entities that are in your EPC portal. If you find that entities are missing, you cannot add them yourself, but instead must call or submit a request to USAC to add them to your EPC profile. Why is this important? The new 471 will not have a Block 4 like the previous versions. Instead, the schools/libraries/buildings listed in Related Entities, and their underlying address and enrollment/NSLP information, will be ported into the new Form 471 to calculate your E-rate discount for FY 2016 and will identify the exact addresses where services will be delivered.
Where can you see the current list of buildings/entities for your organization? From your Landing Page, under Organizations, click on the name of your school district or library (should be at the very top of the list). On the next page, click on Related Entities and you will see a list (in pages of 10) of every school or library or NIF currently listed for your organization. If one is missing, you should either call USAC’s Client Services Bureau (CSB) at 888-203-8100 and ask them to add it, or choose Contact Us from the Landing Page to submit a written request to CSB. Likewise, if a school has closed and should be removed from your list of entities, contact USAC to make the change. There is no way to add or remove a building into your portal yourself.
Next, click on each school or library and make sure that the address and attributes are accurate. If they are not, you can click on Manage Organization at the top right corner of that school or library’s page to make necessary changes. If you receive a “Permission Not Granted” error, check to be sure that you are a Full Rights User under > Related Actions > Manage User Permissions. If you are, then there is a problem with the linkages in your EPC account and you must contact USAC and have them fix the problem.
Also, you’ll notice on each school’s profile page the enrollment and NSLP data is listed. This is the data you submitted on your FY 2015 Form 471, Block 4 — it is not the most recent data. You should update this data on each school’s profile before you submit your Form 471 and I recommend that you wait and do so after the PDE NSLP file is released in the next 2 weeks. That way, the data you submit and the PDE data file that PIA uses to validate your discount will match. As of now there is no template to bulk upload this data into your EPC profile, but we understand that one may be in development and released later.
3) Gather FRN contract information. New this year will be the addition of a Contract Module (I call it the Contract Wizard) in the EPC portal where you will upload your contracts and provide extensive information about those contracts, like vendor SPIN, contract signing date, contract extensions, contract expiration date, 470 #, and # of bids received during the procurement. This information will need to be in your EPC portal prior to starting the Form 471, so gathering this information now will make your life so much easier when the Contract Wizard becomes available.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.