Spring 2014 E-rate Update

April 17, 2014

Happy Spring, E-raters! Congratulations on another successful E-rate window. Every school district in PA except one submitted a 471 — a new record! The FY 2014 nationwide demand estimate is due to be released shortly and we’ll know better at that time whether any funds will be available for Priority 2 this year. Below are some brief E-rate updates:

PIA Reviews – FY 2014 application review is in full swing! By my estimate, more than half of the applications have already been reviewed (also a new record). If you haven’t yet been contacted, you either will be contacted shortly or your application may already have been reviewed without the need to contact you. To determine the status of your application, go to http://www.sl.universalservice.org/menu.asp, click on ‘Application Status’ and enter your Billed Entity Number. Then click ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the page. The next page will show you the status.

RALs – If you need to make a correction to your Form 471, cancel a Form 471, cancel a funding request, add a funding request or increase/decrease the amount you requested, you should do so using the BLUE Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) (yes, you can add a forgotten funding request or even increase a funding amount using the RAL, but only if you have a substantiating document that’s dated prior to the date you submitted your Form 471, such as an invoice or signed contract.) A RAL is sent for each Form 471 that has been submitted/certified and summarizes each of your funding requests. If nothing needs changed on your Form 471, no applicant action is required. If you need to make changes, do so using your RAL and fax it back to USAC at 973-599-6526.

PINs Coming – If you signed a paper Form 471 certification, USAC will be mailing you an E-rate PIN that can then be used to electronically certify all of your future applications. The PIN will arrive in a small, 4″ x 8″ white secure mailer (with the tear-off sides). If you signed a paper 471 cert and haven’t yet received your PIN, please call USAC at 888-203-8100 and ask them to research it for you. It could be that you already had a PIN in their system and they have to reissue you a new one.

PQA E-rate Audits – Several PA schools and libraries received notices in early April of a Payment Quality Assurance audit (PQA) which is 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). Typically, a total of 60 applicants are randomly selected each month for the PQA audit, except during the E-rate application window (January – March) when PQA audits are suspended. The PQA request is sent to the entity’s contact person from the e-mail address “pqa@usac.i-sight.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.

E-rate Reform – The FCC is currently reviewing the comments filed in relation to the recent Public Notice on E-rate reform and meeting with stakeholders. Although no definite date has been set for an announcement, we expect the reforms will be announced in waves, with the first notice possibly coming in late June or July which will become effective for Funding Year 2015.

If you have any questions about any of the issues covered in this update, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jtschell@comcast.net.

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f

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