Helpful Hints to Navigate the Form 471

March 4, 2016

So many of you have started your 471s — great job!  Below are my helpful hints for navigating the form, sorted by the order in which you’ll encounter them.

Getting Back Into a 471:  If you start a 471 and can’t figure out how to re-enter the form, simple go to your Landing Page (click on the USAC logo to get there), then scroll down under Tasks.  You’ll see your 471 listed; click to return to the form.

Discount Calculation Errors:  If you see an error on the Discount Calculation page and it won’t let you proceed, it’s likely because your urban/rural status is not filled in for one or more of your schools.  You can remain in the 471, but in a second tab, go to your Landing Page (click on the USAC logo if you’re lost), then click on affected school, then Manage Organization at the top left of the page.  From that page you can then add the urban/rural status.  When you return to the 471 and refresh, you should be able to proceed in the application.

Vo-Tech Discount Calculations:  Vo-Techs should wait to file their 471s until USAC can make changes to how you enter your enrollment and NSLP data in your school’s EPC profile.  The system currently won’t allow you to enter a NSLP # that is higher than your full-time enrollment #.  And because most vo-techs have many more part time students than full time students, they can’t move beyond this error.  USAC is aware of the problem and working on a solution.  Stay tuned.

Adding FRN Line Items:  After an FRN is created, click on the FRN number (it’s underlined) and it will let you Add a Line Item.  Line items are where you provide specific details about the equipment or services you’re receiving, the costs, and which entities are actually receiving the services.  A line item should be created each time there is a change in service cost or unit cost.  For example, if you have a lit fiber FRN where one building is receiving 10 GB and 5 buildings are receiving 1 GB of service, you should have 2 line items.  Likewise, for a Category 2 FRN for switches where there are 5 components to the switch, you would have 5 separate line items.  Structured cabling projects would typically just have a single line item where the manufacturer’s name is the vendor’s name that is conducting the cabling project.

Adding Contracts:  When you create an FRN in the 471, the system asks if it’s based on a contracted service or MTM service.  If you choose Contract, the system will ask which contract you want to associate with that FRN.  If you forgot to add your contracts in the Contract Wizard prior to starting the 471, no worries – add them now.  In a separate tab, go to your Landing Page > Name of your District > Contracts > Manage Contracts.  Then create a contract entry for each separate contract you have (both C1 and C2) — even your contracts that may have been signed in previous years, but which you are referencing in a FY 2016 FRN.  Reminder, you’re not required to upload copies of your contracts, but you may.  I suggest you at least upload your Category 2 contracts. {HINT:  If you want to create your FRNs before your contracts are signed, you can create a dummy contract in the Contract Wizard, and then reference that for each FRN.  However, if you use this hint, be sure to go back and associate your FRN to the CORRECT contract after the contract has been signed and uploaded into your Contract Wizard.}

Category 2 Service Start Date:  Be careful to list 4/1/2016 for the Service Start Date (and 9/30/2017 as the Contract Expiration Date) to give yourself maximum days to purchase/install the equipment.  The system pre-populates 7/1/2016 as the SSD but you should change this date to be 4/1/2016 if you want the flexibility to purchase the equipment early.

Deleting or Editing Contracts:  After a contract has been created in the Contract Wizard, there is no way to edit or delete the contract (even though there are buttons showing for those functions).  If you made a mistake, just create a new one and remember never to use the old one.  It will just die on the vine.

Internet FRNs: If you have more than one school receiving Internet, you’ll want to wait to file that FRN because currently the system will only allow you to move forward if you answer the question NO, “Is this service going to a single school.”  The correct answer you should be YES, but if you answer YES, you can’t move through the Manage Recipients Section of the FRN.

Fiber/Ethernet Option Now Available:  For those of you who created Category 1 Form 471s for Fiber, you likely noticed that Ethernet was not an option in the drop down menu.  This has since been corrected and you can now select this option.  If you already submitted a 471 and chose a different (incorrect) option just to bypass the system, you’ll want to submit a RAL correction.  The RAL correction procedures have not yet been created, so stay tuned.

Missing Connectivity Data:  After entering all of your FRNs, the system will show you the data you entered in your Connectivity Survey (in EPC).  If you forgot to complete this step prior to starting the 471, in a separate tab, go to your Landing Page > Name of your District > Related Actions > Manage Connectivity Questions (second lightning bolt from the bottom).  Then return to your 471, refresh the page and your connectivity data should be there.

Reviewing/Submitting Your Form 471:  After you click “Review FCC Form 471,” the screen goes blank for a second, and then returns you to your Landing Page.  YOU HAVE NOT YET SUBMITTED YOUR FORM.  To see a copy of your draft 471, wait about 10 seconds, then refresh your browser and look under Tasks on your Landing Page.  There you will see a task which says, “Review PDF for FCC Form 471 – #XXXXX – {nickname you gave the 471}.  Likewise, you’ll receive an e-mail with a link which takes you directly back into the 471.  When you return to the form, there will be a PDF link waiting for you.  If the form’s contents are accurate, click the box and then “Continue to Certification.”  The system will take you to your certification page where you will check the required boxes and submit your form.  If the draft form’s contents are NOT accurate, click on Edit Form at the bottom left of the page and you can go back and make edits.

Tricky Questions on the Certification Page:  There are two questions asking if you received any funds from a service provider or if a service provider has helped you locate funds.  The answer to both of these questions should be NO.  Essentially, they are asking if a service provider has waived any of your non-discounted amounts (your fair share), or given you funds to offset those amounts. Don’t be confused by the meaning of these questions or pause in anyway.  The answers should always be NO.  If a vendor does offer to waive your share or give you funds to cover it, cancel your contract with that vendor and go to the next lowest bid.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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