Getting “Unstuck” in the Form 471!

April 15, 2016

Based on your calls and e-mails I can tell where you’re having the most “navigational” trouble in the Form 471.  Below you’ll find a cheat sheet on how to get through the top dozen challenges.

1)  Locked-out of EPC Message

If you close your browser without “Signing-Out” of EPC too many times, you’ll receive this message when you try to log back in:  “You cannot log in because you have reached the maximum allowed number of concurrent sessions.”  You’ll be locked out for about 1 hour; the system will let you back in after that.  From now on, always Sign-Out when leaving EPC by clicking on your name in the top right corner of the page, then “Sign-Out.”

2)  “Permission Not Granted” Message When Trying to Update a School or Library’s EPC Profile.

Although this won’t occur in the Form 471, if you receive this message when trying to change/update data in an entity’s profile, it means that that school or library is incorrectly linked to another organization’s EPC account.  Call USAC at 888-203-8100 and have them “re-link” it to your Billed Entity Number.  After that, you’ll be able to update the entity’s profile immediately.

3)  Discounts Cannot Be Calculated Message – Schools

When you start a Form 471 and reach the discount calculation screen, if you receive an error message saying your discounts can’t be calculated, it’s because one of your schools doesn’t contain all of the required information in its EPC profile, or it is incorrectly classified (perhaps a NIF is classified as a school).  To figure out which entity is the problem child, click “Show Entities” on the page, and it should allow you to see the entity that is missing data.  If you can’t determine which school is missing data, you must go into each school’s EPC profile to see what is missing.

4)  Discounts Cannot Be Calculated Message – Libraries

When you start a Form 471 and reach the discount calculation screen, if you receive an error message saying your discounts can’t be calculated, it’s for one of two reasons:

– Your library is misclassified in EPC (likely classified as a system instead of an independent library).  Call USAC at 888-203-8100 and have them reclassify you with the proper designation.  Attached is a list of what options for library classifications.

– Your library is linked to a district containing a school that doesn’t contain all of the required information in its EPC profile (this is a result of the interrelational design of the EPC system).  Unfortunately, libraries can’t update schools’ data, so they are at the mercy of the district to update their EPC profile.   Contact the district’s E-rate contact and ask them to update their EPC profiles as soon as possible so you can file your application.

5)  How to Create FRN Line Items

Although it’s easy to figure out how to “Add an FRN,” creating the Line Items under that FRN to actually describe the services/equipment and specify the amount of funding requested is a little confusing.  After you’ve created an FRN, click on the FRN number in blue (it’s hyperlinked) and a page will appear asking if you want to “Add New FRN Line Item.”  Continue adding Line Items for that FRN until you’ve built your FRN.  For example, if you’re requesting funding for a switch, you may have 1 FRN with 5 Line Items (each separate model # will get its own Line Item and cost).  Or for a Lit Fiber WAN, if you have 1, 10 GB connection and 6, 1-GB connections, you will have 1 FRN with 2 Line Items, identifying the unique speed, costs and recipients of each Line Item.

6)  Can’t Find Contracts to Choose From After Clicking Search

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.}

7)  How to Return to the Main FRN Page (and stop adding FRN Line Items)

When you’re in the Line Item page, instead of clicking on the green “Add New FRN Line Item,” click on the “Continue” button at the bottom right of the page.  That will take you back to the main FRN page where you will find all of the FRNs you’ve created.  To get back into the FRN Line Item(s) for a single FRN, click on the blue FRN number (it’s hyperlinked).

8)  How to Get Back Into the 471

If you click on something that takes you out of the 471, or if you deliberately leave the 471, it’s easy to return where you left off.  Simply go to your EPC Landing Page by clicking on the USAC Logo, and then under “My Tasks” click on the appropriate “FCC Form 471 – #xxxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.”

9)  How to Answer the Connectivity Questions at the End of the 471

If you get to the end of the 471 (congratulations!) and you see a message saying your Connectivity Questions haven’t been answered, you must return to EPC to complete this step.  Simply return to your EPC Landing Page (click on the USAC Logo), then click on the name of your organization (top entry under “My Entities”), then “Related Actions,” then “Manage Connectivity Questions.”  After you’ve answered the main district question (related to Internet) and then completed each school’s Connectivity Questionnaire (related to broadband and WIFI), return to the 471 (see #7) and your Connectivity Answers will now show on the last page of the form.

10)  Clicked on “Review Form 471″ and I’m Lost

This is truly one of the most confusing pieces of filing the 471.  After you click “Review FCC Form 471,” the screen goes blank for a second, and then returns you to EPC.  YOU HAVE NOT YET SUBMITTED YOUR FORM.  Wait 15 seconds, refresh your browser, and under “My Tasks” on your EPC Landing Page you will see a task entitled “Review PDF for FCC Form 471 – #xxxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.  Click on this task, and you will be taken back to the 471 and given the opportunity to review a PDF of your draft 471.  If you have no changes, check the small certification box, then “Continue to Certification.”  If you do have changes, click on “Edit Form” in the bottom left corner of the screen to return to the 471.

11)  Clicked on “Save and Share” and Lost My 471

Don’t ever click this button!  The 471 is taken from your EPC profile and a message is sent to all other “users” associated with the organization asking if they want to “accept the task.”  Only ever use the “Save and Share” feature if you truly want to “pass the ball” to another user to finish the application.

12)  How to Answer 2 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 related to these common trouble areas, or anything else, please e-mail me at!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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