June 2016 “School’s Out” E-rate Update
June 6, 2016
Before many of you begin to take summer vacations, I hope you will read through this list of E-rate updates.
Did You Miss the May 26 Form 471 Deadline? I haven’t heard from a single PA school that missed the deadline (hurray!) but if you’re in this situation, file your Form 471 by Thursday, June 9. Then contact me and I’ll help you file a waiver request from the FCC. Consistent with precedent, the FCC will grant all late-filed Form 471s as long as they were filed within 14 days of the original deadline. They’ll deny the waiver if you file on day 15, so the June 9 date is important.
Have You Completed the E-rate Survey? A nationwide E-rate survey is being conducted in order to obtain the opinions and experiences from schools and libraries with the FY 2016 E-rate application process and E-rate in general. I’m asking you to take 3 minutes and complete the survey if you haven’t done so already. You can do it anonymously, if you choose. At the close of the survey, the results will be tabulated into a comprehensive report which is then shared with the FCC, USAC and the general public. The survey is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016Applicantsurvey. I want to make sure PA has the most responses (yes, I’m a little competitive.) Thank you!
When Will Funding Commitments Begin? We expect Wave 1 will be released in the next 2-3 weeks and a funding wave will be released each week thereafter. As soon we I know more details about how notifications will be issued, I’ll send a detailed message to the listserve.
How to Determine the Status of Your Form 471s: On your EPC Landing Page, if you scroll to the bottom of the page and under Form Type select ’471,’ then click on “Certified,” it will give you a list of your submitted 471s. Click on the 471 #, it will take you to a summary page. At the top of that summary page will be a graphic that shows where your application is in the process. Here is an example:
How to Make Corrections to your Submitted Form 471: If you need to make a correction to your certified Form 471, you may do so using the RAL Modification Process up until the point at which your application has been funded. RAL stands for Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) and was previously mailed to each applicant after a 471 was filed, giving you the opportunity to make edits to your submitted application. Beginning with FY 2016, the RAL Correction Process (as with all USAC correspondence) has gone paperless and is embedded in the EPC Portal. For detailed instructions on how to access the RAL Modification System in EPC, please see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=12311.
PIA Reviews – General: USAC has issued some PIA review inquiries, but initial user-experience has found that the questions are difficult to find in EPC and often are confusing. USAC is re-looking at the PIA module and we hope that some “tweaks” are made in the next week which greatly improve the user-experience. As soon as the PIA review process has been finalized, I’ll send a detailed message to the listserve. In the meantime, if you receive a PIA review request, please try to answer it or contact your PIA reviewer to seek clarification.
PIA Cost Effectiveness Reviews: Some applicants have received cost effectiveness reviews for cellular data. It appears that if applicants selected “Cellular Voice with Data” – even those who removed ineligible data costs from their funding requests – they are being contacted by PIA to ask for a cost allocation. If you listed Cellular Voice with Data and did a cost allocation, just explain this to PIA.
Form 498 – Have You Filed Yet? Beginning July 1, 2016, E-rate applicants who have opted to use the BEAR reimbursement process (in lieu of discounted bills) will receive their BEAR reimbursement payments directly from USAC instead of being passed through the service provider. The payments will be electronically transferred from USAC to the applicant’s bank account. In order for USAC to know where to transfer the funds, all BEAR-users must complete the Form 498 in order to provide USAC with their bank account and bank routing information. The Form 498 is available now in EPC under Related Actions (the lightning bolt page). I encourage you to submit the 498 ASAP so USAC can quickly process your reimbursement payment as soon as it’s submitted (after July 1). Details on filing the Form 498 can be found at: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=13221.
Entity Profile Updates: These have been locked-down in order to allow libraries and consortia to file their E-rate applications. If any changes must be made to school profiles, you must contact CSB at 888-203-8100 and they can make the changes for you.
Consortia and Libraries: Don’t forget that your Form 471 filing window ends July 21.
Reminder: Don’t Forget to Cancel Expiring Contracts: If you are changing service providers beginning July 1, 2016 or no longer need a particular service, don’t forget to notify your existing vendor in writing that your service will be terminating on June 30. Many contracts, even if they contain an expiration date, require that notice must be provided X number of days in advance or the contract will continue for another year. You don’t want to be caught having to pay for service you don’t want simply because you forgot to give the required notice.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator