FY 2017 Window Dates Crystal Ball
January 11, 2017
Happy New Year, E-raters! I hope you’ve all returned from the holiday break with a full reserve of patience and enthusiasm, ready to take on another year of E-rate! I know all of you are very eager to know when the Form 471 window will open and close so you can plan your procurements, board approvals, contract signings, and 471 application submissions accordingly. Here is what I know…
- USAC has NOT announced the FY 2017 Form 471 filing window dates which differs from prior years when the dates are announced in late fall. This also means we don’t know what the last date is to file a Form 470. Why the delay? Because of the constraints with the new EPC portal, and the lengthy delays it has caused in issuing FY 2016 funding commitment letters, USAC is trying to issue as many FCDLs as possible before opening the FY 2017 “window.”
- There will not be a separate 471 filing window for libraries and consortia this year; USAC is trying hard to ensure that a single 471 window will accommodate all E-rate applicant types. This means that, all school profile data must be updated in EPC (during a separate “Administrative Window” so the school data is finalized and “locked down” before opening the Form 471 window. After that, USAC will open the FY 2017 Form 471 filing window for a period which is expected to be about the same length as prior years. This is required because all entity types – including consortia and libraries – rely on the school data on their applications. The school data has to be finalized first before all applicants can finalize their applications.
- My best guess for the 471 filing schedule is that the ”Administrative Window” will open in February and be open for a few weeks. Then that window will close, the profile data will be locked down, and the regular Form 471 Filing Window will open in March and stay open through the end of April.
- You should NOT update your FY 2017 enrollment/NSLP data (or other profile data) in EPC now because it will just be overridden by the FY 2016 data migration process. I will notify you when USAC has opened the “Admin Window” and it is only THEN that you should update your data. This should coincide nicely with the release of the PDE NSLP Data which contains the enrollment and NSLP participation data for each school.
- For your Form 470 and Form 471 planning purposes, I would assume April 30 as the Form 471 deadline and work the calendar back from there.
– First, if you are required to take your contracts to the board for approval prior to signing, decide if you’re going to take them to the March or April meeting(s) – I recommend March, if possible, especially if your board’s voting meeting occurs at the end of the month
– Second, count back at least 40 days from the date you’re required to have agenda items/information to the board, and that date should be THE VERY LATEST that you will want to post a Form 470 for FY 2017 (40 days includes the required 28-day minimum Form 470 posting period, plus 10 days to evaluate proposals, and prepare board documentation).
– For example, if your board requires contracts to be approved at both a committee meeting and then the full board meeting before signing, taking a committee meeting date of April 6, then counting back 40 days, would make February 24 the very last day that you should post a 470.
Please keep in mind that these are just my best estimates and nothing here is official. But I know you’ve been waiting patiently for some news from USAC for which I think is still several weeks away, so I wanted to give you some insights to help you plan.
As always, please let me know if you have questions!
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator