FY 2017: What You Should Be Doing Now
February 10, 2017
Although the FY 2017 Form 471 application window hasn’t officially opened, the E-rate application process is in full gear! Please take a moment and read this message to ensure you are on schedule to meet both the February 26 Admin Window deadline, and also the May 11 Form 471 Window deadline.
Update Enrollment/NSLP Data in EPC Before February 26 – Last week USAC announced that schools ONLY have until February 26 to update their enrollment and NSLP data in EPC. If you haven’t done so already, please go to: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=18151 to obtain your most recent enrollment/NSLP data and update your schools’ EPC profiles. It’s important that you take this step BEFORE February 26 because no data can be updated after this date.
Category 1: File Form 470s ASAP – If you haven’t already done so, file a Form 470 to competitively bid all E-rate eligible telecom and Internet access services except for those covered under a multi-year contract that expires on or after June 30, 2018. Voice services are subject to a 60% phase down for FY 2017, so if your E-rate discount is 60% or below, you will not qualify for voice services in FY 2017. Although the Form 471 deadline isMay 11 and therefore the last possible date to file the Form 470 is April 13, you should plan to have your Form 470s posted no later than March 1. This will give you April to evaluate bids and obtain board approval at their April meetings.
* Additional Information on Filing the Form 470: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=16731
Category 2: File Form 470’s/RFPs or PEPPM Mini-Bids ASAP – If you haven’t already done so, determine what E-rate eligible equipment each of your schools or libraries need for FY 2017 and submit a Form 470. Public school entities filing a Form 470 must also issue an RFP if the equipment costs more than $19,700 – or – they can use the PEPPM Mini-Bid process in which case no Form 470 or RFP is required. Although the Form 471 deadline isMay 11 and therefore the last possible date to file the Form 470 is April 13, you should plan to have your Form 470s posted no later than March 1. This will give you April to evaluate bids and obtain board approval at their April meetings. Additional information on C2 bidding:
* Category 2 Eligibility: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=16881
* Non-Public School and Library: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=16921
* Public School: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=17051
* PEPPM Mini-Bidding Information: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=17131
Upload Addendum or Additional Information to RFPs in EPC – USAC has become hawkish with the new requirement that any additional information given to a bidder must be given to all bidders. This means that if you uploaded an RFP with your Form 470, you must also upload any additional information given to vendors with your RFP. To do this, find your Form 470 in EPC (easiest way is searching Records in the top toolbar, or Forms at the bottom of your Landing Page), then Related Actions on the left Toolbar, then Add an RFP Document. No such function exists if you only used a Form 470. If the new information materially changed your RFP, you must restart the counting of your 28-day clock.
Conduct Bid Evaluations – If you already posted your 470 and the 28-day waiting period has expired, you should now conduct your bid evaluation. Remember: price of E-rate eligible services must be the most heavily weighted factor.
Take Contract to Board for Approval – If your local policy requires it, after conducting your bid evaluation you must take your bid award/proposed contract to your board for approval prior to contract signing. Be sure to get your contracts on the March or April board agendas for approval!!! Contracts must be signed before the Contract Module can be created in EPC, and the Form 471 filed.
Form 471 Filing – The first day a Form 471 can be filed for FY 2017 is February 27, 2017 and the last day is May 11, 2017. I’ll be conducting more outreach on the Form 471 when the window opens, but as always, I encourage you to file as early in the Form 471 window as possible. For contracts that have already been signed, MTM services where vendors have been selected, or multi-year contracts signed in previous years, filing when the window opens is a great idea to be at the top of the list when they review applications. Regardless, please try to avoid filing your 471 in May, as this will be when the most EPC technical hiccups may occur.
Happy filing, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!