FAQs Going Into the Form 471 Home Stretch

May 3, 2017

~ Form 471 Deadline is Next Thursday ~

We’re just eight days away from the FY 2017 Form 471 filing deadline for schools and school districts and I can feel the excitement (some would call it stress)!  As of today, it appears that only half of PA applicants have filed their 471s, so there’s much work to be done in the next week.  Here are the most frequently asked questions I’ve been receiving in the last few days:

1. Can we upload contract amendments to our existing Contract Record in EPC? 

Unfortunately, you cannot modify or add additional documents to your existing Contract Record in EPC.  If you amended your contract (perhaps to upgrade bandwidth), PIA may reach out to you to ask why the requested services/amounts are different than what are contained in your original contract in which case you’ll simply send them the contract amendment.  Do not create a new contract record simply because a contract was amended.

2. We just realized that we need to make changes to a school’s entity profile but the system is locked down.  What should we do?

There was an “Admin Window” in February where such changes could be made; however, the system is now locked down and no changes can be made, including to Enrollment, NSLP data, Entity Name changes, etc.  However, you can list those changes in the Narrative Section of one of your FRNs and PIA will make the updates during their review.  Also, you’ll want to submit a RAL correction to memorialize the changes after the 471 is submitted (http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19551).

3. If a school’s C2 equipment costs exceed the school’s available C2 budget, should we include the total costs in our 471 or remove equipment to meet the school’s C2 budget?

Do NOT go over your budget when applying for C2.  If you do, you will just be contacted by a PIA reviewer who will require you to remove equipment/costs from your application to meet your C2 budget.  The Form 471 isn’t smart enough to know if you’ve exceeded your C2 budget.  Also, don’t forget that the FY 2017 Category 2 budgets are as follows:  2017 = $153.47/student, $2.35/square foot (non-urban libraries), $6.05/sq. foot (large urban libraries) – or minimum of $9,412.80/school/library.

4. What option do we select for C2 installation?

Select > Miscellaneous > Installation from the drop down options.

5. We’ve conducted our procurement and signed the vendor C2 contract. Can we purchase the equipment now?  And do we have to wait until the 471 is submitted to make the purchase?

You can purchase the equipment now, pay for it in full, and then when your E-rate funding is approved, you can submit the BEAR for reimbursement.  Keep in mind there is always some risk that your application won’t be approved.  Also, if you have a signed contract, you can purchase the equipment now even though your 471 isn’t yet submitted (C2 equipment can be purchased any time after April 1 preceding the funding year, or the contract signing date, whichever is later).

6. Should we apply for voice services for FY 2017 this year if our C1 discount is 60%?

If your C1 discount is 60% or less, don’t bother applying for voice services.  Voice is being phased out at a 20% rate/year, and because FY 2017 is the 3rd year of the phase-out, your voice discount would be 0.   70% C1 discount = 10% voice discount; 80% C1 discount = 20% voice discount; and 90% C1 discount = 30% voice discount.

7. How do we answer the Yes/No questions for Internet or Data FRNs?

  • Answer 2nd Question first (is this for a WAN?)
  • If the answer to the 2nd Question is Yes, then the answer to 1st question is No
  • Internet FRNs should always answer No/Yes.
  • There is a small exception for consortia backbone applications where they would answer No/No.

8. We are at the end of our application and noticed that none of our admin buildings are listed in the Connectivity Data.

Admin Buildings (NIFs) aren’t included in the Connectivity Questions Module and therefore will not appear at the end of your application where it shows the connectivity data.  Also, if you notice that you need to modify any of your connectivity data, just go back to EPC (Related Actions > Manage Connectivity Data) and make the updates. Then when you return to your 471, the changes will appear.

9. Does the vendor contract have to be signed by both the vendor and the applicant before the 471 is filed?

No!  Just make sure it’s signed by the applicant.  The vendor can sign later.

Stuck?  Check out this document which explains the most common places applicants get hung up, and how to get ‘unstuck’:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19731.  Also,  I’ve compiled all of my helpful guides on a single page:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19791.    I can almost guarantee you that your problem and the solution are included in one of these documents!

If you need additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at jtschell@comcast.net.

Happy Filing, E-raters!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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