Happy Back-To-School, E-raters!

August 23, 2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer!  Below is an update on several current topics for Funding Years 2016, 2017 and 2018, including my prognosis for the FY 2018 Form 471 window, and dates for fall training!


Submit FY 2016 BEARs Now – If you paid your FY 2016 (July 2016 – June 2017) vendor invoices in full, and haven’t yet submitted the Form 472 BEAR reimbursement form, now is the time to do so.  Several details:

  • The deadline to file the BEAR (or request an extension) is October 28, 2017.  Do not let miss this deadline because there is no mercy granted to late filers.
  • In July I sent a message to the listserve showing which schools/libraries I thought may need to file BEARs for FY 2016 (http://e-ratepa.org/?p=20801) and I’ll send an updated list to the listserve in early-mid September.
  • Reminder:  The BEAR is submitted in the legacy system at:  https://www2.sl.universalservice.org/bear/login.aspx (not in EPC).
  • You need a BEAR PIN to enter the form.  If you don’t have a BEAR PIN or can’t find your old one, complete the BEAR PIN Request http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/xls/PIN-request-template.xlsx and upload to USAC in EPC by creating a Customer Case.

Also (important)  …. If you are filing a BEAR, don’t forget that you first must have a Form 498 submitted and approved by USAC which provides your banking information so USAC knows where to remit your BEAR reimbursements.  If you filed the 498 last year (and it was approved), you don’t have to file it again.  Unsure whether you have a Form 498 ID?  The easiest way to know is by starting a BEAR form – the 498 ID will show up if you have one.  Or you can contact USAC and ask: 888-203-8100.  If you don’t have an approved 498 on file with USAC, you will need to complete this form in EPC and then immediately upload a voided/blank check to substantiate your banking data.  Information on filing the Form 498 and uploading the voided check can be found at: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=13701.

Unused FY 2015, FY 2016, or FY 2017 Category 2 Funding – If you were approved for Category 2 (internal connections) funding in FY 2015, FY 2016 or FY 2017 and you did not spend (or will not be spending) the full committed amount, be sure to submit a Form 500 in EPC and return the remaining funds to USAC. Why is this important?  Your Category 2 budget is considered “spent” when your funding commitment letter is issued, not when you invoice USAC.  So if you are funded for C2 and never use the money, your C2 budget will be reduced.  In order to have the benefit of using that “unused” C2 budget funding in future years, it’s important that you submit a Form 500 to “decommit” the unused funding.  If you do this, be sure to explain exactly which school or library building the funding should be restored to.


Pace of Funding Commitment Letters – So far,65% of all FY 2017 PA funding requests have been decided (76% of Category 1 and 39% of Category 2).  Applications are getting reviewed/approved much faster than last year, but there’s still many more still pending.  If you haven’t yet been funded. Be watching for an e-mail from a PIA reviewer with questions about your application, and then reply as soon as possible.  If you’re unsure of how to answer a PIA question, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me.

Changing 471 Contacts – If you have a new staff member handing E-rate for your school or library – one that is different than the name listed on the 471 – please submit a RAL Modification at http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19551 to make this change so the PIA reviewer knows where to send the PIA inquiry.  You’ll also want to contact CSB and obtain a new EPC account for the new E-rate contact (888-203-8100) and be sure they have a record of where the PIA correspondence should be sent moving forward.

FY 2017 Form 486s – If you HAVE been funded for FY 2017, don’t forget to file your Form 486 to ‘turn-on’ funding with USAC.  I will send a list of applicants with 486 due dates in early October.  If you have NOT yet been funded for FY 2017, you can’t file the Form 486 until you receive your FCDL.  Here is a helpful Form 486 Filing Guide:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=20621.

Pre-Commitment SPIN Changes/Corrections and Service Substitutions – I’ve heard from several applicants that need to make SPIN changes or Service Substitutions to their FY 2017 funding requests.  If you haven’t yet been funded for FY 2017, the best thing to do is to submit a RAL Modification request in EPC and your PIA reviewer will work with you to make those changes during the PIA review stage.  If you’ve already received your FCDL, then you’ll need to wait until USAC releases those post-commitment modules for FY 2017 in EPC (which could take a few more months).  So the very easiest thing to do is to work with your PIA reviewer to get them changed pre-commitment.  Here’s how to submit a RAL Modification: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19551


FY 2018 Form 471 Filing Window - The FY 2017 Form 471 filing window dates haven’t yet been established but I have heard rumblings that the window may be from early January – mid March in order to get as many applications approved as possible before summer begins. The Form 470 (competitive bidding form) for FY 2018 is now available in EPC and can be filed at any time.  If you have any contracts expiring June 30, 2018 that will require a longer than normal procurement timeline (such as WAN contracts), you’ll want to file your Form 470 sooner than later.   Also, please be mindful that the FCC/USAC have been telling applicants recently that if you post an addendum to your 470, they expect you to give another full 28 days for the procurement.  So file early to give yourself enough time to add to this clock, if needed.

Fall Trainings – Save the Date!:  The E-rate for Beginners Trainings will be held in these three locations in early October and registration will be announced soon (of course, there also will be separate webinars scheduled on specific topics as well as one for E-rate veterans):

  • IU 20 (Easton) – Oct 2
  • IU 15 (Enola – near Harrisburg) – Oct 4
  • IU 17 (Greensburg) – Oct 19

If you have any questions about any of these issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jtschell@comcast.net.

– Julie

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


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