FY 2018 E-rate Form 471 Window Dates Crystal Ball

November 30, 2017

~ No official dates announced yet ~

~ FY 2018 “Admin Window” is open ~
~ File 470’s NOW! ~

Welcome back from your Thanksgiving holiday!  I know some of you have begun your FY 2018 Form 470 procurement processes, but many others are just starting this process.  This message will hopefully give you a sense of the E-rate timeline for FY 2018.

FY 2018 Form 471 Filing Window – USAC has NOT yet announced the FY 2018 Form 471 filing window dates, but we have been told that the 471 window will open in early January and will likely close in mid-late March.  My personal guess for the window deadline – and it is just MY guess – is March 22.

FY 2018 Form 470 Filing Deadline – Based on my estimated March 22 Form 471 window deadline, you can work your E-rate calendar back from there.

– First, if you are required to take your contracts to the board for approval prior to signing, plan to take them to your board in February.

– 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 2018 (40 days includes the required 28-day minimum Form 470 posting period, plus 10 days to evaluate proposals, and prepare board documentation).

– If you haven’t yet posted your Form 470 to competitively bid the services that are not under a multi-year contract, or equipment that you wish to purchase on or after April 1, 2018, please begin your procurement process NOW.  See this message about filing the Form 470 for FY 2018: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22471.  Attached to that message is a Form 470 Filing Guide, a spreadsheet showing (based on the data you entered in your FY 2017 Form 471) which services need to be rebid for FY 2018, changes to the Form 470 process for FY 2018, and helpful hints on filing.

FY 2018 “Administrative Window” – Just like last year, a separate “Administrative Window” has been created during which schools enter their updated enrollment/NSLP data in EPC.  That data is then “locked down” before opening the Form 471 window can be opened.   UPDATE:  THE ADMIN WINDOW IS NOW OPEN AND ACCEPTING UPDATED DATA.  Unfortunately, the official PDE NSLP data is not available until mid-January (at the earliest) because schools are permitted to update this data through the end of December, so nothing can be finalized/made official until after that.  However, I have been in discussions with PDE officials about obtaining “draft” NSLP data – the data that your school’s food service director would have entered into the PDE PEARS system in October — with the clear understanding that your school may change this data in the next few weeks and that the data is unofficial.  I am cautiously hopeful this will happen within the next week and if it does, I’ll immediately share the draft data with the listserve.  If I am not permitted to obtain/share the draft data, I will be putting together a helpful guide to the PDE PEARS system showing you exactly where to find the data you need to insert in your EPC portal.  USAC has not set a deadline for the Admin Window, but my guess is that it will “close” the first week in January; therefore, I strongly suggest that you update each school’s enrollment/NSLP data before leaving for the holiday break.

Helpful FY 2018 Filing Messages:

FY 2018 – Let’s Get Started!: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22411

Time to File Form 470 for FY 2018:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22471

Filing for Category 2 – Eligibility and Budget Information:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22591

Category 2 Bidding Rules for PA Non-Public Schools and Libraries:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22691

Category 2 Bidding Rules/Options for PA Public Schools:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22831

PEPPM E-rate Mini-Bid Guide for FY 2018:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=22941

As always, please let me know if you have questions!

– Julie

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

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