How to Get “Unstuck” in the Form 471

March 16, 2018

~ 471 Deadline is Thursday, March 22 ~

Congratulations to the 544 PA schools and libraries that have submitted their FY 2018 Form 471s!  This means that about half of PA applicants still have to file during the last 6 days remaining in the FY 2018 E-rate Filing Window.  If you haven’t started your Form 471, now is the time.  Based on your calls and e-mails I can tell where you’re having the most “navigational” trouble in the Form 471.  Below you’ll find a cheat sheet on how to get through the biggest challenges.  Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me with your questions!  I’m here to help.

1)  How to Create FRN Line Items

Although it’s easy to figure out how to “Add an FRN,” creating the Line Items under that FRN to actually describe the services/equipment and specify the amount of funding requested is a little confusing.  After you’ve created an FRN, click on the FRN number in blue (it’s hyperlinked) and a page will appear asking if you want to “Add New FRN Line Item.”  Continue adding Line Items for that FRN until you’ve built your FRN.  For example, if you’re requesting funding for a switch, you may have 1 FRN with 5 Line Items (each separate model # will get its own Line Item and cost).  Or for a Lit Fiber WAN, if you have 1, 10 GB connection and 6, 1-GB connections, you will have 1 FRN with 2 Line Items, identifying the unique speed, costs and recipients of each Line Item.

2)  Can’t Find Contracts to Choose From After Clicking Search

When you create an FRN in the 471, the system asks if it’s based on a contracted service or MTM service.  If you choose Contract, the system will ask which contract you want to associate with that FRN.  If you forgot to add your contracts in the Contract Wizard prior to starting the 471, no worries – add them now.  In a separate tab, go to your Landing Page > Name of your District > Contracts > Manage Contracts.  Then create a contract entry for each separate contract you have (both C1 and C2).  Reminder, you’re not required to upload copies of your contracts, I suggest you at least upload your Category 2 contracts.

If you use the Copy FRN feature (, your contract will still be linked from last year and doesn’t need linked again.

3)  How to Return to the Main FRN Page (and stop adding FRN Line Items)

When you’re in the Line Item page, instead of clicking on the green “Add New FRN Line Item,” click on the “Continue” button at the bottom right of the page.  That will take you back to the main FRN page where you will find all of the FRNs you’ve created.  To get back into the FRN Line Item(s) for a single FRN, click on the blue FRN number (it’s hyperlinked).

4)  How to Get Back Into the 471

If you click on something that takes you out of the 471, or if you deliberately leave the 471, it’s easy to return where you left off.  Simply go to your EPC Landing Page by clicking on the USAC Logo, and then under “My Tasks” click on the appropriate “FCC Form 471 – #17xxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.”

5)  How to Answer the Connectivity Questions at the End of the 471

If you get to the end of the 471 (congratulations!) and you see a message saying your Connectivity Questions are incomplete, it likely means you’ve added a new school and forgot to answer their Connectivity Questions in EPC prior to starting the 471.  Or you may see Connectivity Data and want to update the data.  Simply return to your EPC Landing Page (click on the USAC Logo), then click on the name of your organization (top entry under “My Entities”), then “Related Actions,” then “Manage Connectivity Questions.”  After you’ve updated the data and then completed each school’s Connectivity Questionnaire, return to the 471 (see #4) and your Connectivity Answers will now show on the last page of the form.

6)  Clicked on “Review Form 471″ and I’m Lost

This is truly one of the most confusing pieces of filing the 471.  After you click “Review FCC Form 471,” the screen goes blank for a second, and then returns you to EPC.  YOU HAVE NOT YET SUBMITTED YOUR FORM.  Wait 15 seconds, refresh your browser, and under “My Tasks” on your EPC Landing Page you will see a task entitled “Review PDF for FCC Form 471 – #18xxxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.  Click on this task, and you will be taken back to the 471 and given the opportunity to review a PDF of your draft 471.  If you have no changes, check the small certification box, then “Continue to Certification.”  If you do have changes, click on “Edit Form” in the bottom left corner of the screen to return to the 471.

7)  Clicked on “Save and Share” and Lost My 471

Whenever possible, don’t click this button!  The draft 471 is then taken from your EPC profile and a message is sent to all other “users” associated with the organization asking if they want to “accept the task.”  Only ever use the “Save and Share” feature if you truly want to “pass the ball” to another user to finish or certify the application.

8)  How to Answer 2 Questions on the Certification Page

There are two questions asking if you received any funds from a service provider or if a service provider has helped you locate funds.  The answer to both of these questions should be NO.  Essentially, they are asking if a service provider has waived any of your non-discounted amounts (your fair share), or given you funds to offset those amounts. Don’t be confused by the meaning of these questions or pause in anyway.  The answers should always be NO.  If a vendor does offer to waive your share or give you funds to cover it, cancel your contract with that vendor and go to the next lowest bid.

If you have any questions related to these common trouble areas, or anything else, please e-mail me at!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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