Surviving the PIA Application Review Process

March 26, 2018

Attached: PIA Review Guide FY 2018

~ PIA reviews have begun! ~

The Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) process is a detailed USAC review of each Form 471 to determine whether the products and services requested are eligible for E-rate funding, whether your requested discount rate is valid, whether you have stayed within your Category 2 budget, and whether you are an eligible entity.  This year we also are seeing a major emphasis on substantiation of requested dollar amounts, including taxes.  In general, all PIA inquiries are done in EPC, and all applicant responses to these inquiries also must be submitted via EPC.

The PIA review process will be identical to last year, which is that the Form 471 contact will receive an e-mail indicating that the application is in the review stage, with a link to the actual PIA inquiry(s) in EPC (you must be logged-in to EPC to see it).  To see the questions, click on “Respond to Inquiries” at the top right corner of the page, which will then make the Inquiry Name a blue hyperlink.  Click on the hyperlink and the list of questions will appear.  You must respond to all of the questions in an inquiry at the same time.  If a question is not applicable, but the text box will not allow you to proceed without an answer, simply list N/A.

If you are unclear about the questions being asked, you may e-mail the PIA reviewer to request clarifications.  Use the e-mail address that was listed on the original PIA reviewer’s message.

Deadline to Reply:  These are serious inquires that must be addressed in a timely fashion.  PIA inquiries typically provide 15-day deadlines for responses but I encourage you to respond as soon as you receive the e-mail.  The sooner you respond, the sooner you’ll receive your E-rate FCDL.  If you haven’t responded to the PIA inquiry within 7 days of the initial request, PIA will send you a reminder.  If you haven’t responded after 15 days, USAC may act on the information they already have to make a funding decision (which typically means denial).

Need an Extension? You can request a single, 7-day extension of the original deadline if you need more time.  To do so, access your PIA Inquiry in EPC, choose Related Actions, then Request Extension.  The first extension request will be automatically granted.  If you still need more time, you must have a really good reason to need extra time, and the PIA reviewer will seek approval from their manager to determine if your extra extension can be granted.

NOTE: USAC appears to be on a forced march this year to have all applications decided by September 1.  This means they are likely to be stingy with their second extension approvals, and may be reluctant to “defer” applications as they have in previous years.

A guide to the EPC-based PIA review process, including screenshots of the EPC PIA inquiry pages, is attached.  Page 11 of the guide also shows where to find the current status of your Form 471 application.  Many applications are already in “Wave Ready” status, despite not receiving any PIA inquiries.

If you have any questions about your PIA inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

– Julie

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


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