May E-rate Update

May 4, 2018

Happy Spring, E-raters! The flowers are in full bloom and so are the FY 2018 PIA Reviews and funding commitments!  Please take a few minutes to reach these important updates:

FY 2018 Funding Commitments:  We’ve had 4 funding waves so far, deciding about 70% of PA’s funding requests, and all but 350 FRNs are in some stage of PIA review.  If you’d haven’t yet been funded but would like to know what stage of review your application resides, > Log into EPC Landing Page > Search for your Form 471 at the bottom of the page > Click on the Form 471 Application Number > Look at the top of the page for the 471 Status Bar.  If you need assistance with understanding the overall PIA review process, please see:  If you need assistance with responding to a PIA inquiry, please e-mail me!

Denials:  Luckily, only a handful of FRNs have been denied so far this year, but even one denial is too many.  If your FRN has been denied (and it’s not due to the phase out of voice), please consider appealing.  Most denials are related to the applicant not responding to PIA requests, or reducing their C2 requests to meet the available C2 budgets.  Both of these reasons can be overturned on appeal!  Appeals are due to USAC within 60 calendar days of the FCDL date.  If you need assistance is crafting your appeal, please contact me!

Filing 486s:  The next step after receiving a FCDL (funding commitment decision letter) is to file the Form 486. It’s a very easy form to submit and I strongly encourage you to file it on the day you receive the FCDL so you don’t forget.  Two reminders:  Check the ‘Early Filing Box’ if filing the 486 before July 31, and be careful not to be “click happy” on the CIPA certifications.  Full instructions on the Form 486 can be found at:

Purchasing Category 2 Equipment Now:  Applicants are allowed to purchase their C2 equipment now, even if they haven’t yet received their FCDLs, because E-rate rules permit the purchase/installation of equipment after April 1 (3 months ahead of the start of the funding year).  Vendor invoices to schools/libraries are permitted to be dated on or after April 1, but BEARs or vendor SPIs cannot be submitted to USAC for reimbursement until July 1 (or the FCDL/486 submission date, whichever is later).  If you do purchase equipment before receiving the FCDL, know that vendors may want you to pay 100% of the cost and then seek reimbursement from USAC via the BEAR.   When purchasing C2 equipment, please review these purchasing/documentation guidelines:

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 in EPC at 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.  For help with RAL Modifications, see:

Phantom 471 Reminder E-mails:  I’ve received multiple reports of 471 “reminder” e-mails being sent to applicants.  If you get one of these, don’t worry.  It means you have an unfinished (abandoned) 471 sitting in EPC that you started, but then didn’t submit.  Simply go to your EPC Landing Page, and under My Tasks, click on the 471 link.  Then click “Discard Form” and *poof* those reminder e-mails will go away.

Don’t Forget to Cancel Expiring Contracts:  If you are changing service providers beginning July 1, 2018 or no longer need a particular service, don’t forget to notify your existing vendor in writing that your service will be terminating on June 30.  Many contracts, even if they contain an expiration date, require that notice must be provided X number of days in advance or the contract will continue for another year.  You don’t want to be caught having to pay for service you don’t want simply because you forgot to give the required notice.

Nationwide E-rate Survey:  A nationwide E-rate survey is being conducted by Funds for Learning, asking schools and libraries to contribute their opinions and experiences with the E-rate application process and I’m asking you to take 3 minutes and complete the survey (anonymously, if you prefer).  At the end of the survey, respondents have the opportunity to provide any additional comments they want to convey to USAC and the FCC and I can tell you that they are read!  The nationwide results will be tabulated into a comprehensive report which is then shared with the FCC, USAC and the general public.  The survey is available at:  Not only do I want the federal policy makers and administrator to hear from PA applicants, but I want PA to have the MOST responses of any other state!  I hope you will take a few minutes and complete it in the next few days.  Thank you!

As always, please contact me if you need E-rate assistance!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f

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