April E-rate Update

April 5, 2019

A few quick E-rate updates because I know you’ve been going through E-rate withdraw.

E-rate Funding Waves:  I expect the FCC to issue their approval to USAC within the next week stating there are enough funds available to cover the FY 2019 demand.  After that, USAC will likely begin issuing funding commitment decision letters (FCDLs) around April 22.

PIA Reviews Actively Underway:  Many applicants are receiving PIA outreach, seeking additional information related to their Form 471 applications.   This year we’re seeing a major emphasis on substantiation of requested dollar amounts, including taxes.  All PIA inquiries are done in EPC, and all applicant responses to these inquiries must be submitted via EPC.  You can request an extension if you need more time to respond, but the sooner you respond, the sooner you’ll be funded.  The PIA Review Guide is available at:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=30611.  If you need to make changes to your application, you can do so – prior to funding commitment – using the RAL Modification process, guide at:   http://e-ratepa.org/?p=29751.

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:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=30711.

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.  Please take 3 minutes and complete the survey (anonymously, if you prefer), even if you don’t actually file the applications.  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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/E-rate19.  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.  Thanks!

Thank you.  In February my dear friend, Deb Kriete, sent a message to this listserve announcing that PAECT presented me with the PAECT Special Award for 2019.  I want you all to know how deeply grateful I was (and am) for this recognition, despite being horribly embarrassed that she sent it to the listserve. The messages you sent me in return were simply amazing and brought me to tears — I read and saved every single one.   Last weekend my father-in-law, a retired truck driver, congratulated me on the end of the window (isn’t it funny that he doesn’t know what E-rate is, but he knows I have a busy, busy season each year called a window).  I gave him a broad smile.  He then paused and said, “This doesn’t feel like work to you, does it?”  I said — not a single day.  Thank you again, my E-rate family.

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o

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