June 2019 “School’s Out” E-rate Update

June 6, 2019

Summer has unofficially begun!  E-rate never takes a vacation, so please take a minute and review these E-rate updates as you head to the beach or pack the camper.

  • FY 2019 Funding Commitments:  FY 2019 funding started off with a bang, but has slowed in recent weeks, likely because the new USAC contractor (that handles all application and invoice processing) is through with the easy, mostly Category 1 applications.  Overall, 57% of FRNs have been decided thus far (compared with 84% this date last year), while 70% of the remaining FRNs being for Category 2 equipment/services.  If you’d haven’t yet been funded, don’t worry – you will be.  If you’d 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: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=30611.  If you need assistance with responding to a PIA inquiry, please e-mail me!
  • Remember to File Your Form 486:  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:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=30931.
  • 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.
  • Changing EPC Account Administrators/Adding New EPC Users:  Summer often brings staffing changes and it’s important that the new staff get set up in EPC so they are prepared to file for FY 2019 this fall.  Hints:  Only AA’s can create new EPC user accounts and assign User ‘permissions.’  Only AAs can transfer their AA ‘credentials’ to another existing EPC User.  If the AA is the new staff member and the previous AA is no longer with the school or library, contact CSB at 888-203-8100 and they will set up a new EPC AA account (only CSB can do this).  Also, if you need any new E-rate contacts added to the PA E-rate Listserve, please e-mail me their contact information.
  • Changing 471 Contacts:  If you have a new staff member taking over handing E-rate – 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.  For help with RAL Modifications, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=29751.
  • Don’t Forget to Cancel Expiring Contracts:  If you are changing service providers beginning July 1, 2019 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.
  • BEAR Reimbursement Filings:  Starting July 1, 2019, applicants can begin to submit BEARs for FY 2019 equipment purchases that were made after April 1.  This is also about the time when applicants who did not receive discounted vendor bills for FY 2018 will begin to submit those BEARs as well.  I’ll provide more detailed information on filing that form in the coming weeks, but I wanted you to be aware that this date is approaching.
  • 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.
  • Category 2 Rulemaking:  We have learned that the FCC has developed a “Category 2” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which is expected to be released in the next month or so.  As soon as the NPRM is released, we’ll have a good idea what the Commission is planning in terms of the future of C2.  Comments will be requested from the stakeholder community on what changes they propose and I will be sure to prepare a summary for the listserve as soon as it’s released.  Fingers crossed for a reset of C2 budgets and district-wide budgets!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jtschell@comcast.net.

Happy Summer, E-raters!  Wear sunscreen.

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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