Economic Decisions Related to FY 2020 E-rate Requests & Other Answers

April 23, 2020

Attached: FRN Status Guide

In the last few weeks I’ve heard several applicants mention that due to the anticipated financial impact on school/library budgets related to the COVID-19 crisis, they’re considering not filing their FY 2020 E-rate requests (presumably Category 2), or they intend to cancel their previously-submitted requests.  If these thoughts have crossed your mind, please consider this:

  • The deadline for schools and libraries to purchase and install E-rate-funded equipment for Funding Year 2020 is September 30, 2021.
  • There is no requirement that you purchase the equipment in the next few months, or at all.
  • If you continue with your funding requests, and then choose not to utilize the funding commitment by September 2021, the funding commitment just dies on the vine. There is no penalty for not using it.
  • Because FY 2020 is the 6th and final year of the first Category 2 budget cycle (FY 2015-2020), unused C2 budgets will not be carried over to FY 2021.  Thus, cancelling the FRN will not give you any financial advantage in future E-rate funding years.
  • For FY 2020, the C2 per pupil (schools) multiplier is 20% higher than in previous years:  $195 and per sq. ft (libraries) multiplier is $6.52 (urban libraries) and $3.00 (all other libraries).  Starting in FY 2021, the multipliers will decrease to $167 per pupil (schools) and $4.50 (all libraries).  Therefore, if you need the equipment in the next 18 months, it much more advantageous to use the FY 2020 C2 funds if you have any C2 budget remaining, rather than waiting for the FY 2021 budget cycle to begin.

Obviously, I know you will do what’s best for your schools and libraries, but I wanted you to consider these points as you make your decisions.

A few other answers to questions I’ve been receiving:

When Will FCDLs Be Issued?   We don’t know the exact date when funding waves will begin, but we anticipate it will be in early May.

When Can I Purchase Category 2 Equipment?  – 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 will likely require you to pay 100% of the cost and then seek reimbursement from USAC via the BEAR.

Where Can I Find the Status of My Form 471 and FRNs? – The attached cheat sheet will explain where to download this information using USAC’s FRN Status Tool at The data is updated nightly.

FY 2020 Status of Filings as of 4/23/2020:

  • 1684 FRNs filed by 731 PA entities
  • 841 FRNs in ‘Wave Ready’ Status (meaning they will likely be funded in Wave 1 or 2)
  • By comparison, last year, 2500 FRNs were filed (total) by 925 PA entities.

Happy Filing!  Stay safe and healthy, my E-rate family.

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
717-730-7133 – o

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