FY 2020 Form 471 Deadline is Tomorrow!

April 28, 2020

~ Contact me ASAP if you can’t meet the April 29 deadline ~

By my calculations, about 100 PA entities still have to file before tomorrow’s midnight deadline.  If you haven’t yet started the 471, please do so today!  The forms, particularly Category 2 applications, can take several hours to complete.  Although I haven’t heard of much slow-down in the last week, in prior years the EPC system started to crawl from about 11:30 – 5, so you may wish to consider filing earlier or later in the day.  If you cannot make the April 29 deadline, please contact me as soon as possible so we can discuss your options.

At the bottom of this message are links to the Guides that can help you navigate through almost every step of the application.  And below that is a quick status update of FRNs filed as of last night.

Here are answers to the most frequent questions I’ve received over the last 7 days:

1. My Category 2 requests exceed my remaining C2 budget for a school.  What should I list on the 471? 

First, know that the Form 471 system is not smart enough to know if you’re requesting more funding than remains in your C2 budgets.  Second, if a school’s C2 equipment costs exceed the school’s available C2 budget, you have two choices:

Shared Equipment:  If two or more schools/libraries will be sharing a piece of equipment, list the total amount of the equipment, then list the amount that is over the C2 budget as ineligible.  Then allocate the remaining eligible amount to the schools sharing the equipment, according to your cost allocation calculations (or an equal allocation).  Do not include the impacted “no C2 budget” schools as Recipients of Service as the system does not allow $0 to be entered on the Recipients of Service Page.

Site Specific Equipment:  If a school doesn’t have a C2 budget available to pay for equipment, don’t list that piece of equipment on the application.  If they have some C2 budget available, reduce the quantity of items to come in under their C2 budget.

To determine a school or library’s remaining C2 budget, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=32277.  Do not use the C2 Budget Tool embedded in the Form 471 as it doesn’t contain any C2 commitments from FY 2015.

2. Should I include $0-value C2 items on my FRN? 

No.  Leave those off.

3. What option do we select for C2 installation?

Select > Miscellaneous > Installation from the drop down options.

 4. Should C2 licenses be treated as Internal Connections or Basic Maintenance?

Equipment licenses should be applied for as Internal Connections.  Be careful not to confuse licenses with maintenance charges.  If the licenses are maintenance charges, they must be listed on a separate FRN under Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections.

5. Can maintenance/support be included on the same FRN as the Internal Connections FRN? 

No.  Support/maintenance charges must be filed on a separate FRN using the Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections drop down.  Also, don’t forget that multi-year support SKUs must be pro-rated so you’re only applying for 1-year’s worth of support (so if you’re paying upfront for 3 years of support, you must apply for 1/3 of the cost each year).  This is different from multi-year licenses which are fully eligible in the first year.

6. Are vendor taxes and fees E-rate eligible? 

Most are and you should include them as a separate FRN Line Item on your FRN (don’t bundle them with your monthly cost).  PIA will ask you for proof of these charges, so don’t guess.  If you already submitted your 471 and didn’t include those fees, you can either add a new FRN Line Item to the existing Form 471 using the RAL Modification process, or submit a new 471 by tomorrow (copy the previously-submitted FRN, add the additional FRN Line Item) and then use the RAL Modification to cancel the original FRN.

7. Does the vendor contract have to be signed by both the vendor and the applicant before the 471 is filed?

All contracts must be signed by the applicant prior to filing the Form 471.   The vendor is not required to sign by the Form 471 filing.

8. I need to edit my incomplete 471 – how to get back into the 471?

– If you click on something that takes you out of the 471, or if you deliberately leave the 471, it’s easy to return where you left off.  Simply go to your EPC Landing Page by clicking on the USAC Logo, and then under “My Tasks” click on the appropriate “FCC Form 471 – #20XXXXX {Nickname You Gave the Form}.”

– Or if you’re on the ‘Review PDF’ page, click on “Edit Form” in the bottom left corner to get back into the form.

– Or if you clicked on Save and Share or Send for Certification, EPC has sent the form to all “full rights users” in your EPC account, and the form has disappeared from your Landing Page Task List.  You’ll have to contact one of the full rights users in your organization and have them send it back to you.  Hint:  Don’t ever click “Save and Share.”

9. Can we upload contract amendments to our existing Contract Record in EPC? 

Unfortunately, you cannot modify or add additional documents to your existing Contract Record in EPC.  If you amended your contract (perhaps to upgrade bandwidth), PIA may reach out to you to ask why the requested services/amounts are different than what are contained in your original contract in which case you’ll simply send them the contract amendment.  Do not create a new contract record simply because a contract was amended.  There’s also no way to delete an existing Contract Record.

10. We just realized that we need to make changes to a school’s entity profile but the system is locked down.  What should we do?

There was an “Admin Window” from Oct 1 – January 13 when such changes could be made; however, the system is now locked down and no changes can be made, including to Enrollment, NSLP data, Entity Name changes, etc.  However, you can submit a RAL correction to memorialize the changes after the 471 is submitted (http://e-ratepa.org/?p=32266).

11. How do I answer the questions on the certification page?

Yes/No Questions: On the final Certification Page, there are two questions asking if you received any funds from a service provider or if a service provider has helped you locate funds.  The answer to both of these questions should be NO.  Essentially, they are asking if a service provider has waived any of your non-discounted amounts (your fair share), or given you funds to offset those amounts. Don’t be confused by the meaning of these questions or pause in anyway.  The answers should always be NO.  If a vendor does offer to waive your share or give you funds to cover it, cancel your contract with that vendor and go to the next lowest bid.

Technology Budget Question:  The forms asks for “Total budgeted amount allocated to resources not eligible for E-rate support.”  Here they want you to take your entire technology budget and subtract the amount  you’re spending on E-rate purchases.  In reality, if you enter the estimated amount of your technology budget, that’s fine.  Just don’t list $0.

Topic-Related Guides and Additional Guidance:

FY 2020 Status of Filings as of 4/27/2020:

  • 2102 FRNs filed by 826 PA entities
  • 919 FRNs in ‘Wave Ready’ Status

By comparison, last year, 2500 FRNs were filed (total) by 925 PA entities.

Happy Filing and Spring!

– Julie

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


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