June 2020 E-rate Update

June 24, 2020

Good morning, E-raters!  Just a few E-rate updates and reminders …

  • MFA Coming to EPC:  At the end of July, USAC will roll out multi-factor authentication (MFA) that will require applicants to authenticate through a second source (text or e-mail) before logging in to EPC.  Over the next few weeks USAC will provide more information in their weekly news briefs and as more details become known, I’ll share them with the listserve.
  • Pace of FY 2020 Funding Commitments:  Overall, 68% of PA FRNs have been decided thus far, but only 57% of Category 2 FRNs.  PIA continues to actively review applications so if your application has not yet been decided, be checking your e-mail for PIA inquiries.  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!
  • 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.  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/erate20.  I hope you will take a few minutes and complete their survey before June 30.
  • Reminder to Label and Inventory Category 2 Equipment:  If you applied for Category 2 discounts this year, don’t forget to label the equipment before it’s installed, and add the equipment to your asset inventory.  For more details on these requirements, in addition to other C2-related issues, please review the Category 2 Purchasing Guide, available at: http://e-ratepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Equipment-Purchasing-Guide.pdf.
  • 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.  I’ll send out a 486 reminder in a few weeks with the list of applicants that haven’t yet filed.
  • BEAR Reimbursement Filings:  Starting July 1, 2020, applicants can begin to submit BEARs for FY 2020 equipment purchases that were made on or after April 1.  This is also about the time when applicants who did not receive discounted vendor bills for FY 2019 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.
  • Do You Have a BEAR PIN?  If an applicant pays vendor invoices in full, they must seek reimbursement from USAC using the Form 472 BEAR Form.  BEARs are NOT filed in EPC; they are filed in USAC’s legacy system (the system that existed prior to EPC).   In order to request reimbursements/file Form 472 BEARs, you must have a BEAR PIN that is unique to you (PINs are not shared among school or library staff).   Soon applicants that did not receive discounted bills will be filing their FY 2019 BEARs for recurring services, so it’s a good time to request a BEAR PIN if you don’t already have one (or had one but can’t find it).  Simply complete the short PIN Request template at: http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/xls/PIN-request-template.xlsx and then upload it into EPC by creating a Customer Service Case.  USAC will then e-mail you a new PIN in about a week.  (Remember that you must be an EPC User in order to create a Customer Service Case in EPC.)
  • 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 2020 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.

Julie Tritt Schell

Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o


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