December 2020 E-rate Update

December 2, 2020

FY 2021 Eligible Services List – The FCC has just approved the ESL for FY 2021 and as expected, there are no changes.  However, the approval is significant because it means that USAC can now set the Form 471 filing window dates, which are expected to be announced soon.

2nd Window ‘COVID’ FCDLs – Of the 141 Form 471s that were submitted by PA applicants for additional Category 1 funding during the ‘COVID Window,’ 71 have received funding approvals thus far.  In many cases, USAC is approving funding for the new application, and also adjusting funding for the original FRN that was submitted during the original Form 471 window (this was common when bandwidth was upgraded after July 1 where part of the year was approved under the lower bandwidth, and the remainder of the year was approved with the higher bandwidth).  For the original (1st window) FRNs that were modified, you will receive a RFCDL (Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letter), and you will NOT submit a new 486.  But for the new (2nd window) FRNs, you WILL need to file a Form 486 to “turn on funding” for those FRNs as soon as you receive your FCDL.

PATI Survey – PDE has cancelled the PaTI Technology Inventory Survey for this school year due to the unprecedented demands being placed on technology officials this year.  The survey will resume for the 2021 school year.

RFP and Form 470 Narrative Guide -  Increasingly, schools and libraries are issuing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for all of their E-rate service requests because it allows them to more fully explain their technology needs and bidding requirements than simply posting a Form 470.  To assist schools and libraries create simple RFPs, I am creating a helpful guide with RFP outlines, reminders, and sample Form 470 narrative language when RFPs aren’t used.  I expect this to be released within the next week.

Update on Enrollment and NSLP Data – Starting with FY 2021, E-rate will allow two different data sets to be used – one for the Discount Calculations and one for the Category 2 Budgets.  You are permitted to use this year’s enrollment data for C2, and last year’s enrollment/NSLP data for your discount calculations purposes.  For complete information about what data can and should be used, see  Here’s a brief summary:

  • Discount Calculations:  Because discount rates rarely go up or down from year to year, I expect most schools will just allow last year’s enrollment and NSLP data to remain in their EPC portals for their discount calculations to make life easier.  If you do wish to update the data, you can use this guide from last year to understand where to access each school’s profile and enrollment/NSLP data fields:
  • Category 2 Budgets:  If your district’s overall enrollment has increased this year and you’re applying for Category 2 funding in FY 2021, I encourage you to update your Category 2 district-wide enrollment with the higher enrollment to obtain a higher C2 budget.  The section of EPC where the Category 2 enrollment data is updated is new and I’m developing a guide that will be released soon.  If your district’s overall enrollment has decreased this year, simply do nothing and let the enrollment in your C2 district-wide enrollment profile remain.  There are only 100 LEAs (public and nonpublic) that are operating NSLP programs this year and I hope to receive and distribute their draft data within the next 2 weeks.

File Category 1 Form 470s Now – If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to post your Form 470s for any new Category 1 services, or any existing services that have contracts expiring June 30, 2021.  Although the Form 471 deadline will be in March, it’s important to file the Form 470 now to get your 28-day bidding clock ticking so you can do your bid evaluations in January.  To help with the Form 470 filing process for Category 1 services, please refer to:  If you’re unsure if you have to rebid your service, e-mail me for assistance!

File Category 2 Form 470s or PEPPM Mini-Bids Now – If you will be seeking E-rate funding for Category 2 equipment or services in FY 2021, it’s important to start the bidding process now so you can conduct your bid evaluations in January and seek board approval in late January or February.  Here are links to helpful guides for Category 2:

FY 2019 BEARs – Although the FCC has extended the deadline to submit FY 2019 BEARs due to the pandemic, I encourage you to submit them as soon as possible so you don’t forget in a few months.  Just be sure to use the correct Form 471 and FRN numbers (from FY 2019) and the correct Customer Billed Date.  A helpful Form 472 BEAR Filing Guide is available at:  What are the revised FY 2019 Form 472 BEAR deadlines?

  • Recurring services (generally Category 1 and basic maintenance for Category 2) are due 2/25/2021.
  • Non-recurring services (internal connections) are due 1/28/2022.  This is because the FCC extended the service delivery deadline for FY 2019 internal connections from 9/30/2020 to 9/30/2021.

If you have any questions related to the information contained in this message, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Stay healthy, E-raters.

– Julie

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

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