Updating Discount Data and Category 2 Enrollment Data for FY 2021

December 14, 2020

Attached: Draft NSLP Data Oct 2020

Attached: Entering Enrollment-NSLP in EPC FY 2021

Typically this week is when I send the draft enrollment and NSLP data to this listserve, instructing schools that it’s time to update their data for the upcoming year before the ‘Admin Window’ closes in early January.  This year, due to both the new Category 2 rules and the fact that so few schools are operating NSLP programs this year because of the pandemic, the guidance is much different.  Please read this message carefully and decide if you need to take action in the next few weeks.

Category 2 Budgets: 

Starting with E-rate FY 2021, the enrollment data used for Category 2 budgets has a few new provisions:

1. Schools can use different enrollment figures for their Category 2 budget calculations than what is used in the discount calculation data.  Then, in future years that C2 enrollment data will remain the same unless the enrollment increases in which case they can update the data to claim a higher Category 2 budget for the remainder of the C2 budget cycle (which is FY 2021 – FY 2025).  However, if the enrollment decreases, schools are not required to make any adjustments and the higher enrollment data (and higher C2 budget) will remain.

2. Due to fact that so few schools are operating NSLP programs this year (only 36 school districts in PA), the FCC is permitting schools to use enrollment data from last year (Oct 2019) or this year (Oct 2020) to calculate their Category 2 budget for FY 2021.  Note:  for this year’s Admin Window, and this year only, USAC has pre-populated the district-wide enrollment using the data that schools listed on FY 2020 Form 471 applications.  Despite the carry over of this data this year, the C2 enrollment fields and the discount calculation fields are not linked in EPC and any updates that are made in either the C2 profile or the school’s discount calculation profile will not be transferred to the other.  The only exception to this is that schools may update the C2 enrollment data at the bottom each school’s profile page in lieu of doing it on the district’s Manage Organization page.

3. Schools enter their Category 2 enrollment figure in a new location in EPC – at the bottom of their School District’s Manage Organization page in a new section called “Category Two (C2) Budget Information.”  In that section, districts can enter their district-wide enrollment total, or their school-level enrollments.  Why would a district want to update enrollment at the school level instead of using the aggregate district-level enrollment?  If a district has 10 or fewer schools, and any of those schools has less than 150 students, it will be advantageous for the district to enter enrollment data by school so the EPC system will use the “hybrid” method of calculating C2 budgets, thus giving the district a higher budget.  Districts with 11 or more schools are not eligible to use the hybrid method and have no reason to consider entering their enrollment data by school.

My advice:
– If your district’s overall enrollment has increased this year and you’re applying for Category 2 funding in FY 2021, update your Category 2 Budget Info Profile with the higher enrollment to maximize your C2 budget.

– > If you choose to update your C2 enrollment and your district has 10 or fewer schools, enter the data by school instead of listing a district-wide enrollment total so the EPC system will calculate using the hybrid C2 budget calculation method.

– See the attached Guide to Updating C2 Budget Data and Discount Data to walk you through the process for updating your C2 Budget Info profile.

– If you’re not applying for C2 funding in FY 2021 or if your enrollment has decreased from last year, do nothing.

E-rate Discount Calculations:

Schools update their enrollment and NSLP data (or CEP %) in each school’s EPC Profile during the Admin Window.  However, due to fact that so few schools are operating NSLP programs this year due to the pandemic (only 36 school districts in PA), the FCC is permitting schools to use enrollment and NSLP data from last year (Oct 2019) or this year (Oct 2020) to calculate their E-rate discounts for FY 2021.  Attached to this message is a list of entities that are operating NSLP programs this year and each school’s draft enrollment and NSLP data that was submitted to PDE in Oct 2020 (if your school is not listed it means they are not operating a NSLP program this year and have not submitted such data to PDE).  Typically, discount rates rarely go up or down from year to year; therefore, it is highly likely that most districts will choose to not update the enrollment and NSLP data in each school’s EPC profiles this year.

My advice:
– If your overall E-rate discount will not increase using Oct 2020 enrollment/NSLP data, or if your district is not operating a NSLP program this year, do not update each school’s profile during this year’s Admin Window.  However, if you didn’t update the data last year, you must update the data this year (using either last year’s data or this year’s data).

– If your overall E-rate discount will increase by using the most current data (Oct 2020), or you discover that your district did not update its enrollment/NSLP data last year, you should update the enrollment and NSLP data in EPC for each school before the close of the Admin Window which is expected to be around January 8.  Attached is a Guide to Updating C2 Budget Data and Discount Data to walk you through the process for updating each school’s EPC profiles.

New School Types:

USAC has introduced three new school “subtypes” in EPC.  Be sure to update a school’s EPC profile to reflect the proper designation if it fits into one of these classifications.  Each of these entities is eligible to receive C2 funding.

  • General Use School:  Offers instruction to students drawn from other schools, and student counts can change throughout the year.  Some examples of general-use schools are magnet schools, special education units, computer centers, or career centers.  Some schools, particularly IUs, will want to be certain that the program facilities at which they provide instruction are listed in their EPC portals and are classified as General Use Schools.  This way, the school can be calculated in the organization’s C2 budget calculations and can receive C2 funding.
  • Detention Center:  Treated in the same way as a juvenile justice facility.
  • Swing School:  A building that temporarily houses students from a school may need to be relocated due to closure, construction, or a revamping of their technological infrastructure at the school.   Note:   A swing school differs from an annex.  An annex is considered a part of the school it shares an entity number with rather than a temporary relocation site, while a swing space – although associated with a school – is part of the school district where the school is located and is considered a school in its own right with its own entity number.

Questions and Answers:

Q1.  Am I permitted to use this year’s enrollment data to calculate my C2 budget and last year’s enrollment/NSLP data to calculate my discount (or visa versa)?

– Yes.  However for your discount calculation, you’re not permitted to mix data sets (last year’s enrollment and this year’s NSLP data).

Q2.  If I update my E-rate discount calculation data (enrollment/NSLP by building), will that data automatically populate my Category 2 Budget Information data?

– No.  The enrollment data you list on each school’s profile page that is used to calculate your district’s E-rate discounts for next year will not update the C2 Budget Information data.

Q3.   If I discover that our district didn’t update our enrollment/NSLP data last year, can we be permitted to use the same data that’s currently in the system?

– No.  Data that is more than two years old is not permitted for discount calculation purposes.

Q4.  Our district is providing free meals to all students due to the pandemic, am I eligible for a 90% discount this year?

– No.

Q5.  What is the last day of the Admin Window?

– The Admin Window typically closes 2-3 days prior to the opening of the upcoming Form 471 Application Window.  As USAC has not yet announced the Form 471 Window dates yet, the Admin Window closing date has not yet been established.  However, I expect it will be no earlier than January 8.

Q6.  What should I do if a school or NIF will be opening or closing for FY 2021?

– There’s no way for you to add or remove a school in EPC.  Simply call USAC at 888-203-8100 (or by using the ‘Contact Us’ feature in EPC) to update your district’s building information.

Q7.  Can I count students currently receiving remote instruction as full-time students?

– Yes.  The FCC has clarified that students enrolled at brick-and-mortar schools can be counted as full-time students regardless of whether they receive some or all instruction via distance/remote learning during school closures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q8.  Are part-time students still counted?

– Yes and No.  Within a single district, schools will no longer “add” part-time students to their full time enrollments because C2 budgets are calculated on a district-wide basis.  However, for independent entities that provide instruction on a part-time basis (such as AVTSs, IUs, etc.), those students should continue to be counted as full-time (as they were in previous years).

Q9.  Each school’s profile page has fields for State School and LEA Codes and NCES codes.  Am I required to enter this data?

– No.  However, if you choose to enter this data, and if the system gives you an error for these fields, just erase the data and hit Submit.

Q10.  If I update each school’s enrollment/NSLP data in their profile, will this data be automatically transferred to the Category 2 budget page?

– No.  The C2 enrollment fields and the discount calculation fields are not linked in EPC.

Q11.  I’m a consortia lead.  Can I enter this data on behalf of our member schools/districts?

– No.  This data can only be updated by the consortium member (or its consultant).

Q12.  I have questions about our NSLP or CEP information, who should I contact?

– Reach out to Jennifer Jarrett in the PDE Bureau of Food and Nutrition at 800.331.0129 (option 4) or jejarrett@pa.gov.

If you have questions about E-rate or entering this data in EPC, please e-mail me at jtschell@comcast.net.

Happy updating!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell

PA E-rate Coordinator





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