Final Day to Apply for ECF Window 2 Funding

October 13, 2021

The second application window for the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program closes today, Wednesday, October 13, 2021.   The rules and eligibility are identical to Window 1, which is to cover the unmet internet and laptop/tablet needs of students, teachers/paraprofessionals, and library patrons when they are not on school/library campus for the period of July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022.   If you applied in Window 1 but have not yet been funded (which is only 30% of PA applicants), please don’t resubmit the same application in ECF Window 2.  USAC continues to actively review applications and FCDLs will continue to be issued (although maybe not on a weekly basis).  However, if you didn’t apply in the first ECF Application Window, or if you did and now have additional unmet needs, please be sure to submit your application by midnight tonight!

Below are clarifications and insights that we gained from Window 1 for which I encourage you to review before filing an ECF Form 471 in Window 2.  The highlighted items are the errors most commonly made in Window 1 and/ or the most frequently asked questions.

ECF Form 471 Hints, Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • Only “best estimates” of students/teachers/library patrons lacking a connected device and/or internet at home are required at the Form 471 application stage.  So if you Licenses must be included in the cost of the device and cannot be listed separately in order to be eligible.
  • 3-year manufacturer warranties are eligible if they’re bundled with the cost of the device.  Accidental device protection or insurance-type warranties are not eligible for ECF support.
  • Create different FRNs for Equipment and Internet.  Wi-Fi Hotspot devices and monthly internet service costs must be on separate FRNs (one is equipment and the other services).  Do not combine on the same FRN.
  • If you’re requesting Internet on buses, list total eligible cost and explain in the narrative that the cost exceeds $250 because it is multiple (x number) of students.
  • If a connected device costs more than $400, just list $400.  Don’t list the actual price of the device.
  • If seeking installation, configuration or taxes, list these on the same FRN as the device/service, but as a separate FRN Line Item – don’t bundle the cost with the device cost.  Also, if these are charges related to equipment, you don’t have to list a separate “services” FRN.
  • Installation, configuration, and taxes must be provided by the same vendor as the underlying equipment/service.
  • If a school is filing multiple 471s in Window 2, their Unmet Needs Survey should list identical data on each 471.  However, if a school submitted a Form 471 in Window 1, the data in their Unmet Needs Survey from Window 2 can (and most likely will be different).  Libraries aren’t asked these questions.
  • Upload your vendor quote in the FRN, even though it’s not a mandatory field.  PIA has been asking applicants to submit them if they weren’t uploaded with the application.
  • Vendor quotes should include make and model or service type, quantity, unit cost, service dates.  Don’t just list a quantity of 1.
  • Signed contracts not required.  If using a PO, select “non-contract” as the agreement type.
  • If # of devices/internet service plans on 471 exceeds the quantities listed in the 3rd question of the Unmet Needs Survey, explain the reason for the difference in the narrative.  For example, the survey asks for data related to students, but your FRN may include students and teachers.
  • Use the form’s default service delivery dates of 7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022.  The detailed cost section will ask you to enter the # of months that service is being provided and doesn’t automatically calculate using the calendar dates like the E-rate Form 471 does.  Be careful.
  • If you indicate that vendor will be seeking ECF reimbursement, you must upload proof from vendor that they’ve agreed to this.
  • If you get logged out before submitting, go to “My Pending Tasks” to see your draft application (not “My Applications”).  Also, as with the E-rate EPC portal, there’s a very short timeout setting.
  • If you submit the form and realize you’ve made a mistake, there’s a Modification feature under the Related Actions tab to ask your PIA reviewer to make changes.
  • There’s no way to download a PDF of a DRAFT 471, but you can download a PDF of the certified form by using the “Generated Documents” link in the left toolbar and then clicking on “Original Version.”
  • I’ve created ECF Form 471 data checklists – one for schools and one for libraries – that I encourage you to review prior to completing the Form 471 (the school’s checklist also includes the ECF 471 Unmet Needs Survey questions that you can complete in advance and then just cut/paste your answers).

Additional Resources:

If you have any ECF questions, please e-mail me at!  I’ll be checking e-mail until very late tonight to help with any last minute questions! 

– Julie

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

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