June 2022 School’s Out! E-rate/ECF Update

June 1, 2022

Good morning, E-raters!  Below are several quick E-rate and ECF updates…

  • PEPPM LOA:  E-rate rules require all consortia leads to obtain a signed LOA (Letter of Agency) from their participating members before the E-rate Form 470 is posted.  The current PA PEPPM Contract is being rebid this summer, so we need all entities that may wish to use the PEPPM contract for E-rate purchases in the next 5 years to complete an online PEPPM LOA to be included in the initial procurement.   By signing this LOA, you are not obligating your organization to purchase from the PEPPM contract; you are merely stating that you are allowing the PEPPM administrators to include you as an eligible entity on the Form 470.  However, if you do not sign the PEPPM LOA, you will NOT be able to use the PEPPM contract for E-rate eligible purchases.  Therefore, I encourage all PA public schools to sign the LOA to give yourself as many bidding options as possible should you choose to use the E-rate Category 2 funding in the future.  Nonpublic schools and libraries are welcome to sign as well.  The online LOA is very simple and should take about 15 seconds to complete.  Deadline is June 30.  www.peppm.org/erate2023
  • Emergency Connectivity Fund Window 3 Demand:  The FCC announced that more than $2.8 billion was requested in ECF funding in Window 3, with more than $57 million requested by PA schools and libraries.  Available funding is approximately $1.5 billion, so applications will be prioritized to fund schools and libraries with the highest economic need first, with a preference for schools and libraries located in rural areas.  More details on this to come in the coming weeks.
  • ECF Window 3 (FY 2022) Equipment Purchase Reminder:   If you applied for ECF Window 3 funding for equipment, be 100% certain to NOT to take delivery or pay for equipment prior to July 1, 2022.  If you do, those purchases will not qualify for ECF Window 3 funding.  If you’ve already ordered the equipment, make it clear to your vendor that they cannot deliver equipment to you prior to July 1.  USAC will require proof of shipping or delivery, so if that documentation shows that equipment was shipped prior to July 1, they will then require 3rd party documentation to prove delivery date.  In my opinion, it’s best to just tell vendors that equipment cannot be shipped until July 1, 2022 because it’s often not possible to obtain 3rd party proof of delivery date.
  • Pace of FY 2022 Funding Commitments:  Overall, 78% of PA FY 2022 funding requests have been decided thus far.  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=34105.  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 and offer what you’d like to see become E-rate eligible in future funding years.  The survey is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/22erate and survey closes June 15, 2022.  If you haven’t done so already, 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.
  • 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/?p=34221.
  • Remember to File Your FY 2022 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=34251.  I’ll send out a 486 reminder in a few months with the list of applicants that haven’t yet filed.
  • BEAR Reimbursement Filings:  Starting July 1, 2022, applicants can begin to submit BEARs for FY 2022 equipment purchases that were made on or after April 1, 2022.  This is also about the time when applicants who did not receive discounted vendor bills for FY 2021 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.
  • 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 2022 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 CSC at 888-203-8100 and they will set up a new EPC AA account (only CSC 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.

Happy summer, everyone!

– Julie

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

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