July 2023 E-rate/ECF Updates

July 19, 2023

Attached: PA ECF Data as of July 19 2023

Attached: FY 2023 Form 486s Statuses as of July 19

Happy mid-summer, E-raters!  In between your much-deserved days off, I hope you can find time to ensure that your E-rate and ECF deadlines and requirements are being met.  Please review the updates and reminders below and let me know if you have any questions!

Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Update:

  • ECF BEAR Reimbursement Deadline for FY 2021:  The deadline to submit ECF Form 472 BEAR reimbursement requests for FY 2021 (Windows 1 and 2) is August 29, 2023 (with a few exceptions) and there is no extension option.  If you received ECF funding in Window 1 or 2 (FY 2021), please be sure to submit your BEAR as soon as possible if you paid your vendor invoices in full.  Attached is a list of all approved FY 2021 ECF FRNs, their reimbursement status, and invoice deadline.  If your invoicing mode is marked to SPI but you realized you paid in full for the equipment or services, submit a post-commitment request in the ECF portal to change the billing method so you can submit your BEAR by the deadline.
  • ECF Audits/Asset Inventory and Document Retention Requirements:  ECF audits are being conducted by both the FCC (through the Censeo Auditing Firm) as well as under the Federal Single Audit Program.  We have received feedback from these initial audits that most findings are related to schools lacking the required asset inventory and tracking data, and/or not being able to produce documentation of unmet need from the students/teachers receiving the equipment and services.  Please be sure to review http://e-ratepa.org/?p=34879 for complete information related to these requirements and be sure your school or library is fully compliant with these requirements.

E-rate Update:

  • BEAR Migration into EPC Delayed:  The Form 472 BEAR is built on a legacy platform which is why it’s a separate module when you log into EPC.  USAC has been preparing to transition this form under the main E-rate EPC system but the move has been delayed.  I will let you know as soon as they announce a new launch date.  For a sneak preview of the new system, go to:  https://player.vimeo.com/video/775848570 (note, some changes have been made since this video was made last fall).
  • Reminder to File FY 2022 BEARs:  The deadline to file FY 2022 BEARs for recurring services is October 30, 2023.  For a status list of FY 2022 FRNs showing what’s required (if anything) as of July 11, see:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=34897.
  • File FY 2023 BEARs beginning July 1, 2023:  If you’ve already purchased your FY 2023 C2 equipment and have received your FCDL, you can now file the BEAR to seek reimbursement for that funding.  Although the invoice deadline for FY 2023 FRNs is more than a year away, submit now and collect your reimbursement before you forget!
  • File Form 486s:  If you have received your FY 2023 FCDL and have not yet filed the Form 486, don’t forget this important step.  Although the deadline to submit is the end of October for most FRNs, you won’t be able to submit a BEAR or receive discounted bills until the 486 is submitted.  Attached is a list of all approved FY 2023 FRNs and their Form 486 status.  Where the 486 hasn’t yet been filed, I included the due date in Column J.  Full instructions on the Form 486 can be found at: http://e-ratepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Form-486-Filing-Guide-FY-2023.pdf.
  • 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 E-rate forms as soon as they’re due.  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).  For a complete guide on how to add/remove EPC users, or change AAs, see: http://e-ratepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/EPC-Admin-How-To-Guide-2023.pdf. Also, if you need any new E-rate contacts added to the PA E-rate Listserve, please e-mail me their contact information.
  • Supply Chain Delays:  I’ve heard from several school officials who are concerned they will not be able to meet the September 30, 2023 deadline to install their approved FY 2022 equipment due to vendor supply chain delays.  If you are in this situation, submit a Form 500 in EPC to seek a 1-year extension (through September 30, 2024).  All requests must be made before the September 30, 2023 deadline.  As you know, the FCC already granted a 1-year extension for all FY 2021 internal connections requests (from September 2022 – September 2023) due to supply chain delays.  If you are still experiencing supply chain delays for FY 2021 equipment as well, you also can request another 1-year extension as long as the request is submitted by September 30, 2023.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jtschell@comcast.net!

– Julie

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

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