Category 1 Form 471 Filing Guide – FY 2024

February 8, 2024

Attached: Form 471 Filing Guide – Category 1 – FY 2024

~ Helpful hints below ~

Congratulations to the 190 PA schools and libraries that already have filed their FY 2024 Form 471s!  For the 880+ applicants that haven’t yet filed, there are only 48 days left to do so before the March 27, 2024 deadline.  I know that many applicants have already received their PIA inquiries and, in fact, 114 of our 268 submitted FRNs are already in Wave Ready status!  So don’t delay in submitting so you can be in the first waves that are slated to begin in April.


Attached you will find a helpful Form 471 Filing Guide for Category 1 Services.  It contains 134 slides, providing screenshots and hints/answers to each question related to three different types of funding requests, including new slides related to School Bus Wi-Fi, as follows:

  • Coaxial Cable Internet (MTM) – 1 FRN line item (starts on slide 18)
  • Internet Access via Fiber Transport (contract) – 1 FRN line item (starts on slide 41)
  • Lit Fiber WAN (contract) – 3 FRN line items (starts on slide 64)
  • New! School Bus Wi-Fi Equipment and Services – (starts on slide 130)

Also, there are four additional sections to assist applicants, including a new Special Fiber Costs section to assist applicants that are filing for Special Construction costs, Leased Dark Fiber, Self-Provisioned Fiber, Category 1 Network Equipment & Category 1 Maintenance/Operations.

  • Submitting/Printing Form – (starts on slide 96)
  • Copy FRN Feature – (starts on slide 109)
  • Special Fiber Costs Section – (starts on slide 117)
  • Category 1 Filing Tips – (starts on slide 133)

WHAT’S NEW FOR FY 2024?  There are two changes that impact FY 2024 Category 1 Form 471s:

  1. They have added few additional drop-down options for School Bus Wi-Fi FRNs.  See Slide 130 for help applying for these services and equipment. 
  2. E-rate now permits up to 10% of Internet usage to be for ineligible purposes.


1. For Internet and Data FRNs, Answer the Yes/No Questions This Way:

  • Answer 2nd Question first (is this for a WAN?)
  • If the answer to the 2nd Question is Yes, then the answer to 1st question is No
  • Internet FRNs should always answer No/Yes.
  • There is a small exception for consortia backbone applications where they would answer No/No.

2. Finding Contracts Records to Select After Clicking Search

When you create an FRN in the 471, the system asks if it’s based on a contracted service or MTM service.  If you choose Contract, the system will ask which contract you want to associate with that FRN.  If you forgot to create your Contract Record in the EPC Contract Module prior to starting the 471, no worries – add them now.  In a separate tab, go to your Landing Page > Name of your District > Contracts > Manage Contracts > Add a Contract.  Then create a Contract Record for each separate contract you have (both C1 and C2).  Reminder, you’re not required to upload copies of your contracts, but I strongly suggest you do so because PIA will likely ask you for them anyway.  If you use the Copy FRN feature, your contract will still be linked from last year and doesn’t need linked again. (For help creating Contract Records, see

3. Handling Contract Amendments in EPC

Unfortunately, there’s no way to modify or add additional documents to your existing Contract Record in EPC.  If you amended your contract (perhaps to upgrade bandwidth or utilize a contract extension), PIA may reach out to you to ask why the requested services/amounts are different than what are contained in your original contract, or why the contract expiration date has changed from last year, in which case you’ll simply send them the contract amendment or copy of correspondence with vendor.  Do not create a new contract record simply because a contract was amended or extended.

4. Returning to the Main FRN Page (and stop adding FRN Line Items)

When you’re in the FRN Line Item page, instead of clicking on the green “Add New FRN Line Item,” click on the “Continue” button at the bottom right of the page.  That will take you back to the Main FRN page where you will find all of the FRNs you’ve created.  To get back into the FRN Line Item(s) for a single FRN, click on the blue FRN number (it’s hyperlinked).

5. Getting Back Into the 471

If you click on something that takes you out of the 471, or if you deliberately leave the 471, it’s easy to return where you left off.  Simply go to your EPC Landing Page by clicking on the USAC Logo, and then under “My Tasks” in the top toolbar, click on the appropriate “FCC Form 471 – #24xxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.”

6. Clicked on “Save and Share” and Lost My 471

Whenever possible, don’t click this button!  The draft 471 is then taken from your EPC profile and a message is sent to all other “users” associated with the organization asking if they want to “accept the task.”  Only ever use the “Save and Share” feature if you truly want to “pass the ball” to another user to finish or certify the application.

7. How to Answer 2 Questions on the Certification Page

On the final Certification Page, there are two questions asking if you received any funds from a service provider or if a service provider has helped you locate funds.  The answer to both of these questions should be NO.  Essentially, they are asking if a service provider has waived any of your non-discounted amounts (your fair share), or given you funds to offset those amounts. Don’t be confused by the meaning of these questions or pause in anyway.  The answers should always be NO.  If a vendor does offer to waive your share or give you funds to cover it, cancel your contract with that vendor and go to the next lowest bid.

8. Changing/Updating Enrollment & NSLP Data

Although it’s too late up update your EPC Profile (the Admin Window closed on January 17), if you find that you forgot to update your data or found inaccuracies, you can still make corrections.  After the 471 is submitted, submit a RAL Modification using these steps:  Find your submitted Form 471 from the bottom of your EPC Landing Page > Form 471 > FY 2024 > Select 471 Number > Related Actions (from top toolbar) > Submit Modification Request (RAL) > Answer the appropriate questions in the RAL Correction module.  Use the “Entity” portion of the RAL Modification module to update the enrollment/NSLP data.  Note:  although it’s not required, it also may be helpful to list the updated data in the Form 471 narrative box.

9. Have Written Documentation if Extending a Contract

If you have a contract that includes voluntary extensions, and you are exercising one of those extensions for FY 2023, be sure to have something in writing to or with the service provider.  PIA will see that your Contract Expiration Date is a year later than last year and will require you to submit proof that you extended the contract.  Such documentation to or with the service provider must be dated on or before the date you submitted your Form 471.  It’s also a good idea to mention in the FRN Narrative box that you are extending the contract.

10. Have Documentation of Taxes/Surcharges

If your invoices include vendor taxes/surcharges, be sure to include those amounts on a separate FRN Line Item.  Again this year, PIA is requiring proof of those amounts, so be prepared to provide PIA a copy of a vendor invoice or contract that shows these amounts, should you be asked.  If you have signed a new contract with a vendor and don’t yet know the taxes/fees, REQUIRE YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER TO PROVIDE YOU WITH THIS INFORMATION.  For most broadband services, vendors charge the 5.25% PA Gross Receipts Tax (at a minimum), and many also charge the Universal Service Fee (currently 34.6%).  Most Internet invoices do not include taxes/surcharges.

11. School Bus Wi-Fi Equipment and Services Funding Requests Must Be On New Form 471

If you are seeking equipment or services for school bus Wi-Fi, these funds requests must be put on a different Form 471 from your other Category 1 FRNs.  Also, the nickname should be “School Bus Wi-Fi”.

If you have any questions as you’re working through your Form 471, please e-mail me at

Happy filing!

– Julie

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

You are HERE in the E-rate process:


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