22 Days Remain to File Form 471s for FY 2024

March 5, 2024

~ Deadline is Wednesday, March 27 ~

We’re headed into the home stretch of the FY 2024 E-rate filing window and for those who have not yet filed, I wanted to take a moment and recap the steps and provide links to the previous messages that contain a wealth of information and helpful filing guides.  Important Reminder!!!!:  You must file a Form 471 each year to request E-rate funding, even if you’re in a multi-year contract.  There is no such thing as a multi-year E-rate funding commitment.

  • Form 470 Competitive Bidding – The deadline to file Form 470s has passed.  If you missed this deadline, please contact me immediately (and absolutely no later than March 12).
  • Bid Evaluation – After the Form 470 has been posted for at least 28 days, applicants may conduct their bid evaluations to determine the lowest responsible bidder.  Applicants may disqualify proposals that come in after the deadline that was listed in their Form 470 or RFP.  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=35287
  • Negotiate Vendor Contracts – Applicants are encouraged to review carefully the contracts vendors are proposing and to request language be inserted that meets YOUR needs.  Examples:  specific # of contract extensions, discounted billing requirement, ability to add sites to network, ability to remove closed schools, E-rate funding contingencies, guaranteed network delivery date and penalties for not meeting that date, etc.  See this contract guidance document:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=35303
  • Board Approvals – If required by your local policies, applicants must obtain board approvals prior to signing the vendor contract.  Libraries and non-public schools typically don’t have this requirement, but public schools most often do.
  • Sign Contracts – E-rate requires that new contracts be signed by the applicant prior to filing the Form 471; the vendor signature can be obtained at any time (not required before E-rate filing).  The only situations where a contract is not required is where Category 1 services are being purchased on a month-to-month (MTM) basis (in which case a FY 2024 Form 470 must have been posted).  Also, if you’re extending an existing contract, be sure to have something in writing (a formal extension or an e-mail to the vendor) as this will be requested during your PIA review.
  • Create Contract Records in EPC – Create a Contract Record in EPC for each new contract, prior to starting the Form 471.  Applicants with existing multi-year contracts or contract extensions are not required to create a new Contract Record; they will simply cite the original Contract Record when creating the Form 471 funding request.  General Contract Record Guide: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=35315.  PEPPM Contract Record Guide:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=35323
  • File the Form 471 – Category 1 and Category 2 requests must be filed on separate Form 471s, but you may file multiple forms for each category.   Here are links to Form 471 filing guides.
  • PIA Review – After the Form 471 is filed, your application will be reviewed by USAC’s PIA Team to ensure your discounts are valid, you’re requesting eligible equipment/services, you’ve complied with the competitively bidding process, and you haven’t requested more than your remaining Category 2 budgets.  If PIA has questions, they will send you an e-mail with a link to the PIA Inquiry Module in EPC where the applicant will find the specific PIA questions.  It is not uncommon for applicants to receive PIA Inquiries within a few days of submitting their 471, and then move to Wave Ready Status as soon as they respond to the Inquiry.   Please see the PIA Review Guide for help with this stage of the process:  http://e-ratepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/PIA-Review-Guide-FY-2024.pdf
  • Modifying a Submitted Form 471 - If you have submitted a Form 471 for FY 2024 and now would like to make changes to the application, cancel individual FRNs or cancel the 471 entirely, these requests are submitted using the “RAL Modification Process” in EPC.  RAL modifications can be made anytime between the time a Form 471 is submitted – and the day the FCDL issued (not after).  I strongly encourage you submit your 471 corrections as soon as you know of a change that must be made so the PIA reviewer can have it in-hand during their review.  Applicants may submit RAL Modifications after the Form 471 window closes, but with so many applications moving quickly to “Wave Ready” status, it’s important that your RAL request is considered before USAC begins issuing funding commitment waves in mid-April.  RAL Modification Guide:  http://e-ratepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/PIA-Review-Guide-FY-2024.pdf.
  • Funding Commitments – The earliest that anyone will receive their E-rate Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) will mid-late April.  FCDL notifications will be e-mailed on a weekly basis, with a goal of issuing them all by September 1.  Applicants may purchase C2 equipment on or after April 1, 2024, but no reimbursements can be made (to either the vendor or the applicant) until July 1, 2024.

If you have any questions or need my assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Next:  Form 471 Filing FAQs and PIA Review.

– Julie

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

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