A New Year’s E-rate Update!
January 9, 2015
Happy New Year, E-raters! There is so much happening in the E-rate world and the next 77 days wiIl be undoubtedly the busiest in E-rate history. Please take a minute and read the updates below…
FY 2014 Form 471 Application Window Opens on Wednesday – The Funding Year 2015 E-rate Form 471 filing window will open on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at noon, and will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Although I haven’t seen the new online 471, I understand that with the new snazzy format comes numerous new questions and requirements that will make filing at the last minute extremely difficult.
File your 470 NOW – I know everyone is very focused on the Category 2 eligibility this year, but please don’t forget that you must file a Form 470 for your Category 1 services (Telecommunications services and Internet access) unless they are under a multi-year contract that was competitively bid using a Form 470 in a previous year. After the 470 is filed, you must accept vendor proposals for at least 28 days, and on the 29th day or later you may file your Form 471 (assuming your contract is signed, unless it’s a MTM service).
NSLP Data – The October 2014 NSLP Data has not yet been released should be available in mid-late January. As soon as I receive it, I’ll send it to the listserve.
Rural/Urban Look-Up Tool Available – USAC released their new Urban/Rural Look-Up Tool which is available at: https://sltools.universalservice.org/portal-external/urbanRuralLookup. This tool is designed to help applicants determine the individual and aggregate Urban and Rural status which will be used to calculate the applicant’s overall E-rate discount. Please note that when you submit your FY 2015 Form 471, Block 4, the online system will pre-populate the U/R status for each building. This tool is just designed to give you information in advance of filing the application in order to help determine your discount. On Tuesday, January 13 at 3:00, USAC will be conducting a webinar on the Urban/Rural Look Up Tool. To attend, register at: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=104995.
PEPPM Update - On December 18 I sent a message to the listserve about Category 2 bidding requirements, including specific requirements for PA public schools (http://e-ratepa.org/?p=5171). I’ve received several inquiries about when the new PEPPM contract information will be released and want to let you know that the PEPPM staff is working hard to gather all of the information they need from vendors and I expect to send further instructions and information to the listserve by Friday, January 16. If you plan to use PEPPM, please be preparing your building-by-building list of equipment needs so you are ready when the PEPPM process is available.
PQA E-rate Audits – Several PA schools and libraries received notices of a Payment Quality Assurance audit (PQA) last week which is designed to gather specific information from applicants in order to calculate the rate of improper payments, a requirement under the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA). Numerous applicants are randomly selected each quarter for the PQA audit, although it appears that applicants with higher-dollar disbursements stand a greater likelihood of being chosen. The PQA request is sent to the entity’s contact person from the e-mail address “email@example.com.” Although they are not technically called ‘audits,’ that’s what they are because if an improper payment is discovered, USAC will then recover those funds. If you are selected for a PQA audit, please let me know and I can help to answer any questions you may have. They look daunting, but most applicants find that the information is very easy to compile.
FY 2013 BEAR Extensions - For those of you who filed invoice deadline extension requests, many of them were granted on December 23 and you should have received an e-mail. If it was approved, you will have 120 days from the notification date to submit your BEAR to USAC. To check whether your IDER request was approved, you can look up your FRN number on the FRN Extension Table at http://www.sl.universalservice.org/utilities/FRN_CurFundExt.asp. If you FRN is not listed, the IDER was not yet approved. You also can call USAC to determine the status at 888-203-8100.
FY 2014 Form 486s – If you have been funded for FY 2014, please don’t forget to file your Form 486 to ‘turn-on’ funding with USAC. I will send a list of applicants with 486 due dates within the next week.
If you have any questions about any of these issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator