Important E-rate Discount Calculation Information for PA Libraries

March 4, 2015

Please note: This message was just sent today from State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich, to the PA Library Listserve.  Pennsylvania libraries are unique in their governance structures and thus we have received numerous questions related to how their new E-rate discount calculations should be handled.  We hope this message provides the clarifications you need in order to file your FY 2015 Form 471 E-rate applications. 

There are two ways that PA libraries can apply for E-rate funding:

1)  All libraries in PA should apply for E-rate discounts using the school district in which the library is located and indicate “main branch = Yes” in the Discount Calculation section of the form.  If the library contains branches, the data from the school district in which the main branch is located should be used to calculate the discount.

2)  If an entity (such as a Federated System office) is purchasing shared services on behalf of other libraries, such as Internet Access or broadband services, this would be considered an E-rate consortium — not a system.  In this case, the consortium lead should have some documentation (such as a Letter of Agency or consortium agreement) where the consortium members have granted the consortium lead to apply for E-rate discounts on their behalf.  Discounts would be calculated as the simple average of the consortium members’ discounts (see # 2 to determine how to calculate library discounts).  Consortia leads would use the Discount Template for Libraries to populate their Form 471 Discount Calculation Section, and would use each library’s Billed Entity Number in Column A.

Rural/Urban Determination Issues

How can I determine a library’s new rural/urban status?

– Instead of using the county rural/urban status, E-rate now uses the 2010 U.S. Census tracts to determine if a library is rural or urban.  The new Form 471 will automatically determine if a library is rural or urban, but if you’d like to research it yourself, look here:

What if the Urban/Rural Status says, “Address Invalid” or shows a “?”?

– This most likely means that there’s something slightly wrong with your address in the USAC database and it is having trouble pulling the urban/rural status from the US Census database.  Call CSB and they can help get it corrected in their system — 888-203-8100.  You can override a “?” in the online Form 471 by choosing urban or rural from the drop down box.  But please note that this will not permanently change it in their database, so it’s best to call CSB and get the address corrected permanently.

NSLP Issues:

Where do I find the enrollment and NSLP data for the School District in which my library is located?

– The PDE NSLP File from October 2014 can be found at:

If our identified “school district” has a percentage listed in the CEP column, what does this mean?

– CEP stands for the national Community Eligibility Program.  Libraries can use the CEP percentage to calculate their school district’s NSLP eligibility data as follows:  For each of the schools that are participating in CEP, multiply the total number of students in the school by the percentage of directly certified students, and then multiply the results by 1.6.  This will give you the number of students eligible for the NSLP for that school. Please note that the resulting number cannot exceed 100% of the students at that school.

If you have any questions about this message, please contact Stacey Mulligan in the Commonwealth Libraries Office at 717-783-5744 or

Stacey Aldrich

State Librarian


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