Spring 2013 E-rate Update
April 3, 2013
Happy Spring, E-raters! Congratulations on another successful E-rate window. All but two PA school districts submitted 471s -- a new record! We don't yet have the nationwide E-rate demand so it's still unknown how much funding, if any, will be available for Priority 2 this year. Below are some brief E-rate updates:
PIA Reviews - PIA reviews are just starting and if you likely will be contacted by a PIA reviewer in the coming weeks and months. If you're curious about the status of your application, go to http://www.sl.universalservice.org/menu.asp, click on 'Application Status' and enter your Billed Entity Number. The system will show you the status of each of your Form 471s.
RALs - If you need to make a correction to your Form 471, cancel a Form 471, cancel a funding request, add a funding request or increase/decrease the amount you requested, you should do so using the PINK Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) (yes, you can add a forgotten funding request or even increase a funding amount using the RAL, but only if you have a substantiating document that's dated prior to the date you submitted your Form 471, such as an invoice or signed contract.) A RAL is sent for each Form 471 that has been submitted/certified and summarizes each of your funding requests. If nothing needs changed on your Form 471, no applicant action is required. If you need to make changes, do so using your RAL and fax it back to USAC at 973-599-6526.
PINs Coming - If you signed a paper Form 471 certification, USAC will be mailing you an E-rate PIN that can then be used to electronically certify all of your future applications. The PIN will arrive in a small, 4" x 8" white secure mailer (with the tear-off sides). If you don't receive your PIN by mid-April, please call USAC at 888-203-8100 and ask them to research it for you. It could be that you already had a PIN in their system and they have to reissue you a new one.
PQA E-rate Audits - In August 2010, the SLD announced a new initiative called the Payment Quality Assurance assessment program (PQA) 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). USAC indicated that only 20-60 PQA audits/quarter will be conducted nationwide and applicants are selected purely at random. The PQA request is sent to the entity's contact person via e-mail and is based solely on a single invoice (BEAR submitted by an applicant or SPI submitted by a vendor) that has been paid by USAC. It appears that the next round of PQA audits were released last week. Although they are not technically called 'audits,' they should be treated as such because if an improper payment is discovered, USAC will then recover those funds.
FCC Chairman Genachowski Leaving FCC - On March 22, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced he will be leaving the Commission in the coming weeks. At least seven names are being floated to replace him, but no one has been officially announced yet. During his tenure, the Chairman was very supportive of the E-rate program and initiated the much-anticipated E-rate NPRM (see next item).
E-rate NPRM Coming - It is widely expected that the FCC will release an NPRM -- Notice of Proposed Rule Making -- in the next few weeks on how to modernize the E-rate program. Typically such NPRMs offer proposed reforms and ask stakeholders to submit comments or alternative proposals. As soon as the details of the NPRM are known, I'll send a summary to the listserve and encourage everyone to weigh-in.
If you have any questions about any of the issues covered in this update, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 - o
717-730-9060 - f