Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

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5/22/2015FCC Issues Public Notice on Draft ESL for FY2016


On May 21, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-615) establishing the comment period for the Funding Year (FY) 2016 Eligible Services List (ESL).

Comments on the draft ESL, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before June 22, 2015. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before July 6, 2015. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice. 

 

5/22/2015News Brief Issued


The 05/22/2015 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

5/19/2015E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, May 21


USAC's E-File system, including RHC Program’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, May 21, from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/19/2015Training Site Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, May 20 and Thursday, May 21


The Schools and Libraries Training Site will be unavailable from 9:00 AM on Wednesday, May 20 until 3:00 PM EDT on Thursday, May 21 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to train or practice filing forms on the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/13/2015Apply Online Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, May 15


The Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, May 15 through 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday, May 16 for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/12/2015Invitation to E-rate Program Applicant Trainings


Join USAC at an all-day Applicant Training for schools, libraries, and consortia that apply to the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program. Each training is identical; please select only one.

Register early to secure your spot - these complimentary events are very popular and have limited space.

  • Washington, DC
    Friday, October 2, 2015
  • Albuquerque, NM
    Tuesday, October 13, 2015
  • New Orleans, LA
    Thursday, October 29, 2015
  • Philadelphia, PA
    Tuesday, November 10, 2015
  • Tampa, FL
    Thursday, October 8, 2015
  • Minneapolis, MN
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015
  • Los Angeles, CA
    Thursday, November 5, 2015
  • Portland, OR
    Monday, November 16, 2015

Additional Information
More information is available in the Trainings & Outreach section of the Schools and Libraries Program website. Registration for the training does not guarantee hotel accommodations. Individuals must contact the hotel separately for room reservations.

Please inform USAC of any special needs, including dietary restrictions, at least one week prior to the event. If you have questions or need assistance, contact USAC Training.
 

4/17/2015Today’s Online FCC Form 471 Filing Tip


Each day, USAC will provide a tip on how to navigate through the online FCC Form 471 for FY2015. Check this Latest News post daily for a new tip and to access previous tips.

The tips will be labeled by the area of the form to which they apply: General Guidance, Basic Information, Discount Calculation, Funding Requests, Certifications & Signature, or Certifying Your Form.

Today’s Tip

  • General Guidance– Now that the filing window has closed, gather the program documentation you have produced or received so far and determine how you will store or archive it. You must retain required program documents for at least 10 years after the last day of service delivered.

Previous Tips:

General Guidance

  • You can tell where you are in the form by the large chevrons (arrows) at the top of each page. There is one chevron per section: Basic Information (formerly Block 1), Discount Calculation (formerly Block 4), Funding Requests (formerly Block 5), and Certifications & Signature (formerly Block 6). The chevron that is blue indicates the section you are currently working on. Posted 01/23
  • Wait at least 28 days after your FCC Form 470 was posted to the USAC website before you choose a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and push the “Submit” button to submit your FCC Form 471. Posted 01/30
  • It’s important to use a supported browser when filing your form. Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10 and the most recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are the browsers currently supported for the online FCC Form 471. Posted 02/04 
  • Clear your browser’s cache/cookies/history before starting a form. To clear your cache/cookies/history, go to the “Tools” menu if you are using Internet Explorer or Chrome, the “History” menu for Firefox, or the “Develop” menu for Safari. You can search “clear cache” in your browser’s “Help” menu or on the Internet to get more specific instructions for the browser you are using. Posted 02/05 
  • If you want to save your work at any point in time, click the floppy disk icon in the upper right hand corner of any screen in the online form. The floppy disk icon is just to the left of the print icon and the "Log Out" button. Posted 02/06 
  • The discount calculated for a school district is used by all individual schools in that district. Individual schools that are part of a school district cannot use their own student counts to calculate an individual discount. Posted 02/12 
  • You must file your Category One services and your Category Two services on separate FCC Forms 471. However, all of your Category One services can go on one form — under different FRNs — as can all of your Category Two services (on a separate form). Posted 02/26 
  • Before you start your FCC Form 471, verify that the entity information for the billed entity and all entities receiving service is correct by reviewing their entries in the Search for BEN Information tool. Posted 03/02 
  • To submit a Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) correction, if the incorrect data don’t appear on the RAL, print and mark up a copy of the relevant part of the form. You may have to click one or more accordions – the plus signs (“+”) located on the left-hand side of the online form – to print the data you want to correct. Posted 03/16 
  • You will need to use the "Compatibility View" for versions of Internet Explorer higher than version 10. You can access this function from the "Tools" menu. Posted 03/18 
  • Consult the FY2015 Eligible Services List (ESL) for information about changes in eligibility of services and other service-related questions. Appendix B sets forth the services and components no longer eligible for support, and Appendix C is the ESL itself. Posted 03/25 
  • The online FCC Form 471 does not have a print preview function. To print a copy of your form after submission, first go to "Display" and expand all the accordions – i.e., click all the plus signs (“+”) – and print the result. Then expand all the "Item 21 FRN Line Item Number" information and print that separately. Posted 03/27 
  • Although the online FCC Form 471 can be filed using several different browsers, other online Schools and Library Program forms must be filed with Internet Explorer, version 6.0 or higher. Posted 04/01 
  • You cannot create or update an entity through the online FCC Form 471. You must compile the necessary information. Use the Entity Numbers page for guidance. Then contact the Client Service Bureau as described on that web page. Posted 04/03  
  •  Call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100 if you need help during these last days of the FY2015 filing window. CSB will be open weekdays until 10:00 PM EDT, this coming Saturday and Sunday until 5:30 PM EDT, and on Thursday, April 16 until 11:59 PM EDT. 04/06 
  • Your FCC Form 471 must be submitted before 11:59 PM EDT tonight. If you have any last-minute questions, call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100. Posted 04/16 

Basic Information 

  • Keep your system-assigned application number and security code in a safe place. You will need them to continue a form that you haven’t yet submitted or to certify a submitted form that you haven’t yet certified. Posted 02/18 
  • You will need an FCC Registration Number to complete this section. If you don't already have one, you can request one on the CORES section of the FCC's website. Posted 03/10
  • You can update your Billed Entity Information, or get a Billed Entity Number if you don't already have one, by using Submit a Question or calling us at (888) 203-8100. Review the Entity Number guidance on the website to make sure you have all the required information at hand. Posted 03/11
  • Consultant Registration Numbers (CRNs) can be issued by the Client Service Bureau. If you are a consultant and need a CRN – or if you are an applicant and need the CRN for your consultant – contact us at 1 (888) 203-8100. Posted 03/13 
  • You can give your FCC Form 471 a nickname (formerly called an “Applicant Form Identifier”) to distinguish it from other forms you have filed. Posted 03/20 
  • If you are not using a consultant, skip the entry fields on the online form that relate to consultants. For the purposes of the E-rate Program, a consultant is any non-employee of the entity applying for funding that assists in filling out the application materials for a fee. “Non-employee” includes contractors or others who are employed by the entity on a contract or short-term basis who do not receive a W-2 application from the entity filling out the application. Posted 03/27 
  • Make sure you choose the correct category of service before you start the Discount Calculation section. Category One includes Telecommunications Services, Voice Services, and Internet Access; Category Two includes Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. Posted 04/14 

Discount Calculation

  • To choose multiple attributes when entering an individual school or library, hold down the Control key (Ctrl), click on your selections, and then lift the Control key. Posted 01/26
  • If you are using a school template to enter a school with no students (e.g., a vocational school that is not the home school of any of the students that attend classes there), do not enter a zero in the template; rather, leave the student count blank and then enter a zero in the online form after you import (upload) the template. Posted 01/29
  • If you are using a template, save and close the file before attempting to upload it into the online FCC Form 471. Posted 02/09
  • Use the icons under the "Entity Information and Budget Calculation" worksheet to add (plus sign "+"), edit (pencil icon), or delete (trashcan icon) your entries. Posted 02/10 
  • If you choose “CEP” as an alternative discount mechanism for an individual school, you cannot enter a percentage of direct certification students less than 40 percent for that school. Posted 02/11 
  • A library outlet or branch that is part of a library system must complete the Discount Calculation section by listing all of the outlets/branches in that library system, even if that library pays its own bills and files the form itself as the Billed Entity. Posted 02/23 
  • An individual school that is part of a school district must complete the Discount Calculation section by listing all of the individual schools in that school district, even if that individual school pays its own bills and files the form itself as the Billed Entity. Posted 02/25 
  • Enter your non-instructional facilities (NIFs) under the school district or library system in the Discount Calculation section along with the other schools in the school district or libraries in the library system. The form will not calculate a discount if only NIFs are entered. Posted 03/03 
  •  If you use a template to upload your school or library discount information and you find you have made a mistake, you can always correct your mistake directly in the online form before you submit it. Posted 03/04
  • To enter the school district in which the main branch of the library system is located, use the Search for BEN Information tool to locate the school district’s entity number. Posted 03/05 
  • For each entity in the "Entity Information and Budget Information" section, the field labeled “Post-discount Entity Category 2 Budget” is the pre-discount Category Two budget for that entity multiplied by its E-rate discount percentage. It is for your reference, and reflects the maximum amount the E-rate program would commit toward the total eligible cost of the Category Two services. Posted 03/17 
  • You can ask your state's department of education for your "State LEA ID" and "State School ID." If your state does not issue you these numbers or you cannot locate them, you do not need to provide entries in these fields. Posted 03/30 
  • The “Student Count Based on Estimate?” field is set to “No” for Category One services and cannot be changed. However, for Category Two services, you will change this field to “Yes” if the student count you provide is an estimate. Posted 03/31 
  • The entry in the field “Number of Students Attending This School as Their Home School” must be an actual count, not an estimate. Posted 04/02 
  • To provide your count of full-time and part-time students, enter the number that identifies the maximum number of students that will use a service at one time. For example, if you have 20 full-time students at your school that attend classes all day, 35 part-time students that attend classes only in the morning, and 15 part-time students that attend classes only in the afternoon, you would enter “55” (that is, 20 full-time plus 35 part-time) in this field. Posted 04/07 
  • Please note that you cannot copy a “Block 4 worksheet” from an application from FY2014 or previous into a FY2015 application. You must enter your data directly into the application or use a template. Posted 04/09 

Funding Requests

  • After you enter information for services and costs, click the blue “Manage Recipients” button to identify the entities that will receive those services. If you don’t see the blue button, click the plus sign (+) located to the far left of the information you entered. Posted 01/19
  • After you identify the recipients for a Category One service, if you see a number in the orange button to the right of the blue “Manage Recipients” button, you must click the "Manage Recipients" button and indicate the number of lines assigned to each entity. Posted 01/20
  • After you identify the recipients for a Category Two service, the orange button to the right of the blue “Manage Recipients” button will also display a dollar amount. Click the blue “Manage Recipients” button to allocate the cost of the service among the entities receiving the service. Posted 01/21
  • When you have correctly allocated the number of lines or the costs in a funding request line item to the entities receiving service, the orange button labeled “xxx Remaining” will turn green. Posted 01/22
  • Do not click the “Upload Completed Template” button if you have not already prepared a file for import (upload). Templates are optional. Instead, simply click “Add Line Item” and enter your data directly into the online form. Posted 01/27
  • Use the narrative field for the FRN not just for a description of your service(s) but also to provide information you think is important for USAC to understand, such as the specific location of shared equipment or the rationale for a cost allocation. Posted 01/28
  • If you are filing for voice services, do not select “Telecommunications Services” in the “Key Information” area. You must choose “Voice Services” in order to enter a request for 800# service, local and long distance phone services, and other voice services. Posted 02/02
  • In a Category One service, if you indicate that your service includes last mile connections, you must supply the number of lines and allocate those lines appropriately to the recipients of service by clicking “Manage Entities.” Posted 02/03
  • If you choose "Telecommunications Services" as your service type, you cannot upload a template that includes one or more line items for voice services. You must create a separate FRN for voice services. Posted 02/13 
  • Don’t cite an FCC Form 470 on a funding request before the Allowable Contract Date (28 days after the date the form was posted to the USAC website) that appears on your Receipt Notification Letter for that form. Posted 02/16 
  • When you allocate costs to individual entities on an FRN line item, you can allocate equally by entity, proportionally by number of students (schools) or square footage (libraries), or you can enter your own allocation for each of the entities sharing the equipment or service. Note that the allocation should reasonably reflect each entity's share. Posted 02/24 
  • If you are purchasing a number of identical pieces of equipment (e.g., 100 model A widgets manufactured by Company B) but installing them in various schools or libraries, you can list the total number and cost of the identical pieces in a single line on your Item 21 and indicate where they will be installed and used by (1) allocating the cost as appropriate for each school or library and (2) providing any necessary details in the FRN narrative. Posted 02/27 
  • If you use a template to upload your Category One or Category Two product and service information and you find you have made a mistake, you can always correct your mistake directly in the online form before you submit it. Posted 03/06 
  • If you see an orange exclamation point ("!") to the right of the Item 21 button on a funding request, this means that your service, cost, and/or recipient allocation information is still incomplete. Click the Item 21 button to access the entry screen and look for the red text that indicates where information is missing. Posted 03/12 
  • If you select "Telecommunications Services" as your service type for a funding request, you cannot enter eligible "Voice Services" in that funding request even if they are from the same service provider. You must create a separate funding request and choose "Voice Services" for the service type. Posted 03/23 
  • Refer to the "Instructions for Completing the Funding Requests Templates" if you are having trouble deciding which choices to select from the dropdown menus in the online form. The "Specific Instructions" sections for each service type contain a list of the possible dropdowns with some helpful information. Posted 03/24 
  • In the "Key Information" section, the field where you provide the total number of months for all contract extensions is limited to two digits. If your contract can be extended for a total greater than 99 months, enter “99” in that field and provide the correct total in the "Narrative" section. Posted 04/08 
  • The entry for the total eligible cost for an individual line item in a funding request is limited to $2,000,000.00. If your cost for a single line is greater than this amount, please split your request into additional lines. Posted 04/10 
  • Remember that applicants no longer submit funding request information on a separate Item 21 attachment. The funding request information on services and costs must be entered directly into the online FCC Form 471. Posted 04/13 
  • Choose “Voice Services” as the service type if you want to enter voice services on a funding request. The online form will not allow you to enter voice services under the "Telecommunications Services" service type. Posted 04/15 

Certifications & Signature

  • In the “Necessary Resources” certification, be sure to enter the total amount in your budget allocated for resources not eligible for E-rate discounts but that are necessary for you to support and improve education and/or library services, and to make effective use of the eligible services you are requesting (e.g., hardware, professional development, software, maintenance, retrofitting). Posted 02/17
  • Read all of the certifications carefully. You or your successor may be required to demonstrate compliance with them at some point in the future. Posted 03/19 

Certifying Your Form

  • After you file your first paper certification for an FCC Form 470, 471, or 486, USAC will issue you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) by secure mailer that you can use to certify subsequent program forms online. Posted 02/19
  • If you do not have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you are ready to certify your FCC form, you must click the “Certify” button on the FCC Form 471 Apply Online page; enter your application number and security code and click “Log In”; print, sign, and date the certification page that appears; then mail it to USAC at the address provided. Posted 02/20 

4/16/2015FY2015 Filing Window Closing Today


The application filing window closes today, April 16, 2015, at 11:59:59 PM EDT.

To support last minute filers, the Client Service Bureau (CSB) has extended its service hours one half hour past the application filing window deadline to assist applicants with last-minute filing issues. Please feel free to contact us at (888) 203-8100 with any questions during this timeframe.

For more information, review the News Brief from April 10.

  

3/30/20152014 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2014 Annual Report  highlights the many ways USAC continued on the journey towards helping connect Americans to each other and the world through broadband and Internet access. By keeping a sharp focus on the needs of program participants and through collaboration with stakeholders, USAC implemented program and policy changes in efficient and streamlined ways.

3/12/2015FY2015 Application Filing Window Deadline Extended


New close date for the FY2015 filing window: April 16, 2015, at 11:59:59 PM EDT

In response to a reasonable request from our nation's largest school districts, USAC, in consultation with the FCC, has extended the FY2015 application filing window for three additional weeks. The application filing window will now close on April 16, 2015, instead of the original date of March 26, 2015.

FCC Form 471 applications must be submitted on or before 11:59:59 PM EDT on Thursday, April 16, 2015, to be considered in-window.

For more information, see today's Special Edition News Brief.

3/10/2015Special Edition News Brief - Guidance for the Online FCC Form 471 Alternative Data Entry Process


The 03/10/2015 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

3/2/2015Funding Request Filing Tips for FCC Form 471


Use these tips when completing the "Funding Request" section of the FCC Form 471: 

  1. Select the correct "Purpose" (in most cases "Internet" and "Transport" are itemized separately) 
    In most cases, applicants should itemize the costs for Internet connections separately from transport connections. Only in situations where the provider offers a single price for a bundled service for both Internet connections and transport circuits should the applicant select "Transport and Internet." Transport services (or WAN) are connections between buildings, whereas Internet is the connection from the school or library to the Internet provider.
  2. Select the correct "Type of Service" (in most cases it is "Digital Transmission Services" for broadband) 
    For Category One broadband, in most cases, applicants will select "Digital Transmission Services" and specify the type of connection procured for that service. "IA Only (no circuit)" should not be selected generically for Internet Access service. "IA Only (no circuit)" is a rare situation where an applicant is paying for Internet access separately from the physical connection that carries the Internet to their building.
  3. Select the correct response for WAN ("Yes" for Transport connections only)
    WAN or "Wide Area Network" is a service that provides the connections between buildings. Select "Yes" for the WAN if the district or library system has a Transport connection.

For more information about these issues, please refer to our February 19th Special Edition of the News Brief on "Selecting Service Types for Category One." 

  

2/27/2015News Brief Issued


The 02/27/2015 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

2/26/2015FY2015 FCC Form 470 Filing Deadline: Thursday, February 26


Thursday, February 26, 2015, is the last day you can post an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website and still meet the 28-day requirement before filing your FCC Form 471. If you are required to file an FCC Form 470 but have not yet done so, please promptly file your form.

To get started, USAC recommends watching the instructional videos located in our Online Learning Library, including:

 

2/19/2015Special Edition News Brief - Guidance on Selecting Service Types for Category One Funding Requests


The 02/19/2015 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

2/9/2015Special Edition News Brief - E-rate Modernization Order Frequently Asked Questions


The 02/09/2015 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

2/4/2015New Guidance Available to Help Determine Library Main Branch


New guidance has been approved on how to determine the main branch of a library for the purposes of calculating a library system's discount. 

Libraries with outlets/branches in more than one school district must use the total student counts from the school district in which the central outlet or main administrative branch of the library is located. For some libraries – especially those in large cities – identifying the building that would be considered the main branch is straightforward. However, in other situations – rural areas with outlets/branches of similar size and importance, regional library service systems, library consortia (as opposed to consortia of libraries) – applicants indicate they are not sure how to determine which library outlet/branch should be considered the main branch.

Here is what we suggest:

  1. Where there is an identified and known central outlet or main library branch, use that location.
  2. If no library is identified as the “main” library branch, use the library location where official library business is transacted or mail is sent. However, note that this location cannot be a non-instructional facility.
  3. If neither of the two preceding options fit the situation, the library can designate one library location as the “main” library. The library should document its rationale for designating that location as the “main” library and retain that documentation with its other program documentation so that it can be produced upon request.  

1/29/2015Special Edition News Brief - Reminders on Student Counts


The 01/29/2015 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

1/28/2015Special Edition News Brief - Optional Templates for Online FCC Form 471


The 01/28/2015 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.