Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

Apply for E-rate

Welcome to the E-rate Program! This program provides discounts for Wi-Fi, high-speed broadband, and telecommunications services for schools and libraries throughout the country. There are four steps to receive funding:

  • Request bids for service,
  • Apply for funding,
  • Start receiving services, and
  • Invoice USAC.

View the application process flowchart to keep track of where you are in the process.

We're here to help! If you need assistance at any step of the process, please feel free to contact us.

Service providers should see our section on E-rate for Service Providers.

Returning user?

Log in to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) to access your forms and messages.

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New users should call us at (888) 203-8100
to set up an account in EPC.


One: Request Bids for Service (FCC Form 470)

The first step in applying for funding is to request bids from service providers on the services you need. You request bids by submitting the FCC Form 470. The form must be posted for a minimum of 28 days. This is called a competitive bidding period. If you also have a Request for Proposal (RFP), upload it as part of the form. In response to your posted request, service providers competing to provide the services you've requested will send you pricing bids. At the end of the competitive bidding period, you should evaluate your bids and choose a service provider. See our Form 470 Resources below for competitive bidding requirements, filing exemptions, and guidelines on evaluating your bids.

The FY2017 FCC Form 470 is now available to submit.

Start Your Form 470

To view or certify prior year forms, select from the options below.

Two: Apply for Funding (FCC Form 471)

After you have selected a service provider through the competitive bidding process, you can submit your actual application to receive funding. This application is called the FCC Form 471 and must be submitted during a filing window each year. In general, the application filing window opens about six months before the start of the funding year and is open for about two and a half months. See the Form 471 Resources below for information about calculating your discount, Category Two budgets, and other filing information.

The FY2016 application window is now closed.

Start Your Form 471

To view or certify prior year forms, select from the options below.

Three: Start Receiving Services (FCC Form 486)

Once you've received your Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) and delivery of your services has started, you can submit FCC Form 486 which confirms that your services have started and allows you to certify to the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). For FY16, file the Form 486 in EPC. Use the dropdown menu below to file the form for FY2015 and previous years.

Due after receipt of your
Funding Commitment Decision Letter

Start Your Form 486

To file or view prior year forms, select from the options below.

Four: Invoice USAC

Select one of the following invoicing methods:

SPI Method (Form 474)

With the Service Provider Invoice (or SPI) method, you should contact your service provider and request to be enrolled in discounted invoicing. Your service provider will provide your E-rate discount on your monthly invoice.

BEAR Method (Form 472)

You should file the Form 472 if you have paid your service provider in full for your services and want to be reimbursed for the discount amount. USAC now pays schools and libraries directly for the BEAR Method. But you must first file Form 498 to register your banking information with us.

Due no later than October 28 after funding
year closes (Recurring monthly services)
Due no later than January 28, 2017 after funding
year closes (Equipment and installation)

Start Your Form 472


File Form 500 if you need to adjust your funding commitments and/or modify the dates for receipt of services at anytime.

E-rate for Service Providers

  1. Competitive Bidding: Participate in the E-rate Program by reviewing posted FCC Forms 470 and respond to applicants with bids on the services they're requesting. Applicants may not select a service provider until their 470 has been posted for at least 28 days.
  2. Winning the Bid: If a school or library has chosen your bid as the most cost-effective for one or more of the services requested, you can assist them with the remainder of the application process.
  3. Don't forget to file a Form 473 every year! This form contains certifications that service providers must make to participate in the program. USAC cannot pay invoices for a funding year until this form is on file for that year.
  4. Starting Services: Before starting services, you and your customer should have a conversation about the details of those services and determine whether they or you will invoice USAC.
  5. Invoicing:
    SPI Method (Form 474)

    Service providers file the Form 474 to request payment for eligible services provided at discounted prices. We will review the SPI Form and process a payment to you if payment is approved. Your customer is always required to pay the non-discount portion of the cost of the services.

    BEAR Method (Form 472)

    If your customer paid you in full for their services, they should file the Form 472. Customers can now receive direct payment via electronic transfer. They must first register their banking information with USAC by filing a Form 498.

Questions? We're here to help!

The Schools and Libraries team is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us with your questions or to set up a new user account.

Call us at (888) 203-8100