February 15, 2013
FY2013 WINDOW COUNTDOWN
Days to window close
FCC Forms 470 posted on/before February 14
FCC Forms 471 filed to date
Online Item 21 attachments filed to date
TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are filing your Item 21 attachments by email, fax, or on paper, be sure to clearly identify their associated FRNs and Form 471 application numbers. These numbers should appear (1) in the body of your email, (2) on your fax cover sheet, or (3) on the first page of your paper submission that is mailed or sent by delivery service.
Commitments for Funding Years 2012, 2011, and 2010
Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 31 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) February 20. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90% and denials at 89% and below. As of February 15, FY2012 commitments total over $1.87 billion.
Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 81 FCDLs February 21. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88% and above and denials at 87% and below. As of February 15, FY2011 commitments total just under $2.53 billion.
Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 109 FCDLs February 19. This wave can include commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at all discount levels. As of February 15, FY2010 commitments total over $3.08 billion.
On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC's Automated Search of Commitments tool.
In Block 4 of the FCC Form 471, Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form, applicants prepare one or more worksheets that list the recipients of service for each funding request featured on the form. Below we discuss how to calculate discounts for the recipients of service listed in these worksheets.
E-rate discounts are calculated and reported to USAC on Block 4 of the FCC Form 471. If you file online and follow the instructions, the calculations detailed below are performed for you based on the data you provide when you complete the form.
For a single entity receiving service – e.g., an individual school or a single library outlet/branch – you calculate a "site-specific" discount.
For a number of entities receiving a service – e.g., all the individual schools in a school district or all the library outlets/branches in a library system – you calculate a "shared" discount.
To calculate the discount for an individual entity (recipient of service), you need two pieces of information:
- The urban or rural status of the entity, which you can determine using the physical location of the entity and the information in the guidance document Urban/Rural Status.
- The percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or an equivalent measure of poverty (see below).
You can then find your discount in the Discount Matrix posted on the USAC website. Locate the row that includes the percentage of students eligible for NSLP and find your discount in the urban or rural column, as appropriate.
Following is information on how to calculate discounts for different types of entities.
Enter the information (name, entity number, etc.) for the individual school in Block 4. Divide the number of students eligible for NSLP at the individual school by the total number of students at the school. Use this number (the percentage of students eligible for NSLP) and the urban or rural status of the school to look up the discount on the Discount Matrix.
Enter the information (name, entity number, etc.) for the individual library outlet/branch in Block 4. Divide the number of students eligible for NSLP in the public school district in which the library outlet/branch is located by the total number of students in that public school district. Use this number and the urban or rural status of the library outlet/branch to look up the discount on the Discount Matrix. Note that while a library outlet/branch may serve more than one school district, it uses the student information from the public school district in which it is physically located for its discount calculation.
Prepare a worksheet in Block 4 of the FCC Form 471 that lists each individual school in the school district, then calculate the discount for each individual school as described above under "Individual school." Multiply the discount for each individual school by the number of students in that school (the "weighted product" for that school). Add all the weighted products and divide the result by the total number of students in the school district to get the "weighted average discount" for the school district.
Library system or library consortium
Prepare a worksheet in Block 4 of the FCC Form 471 that lists each library outlet/branch in the library system, then calculate the discount for each outlet/branch as described above under "Library outlet/branch." Add all the discounts and divide the result by the total number of outlets/branches in the library system to get the "simple average discount" for the library system.
Consortium of schools and/or libraries
Prepare a worksheet in Block 4 of the FCC Form 471 that lists each consortium member, then calculate the discount for each member as described above for that member type. (For a school district or library system member, you will first complete a separate worksheet to calculate that member's discount.) Add all the member discounts and divide the result by the total number of members in the consortium to get the simple average discount for the consortium.
School or library non-instructional facility (NIF) without classrooms
A non-instructional facility or NIF is a school building without classrooms or a library building without public areas. (Some school NIFs do contain classrooms - see below.)
School NIF with classrooms
If the NIF contains one or more classrooms and the student population in the classroom(s) is fixed (the same students are expected to attend class every day), use the calculation for an individual school as described above.
If the student population varies from day to day or over time, use a "snapshot" of the student population for your calculation. Choose a particular day, calculate the percentage NSLP eligibility for the student population in the classroom(s) on that day, and carry that percentage eligibility into the Discount Matrix. Be sure to maintain accurate and complete documentation of your calculation.
New school construction
You must first determine whether you know the population of students that will attend the school.
If you know which students will attend the new school, calculate the discount for that individual school as described above.
If you don't know which students will attend the new school, use the school district weighted average.
If you don't know which students will attend the new school and that school is not part of a school district, the new school will be eligible for a 20% discount in its first year – that is, until the student population is known. Once you know which students will attend the new school, you can update your information.
New library construction
For a new library, calculate the discount as described above under "Library outlet/branch" using the student information from the public school district in which the new building will be located.
Head Start, pre-kindergarten, juvenile justice, or adult education
You must first determine if the students and/or facilities in these programs are eligible in your state using the Eligibility Table for Non-traditional K-12 Students and Facilities. If they are eligible, calculate the discount for an individual school (or a NIF with classrooms as appropriate) as described above. Note that all Head Start students that meet the age requirement are considered eligible for NSLP.
Schools with changing student populations
Some schools offer instruction to students drawn from other schools, and the student population in those schools may vary throughout a school year. Examples of these types of schools include some magnet schools, vocational schools, outdoor education facilities, and career centers.
To calculate their discounts, these schools can use the "snapshot" method described above under "School NIFs with classrooms." Remember to maintain accurate and complete documentation of your calculation.
Alternative discount mechanisms
For schools that either do not participate in NSLP or choose not to use NSLP participation numbers, there are certain acceptable alternative discount mechanisms that can be used to calculate an equivalent measure for the percentage of students eligible for NSLP. In all cases, these mechanisms must be based on or not exceed the same measure of poverty used by NSLP.
As above, applicants using an alternative discount mechanism must maintain accurate and complete documentation of the calculations that support their funding requests. In general, data from alternative discount mechanisms must be collected and verifiable on an individual student basis. Remember that documentation must be retained for five years after the last date to receive service.
Provisions 1, 2, and 3. Schools participating in one of these three provisions under NSLP can use the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches under that provision to determine their discount. USAC may ask for additional information – including the base year documentation – to support the calculated discount rate.
Direct certification. Direct certification students are considered eligible for NSLP for the purposes of calculating E-rate discounts.
Community Eligibility Option (CEO). Schools that participate in CEO use the NSLP eligibility data for the most recent funding year in which they did not participate in CEO.
Projections based on surveys
You can design a survey to collect eligibility information. You can either (1) use the information gleaned from the survey to determine student eligibility on an individual basis or (2) project a percentage of eligibility if your survey meets certain requirements.
If you send a survey to all households in your school and at least half of the surveys are completed and returned, you can project a percentage of eligibility based on the returned surveys. Here are a few suggestions:
- Carefully follow the website guidance in the Alternative Discount Mechanisms when you design your survey.
- NSLP forms CANNOT be used as surveys.
- Send one survey per household, not one per student.
- Number your surveys consecutively so that returned surveys are easier to track.
- If you do a projection, base it ONLY on returned surveys. You can combine multiple sources of data if you are verifying your data student by student, but NOT if you are using a projection.
For more detailed information, you can refer to Calculating Discounts and Alternative Discount Mechanisms information on the USAC website. The FCC Form 471 Instructions also contain much useful information.