April 17, 2015
TIP OF THE WEEK: Collect and store the documents you used in your FY2015 application process in a way that will allow you (or your successor) to locate them easily if needed. Remember that you must retain required program documents for at least 10 years after the last day of service delivered.
Commitments for Funding Years 2014 and 2013
Funding Year 2014. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2014 Wave 50 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on April 22. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of April 17, FY2014 commitments total over $2.19 billion.
Funding Year 2013. USAC will release FY2013 Wave 87 FCDLs on April 24. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 requests at all discount levels. As of April 17, FY2013 commitments total over $2.15 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.
Next Steps Related to the FY2015 Filing Window
Now that the window has closed – and before you return to other pressing concerns – we suggest that you take the time to complete or prepare for the next steps in the application process.
Certify your FCC Form 471.
In the near future, USAC will issue reminder letters to applicants that identify all uncertified FCC Forms 471 submitted online on or before the last day of the filing window. Applicants will have 20 days from the date of that letter to certify the FCC Form 471 and still have the form be considered in-window. FCC Forms 471 certified after the deadline in the letter will be considered out-of-window. We encourage you to proactively certify your FCC Form 471 rather than waiting for the reminder letter.
To check the status of an FCC Form 471, click the Application Status button in the FCC Form 471 column of the Apply Online page. Enter the Billed Entity Number and choose the funding year, then click the Continue button on the following page to pull up a list of FCC Forms 471 filed by that Billed Entity with their current statuses. You can also view an individual form and the date that that form was certified by clicking the FCC Form 471 - FY2015 button on the Apply Online page and then clicking the Display button on the following page.
Certify any FCC Form 470 that you cited on a funding request.
Each FCC Form 470 cited in the Key Information section of an FCC Form 471 funding request must be certified. Because an FCC Form 470 can be posted to the USAC website without being certified, applicants sometimes forget to complete this important step. Although you will be reminded during the review of your application if an FCC Form 470 needs to be certified, we suggest that you take the time now to certify any forms that you have cited.
To verify the status of an FCC Form 470, click the Search Posted button in the FCC Form 470 column on the Apply Online page. Choose the appropriate funding year and, on the following screen, provide the application number or other details that will allow you to locate your form. If the status on the third line of the form display is "COMPLETE," return to the Apply Online page, click the Certify Complete button in the FCC Form 470 column, and follow the instructions to certify your form. If you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN), you can certify your form online. Otherwise, you can print a copy of your certification page, sign and date it, and send it to USAC.
Review your RAL and submit any allowable corrections.
USAC issues a Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) for each FCC Form 471 that is timely certified. This letter contains instructions for identifying and submitting allowable corrections to the form. We suggest that you review your RAL(s) carefully and, if you notice any errors, submit corrections to USAC as soon as possible by following the instructions in the RAL.
Organize and store your documents.
As part of your application filing process, you may have produced, accessed, or received a number of documents. You may need to refer to one or more of these documents at various times during the application process, for example, to prepare for a Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review or an audit, or to file an FCC Form 486, an invoice, or an appeal. If you collect and store this documentation in a manner that would allow you – or your successor – to easily access and produce these documents, you can respond much more quickly to information requests.
Some documents that might be easier to find and store now but that might be more difficult to locate later include (this list is not exhaustive):
- Competitive bidding
- Request for Proposal (RFP)
- Public notice of RFP issued (if required by your state or local procurement laws)
- Winning and losing bids
- Questions and answers provided to potential bidders – emails, supporting documents, or other correspondence produced as part of the competitive bidding process
- Completed bid evaluation matrices or other documents that show how the bids received were evaluated and the winning bid chosen
- Contracts and/or legally binding agreements, with evidence of board approvals (if required by your state or local procurement laws)
- If there is a restriction that prevents Item 21 information from being made public, a copy of the precise cite to the law, statute, local rule, or court order identifying the restriction.
- Discount calculations
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP) data sources
- Income surveys or other surveys
- Direct certification documentation and other documents related to participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of NLSP
- Other documentation used to compute student counts.
- Supplemental documentation
Draft and/or final budgets
Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) and any RNL corrections submitted
Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) and any RAL corrections submitted
Questions received from PIA and your responses
Consulting agreements or letters of agency.
We suggest you take the time now to organize and file all documents related to your application in a manner that will allow you to easily locate and retrieve them for any future needs. For guidance on how to organize your documentation, review the E-rate Binder Table of Contents in the Reference Area of the website under the heading Samples and Examples.
Prepare for PIA review.
If you have all of your documentation in order, you should be in good shape for PIA review. Remember to respond promptly to any PIA requests for information or documentation. You can ask for additional time to respond if you need it. We will cover PIA review in more detail in future editions of the SL News Brief.
Monitor your contact email address.
Many applications cannot be reviewed without reaching out to the applicant for additional information. If information is needed, USAC will attempt to contact applicants using the email address for the contact person identified on the form. Be sure to monitor this email address so that you can receive and promptly respond to any questions from USAC.