Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

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7/31/2015News Brief Issued


The 07/31/2015 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.

7/31/2015E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday July 31


USAC's E-File system, including RHC Program’s My Portal, will be unavailable Friday, July 31, 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.

7/22/2015E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, July 23


USAC's E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, July 23, 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.

7/21/2015Special Edition News Brief - USAC Undertakes Data Cleanup Effort


The 07/21/2015 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.

7/17/2015Download FCC Form 470 Information Now Available for FY2016


The Download 470 Information for FCC Forms 470 filed in FY2016 is now available on the Search Tools page of the website. This report package will download to your computer as a compressed (.zip) file of four Excel documents (Consulting Information data, Consortia Information data, Organization Information data, and FCC Form 470 data). You will see that each file is in a pipe-delimited format. For more information about how to read these files and understand what data is being provided, read the Summary of Information Provided.   

7/15/2015E-rate Systems Outage Due to Monthly Maintenance: Friday, July 17


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, July 17 through 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday, July 18 for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/10/2015E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, July 12


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 7:00-11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, July 12 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in.

7/10/2015Training Site Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, July 13


The Schools and Libraries Training Site will be unavailable from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM EDT on Monday, July 13 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.

7/7/2015Special Edition News Brief - EPC Update: Adding a Consultant to an Applicant's Account


The 07/06/2015 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.

7/6/2015View Posted FCC Forms 470 for FY2016


Posting of an applicant's FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) initiates the required competitive bidding process. FCC Forms 470 that have been submitted for Funding Year 2016 are now available on the View an FCC Form 470 (FY2016) page. On this page you will find the FCC Form 470 as well as any additional documentation submitted with the form, such as a request for proposal (RFP) or other supporting documentation.

If you log into the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), you can view this same information with the added benefit of multiple filter and search capabilities. A tool that will allow this advanced functionally on the public website is currently under development as well. Stay tuned for additional information regarding that upgrade!

7/2/2015Special Edition News Brief - EPC Update: FY2016 FCC Form 470 Now Available


The 07/02/2015 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.

7/2/2015Setting Up Account Administrators for E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Accounts


USAC is creating your organization's E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) account. The person who signed and certified the FY2015 FCC Form 471 will be the account administrator. For consulting organizations, the head of your consulting organization will be the account administrator.


What You Need To Do:


If you are the Authorized Person listed on an FY2015 FCC Form 471
Follow the instructions in USAC's Account Creation email (sent to you from admin@portal.usac.org). After you log in to the account as the account administrator,* you can then designate another employee at your organization to be the account administrator if you wish to do so. If you did not receive the Account Creation email, call our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

If you are the Contact Person listed on an FY2015 FCC Form 471
Ask the authorized person to set up your account. The authorized person must follow the instructions in USAC's Account Creation email (sent from admin@portal.usac.org). After the authorized person logs in to the account as the account administrator, he or she can then set you up as a user.

If you are the Consultant listed on an FY2015 FCC Form 471 
Your account administrator can grant you full, partial, or view-only rights to the information for your consulting information in the EPC. Contact your account administrator for more details.

*Consultants cannot be an account administrator for an applicant, even if they signed and certified the applicant's form. However, once a school or library account administrator has associated itself with your consulting organization, he or she can grant you rights to access the information in the school's or library's account.

Need Assistance?
If you have any questions, you can visit the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) page on the USAC website or call our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

6/26/2015Special Edition News Brief - EPC Update


The 06/26/2015 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.

6/26/2015Introducing the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC)


We are ready to introduce you to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), which is now live.    

EPC is the account and application management portal for the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program. This system will eventually be the point of entry for all applicant, service provider, or consultant transactions. EPC will be where program participants complete and certify forms, obtain the status of their applications, submit requests, receive timely reminders and notifications, respond to PIA review questions, and ask program-related questions.    

To get started, learn more about this new system on the EPC webpage. Here you'll find links to instructional videos, user guides, a glossary of terms, and more. As the system grows, we'll add more resources to this page to assist you along the way. 

Stay tuned for a series of News Briefs that will provide a full range of details regarding what you will need to do, when you need to do it, and how to do it. If you are not yet subscribed to receive the News Brief, the weekly digital newsletter for the E-rate Program, subscribe now!

  

6/25/2015Special Edition News Brief - New E-rate Program IT System Is Coming!


The 06/24/2015 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.

6/3/2015Materials from the Service Provider Trainings


Resources from the E-rate Program Service Provider trainings, including the agenda, presentations, and more, are available in the Event Archive section of our website. Also take a look at the E-rate Modernization Order section of our website for additional relevant resources.

6/2/2015FCC Conducts Fiber Build Workshop


On May 20, the FCC conducted an E-rate Fiber Build Workshop that provided E-rate Program applicants, providers, and state and local policy makers with information and tools for planning fiber build projects under the new E-rate Program rules, with a focus on issues applicants need to consider in order to choose the most cost-effective plans for deploying fiber.

An agenda, speaker biographies, and a recording of the workshop are available on the E-rate Fiber Build Workshop event page on the FCC website.

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. 

 

5/12/2015Invitation 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.

  

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.