Step 4: Application Review

Application Review Process

After you file and certify an FCC Form 471 within the filing window, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviewers at USAC check the information on your form for completeness and accuracy and may have additional questions for you to answer.

All applications go through an initial review and a final review, which may involve questions from PIA reviewers on one or more of the following topics:

  • Eligibility of the entities receiving service
  • Eligibility of the services requested
  • Discount calculations
  • Contracts
  • The competitive bidding process

Response Time, Additional Reviews, and Follow-Up

You have 15 days to respond to PIA questions. You can ask for more time if you need it, but keep in mind that this will add more time to the review process. Your service provider(s) can assist you with preparing responses to USAC’s questions except for questions about your service provider selection process.

  • USAC understands that some of the information requested during the application review could be considered to be proprietary or sensitive commercial and financial information. Applicants and service providers can request confidential treatment of information under the FCC rules.

Some applications undergo additional review – Selective Review is one example – where PIA may request more detailed responses that can include:

  • Documentation of the competitive bidding and service provider selection processes;
  • Documentation of the applicant’s ability to pay the non-discount share (the portion of the cost of eligible products and services not reimbursed by USAC); and
  • Proof that the applicant has obtained necessary resources – e.g., hardware, software, staff training, electrical capacity, retrofitting – that are not eligible for Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) program discounts but that must be in place to make effective use of the discounted services.

As part of the review process, PIA may be required to change the category of service or the service type on a Funding Request Number (FRN). If PIA discovers that there are ineligible services in a funding request, you will be able to remove them or move them to a separate request to avoid denial under the 30% Rule.

After the PIA review process has been completed, USAC issues a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) containing USAC’s decisions on your funding requests. You can find this decision in the News feed in your organization’s E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) account. You should review this decision carefully, as it contains important information both for planning the start of the receipt of services and for completing the additional steps in the application process. If you disagree with one or more of the decisions in your FCDL, you can appeal to USAC.

Next Step: Starting Services

After you receive your FCDL, you can start the preparations to begin receiving discounted services. You should discuss with your service provider(s) any details involved in the provision of services and invoicing for those services. Once services have started, you should be ready to file the FCC Form 486.