USAC assigns a unique identifying number to each entity that participates in the E-Rate program. This number assigned by USAC is called an entity number.
Entity numbers can be assigned by calling the Customer Service Center (CSC) at (888) 203-8100.
If changes to an entity number are necessary or if no entity number exists for your organization, contact CSC. In general, CSC can process requests for up to two new entity numbers, new or existing, over the phone.
Billed Entity Numbers (BENs)
If an entity pays the service provider for products and/or services delivered to eligible schools and libraries, that entity is called a billed entity. USAC assigns this entity an entity number specific to the billed entity role they have, called a BEN.
USAC validates the information provided when a new entity number is requested, which includes checking for an existing entity number and confirming that the person requesting the entity number is authorized to do so.
Parent Entities and Child Entities
A parent entity makes decisions on behalf of the child entity, such as filing program forms on their behalf. A parent entity may also be responsible for managing their child entity’s information in EPC. In general, organization accounts in EPC are assigned to parent entities, and their associated child entities are listed on those accounts.
The three most common parent-child relationships in EPC are:
- A school district (parent entity) to the individual schools and non-instructional facilities (NIFs) that are part of that school district (child entities)
- A library system (parent entity) to the individual library outlets/branches and NIFs that are part of that library system (child entities)
- A consortium leader (parent entity) to the members of the consortium (child entities).
In general, a parent entity must have a BEN to identify itself in its role as a parent entity. The parent entity represented by this entity number is not itself eligible for discounts.
Filing Program Forms
The type of organization account you have in EPC determines the type of application you can file. In EPC, you can only file program forms as a parent entity.
- An individual school that is part of a school district must be featured on its school district program form because it is a child entity on the school district (the parent entity’s) organization account. Similarly an individual library outlet/branch that is part of a library system must be featured on its library system program form because it is a child entity on the library system (the parent entity’s) organization account.
- A school district or a library system cannot file as a consortium. The school district or library system can still be a consortium leader, however, it must have two organization accounts in EPC and two BENs – one BEN and organization account for the school district or library system and a second BEN and organization account for the consortium.
Situations Where Two Entity Numbers are Not Required
There are two specific situations where an entity number can represent both a parent and a child. In these situations, the entity number can also function as a BEN.
- Independent Entities
- An independent school, a school that is not part of a school district, does not share a common board with other schools, and is individually responsible for its finances and administration, can file a program form (a parent entity role) and also be eligible for discounts (a child entity role) using the same entity number.
- An independent library, a library that is not part of a library system, does not share a common board with other libraries, and is individually responsible for its own finances and administration, can file a program form (a parent entity role) and also be eligible for discounts (a child entity role) using the same entity number.
- A parent entity consortium can have members (child entities) that are also parent entities in their own right. For example, a school district can be a member of a consortium (in the role of a child entity of the parent consortium) while also acting as the parent to its own schools in the school district. In this case, the school district does not need a second entity number to identify its role as a child entity of the consortium.
Creating Entity Numbers
To create an entity number, the following information should be on hand:
- Entity’s legal name
- Physical address
- Mailing address or PO Box, if different than physical address
- County name
- Telephone number
- Organization type: independent school, school district, independent library, library system, consortium, child school entity, child library entity, NIF entity
- If you are a school that is part of a school district or a library that is part of a library system, be prepared to provide the school district or library system entity number to link the school or library appropriately to its parent entity.
- Organization sub-type(s): public, private, religious, Tribal, new construction, etc.
- Email address for the EPC account administrator (must be an employee of the entity organization)
- FCC Registration Number (for all entities that file program forms)
- Schools: full/part time students, eligibility numbers for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Community Eligibility Program (CEP), State School Code and State LEA code
- Libraries: square footage of library buildings receiving discounted service, note if they are the main branch in a library system
Modifying and Cancelling Entity Numbers
The account administrator for your organization can modify entity information in EPC. To cancel an entity, contact CSC.
Creating a Consortium
If you need to add more than one entity to your consortium, you may use the Bulk Entity Creation Template to organize required information for member entities. You may also attach the completed template to a customer service case or contact the Customer Service Center to start the request. You may be required to submit additional documents such as Letters of Agency. Learn more about creating a consortium and leader roles/responsibilities on the Consortia page.