Schools and Libraries News Brief
June 6, 2008


TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are having trouble preparing your Item 21 attachment online, you can practice on the Item 21 training site. Remember that PIA cannot review your application without your Item 21 attachment, and you risk denial of your funding requests if you miss your reviewer's deadline for submitting your attachments.

Commitments for Funding Years 2008 and 2007

Funding Year 2008. USAC will release FY2008 Wave 7 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) June 10. This wave will include commitments for approved Priority 1 requests (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) for schools and libraries at all discount levels. As of June 6, FY2008 commitments total just under $560 million. 

Funding Year 2007. USAC will release FY2007 Wave 54 FCDLs June 11. This wave will include commitments for approved Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance requests at 81% and above and denials at 80% and below. As of June 6, FY2007 commitments total just over $2.33 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.

FY2009 Form 470 Receipt Notification Letters Issued

After an applicant posts a Form 470 to the USAC website, USAC issues a Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) that summarizes the data entered on the form and specifies the Allowable Vendor Selection/Contract Date. This date, which is 28 days after the form was posted, is the earliest date that an applicant can select a service provider, sign a contract, and sign and submit a Form 471.

Shortly after an application filing window closes, USAC adds an option to the online Form 470 to post a form for the subsequent funding year. This is because some applicants have very long procurement cycles and they must file a Form 470 well in advance of the next application cycle. For example, the FY2009 option for posting a Form 470 was made available on April 12, 2008.

On June 4, USAC issued the first RNLs for those applicants that have posted Forms 470 for FY2009. Applicants should review these letters carefully. In some cases, errors on Forms 470 can be corrected using the RNL correction process explained in the letter. However, certain errors can only be corrected by posting a new Form 470.

From this point forward, Form 470 RNLs will be issued on a weekly basis.

Form 486 Online Filing Tips

With each FY2008 funding wave, more and more applicants become eligible to file the Form 486 early. Remember that to file , all of the following statements must be true:

  • USAC has issued a positive funding commitment for at least one Funding Request Number (FRN) on an FCDL.
  • You have confirmed with the service provider featured on that FRN that services will start in July.
  • You can accurately make all of the certifications on Block 4 of the form, which include certifications on compliance with the technology planning requirements and the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
  • You file the Form 486 online or on paper on or before July 31.

Following are some tips for filing your Form 486 online quickly and correctly.

Practice filing on the training site.

If you are hesitant about filing or certifying a form online, you can use USAC's training site to practice. Forms on the training site give you the same warnings and error messages you receive on the live site. Also, forms submitted and certified on the training site are not reviewed by USAC, so you do not have to worry about making mistakes.

To practice filing a Form 486 on the training site, you must use 2007 as the funding year and Brad's School (Billed Entity Number 145909) as the Block 1 entity. Be sure to make a note of the Form 486 application number and the security code the system assigns you after you complete Block 1. These numbers allow you to save your work, exit the form, and return later if you wish to do so.

To enter information in Block 3, you can use one or more FRNs from the list of training FRNs for Form 486. You can even certify the form online.

For detailed information – including the PIN you must use to certify a practice form – refer to the September 21, 2007 SL News Brief.

Use Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.

The forms developed for online use on the USAC site work best with Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher. We recommend that Mac users use Netscape 7.0 or higher.  Other web browsers – such as Safari or Mozilla – are not supported on either PCs or Macs.

Here are a few more tips about system requirements:

  • Make sure your computer's operating system is Windows 2000 or higher for PCs or OS 10 or higher for Macs.
  • Clear your Internet cache and temporary Internet files.
  • Allow popups. Many of the warning and error messages that help you through the form are formatted as popups.
  • Enable cookies. This preserves certain information that makes subsequent filings easier and also can help USAC diagnose problems.
  • Use the "Tab" key to move from one field to the next on a page.
  • Don't use your browser's "Forward" and "Back" buttons. Instead, use the navigation buttons in the form.

For more information and tips on online filing, refer to the October 26, 2007 SL News Brief.

Check the box in Item 6a if you are filing early.

Filing Form 486 early is an option if you meet the requirements listed above. Remember that you must check the box in Item 6a to notify USAC that you meet those requirements so that the system can process your form. You must also check this box if you are filing on paper.

If you are filing after services start, you are not filing early and Item 6a will be disabled online.

List FRNs from different Forms 471 on the same Form 486.

The Form 486 is specific to a funding year.  That is, if you have just received a commitment for an FRN from FY2007 and another FRN from FY2008, you must file two separate Forms 486. However, if you filed several FY2008 Forms 471 and you have commitments for FRNs that appeared on more than one of those forms, you can file one Form 486 and list all of the committed FRNs on that one form. (Remember, if you are filing early, you must meet all the requirements listed above.)

In Item 5, identify the contact person that should get program letters.

USAC issues certain letters to the contact person in Item 5 of the Form 486. Specifically, USAC will issue both the applicant version of the Form 486 Notification Letter and the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form Notification Letter to that contact person. If the contact person at your organization changes, you can update your form by following the instructions in the Contact Information Change guidance.

Try the Form 486 interview version if you have trouble with the standard version.

Data you enter in an online Form 486 is saved in USAC's database and can be accessed through the Apply Online page by both the standard version and the interview version of the form (the "Create Form 486" button and "Form 486 Interview" button respectively). In the standard version, you enter information directly into the form, while the interview version asks you a series of questions and then enters your answers in the appropriate form fields. You can start with one version of the form, save your work, and complete the form using the other version.

  • To continue an incomplete form using the interview version, click on the "Form 486 Interview" button in the Form 486 column of the Apply Online page.
  • To continue an incomplete form using the standard version, click on the "Continue Incomplete" button in the Form 486 column of the Apply Online page.
  • Remember that you must have your Form 486 Application Number and your security code to access an incomplete form. (Tip: You can print the page that contains these numbers after you complete Block 1 of the form online and then save the printout for reference.)
  • Note to Mac users: Applicants using a Mac seem to have more success with the standard version of the form.

Pay attention to any popups or warning messages that occur.

The online system has built-in popups to notify you of errors and provide certain other helpful information. This allows you to make necessary corrections before you submit your form. The system also populates some information in the form based on information you have already entered.

However, many applicants that file forms on paper fail to provide all necessary entries or include entries that are inconsistent. They must then wait for USAC to contact them because the missing or inconsistent information prevents USAC from completing data entry. Moreover, if USAC cannot reach the applicant to get the correct information, the form may be rejected.

If you are having difficulty with online filing, you can Submit a Question or call the Client Service Bureau at 1-888-203-8100.

You may download and print copies of Schools and Libraries News Briefs on USAC’s website. You may subscribe to or unsubscribe from this news brief. For program information, please visit the Schools and Libraries area of the USAC website, submit a question, or call us toll-free at 1-888-203-8100. Feel free to forward this news brief to any interested parties.

Please do not reply to this email directly, as it was sent from an unattended mailbox.

1997-2008, Universal Service Administrative Company, All Rights Reserved.