May 1, 2020

TIP OF THE WEEK: Now is a good time to collect and organize the documentation you have produced during the application process. With all of your information easily available, you will be much better prepared to answer questions from Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) and other USAC reviewers.

Commitments for Funding Year 2019

Funding Year (FY) 2019. USAC released FY2019 Wave 57 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on April 30. As of May 1, FY2019 commitments total over $2.30 billion.

On the date that FCDLs are issued, you can access your FCDL notification from the Notifications section of your landing page in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Next Steps Related to the FY2020 Application Filing Window

The application filing window for FY2020 has closed. We are providing a few reminders below for actions you should take while the application process is still fresh in your mind.

Review your FCC Form 471 and submit a RAL modification to correct or update information.

There are a few areas and fields on your certified FCC Form 471 that you should double-check for accuracy. If you find any information that should be corrected or updated, you can submit a Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) modification. Instructions for submitting a RAL modification can be found in the February 14, 2020 SL News Brief.

Entity information. If your entity profile was locked before you could update the information for your organization and/or your member entities, you can file a RAL modification to provide your updates. Specifically, you should pay attention to the following:

  • School districts: Contact information for your school district and each of your individual schools, along with their actual or estimated student counts, their approved Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) percentage if they have one, their urban/rural status, and their entity attributes (such as public, private, or Tribal).
  • Library systems: Contact information for your library system and each of your library branches, bookmobiles, and kiosks, along with their square footage, their urban/rural status, their Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) locale codes, and their entity attributes (such as public, private, or Tribal). You must have identified one library as the main branch and also identified the school district in which the main branch is located.
  • Independent schools and libraries: Review the contact information for your entity and also your entity information necessary for the discount and Category Two budget calculations as noted above.
  • Consortia: Review your own contact information and the list of consortium members you reported as receiving or sharing services on each FCC Form 471.

FCC Form(s) 470 you cited on a funding request. Most applicants citing an FCC Form 470 on their FCC Form 471 funding requests certified that FCC Form 470 in EPC. However, applicants with multi-year contracts or who started their competitive bidding process before the FY2016 FCC Form 470 was available in EPC may be citing an FCC Form 470 filed in our legacy system.

For these earlier forms, check to be sure that each 15-digit application number you provided was for the correct FCC Form 470 that was posted for the correct service type and for which you waited at least 28 days before you chose your service provider. To view your legacy FCC Form 470 online, you can use the View an FCC Form 470 (FY2015 and prior) tool.

FCC Registration Number. Check this 10-digit number to make sure it is correct, especially if this is the first year you have filed E-rate program forms. To verify your FCC Registration Number, you can use the FCC's Commission Registration System (CORES).

Costs and cost allocations. Check your math. The pre-discount costs of your funding requests should match the information in the contract(s) or other documentation you used to prepare your form.

If you notice any incorrect information in any of the above fields, you can submit a RAL modification by following the instructions in the February 14, 2020 SL News Brief.

Review and archive the documentation that you prepared for your competitive bidding process and that you relied on to complete your FCC Form 471.

As part of your application filing process, you may have produced, accessed, or received a number of documents, and you may need to refer to one or more of these documents at various times during the application process. If you collect and store this documentation in a manner that allows you or your successor to easily access and produce these documents, you can respond much more quickly to USAC requests.

You have already provided some of this information to USAC – such as your Request for Proposal (RFP) and RFP document(s) in your FCC Form 470 or your contract information in your profile – but you should keep your own copies as well.

At a minimum, here is a list of documents you should store (this list is not exhaustive):

- Competitive bidding

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) and RFP documents
  • Public notice of RFP issued, if a public notice is 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 board approvals are required by your state or local procurement laws
  • If there is a restriction that prevents services and costs 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 CEP or other provision(s) of NSLP
  • Other documentation used to compute or estimate student counts.

- Supplemental documentation

  • Consulting agreements and/or letters of agency (LOAs)
  • Consortium LOAs
  • Draft and/or final budgets
  • FCC Form 470 modifications submitted
  • RAL modifications submitted.

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.

Prepare for PIA review.

During PIA review, we verify certain information on your FCC Form 471, and we may have additional questions to help us in our review. We will notify you by email and in your EPC News feed that there are PIA questions waiting for you to answer.

This would be a good time to alert your service provider that you may need help with network diagrams, product descriptions, and other data that they should be able to supply.

Please respond promptly to any PIA requests for information or documentation. While you may continue to receive the automated deadline notifications for such information requests, we are not moving to deny your funding requests due to non-response or incomplete responses. We will instead continue our attempts to contact you, and when you are able to respond, we can continue our review. (See the April 17, 2020 SL News Brief for more information on the extension of these response deadlines.)

Monitor your contact email address and your EPC account.

The contact person you identified on your form should regularly monitor their email address and EPC account so that they know when we have posted PIA review questions. You can file a RAL modification to update your holiday/vacation contact information if we should use a different email address or telephone number to contact you, or if you have empowered someone else to answer questions on your behalf.


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