October 30, 2020

TIP OF THE WEEK: You can now register for one or more of our fall training sessions from the Webinars page on the USAC website. All sessions will be recorded and the recordings posted to the Webinars page, so you can watch a session even if you are not able to attend at the time it airs.

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2020

FY2020. USAC released FY2020 Wave 27 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on October 29. As of October 30, FY2020 commitments total over $1.83 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).

Tips for the EPC Administrative Window

The administrative window is the period during which applicants can make updates to their profile information in EPC to prepare for the upcoming FCC Form 471 application filing window.

The administrative window opened Monday, October 19 and will close – and the applicant profiles will be locked – shortly before the FY2021 application filing window opens early in 2021.

We would like to call your attention to a few things you should consider while you are preparing to update your entity profile information in EPC.

Need to add an entity? Do it now.

To add a new entity (individual school to a school district or library branch to a library system) to your organization's profile, open a customer service case in EPC or call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100. After the administrative window closes, CSB can still create the entity for you, but generally you will have to file a Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) modification to add it to your organization's profile.

However, be sure to read the caveat below about FY2020 RAL modifications and appeals.

Have RAL modifications or appeals for FY2020 applications? Submit those before you update your EPC profiles.

Submit any FY2020 RAL modifications or FY2020 appeals before you add new entities or new entity subtypes to your organization's profile information. This will allow us to process your RAL modification or appeal more quickly.

Are you a small school district (ten or fewer schools)? Consider reporting your student counts for Category Two (C2) budget purposes on a school-by-school basis.

School districts will be reporting their student counts separately for two different purposes – to calculate their discount and to calculate their C2 budget. For the C2 budget calculation, they now have the choice to update their individual school profiles or to report a total number in the school district profile.

Often, small school districts have a higher C2 budget under the per-site basis calculation (see the per-site basis explanation in the August 14 SL News Brief). However, EPC will not perform this calculation if the school district reports a total number for the school district in the school district's EPC profile.

Are you a charter school associated with a school district? If you want to apply using your own C2 budget, you will need to demonstrate financial and administrative independence.

Beginning in FY2021, if a state law considers a charter school to be part of a school district, the charter school will be presumed to be part of the school district unless the charter school can demonstrate financial and administrative independence from the district. If it is able to demonstrate that independence, it will have its own C2 budget and discount rate.

Is your school fully or partially closed due to COVID-19? You can provide your full-time enrollment numbers from your FY2020 FCC Form 471 applications.

Students enrolled at brick-and-mortar schools can be counted as full-time students regardless of whether they receive some or all instruction via remote learning during the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants can provide their full-time enrollment numbers from their FY2020 FCC Form 471 applications for FY2021. Applicants are required to validate their enrollment numbers once during the five-year funding cycle, and they may update the enrollment numbers in future funding years during the five-year cycle if they choose to do so.

Are you an independent school with only part-time students? You can count those students as full-time.

Beginning in FY2021, school districts must count each full-time student one time when calculating their district-wide C2 budget. Independent schools that are attended by students from multiple districts on a part-time basis only can continue to count these students as full-time students (see the Scenario 2 description in the March 23, 2016 SL News Brief).

Are any of the schools in your school district showing zero students? Make sure they can still count toward your C2 budget calculation.

There are only five school subtypes that can have zero students and still be included in your C2 budget calculation. They are new school construction, juvenile justice, general-use schools, detention centers, and swing spaces. All others must have a student count greater than zero for the purposes of calculating a C2 budget.

Are any of the library branches in your library system showing zero square footage? They will not count toward your C2 budget calculation.

All types of library branches – including bookmobiles and kiosks – must have a square footage number greater than zero. For each library branch that has no entry or aa zero in the square footage field, you are reducing your C2 budget by a minimum of $25,000 (the funding floor). Please review your library branch profiles and update their square footage entries.

Need more information on updating entity profiles? Attend our EPC Administrative Window webinar.

The EPC Administrative Window webinar will include additional information on recent changes to EPC profiles for FY2021.

You can also open a customer service case in EPC or call CSB at (888) 203-8100.


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