E rate 101 overview of the program
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E-Rate 101: Overview of the Program. Training for Success Schools and Libraries Division. Washington, DC • Orlando • Boston • New Orleans • Cleveland • San Francisco • Phoenix September/October 2007. Overview . Eligibility Eligible services Technology planning

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E-Rate 101: Overview of the Program

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E-Rate 101:Overview of the Program

Training for Success

Schools and Libraries Division

Washington, DC • Orlando • Boston • New Orleans • Cleveland • San Francisco • Phoenix

September/October 2007


  • Eligibility

  • Eligible services

  • Technology planning

  • Requesting services (Form 470)

  • Discounts

  • Ordering services (Form 471)

  • PIA Review and commitments

  • Confirming services (Form 486)

  • Invoicing (Form 472 or Form 474)

Funding Timetable

  • Funding commitments are made by funding year (July 1 – June 30)

    • Recurring services received July 1 – June 30 (12 months)

    • Non-recurring services delivered and installed July 1 – September 30 (15 months)

  • The Window:Form 471 filing window (mid-November to early February before the start of the funding year)

  • We encourage you to file online

Applicant Eligibility

  • To be eligible, a school:

    • Must meet the statutory definition of an elementary or a secondary school in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

    • Must not be operating as a for-profit business

    • Must not have an endowment exceeding $50 million

Applicant Eligibility

  • To be eligible, a library:

    • Must be eligible for assistance from a State library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act

    • Must not be operating as a for-profit business

    • Budget must be completely separate from any schools

Applicant Eligibility

  • Consortia

    • Can include both eligible and ineligible entities

    • Only eligible entities can receive discounts

    • Consortium leader has record-keeping and administrative responsibilities

Service Provider Eligibility

  • Form 498 (contact information)

    • Request a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN)

    • Provide/update contact information

  • Form 473 (annual certification)

    • Must be filed for each funding year before USAC will pay invoices

Service Provider Eligibility

Telecommunications Carriers

  • Must provide telecommunications services on a common carriage basis

  • Must file Form 499A every year and may be required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund

Eligible Services

Four categories of eligible services

  • Priority 1 (funded first)

    • Telecommunications Services

    • Internet Access

  • Priority 2 (funded beginning with neediest applicants first)

    • Internal Connections

    • Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections

Eligible Services

  • Priority 1

    • Telecommunications Services

      • Local and long distance, wireline and wireless, voice/data/video

    • Internet Access

      • Basic conduit access to the Internet

Eligible Services

  • Priority 2

    • Internal Connections(switches, hubs,routers, wiring, cabling)

      • Internal Connections fundedonly 2 in 5 funding years

    • Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections

      NOTE: End user equipment - such as

      computers, monitors, or phone sets - is NOT


Technology Plan

  • Applicants must develop a technology plan

    • Use telecommunications services and information technology to achieve educational goals and/or library improvements

  • A plan IS required for discounts on any products or services other than “Basic Telephone Service” and voice mail.

Technology Planning

  • Must contain five elements:

    • Goals/Strategies for using technology

    • Professional development

    • Needs assessment

    • Evaluation process

    • Sufficient budget

Make sure your technology plan is written at the time the Form 470 is filed

Technology Planning

  • Must be written before Form 470 is filed

  • Must cover all 12 months of the funding year

  • Should not cover more than 3 years

  • Must be approved by a USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver (TPA) by the start of services or the filing of Form 486, whichever is earlier

  • Service providers should not be involved in the creation of the technology plan and should not act as the technology plan approver

Form 470

Form 470 – Services Requested

  • Filed by applicants to define desired services and open the competitive bidding process

  • Must be posted on the USAC website for at least 28 days before selecting service provider and/or signing a contract

  • Form 470 request must be based on the technology plan

  • Applicants can also issue a Request For Proposal (RFP), which must also be available for at least 28 days

Form 470

Multi-year or annual posting

  • Can be filed once for multi-year contracts or contracts with voluntary extensions, but Form 470 and RFP must indicate intent

  • Tariffed or month-to-month services must post Form 470 annually

  • Service providers are prohibited from filing and signing Form 470 or representing applicant in bidding process

Form 470

  • Competitive Bidding

    • The applicant must conduct a fair and open bidding process

      • All bidders are treated the same

      • All bidders have equal access to information

      • All bidders know what is required of them

    • The applicant must choose the most cost-effective offering with the price of eligible products and services being primary

Receipt Notification Letter

Receipt Notification Letter (RNL)

  • Issued by USAC after Form 470 is posted

  • Provides important information

    • Allowable Vendor Selection/Contract Date (28 days after posting)

  • Offers opportunity to make allowable corrections


  • Schools and libraries can receive discounts on eligible services.

  • Discounts range from 20% - 90% on eligible products and services

  • Discounts are based on:

    • Percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

    • Urban or rural location of school or library


Discount Matrix


  • Calculating Discount Methods

    • Primary measure: NSLP

    • Alternative discount mechanisms

  • Shared Discounts

    • School districts use the weighted average of the discounts of individual schools in the school district

    • Libraries use the simple average discount of the school district in which they are located

    • Consortia use the simple average of the consortium members


  • Applicants must sign and datecontracts before the Form 471 is certified

    • Date can be written in contract

  • Contracts can cover more than one year or contain extensions, but these options must be indicated in the establishing Form 470

  • Tariffed and month-to-month services do not require a contract, but they are considered contracted services if a contract is signed

Form 471

Form 471 – Services Ordered

  • Contains specific information on services ordered, quantities, from whom, at what price

  • Shows discount rate calculation and lists entities receiving services

  • Applicant certifies compliance with rules and verifies that it has the necessary resources to make effective use of the discounted services

  • Must be filed each year within the filing window

Form 471

  • Service providers are encouraged to:

    • Provide guidance to the applicant on its services and functionality

    • Assist with providing information for the Item 21 attachment and other information

  • Service provider should always provide correct SPIN and contact information

  • Service providers should avoid any involvement in the bidding process except as bidders and should not answer any questions regarding the bidding process.

Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL)

  • Issued by USAC to applicants and service providers after Form 471 is certified

  • Confirms the filing of the Form 471 and provides the details of the funding requests

  • Offers an opportunity to make allowable corrections

PIA Review

  • Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) checks for compliance with program rules, eligibility of entities and services, verification of service types/costs

    • Provide complete and prompt responses to PIA’s questions

    • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand

    • Service providers can assist applicants in responding to PIA questions about the products and services they are providing but not about other areas.

Funding Commitments

  • USAC issues Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) to applicants and service providers when PIA review is complete

  • Funding status by Funding Request Number (FRN):

    • Funded (includes modifications)

    • Not funded

    • As yet unfunded (applicant FCDL only)

    • Canceled

  • Funds approved for specific services from specific service providers at the applicant’s approved discount rate

Form 486

Form 486 – Services Confirmed

  • Notifies USAC that services have started and invoices can be paid

  • Applicant certifies that its technology plan meets program requirements

  • Applicant certifies its status under Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

Form 486

Form 486

  • Filed online or postmarked no later than

    • 120 days after the Service Start Date or

    • 120 days after the date of the FCDL,

      whichever is later

  • There may be a penalty for filing late

  • Service Start Date

    • Cannot be before July 1 of the funding year


Form 472 or 474 – Services Invoiced

  • Requests reimbursement from USAC for discount on cost of services delivered

  • Filed online or postmarked no later than

    • 120 days after the last date to receive service or

    • 120 days after the date of the Form 486 Notification Letter, whichever is later

  • Two options for requesting reimbursement


Form 472

Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form

  • Filed if applicant PAID for services in full

  • Reimbursement handled through service provider

  • Cash or credit reimbursement

  • Service provider must reimburse applicant within 20 days of receipt of funds


Form 474

Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form

  • Filed by service provider

  • Applicant gets discounted bills

  • Submitted AFTER applicant has received service and been billed by service provider

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