FAQs

What is eRate?

E-rate is the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

How can I make our participation in the e-rate program less burdensome and more financially rewarding?

By taking advantage of the eRate 360 Solution – the team of Compliance Officers at eRate 360. All of the eRate 360 Compliance Officers have worked for USAC’s Schools and Libraries Division as E-rate application reviewers and then as E-rate consultants. We know the process from inside out.

eRate 360 Solutions is an E-rate savvy extension of your staff. Our Solutions staff maintains a close working relationship with you, collects your information, updates you on all pertinent E-rate activity and eligible products & services, and successfully completes the E-rate process. Our mission is to relieve the anxieties of the eRate program, navigate the E-rate application process and maximize your funding.

In the past our school district has run into problems with turnover in key school staff.

eRate 360 will become an extension of staff. We provide continuity from funding year to funding year by becoming knowledgeable of your needs and your processes, by gathering and storing all required documentation, and by managing the multi-year E-rate cycle for you.

eRate 360 will ensure your school/library meets all USAC requirements:

  • Technology Plan preparation and approval,
  • Adequacy of district budgets,
  • Requests for proposals,
  • Vendor selection,
  • Vendor contract preparation and execution,
  • E-rate application preparation and documentation, and
  • Document retention.

When the unexpected occurs, you will be prepared.

The eRate 360 Solution brings experience in various reviews, both as reviewers and as respondents.  We will act on your behalf to interface with the reviewers at the Schools and Libraries Division or prepare a response for you to deliver to SLD.  Drawing from our vast E-rate and telecommunications knowledge base we will successfully address SLD requests.

eRate 360 will prevent the cycle of repeated reviews by ensuring that a review response is right the first time.

What happens if the School/ district undergoes a change in service providers and services?

The eRate 360 team has successfully dealt with a variety of situations regarding the replacement of service providers and necessary changes in service, either before funding has been approved or after service has commenced.  We routinely work with our clients on managing such changes to ensure continuity of e-rate funding, including the filing of Corrective and/or Operational SPIN Changes as well as Service Substitution requests.

Some Critical E-rate documentation has been lost or destroyed in a fire.

One eRate 360 solution is that electronic copies of all of your required documents as well as supporting worksheets and correspondence will be retained for more than the minimum five years in our secure and redundant document repository.  You will have password-protected access to this secure repository.

The eRate 360 team will ensure that your technology plan will comply with USAC requirements and will work with you to make sure your plan receives state or agency approval.  We will guide you through your technology planning process.

In past Funding Years our School/district budget has failed to include adequate funding for all SLD requirements.

The eRate 360 team will work with your team to ensure the School district budget addresses all e-rate requirements, both for your share of eligible services and for the several areas of ineligible support services and goods (such as training, retrofitting, and ineligible hardware, software, and maintenance).  Failure to adequately budget for these items can lead to partial or total denial of funding.

How does eRate 360 address and avoid vendor bidding, selection, and contracting violations?

The eRate 360 team will work closely with your team throughout the year to manage the “e-rate-ability” of the entire process of procuring services and products. The eRate team will keep you e-rate compliant, from:

  • the planning stages, to
  • preparation of the Form 470 and, if needed, Request for Proposal, to
  • opening and evaluation of bids, to
  • awarding, drafting, and signing of contracts, to
  • submission of funding requests in the Form 471.

We will assist you in developing timetables for the process and ensure that all E-rate deadlines are met.  Our mission is to work alongside of your staff to avoid the myriad of pitfalls in the e-rate system.

What happens if we are notified of an on-site audit by USAC?

The team at eRate 360 will be in your corner and on-site, if necessary, to guide you through any USAC or third party audit.  We will use our audit experience to give you an idea of what to expect and best prepare you for an optimal outcome in dealing with the auditors.  Most importantly, from the get-go, eRate 360 will start you out on a course that keeps you totally compliant with all E-rate rules and regulations so that the idea of an on-site audit will never be daunting or worrisome.

Should funding be denied, we will aggressively pursue all possible solutions including filing appeals.  Our team has a terrific record in winning appeals for schools whose funding has been denied by USAC – we have won back over 90% of appealed funds (and won over a number of new clients in the process).