April 1, 2011 USAC News and Tip of the week

Schools and Libraries News Brief

April 1, 2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you do not have any corrections to your Form 471, DO NOT submit a copy of your RAL to USAC. Submitting a RAL with no corrections may delay the processing of your application.

Commitments for Funding Years 2010 and 2009

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 45 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) April 5. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 81% and above and denials at 79% and below. As of April 1, FY2010 commitments total over $2.41 billion.

Funding Year 2009. USAC will release FY2009 Wave 83 FCDLs April 6. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 77% and above and denials at 76% and below. As of April 1, FY2009 commitments total over $2.8 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.

Update on May Service Provider Training

USAC has closed registration for the Atlanta training on Thursday, May 12 and will continue to work the existing waiting list as cancellations are received. There are only a few people on the waiting list for Los Angeles on May 3, so please consider registering for that training if you have a choice.

You can register for the training and get hotel reservation information from the Upcoming Events section of the Trainings and Presentations page on the USAC website. Please email USAC if you need to cancel your registration so we can open a slot for someone else. 

Using the Form 471 Status Tool

If you want to know the status of your FY2011 Form 471, you can look it up using the Form 471 Application Status Tool. This tool provides real-time information on the status of Forms 471 filed for a specific Billed Entity and funding year.

To use this tool, you must enter a Billed Entity Number (BEN), choose a funding year, and click “Search.” The first screen you see gives you general information about the results of your search. If you click “Continue” at the bottom of the page, you will then see the following information for every Form 471 filed for the BEN and funding year you entered:

  • Form 471 Application Number (assigned by USAC)
  • Applicant Form Identifier (created by the Billed Entity)
  • Application Status

Below the list of search results is an Application Status Explanation table that provides information on each of the statuses that can be assigned to a Form 471.

Certified Forms 471 – that is, Forms 471 filed online and certified online, filed online and certified on paper, or filed on paper – generally begin with one of two statuses: Certified – In Window or Certified – Out of Window.

  • Paper forms postmarked on or before March 24, 2011 and forms filed online and certified (online or on paper) on or before March 24, 2011 will generally show a status of Certified – In Window.
  • Note that the status of some out-of-window Forms 471 will be changed to Certified – In Window in the near future. For FY2011, these include Forms 471 submitted online on or before 11:59 pm EDT on March 24, 2011 and then certified either online or on paper after the filing window closed but on or before the extended certification deadline. (We will discuss this deadline in a future SL News Brief. However, if you have not yet certified your form, you should do so as soon as possible.) 

Forms 471 in a Certified – In Window status remain in that status until they are assigned to an initial reviewer to begin the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) application review process. Once the Form 471 has been assigned to an initial reviewer, its status changes to Initial Review.

Your initial reviewer may have questions about your application. If so, he or she will attempt to contact you using the preferred mode of contact you indicated in Item 6 of the Form 471. If your preferred mode of contact is telephone, the initial reviewer will call you and ask you for a fax number or email address in order to send you written questions and/or requests for information.

After the initial review of an application is complete and the reviewer has recommended a decision on funding, the status of the application changes to Available for Final Review. As above, once the application has been assigned to a final reviewer, the status changes to Final Review.

NOTE: The final reviewer reviews the work of the initial reviewer. If the final reviewer discovers a problem – such as a procedure that was not correctly followed – he or she returns the application to the initial reviewer for additional work. If this happens, the status of the form will change back to Initial Review and your initial reviewer may contact you again. In other words, because this tool shows real-time status, you should not be concerned if your application moves back to Initial Review

After the final reviewer is satisfied that all procedures have been properly followed and the decision of the initial reviewer is correct, the application may be subject to additional quality checks (Quality Assurance 1 or Quality Assurance 2). As above, if a problem is identified, the form will return to Initial Review status for resolution.

Once the review process is complete, USAC can issue decisions on funding requests. After USAC issues an FCDL, the status of the Form 471 changes to FCDL Issued – ‘xx/xx/xxxx’ where the x’s are replaced by the date the FCDL was issued. Note that if some individual funding requests on the application are in an “As Yet Unfunded” or “Under Review” status, one or more subsequent FCDLs may be issued until USAC has issued a funding decision on all the funding requests on the application. If USAC issues more than one FCDL, the date featured on the Form 471 status will be the date of the latest FCDL.

Some applications may be held or deferred. The following statuses indicate that review of an application has been temporarily suspended:

  • Unable to Contact: USAC has attempted to reach the contact person using the information available on the form and in our database and has been unable to do so. If your application is in this status, you should contact your initial reviewer. If you don’t know who your initial reviewer is or are unable to locate his or her contact information, call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 1-888-203-8100 for assistance.
  • Deferred: USAC has been unsuccessful in contacting you during the summer or winter periods when extended holiday and break schedules occur or – during one of those periods – you asked us to defer our review. (For more information on these summer and winter periods, successful contacts, and response deadlines, refer to the guidance document Deadline for Information Requests posted on the USAC website.) If you feel you should not be in this status, contact your initial reviewer or CSB as described above.
  • Awaiting Applicant Documentation: USAC has requested information or documentation from you but does not yet have your response. Contact your initial reviewer if you have any questions.
  • Held for further review and other verification: USAC needs to collect additional information and/or verify information already provided before a funding decision can be made. In some cases this can happen quickly; in others, the additional work will take some time.

Note that USAC will not review applications that have the following statuses:

  • Canceled: In general, a form in Canceled status was canceled in consultation with the Billed Entity.
  • Incomplete: A form in Incomplete status is either a paper form for which data entry has not been completed or an online form for which the “Submit” button has not yet been pushed.
  • Complete: A form in Complete status was submitted successfully online but has not yet been certified.
  • Certified – Out of Window: A form in Certified – Out of Window status was submitted after the filing window closed or certified after the extended certification deadline or both. It will only be considered for funding after all Certified – In Window forms have been considered.  Except for FY1999, funding has been insufficient to consider funding requests on out-of-window forms.