News & Tips from USAC for Oct. 14, 2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: Plan to meet the Form 486 and invoicing deadlines that occur at the end of this month. In general, invoices for FY2010 recurring services are due October 28 and FY2011 Forms 486 are due October 31. For more information, refer to the September 30 SL News Brief.

Commitments for Funding Years 2011, 2010 and 2009

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 18 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 18. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90%. As of October 14, FY2011 commitments total just under $1.02 billion.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 71 FCDLs October 19. This wave can include commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at all discount levels. As of October 14, FY2010 commitments total over $2.84 billion.

Funding Year 2009. USAC will release FY2009 Wave 95 FCDLs October 17. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 77% and above and denials at 76% and below. As of October 14, FY2009 commitments total over $2.87 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.

Entity Numbers

What is an entity number?

An entity number is a unique identifying number assigned by USAC to each entity that (1) is eligible to receive discounts under the E-rate program and/or (2) files program forms.

An eligible entity can be an individual school, a library outlet/branch, a school district, a library system, or a Non-Instructional Facility (NIF) such as an administrative office. Entity numbers for eligible entities can appear in Block 1 of a program form and/or in a Form 471 Block 4 worksheet that lists the recipients of service for a funding request.

Here are some examples of entities that have entity numbers but that are not eligible for (or do not request) discounted services:

  • A state procurement agency that files a Form 470 to open a competitive bidding process. The agency enters its entity number in Form 470, Item 3.
  • A city or town that controls the budget of a library and pays the bills for the library. The city or town enters its entity number in Block 1 of all appropriate program forms.
  • A consortium leader that is not itself eligible for discounts but applies on behalf of its consortium members. The consortium leader enters its entity number in Block 1 of all appropriate program forms.
  • A school district, if the district is not applying for funding itself but an applicant is completing one or more Form 471 Block 4 worksheets for the district’s individual schools. The applicant enters the school district entity number wherever it is requested in Block 4 worksheet entries. (Note that a library enters the entity number of the school district in which the library is located.)
  • A library system, if the system is not applying for funding itself but an applicant is completing one or more Form 471 Block 4 worksheets for the system’s outlets/branches. The applicant enters the library system entity number wherever it is requested in Block 4 worksheet entries.

What is a Billed Entity Number?

If an entity pays a service provider for products and/or services delivered to eligible schools and/or libraries, that entity is called a billed entity. USAC assigns that entity a Billed Entity Number or BEN. There is no visible difference between a number assigned as a BEN and a number assigned as an entity number. (An eligible entity that pays the bills and also requests discounts does not need two numbers.)

A billed entity is not required to be – but may be – an eligible entity. For example, an ineligible entity such as town or city government may be assigned a BEN if it pays the bills to service providers for eligible services on behalf of eligible entities.

How do I locate an entity number?

To locate an entity number, go to the Billed Entity Number Search tool. You can limit your search by entity type (school district, school, library, or all types), and then search by one of the following:

  • Full or partial name (remember to add a “%” sign after a partial name)
  • Zip code
  • State/territory
  • Entity number

For specific information about an entity, click on the Billed Entity Number in the search results.

How do I request an entity number?

To request an entity number, contact our Client Service Bureau (CSB) either through Submit a Question (choose “Entity Number” from the Topic Inquiry list and then “I need an entity number for a new entity”) or by calling 1-888-203-8100.

CSB needs specific information to create a new entity. For assistance in preparing your request for an entity number or for more information about entity numbers, refer to the document Step 1. Entity Numbers posted on the USAC website.

If you are requesting three or more entity numbers, please use Submit a Question to submit your request. Be sure to include all of the information listed in Step 1. Entity Numbers. You can also fax your request to CSB at 1-888-276-8736. Please request entity numbers as soon as you know you will need them.

What if my entity information is incorrect?

Contact CSB as described above to update any information that is incorrect or that has changed. Before you call, be sure you have the entity number of the entity you want to update and the corrected information handy.

Please note that, when CSB changes the entry in the database, any future forms you file will reflect the new information. You will not see a change in forms that you have already filed.

In a future issue of the SL News Brief, we will provide additional guidance on specific issues involving entity numbers.