Still Time to Get In Your Item 21 Attachments…

Schools and Libraries News Brief

March 25, 2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: Review the tips below to make sure you have completed all necessary tasks related to the FY2011 Form 471 application filing window. It is especially important for you to certify your forms and submit your Item 21 attachments if you have not already done so.

Commitments for Funding Year 2010

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 44 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 29. 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 March 25, FY2010 commitments total over $2.39 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.

Next Steps Related to the FY2011 Form 471 Application Filing Window

While it may be tempting to relax or return to other pressing concerns, we suggest that you take the time now to complete or prepare for the next steps in the application process.

Submit your Item 21 attachments.

If you have not already submitted your Item 21 attachments, do so as soon as possible. If you submitted your Form 471 online, you can use your Form 471 application number and security code to submit your Item 21 attachments online. Review the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website for the specific information you need to include.

Certify your Form 471.

Within the next few weeks, USAC will issue a reminder letter to applicants identifying all Forms 471 submitted online on or before the last day of the filing window but not yet certified. Applicants will have 20 days from the date on that letter to certify the Form 471 and still have the form be considered in-window. Forms 471 certified after the deadline in the letter will be considered out-of-window. Again, we encourage you to certify your Form 471 now rather than waiting for the reminder letter.

To check the status of a Form 471, click on the “Application Status” button in the Form 471 column of the Apply Online page. Enter the Billed Entity Number and choose the funding year, then click on the “Continue” button on the following page to pull up a list of Forms 471 filed by that Billed Entity with their current statuses. You can also view an individual form and its status using the Form 471 “Display” button.

Certify any Form 470 that you cited on a funding request. 

Each Form 470 cited in Item 12 of a Form 471 Block 5 funding request must be certified. Because a Form 470 can be posted to the USAC website without being certified, applicants sometimes forget to complete this important step. Although you will be reminded during PIA review if a Form 470 needs to be certified, we suggest that you take the time now to certify any Form 470 that you have cited.

To verify the status of a Form 470, click on the Search Posted button in the Form 470 column on the Apply Online page. Choose the appropriate funding year and, on the following screen, provide the application number or other details that will allow you to locate your Form 470. If the status on the third line of the form display is “COMPLETE,” return to the Apply Online page, click on the “Certify Complete” button in the Form 470 column, and follow the instruction to certify your form either online – if you have a PIN – or on paper. 

Review your RAL and submit any allowable corrections.

USAC issues a Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) to each applicant that timely certifies a Form 471. This letter contains instructions for identifying and submitting allowable corrections after a Form 471 has been submitted. We suggest that you review your letters carefully and, if you notice any errors, submit those corrections to USAC as soon as possible using the process described on the web page referenced above for the appropriate letter.

Organize and store your documents.

As part of your application filing process, you may have produced or accessed a number of documents, for example:

  • Technology plans
  • Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
  • Winning and losing bids
  • Bid evaluation matrices and other evaluation documents
  • Contracts
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP) data reports 
  • Alternative discount mechanism documentation (e.g., income surveys)
  • Draft or final budgets

You may be asked to provide or refer to some or all of these documents during Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviews, appeal reviews, audits, or other program activities. We suggest you take the time now to organize and file all documents related to your application in a manner that will allow you to easily locate and retrieve them for any future needs.

If you would like guidance on how to organize your documentation, review the E-rate Binder Table of Contents in the Reference Area of the website under the heading “Checklists and Samples.”

Check the status of your technology plan.

Applicants requesting discounts for Internal Connections and/or Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections must have an approved technology plan before services start or the Form 486 is filed, whichever is earlier. We suggest you do the following:

  • If you are already covered by an approved technology plan, check the expiration date of the plan. For FY2011 services to be covered, your approved technology plan must cover services through at least June 30, 2012.
  • If you wrote a new technology plan before you filed your Form 470 for FY2011, make sure you understand the technology plan approval process for your state and/or your entity type. You should be actively working to get your technology plan through the appropriate approval process and approved no later than July 1, 2011 in order for it to cover FY2011 services.

You should also organize and file your documents that relate to technology planning. At a minimum, these include:

  • A dated copy of the technology plan that was written before your Form 470 was filed. Note that if a funding request for FY2011 is based on a multi-year contract that has already been in effect for several years, you may still need to refer to the technology plan that served as the basis for the establishing Form 470 for that multi-year contract AS WELL AS the technology plan that covers the upcoming funding year.
  • A copy of the final approved technology plan.
  • A copy of the approval letter or other proof of approval from the USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver that approved your technology plan. The letter should clearly state the period for which the plan is approved, for example: “This technology plan is approved for the three-year period starting July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2014.” 

Prepare for PIA review.

If you have all of your documentation in order, you should be in good shape for PIA review. Remember to respond promptly to any PIA requests for information or documentation. You can ask for additional time to respond if you need it. We will cover PIA review in more detail in future editions of the SL News Brief.

Monitor your preferred mode of contact

Most applications cannot be reviewed without reaching out to the applicant for additional information. USAC will attempt to contact applicants using their preferred mode of contact for both problem resolution of forms submitted on paper and for PIA review contacts.