The Latest from USAC – Feb. 25, 2011

FY2011 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 27
Forms 470 filed to date   34,409
Forms 471 filed to date 8,090

TIP OF THE WEEK: The FY2011 Form 471 application filing window will close at 11:59 pm EDT on Thursday, March 24. Start your planning now to have all appropriate processes concluded and all forms and documents submitted – including your Item 21 Attachment(s), now a window filing requirement – no later than this deadline.

Commitments for Funding Year 2010

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 40 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 1. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections) at 81% and above and denials at 79% and below. As of February 25, FY2010 commitments total over $2.29 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.

Register for May Service Provider Training

USAC will hold two one-day training sessions for service providers in May. The materials covered will be the same at both sessions.  The dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday, May 3 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott in Los Angeles, California
  • Thursday, May 12 at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia

Registration information – including an online registration form – has been posted on the USAC website. 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.

First FY2011 RALs Reissued

USAC began issuing Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment Letters (RALs) for FY2011 on January 19, 2011. In some of the earliest RALs, information from Form 471 Item 6f, Holiday/vacation/summer contact information, appeared in other fields in error.

The information in USAC’s database is correct. However, to avoid confusion and unnecessary RAL corrections, USAC will re-issue RALs for the dates on which these errors occurred. Applicants will have 20 days from the date of the re-issued RAL to submit allowable RAL corrections.

Application Process: Preparing to File Form 471

After applicants have filed a Form 470, waited at least 28 days, selected the most cost-effective bid using the price of eligible products and services as the primary factor in their evaluation process, and signed a contract (for services other than non-contracted tariffed or month-to-month services), they are ready to begin filing Form 471, Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form. This form provides USAC with the detailed information necessary to review and make decisions on applicant funding requests.

In advance of filing the form, you should gather together the materials and other information you will need and verify that the information USAC already has on file is correct. Following are some examples of information that you should have ready before you begin your form.

Billed Entity information

In Block 1 of the Form 471, we ask for the name, address, and other contact information for both the Billed Entity and the contact person. The information on the Billed Entity already exists in our database and cannot be changed online; the information on the contact person can be changed, and can be the same as or different from the Billed Entity information. The contact person information is specific to each form – in other words, you can file three Forms 471 and enter a different contact person on each form if necessary.

To verify that the Billed Entity information in our database is correct:

  • Go to the Apply Online page.
  • Choose either “Form 471 Interview” or “Create Form 471.”
  • Search for your Billed Entity by zip code or entity number.
  • Review the contact information displayed for your Billed Entity.

If any of the information is incorrect, you must contact the Client Service Bureau (CSB) to correct it. You can do this in any one of the following ways:

  • Call CSB at 1-888-203-8100 and make your request.
  • Fax your request to CSB at 1-888-276-8736.
  • Email your request to CSB using Submit a Question. Choose “Entity Number” from the Topic Menu and “Other” from the Specific Inquiry menu, then describe the change(s) you would like to make.

If your Billed Entity does not exist in the USAC database, you can ask CSB to create an entity number. To submit a request, first refer to the guidance on Entity Numbers posted on the USAC website. If you need to create more than two new entity numbers, you should use the fax or email options above to submit your request. Remember to include all of the information requested in the Entity Numbers guidance.

Recipient of service information

In Block 4 of the Form 471, you will list the recipients of service – that is, the individual entities that are receiving services. Each of these entities must have an entity number.

  • Some services are provided to one individual school or one library outlet/branch and will require only one entity number to identify the recipient of service; these are called site-specific services.
  • Some services are provided to the entire school district or library system. For these shared services, you must prepare a worksheet listing all of the individual entities that will be sharing the service.
  • Some services are provided to a subset of schools in a school district, a subset of library outlets/branches in a library system, or a subset of consortium members in a consortium. For these shared services, you must prepare a worksheet listing only the specific entities sharing the service. Do not list all the entities in the school district, library system, or consortium unless all of them are sharing the service.

If you need to update information for any of the individual recipients of service – or if you need USAC to create entity numbers for new recipients of service – contact CSB as described above.

You also will need to enter certain specific information about each recipient of service, including:

  • Urban or rural status. You can use the Rural/Urban Classification guidance document on the USAC website to determine if an entity is urban or rural.
  • Total number of students. Individual schools use the total number of students in that school. Library outlets/branches use the total number of students in the school district in which the library building is located.
  • Total number of students in the school eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Individual schools use the total number of students eligible for NSLP in that school. Library outlets/branches use the total number of students eligible for NSLP in the school district in which the library building is located.
  • Other demographic information as appropriate – for example, there are checkboxes to indicate if any students in a school are Head Start, pre-kindergarten, juvenile justice, or adult education, or if the school or library is new construction or used an alternative discount mechanism to calculate its discount.

NSLP numbers may be obtained from school district offices or state departments of education. In many states, these numbers are also posted on a state website.

Establishing Form 470

On each Form 471 funding request (Form 471 Item 12), you must include the establishing Form 470 application number. The establishing Form 470 is the Form 470 that formed the basis for the competitive bidding process that resulted in the selection of the service provider identified on that funding request. If a funding request is for a multi-year contract or a contract with voluntary extensions, you may have to look in your records from a previous year to find the correct Form 470 application number.

Service and contract information

If you have signed a contract, make sure you have a copy of the contract when you start filling out your Form 471. The Form 471 asks for a number of contract details, such as the date the contract was awarded, the contract number, and the date the contract expires. If you don’t have a contract, you will still need information about your services, such as the dates the services for that funding year will start and end. A contract or other service documentation from your service provider can also help you prepare the description of services you must provide as an attachment to Item 21 of the form.

Remember that the category of service featured on each funding request must match the category of service featured on the establishing Form 470.

Applicant financial resources

Applicants must be able to pay the non-discount share of their funding requests (that is, the part of the cost of eligible services that will not be paid by USAC) and the costs of the resources necessary to make effective use of the discounted services – such as computers, electrical capacity, and staff training – that are not themselves eligible for discounts.

Remember that the funds to pay your non-discount share cannot come directly or indirectly from your service provider(s).

If you file Form 471 online, the system will calculate and enter your total non-discount share for that form in Item 25 using the data you provide in your funding requests. You must then calculate and enter the total cost of the necessary resources. Be sure to read the Item 25 certification carefully so that you understand what you are certifying.

These are examples of the information you will want to have on hand before you start filing your Form 471. We suggest that you review the Form 471 and Form 471 Instructions now so that you will be familiar with the form requirements. Remember that you must file online or postmark your FY2011 Form 471 – including the Item 21 Attachment(s) – by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 24, 2011.