USAC Latest News and Tip of the Week – 3/18/2011

FY2011 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 6
Forms 471 filed to date 20,207

 Form 471 Deadline: March 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm EDT

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you have not yet filed your Form 471, pay careful attention to the tips below. Remember that your Form 471 and your Item 21 Attachment(s) must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm EDT on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

Commitments for Funding Year 2010

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 43 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 22. 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 March 18, FY2010 commitments total over $2.37 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

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.

Notes for Last-minute Form 471 Filers

If you waited until close to the February 24 deadline to file your FY2011 Form 470, you may find yourself very busy this coming week, closing your competitive bidding process, evaluating bids, signing and dating a contract, and signing and submitting Form 471. Following are some tips to help you through any last-minute filing activities.

Have a question? Call CSB this weekend.

The Client Service Bureau (CSB) is once again offering extended hours during the last week of the filing window. CSB is generally busiest on weekdays between 11:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EDT, so we suggest you call them at 1-888-203-8100 before or after those times or during this coming weekend.

Here is a list of CSB’s extended hours for the FY2011 filing window:

Day Date Open Close
Saturday March 19 9:00 am EDT 6:00 pm EDT
Sunday March 20 9:00 am EDT 6:00 pm EDT
Monday March 21 8:00 am EDT 8:00 pm EDT
Tuesday March 22 8:00 am EDT 8:00 pm EDT
Wednesday March 23 8:00 am EDT 8:00 pm EDT
Thursday March 24 8:00 am EDT 12:30 am EDT on March 25

Having trouble filing? Review our online tips.

Many of the problems applicants experience when filing online can be resolved by following one or more of the suggestions in the Tips and Troubleshooting guidance on the USAC website. For example, filers using a browser other than Internet Explorer may encounter an error screen at certain points in the online application process, and changing browsers (or moving to a computer with an Internet Explorer browser) will allow you to continue your work.

We suggest that you refer first to this document to assist you with any online filing problems and then call CSB if you can’t resolve your problem on your own.

Lacking a SPIN? You can still file online.

Some service providers may have applied for a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) but not yet received one. However, applicants completing a Form 471 Block 5 funding request must include the name and SPIN of the service provider that will be providing the services for that funding request.

If your service provider does not yet have a SPIN, you can enter the “interim SPIN” of 143666666 in Item 13 to complete and submit your form online. (The search results will display “SLD Interim” in Whippany, NJ for the service provider name.) After your service provider receives a SPIN, you can correct this item using the Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) correction process or during the review of your application. Remember that there are deadlines for both RAL corrections and responses to PIA requests.

The interim SPIN is available for use only during the last week of the filing window each year.

Need an entity number? Request it now.

As in years past, we expect CSB to be inundated with requests to create entity numbers during the last week of the window. If you know that you will need one or more entity numbers for new school or library construction, non-instructional facilities located off-campus, or other situations, please request those entity numbers from CSB as soon as possible.

You can request new entity numbers – or update information on existing entity numbers – through Submit a Question (choose “Entity Number” from the Topic Inquiry menu), by fax at 1-888-276-8736, or by phone at 1-888-203-8100. If you need to request more than three entity numbers, please use the Submit a Question or fax options and provide all the information requested in the Entity Numbers guidance on the USAC website. Note that it may take longer to complete update or creation requests for multiple entities if you wait until the last minute.

Need an NCES or FSCS code? Find it online.

The Form 471 Block 4 worksheet requests an NCES code for each school entity and an FSCS code for each library entity listed on the worksheet. If you do not know your code, you can proceed as follows:

  • If you need the NCES code for a public school, go to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) school search tool and choose the appropriate search criteria to find your school and NCES code. You can also ask your state department of education, which may post NCES codes on a state website.
  • If you need the FSCS code for a public library, go to the Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) library search tool and choose the appropriate search criteria to find your library and FSCS code. You can also ask your state library, which may post FSCS codes on a state website.
  • If you cannot locate your code and you are filing online, you can leave this item blank. You will have to click “OK” to bypass the warning message that you receive, but the system will then allow you to continue to work on your application. If you leave the item blank, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) may ask for your code during application review.
  • Note that some entities, such as private schools or libraries, non-instructional facilities, or schools and libraries under construction, may not have codes.

Other thoughts for last-minute filers

USAC continues to encourage you to file online and not to wait until the last day of the filing window to submit your Form 471. Your Form 471 and your Item 21 attachment(s) must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

  • An online form has been submitted when you push the “Submit” button and are then given the choice to certify online or on paper.
  • A paper form has been submitted when it is postmarked, stamped as received by a delivery service, or hand-delivered onsite to our facility in Lawrence, KS. Be sure to maintain proof of postmark or delivery.

We will send you a reminder letter if you do not certify a Form 471 submitted online before the close of the filing window. You must then certify your form – online or on paper – by the 20-day deadline on the letter in order for it to be considered in-window. However, note that if you certify online after the window closes but before the 20-day deadline, your form status will show as “Certified – Out of Window” until the 20-day deadline passes and we are able to update our database to move your application back inside the window.

Also, while we encourage you to check your work carefully, remember that many form errors can be corrected either by using the RAL correction process described in your RAL or by working with your reviewer during PIA review. If you find that you have made one or more mistakes on your submitted form, we suggest that you use the RAL correction process to submit your allowable corrections no later than 20 days after the date on the RAL.