After three months and over $1 billion in issued funding waves for FY 2010, applicants that have received their funding commitment decision letters are beginning to plan their next steps in the E-rate process. Here are a few things to remember after receiving your commitment.

File the Form 486

Before you can start seeking reimbursement, the applicant must file a Form 486. The Form 486 certifies that you are receiving services for the given funding year and further certifies that:

Know Your Form 486 Deadlines

The Form 486 cannot be filed before you receive a funding commitment decision letter (FCDL). Once you have received the FCDL you can submit the Form 486 to begin services, but you must be mindful to submit the form within the deadline.

Once you have received the FCDL, you have 120 days after the date listed on the FCDL, to file the Form 486. If the Form 486 is delayed, it may jeopardize some of your approved requests. Note that if you filed more than one Form 471 (eg. Priority One and Priority Two requests), you will need to file a Form 486 for each of these applications as the FCDLs are received.

Determine Your Reimbursement Method

If you have not done so already, you will need to coordinate with the service provider to determine their method of reimbursement. There are two methods of reimbursement in the E-rate process. The first is to receive discounted billing from the approved service provider. The service provider then bills the SLD for the committed portion of the delivered services using a Service Provider Invoice (Form 474 or SPI). The second method available to the applicant is to pay the service provider in full and then apply for reimbursement directly to the SLD (Form 472 or BEAR).

Don’t Forget about FY 2011

Now is the time to start preparing for FY 2011. Even though the window to apply for funding is relatively short, schools can release a Form 470 and conduct their procurement processes at any time during the funding year.