It’s the start of a new E-rate funding year, and I have Christmas in July on my mind.  More specifically, I am thinking of the holiday story favorite, A Christmas Carol, and the invaluable lessons learned from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Here are some ideas for keeping your E-rate ‘ghosts’ content.

The Ghost of E-rate Past

Don’t let your past come back and haunt you.  For any services received over this past year, make certain that you have all the appropriate documentation.  Make sure you are familiar with E-rate document retention requirements and maintain your documents for the appropriate length of time.

The Ghost of E-rate Present

Kick off the E-rate New Year right!  For service providers, this may be as simple as verifying you have a Form 473 or Service Provider Annual Certification form on file as the SLD will not be able to pay SPIs or BEARs for services that start on July 1, 2013 without one.  For applicants, you should verify that your technology plan is certified if you are requesting Priority 2 services.  If basic maintenance services will be starting July 1, 2013, then your technology plan should be approved now.

The Ghost of E-rate Future

Look ahead for changes to the E-rate program. The FCC has announced it will be releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by the end of this summer, which will be discussed during the July 19th Open Meeting. Let your voice be heard by submitting comments to the FCC and checking out the Funds For Learning® E-rate 2.0 Proposal, a plan to ensure the changes to the E-rate program provide more equity and sustainability.