Applicants are encouraged to take steps immediately to complete their FY2015 E-rate reimbursement paperwork. The need to submit a Form 498 or to request a new BEAR PIN can slow down the process.

Either way, if you have not yet completed your 2015 payment paperwork, now is the time.

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Thousands of applicants are facing the October 28, 2016, deadline to submit reimbursement requests for Funding Year 2015 recurring telecommunications and Internet service fees. As of today, $541 million of committed funds have yet to be claimed for non-discounted services that were started (i.e. a Form 486 was submitted).

Historically, about 80% of the funds committed for Category 1 services are utilized. Right now, the utilization rate for FY2015 stands at about 61%. While it is not unusual for there to be a rush of applicants submitting reimbursement paperwork at the end of October, this year there is a concern that more funds will go unutilized because of challenges associated with the transition in USAC’s payment processing, specifically, the need to submit a Form 498 for electronic deposits and for BEAR signature PINs to be generated.

These extra steps are required for reimbursement paperwork to be completed – and it can take 2 or 3 days for these extra steps. All applicants should double-check the status of their FY2015 funding commitments and take steps to complete their payment paperwork, or submit an invoice extension request no later than October 28.