March 25 Form 471 Deadline Draws Near
Editor's note: this analysis was written before the FCC's announcement that the FY2020 filing window will be extended to April 29.
With the Funding Year 2020 Form 471 filing window closing in two weeks, applicants should submit their applications as soon as possible. USAC can process multiple Form 471 applications for any school or library system; therefore, applicants should check for funding requests that can be submitted on a Form 471 this week.
E-rate applications are being submitted at a similar pace as last year. As of March 9, 2020 there were 54,716 school and library sites listed on FY2020 Category One applications, and 8,633 sites on Category Two (C2) applications. While these counts are very similar to FY2019, a record number of Form 470s submitted in February foreshadow a large number of C2 funding applications being submitted in the last two weeks of the 2020 filing window. This could lead to significant challenges for applicants as they prepare their funding requests in USAC’s online portal.
The most effective applicants do not wait to submit their Form 471 applications, and all applicants are encouraged to start the process now. The closer to the deadline, the more likely there will be challenges or delays in submitting applications.