With a flurry of last-minute questions and deliveries, the E-rate program's initial 75-day filing window came to a close April 15, with thousands of schools and libraries submitting applications for specific amounts of E-rate funding. All of the applicants who successfully completed both the Form 470 and the Form 471 during the filing window will be given equal priority when the Schools and Libraries Corporation begins distributing funds.
There was no immediate word on exactly how many applications had been filed during the window period. The SLC will continue to accept new applications, which will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, assuming that funding remains after the first applications are supported.
The day after the deadline, the SLC posted further details on the procedures it will follow in reviewing applications. The corporation said that upon arrival, applications will be date-stamped, then reviewed for completeness. Those that are found to be completed will be cleared for data entry. Those that have some incomplete answers will be referred to the Problem Resolution Team, which will contact an applicant by fax and give them seven days in which to provide the missing information. Applications that fail to meet the SLC's Minimal Processing Standards are returned to applicants with a letter explaining the rejection. An application will be rejected automatically if it is filed by fax or e-mail, or if less than two-thirds of it is legible.
Once an application has cleared the initial review and/or Problem Resolution Team, it will be entered into the SLC data system. Once an application has been entered into the system, the SLC said it will notify an applicant.
After applications have been entered into the system, they will be reviewed by a Program Integrity Assurance Team to check that the substantive information in the applications comply with program regulations. If contacted by this team, applicants will have another seven days in which to respond if they want to maintain their position in the window period.
The SLC said it could not yet say when funding commitments will be made.