The Schools and Libraries Corporation has said that the filing window for the next, 1999-2000 round of E-rate applications will start Dec. 1. The length of the funding window will be determined shortly by the SLC board of directors.
Under a Federal Communications Commission ruling issued last June, the funding window was supposed to start "no later than Oct. 1." The SLC said that by extending the start date another two months, applicants would be able to find out how much money they will receive in the current funding year and incorporate that into their technology plans and E-rate applications for the future. SLC representatives indicated earlier this week that they hope to begin sending out funding commitment notices sometime in October.
The delay will also give the SLC more time to prepare and improve instructional materials for new applicants.
The FCC set the new date in an order adopted on Sept. 28, and instructed the SLC board to decide how long the window period will last. The board is expected to set the window longer than the 75 day-period it adopted for the first funding year. However, the SLC will need to allow enough time for applications to be reviewed by July 1, 1999, when the 1999-2000 funding year will start.
All schools and libraries that file both a Form 470 and a Form 471 during the filing window are given equal priority when their applications are reviewed, as long as funds are still available. Since applicants requested more money during the filing window than was available in the first funding year, applicants who filed after the window closed on April 15 are not expected to qualify for E-rate discounts.