If the proposed application forms for Year 3 of the E-rate program are approved, applicants will have to provide some different kinds of information than they have before.
Applicants would no longer have to supply numbers assigned to their school buildings by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Instead, they will have to supply an "Entity Number" that has been assigned by the SLD.
Also, applicants would no longer have to supply the zip codes of every site covered by a Form 470 application seeking bids on contracts. Instead they will need to provide the area code and telephone prefix of every site-information that is expected to make it easier for telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers to determine if they can serve all of the customers covered by an application.
The Form 471 application would also solicit several pieces of information designed to help the program administrators measure the program's impact. These include such things as the growth in the number of classrooms that have telephone service, the growth in the number of buildings that have high-bandwidth connections, the growth in the number of connections to the Internet and the growth in the number of buildings, rooms and computers connected to the Internet.
The new Form 471 also would require applicants to explicitly break out what percentage of their charges are ineligible for support. In addition, the proposed new form includes new worksheets for calculating discount rates.
The proposed new forms grew out of the work of an SLD task force that recommended changes designed to improve the program in Year 3.
Under the proposed changes, the window for filing applications would apply only to the second, Form 471 application. It is currently expected to run from mid-November to mid-January, 2000.