The Schools and Libraries Division Dec. 12 posted a modification of a recently announced policy on how E-rate applicants were supposed to treat bundled ineligible services.
The SLD said that if applicants had specifically requested ineligible services as part of their Form 470 applications, then they must ask their vendors to allocate the cost of the product between its eligible and ineligible components. The SLD reasoned that in order to choose the most cost-effective solution, applicants are expected to evaluate bids only on the basis of the cost of the eligible services.
The SLD said that applicants that requested ineligible services and failed to allocate the costs will jeopardize the approval of the requested services. The SLD said that applicants that had included ineligible services in an RFP did not have to reissue a corrected RFP, as long as they broke out the ineligible costs when they made their funding requests.
The SLD said that "in limited circumstances," when an eligible product or service included ineligible components "on an ancillary basis," the full package could be eligible if it was judged to be the most cost-effective solution, without considering the ineligible features, or the package was "a standard product offering that includes the ineligible features as an intrinsic part, with no separated pricing available." The policy is described at www.sl.universalservice.org.