The Schools and Libraries Division has provided additional information on its expectations for communicating with applicants during its review of Funding Year 5 applications.

First, the SLD has established a new procedure through which applicants can transmit their Item 21, Description of Services attachments by e-mail to the SLD. These documents can now be sent to attachments@universalservice.org. The SLD said documents should include a cover page that identifies the Form 471 Application Number (or Applicant Identification Number if the form was filed by mail), the Billed Entity Number and the Applicant Name. Each attachment should be numbered and labeled "Form 471 Item 21 Attachment." The SLD advised that applicants should try to include all the attachments for a single Form 471 in one e-mail message, but they should NOT combine attachments from more than one application together.

If an applicant has already been contacted by a representative of the Program Integrity Assurance staff, the SLD said attachments should be delivered directly to that person, by fax or by e-mail.

The SLD also detailed the procedures it will follow when communicating with applicants during the application review cycle. The SLD will first try to contact an applicant using its designated preferred method of contact, unless that method was mail, in which case it will use the telephone. It will consider that it has made a "successful contact" if the staff speaks to the contact person directly, leaves a voice mail message, sends a fax and receives a fax confirmation, or sends an e-mail message that does not bounce back.

If the first attempt to contact an applicant is successful, the SLD will follow up with a confirmation. If a successful contact is not made, the SLD will follow up within three business days. If the first attempt reveals that the contact person will not be available until a specific date, the SLD will attempt to contact the person after that date.

The SLD said that applicants will be expected to respond fully to their requests and forward all requested documentation to the SLD within seven calendar days after the date of the follow-up confirmation. If the SLD receives an incomplete response, it will send a follow-up fax. The applicant is expected to respond within seven calendar days after the follow-up fax is sent. If the SLD cannot reach the contact person, it will try to make a successful contact with someone else in the organization.

If the SLD does not receive a complete response within the time period set for the contact to respond, it will attempt to process as much of the form as possible with the information it has. It may decide to reject or deny individual funding requests or the entire application.