The Schools and Libraries Division November 22 resumed issuing E-rate funding commitment letters, approving more than $24.2 million in 194 commitment letters for applicants that had been awaiting word on commitments for the 2003 funding year, which ended June 30, 2004.
The wave is the first since the Universal Service Administrative Company was forced to stop issuing new funding commitment letters in early August after new accounting rule changes required that it have funding in hand at the time commitments were made, rather than when invoices were rendered and disbursements made.
In a statement, USAC said that “the number and timing of commitment letters will depend on the availability of cash to cover the new commitments.” USAC previously announced that when it does not have enough money to cover all applications on which it has completed its review, it would give first priority to applications from previous funding years, then to requests for Priority One services over Priority Two services, and then based on the date that its application review was completed.
So far, USAC has approved more than $2.5 billion worth of funding commitments for the 2003 funding year and close to $750 million worth of commitments for the 2004 funding year. USAC has continued to disburse funding on previously approved commitments as it waited to resume making new commitments.
USAC said the new wave, number 35 for the 2003 funding year, includes commitments for telecommunications service, Internet access and internal connections for applicants eligible for a discount rate of 70 percent or higher. Applicants that are just now getting approved for non-recurring services for 2003 will have until September 30, 2005 to complete their projects. However, commitments for 2003 recurring services can be used only for services that were used between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004.
Specific information on which applicants are covered by the latest wave should be made available by the SLD within the next few days.