The Federal-State Joint Board of Universal Service recently released its annual monitoring report which details various trends in universal service related issues.
The report highlights the E-rate application process which is a good review for E-rate novices and provides several useful charts and trends for those E-rate junkies who enjoy analyzing E-rate data.
- The report provides a chart of funding commitments versus disbursements by applicant type from June 2005. However, according to Funds For Learning, as of January 5, 2006 the total committed amount for the E-rate program is $16,453,833,019 while the total disbursed or utilized is $10,826,350,454
- The report provides trends for Funding Years 2002-2004 for commitments and disbursements by state and by type of applicant type. New York, Texas and California typically request and get the most dollars disbursed to their states while Delaware, Vermont and New Hampshire typically request the least amount of E-rate support. According to Funds For Learning's analysis, in 2005 Texas overtook New York for the most requests.
- The monitoring report points out disbursement trends by service provider invoice (Form 474) and Bears (Form 472) For example, in 2002 and 2003 applicants requesting discounting invoices almost doubled over those schools paying the service provider in full and getting reimbursed by the SLD. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. Receiving discounted invoices is less work for the applicant and when the applicant can not afford to purchase the equipment or service upfront this is the preferred method of payment. However, many technology directors are beginning to realize that if they pay through the BEAR process, they can possibly recoup the dollars for other technology spending that the E-rate does not support.
- In 2002: Service Provider Invoices – $989,115,544; BEARS – $475,872,170
- In 2003: Service Provider Invoices – $846,243,744; BEARS – $454,631,727
- The report provides data on per student commitments and disbursements by state as well as unused funding commitments by student and state. Nebraska, Wisconsin, Colorado and Alaska typically have very high utilization rates.
The E-rate portion of the monitoring report can be viewed at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-262986A6.pdf