USAC has submitted detailed information about the procedures in place to administer the E-rate program. In the FCC's Fifth Schools and Libraries Report and Order, USAC was directed to submit to the Commission all USAC administrative procedures that they use to make E-rate funding decisions that are not explicitly stated in FCC rules. The USAC procedures also highlight specific statutory requirements that the procedures further as well as outline how they protect against waste, fraud, and abuse.
Some highlights from these procedures include:
- 15-Day Processing – In previous years, applicants were given seven days to respond to information requests from the SLD. This has now been expanded to give applicants 15 days to respond. The SLD states in their administrative procedures that they will grant reasonable extensions if applicants need more time. The SLD should also alert applicants before a funding denial or modification occurs and give them the opportunity to respond with further information, documentation, or to clarify responses.
- Appeal Procedure – Under certain circumstances outlined in the administrative procedures document, the SLD will accept new or updated information during the USAC appeal process. Also, there are times when the FCC may make a policy change or clarification while an appeal is under consideration at USAC. In these instances, USAC indicates that they strive to properly address the new or clarified policy.
- RFP Posting Requirements – Applicants are required to indicate on their Form 470 if an RFP is going to be released. Based on FCC rules applicants are not required to have an RFP available for 28 days before a decision is made, however the SLD's administrative procedures clearly state that an RFP must be available for a 28 day period before the selection of the service provider and the signing of a contract.
- Pattern Analysis – According to a Funds For Learning analysis, since FY 2003 the SLD has denied approximately $145 million because of "similarities in Form 470's". The SLD has now formally advised the FCC of their procedures regarding this "pattern analysis" where Form 470's are identical where the SLD is concerned of vendor involvement in the competitive bidding process. Applicants will be asked to provide an explanation.
To view the complete administrative procedures document, click here .