This week the President submitted his FY 2009 budget requests to Congress outlining his federal spending priorities. Funds For Learning analyzed the budget in terms of E-rate impact. This coming year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking Congressional authority to take out an additional $25 million from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to conduct even more rigorous oversight, conduct more investigations, to hire more auditors and purchase tools that could be used to assist them in their efforts. Last year Congress already gave the FCC authority to transfer $21 million from the USF for these same activities.
The FY 2009 FCC budget included E-rate appeal figures that continue to show a positive trend for E-rate stakeholders. From 2003-2005 an average 166 appeals was resolved each year. In 2006 and 2007 the FCC has resolved over 500 appeals each year. For the most part, unless fraud has been found, the FCC has recently been forgiving when clerical or administrative errors have occurred.
Funds For Learning will continue to monitor the appropriations and legislative process over the coming months.