The USAC School and Libraries Committee held its quarterly board meeting on July 28th and have decided to recommend to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that FY 2008 priority two requests at 83% and below should be denied based on availability of funds. Last month, The FCC rolled over $600 million in unused funds from previous years to increase the amount of available funding FY 2008. Funds For Learning will inform E-rate stakeholders once the FCC has approved this recommendation.
It is currently unclear what the final FY 2008 priority two discount threshold will be. The threshold for 2008 will be higher than the final 81% for 81%.
Here are a few other highlights from the Board meeting:
- USAC will not renew BearingPoint’s agreement which is set to expire this November. In November 2004, the SLD retained BearingPoint to conduct close to 1000 site visits per year which were designed to provide feedback to the SLD on how the funds were being used as well to provide outreach and training to those applicants undergoing the visit. The USAC Schools and Libraries Committee Board approved a recommendation by the SLD to conduct the outreach in-house which will be a multi-pronged approach with less site visits and different training formats in order to reach more stakeholders. Starting January 2009, the SLD will make approximately 85 site visits during the year which will be designed to further assist the applicant with specific issues and challenges they are having.
- As of July 24th, the SLD has committed nearly $1 billion FY 2008 applications as opposed to $500 million this time last year for FY 2007. The SLD continues to get commitments out at a faster rate.
- In early July the SLD released the training dates for this year’s fall applicant training sessions. The Washington DC training is full, however, there are still spots available at the other locations.
- The SLD has 126 appeals in processing which typically can take up to 90 days before a decision is made. If you believe the SLD erred in their funding decision, you can appeal directly to the SLD, however, if the issue is more of a policy denial, the FCC would be the place to send your appeal.
Funds For Learning has a searchable FCC appeals database which makes it easy for E-rate applicants to search past FCC precedents. This can assist applicants when they are crafting their own appeals. The FCC Decision Database is included as a part of the award-winning E-rate Manager web site — a web-based service designed to assist E-rate stakeholders manage and track E-rate applications. Further information about E-rate Manager is located here .