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Four Tips For Filing the Form 471

During the filing window, Funds For Learning has posted a Form 471 Tickerproviding a weekly snapshot of the posted requests. With less than two weeks left to go in the Funding Year 2011 filing window, the total requests are as follows (as of 03/14/2011):

  • Requested Amount: $665,188,812.69
  • Number of FRNS: 42,380
  • Number of Applicants: 10,659

To put these figures into sobering perspective, using FY2010 requests for comparison, FY11 still has approximately $3.5 billion and approximately 100,000 FRNs still to come.

$3.5 billion in requests crammed into 10 days. Holy Bottleneck, Batman.

So, for applicants that still need to file, here is a last bit of advice to help you through the process.

Four Tips for Form 471 Filing or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Alliteration.

  1. FCC RN: There is an extra FRN on FY2011 applications this year – the FCC Registration Number. Naming fail aside, the FCC Registration Number is required for anyone conducting business with the FCC. Most applicants will already have this number, but this may be additional stress for applicants that don’t have (or don’t know) the number and have waited until the last two weeks to file. Luckily the registration process is relatively painless and can be obtained online.

  2. Items 21: Another change that is going to add to stress to late-filing applicants is the deadline for Item 21 Description of Services. Applicants must submit their Item 21 attachments before the close of the filing window.

    If the SLD determines that the Item 21 attachments are missing, they will send the applicant a written notification requesting the Item 21 attachments and granting the applicant 15 calendar days to submit their information to the SLD. If applicants do not provide a timely response, the SLD has been directed by the FCC to treat the application as if it were submitted after the close of the filing window.

  3. Expect the Unexpected: There are a number of things that can go wrong waiting until the final week to file the Form 471, so we won’t spark wide spread panic by listing a 100 point filing window contingency plan. However, it is a good idea to know what you are going to do if you didn’t realize that the school staff involved with E-rate is on vacation for Spring Break or if, for example, the SLD site slows to a snail’s pace around 11:00pm EDT. Remember, there is $3.5 billion left to go.

  4. Check and Recheck: Before submitting the Form 471, make certain that you have included all of the services you want to seek reimbursements for in FY2011 and check for errors. There are only certain errors that can be corrected after the form is filed, and omitted services isn’t one of them.

    After you have completed the form, have someone else look over it, even if it is someone that is completely unfamiliar with program. They are often the best at catching typographical or calculation errors which could result in your funding being delayed or denied.

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