USAC’s Schools and Libraries Division hosts monthly conference calls, providing information and guidance for service providers participating in the E-rate program. The monthly call for May was held on the 11th. Here is a brief synopsis of the call.
Note: The below information is not the official minutes from the call, but simply notes from a call participant. The official minutes for the May 11th call, as well as call minutes from previous months, can be found here.
Since the April call, USAC approved six funding waves for FY09 and FY10. For FY2009, USAC is denying Priority 2 funding requests at 76% and below and funding approved requests at 77% and above. The funding threshold is likely to remain at this level for the duration of the FY09 requests.
At the time of the call, USAC issued FY09 waves 84 on 04/20 for $1.9M and 85 on 05/02 for $1.5M.
For Funding Year 2010, USAC is currently denying Priority 2 funding requests at 79% and below and approving requests at 81% and above. For Funding Year 2010, USAC issued waves 46 on 04/12for $14.8M, 47 on 04/19 for $16.3M, 48 on 04/26 for $31M, and 49 on 05/03 for $8.6M.
FY2011 Form 471 Certification and Item 21 Deadline
The deadline for certifying the Form 471 and posting the Item 21 Descriptions of Service is May 17th.
Certifying the Form 471 is a requirement for the application to be considered “in window”. Any Form 471 certified after the 17th will be considered “out of window” and will most likely not be funded in FY2011.
If the Items 21 are not submitted before May 17th, the FRN associated with the missing Item 21 information will be canceled. PIA cannot start until the Items 21 are received.
Applicants can submit and certify the required items on the SLD website, under “Apply Online”.
FY2011 Wave 001
The first wave of Funding Year 2011 is tentatively scheduled for mid/late May.
Question and Answer
Q. When will the dates for the fall Service Provider training be available?
A. The Fall trainings are open to serive providers and applicants, but they are applicant focused. Registration for Fall applicant training is open now.
Fall 2011 Applicant Trainings:
Q. How will the SLD handle reimbursements for hardware repair/replacement when an applicant has a hardware maintenance contract?
A. The invoices associated with the reimbursement request will need to include itemized detail of the equipment maintained, hours, and services rendered.
Q. After filing a 470 and waiting the appropriate minimum time, an Applicant elected a service provider for cell phone service in Year 14. The applicant has now learned that the selected service provider will not provide discounted bills, even though this is the choice of the applicant and was indicated on the 470 form. The service provider did not tell the applicant that they would not provide credits on the bill until after the applicant signed a contract with the service provider. Is the applicant stuck with this service provider for the entire Year 14 time period or is this just cause for a SPIN change?
A. The new guidance for SPIN changes require a legitimate reason for requesting a SPIN change. If the contract in the above scenario specifically lists the option of the applicant to receive discounted or credited bills, then this may be grounds for breach of contract, which would be a legitimate reason for seeking a SPIN change.
Q. How can billing errors for customers that receive their discounts monthly, be fixed. For example: The customer did not receive their discount on multiple service accounts for five months due to a billing systems error. The customer was approved for 80% reimbursement. If we apply the back due credit to their statement at this time, the customer will have a credit balance on their statements for most of the next funding year.
A. It is permissible for applicants to have accredit balance due to billing errors. However, if the billing error resulted in an over-reimbursement from USAC, then the funds will have to be returned to USAC.
Q. Many Service Provider contracts are written so that services begin upon execution of the contract – and end at the same time of year in which the contract was signed. In this type of situation, if a customer signed a 36 month contract In-Window in February of 2009, that contract would end in February 2012. This would mean that the customer would not be eligible for funding from March – June of 2012. As some Service Providers are unable to modify their contract language to separate the Contract Execution Date from the Service Start Date, many contracts do not cover the last few months of a funding year.
Is there are mechanism for extending a contract expiration date under these conditions? For instance, can a customer sign a Contract Addendum a couple of years into the contract to extend the expiration date to cover the last four months of the 2012 Funding Year? In answering this question, assume that the establishing Form 470 indicated the customer was seeking a multi-year contract with voluntary extensions AND that the contract signed in 2009 automatically renews for one year terms upon expiration.
A. In general, contract extensions are allowable as long as they occur before the filing of the Form 471 for that funding year.
If the extension is required after the filing of the Form 471, the applicant can re-procure the service.
Let Funds For Learning be your E-rate guide in 2011. Continue to check www.fundsforlearning.com for the latest updates and E-rate news.