I have two boys that are in the Cub Scouts. They are enjoying learning about the community around them and how to become good citizens. Recently, my 9-year-old met an Eagle Scout and is thinking he may want to join the Boy Scouts after he graduates the Cub Scouts next year. So, what do scouting and being an E-rate coordinator at a school have in common?
The obvious answer is that like a Scout, any E-rate administrator will tell you that the more prepared you are, the more successful you will become in your endeavor. In a recent funding wave, I noticed that several applicants were denied because they failed to produce the appropriate documentation from the SLD regarding these types of special reviews:
Administrator’s Selective Review Information Request;
Administrators Special Compliance Review Information Request;
Cost Effectiveness Review
All Form 471 applications will go through Program Integrity Assurance (PIA), where the reviewers ask questions about the applications to determine compliance with applicable rules and regulations. However, many applicants will also receive special reviews on top of the standard PIA questions. These applicants could be selected at random, or perhaps a response in the standard PIA process may trigger further questions from the reviewer.
These additional reviews consist of the SLD asking more specific questions about the applicant’s competitive bidding and procurement process, including all vendor responses to the Form 470 and the vendor evaluation criteria the applicant used. The SLD may also want to confirm that the applicant has chosen the most cost effective solution, and that the applicant has enough money in their budget to pay for their non-discounted portion.
Now that applications have been submitted for Funding Year 2013, applicants should expect that their PIA review process could begin at any time. Please keep this in mind when planning your schedule, as the SLD provides a short window to respond to application review requests. As my two Cub Scout boys can attest, you should “Always Be Prepared” and assume that the SLD will ask you to justify many aspects of your requests. Keeping the documentation associated with each request where it can be easily retrieved when the review process starts is one of the many ways that applicants can ensure success in the E-rate program.