Managing the updated format and data points in the E-rate Form 471, while applying new program rules, can be a challenging task for many applicants during this filing window. Education Superhighway has developed a smart FAQ as a helpful resource to E-rate applicants as they use the new forms for Funding Year 2015. Seeking out resources for E-rate knowledge is the first step to making it through another E-rate filing window successfully.
In prior years, Priority Two funding requests were relatively complex compared to the more straightforward requests for Priority One services. Now applicants are asked for detailed and potentially complex information on their Category One funding applications – information that was not required in previous years.
Initial analysis of the Funding Year 2015 applications that have been submitted have highlighted some trouble spots for many applicants:
- Choosing correctly between transport, Internet, or both for digital transmission service – applicants should consider how these items are being billed, if they are bundled together, selecting ‘Transport and Internet’ would be appropriate. Otherwise, transport charges and Internet charges can be identified on separate line items in the Block 5 description.
- Choosing circuits or no circuits – Typically broadband connection services are delivered to sites with a circuit, so most applicants would select Digital Transmission Services for their broadband funding request – even though it doesn’t say ‘Internet’. Only in cases where Internet service is being provided or billed separately from the physical circuit charges would an applicant need to select ‘IA Only (no circuit)’ on their funding request.
- Choosing Y/N for a WAN – Wide Area Networks are made up of the circuits that connect different school or library sites to each other. Selecting ‘Y’ (yes) here will indicate that there is building-to-building data connection.
Applicants are dealing with a lot of new information, pulling it together and documenting it, and then translating that data onto a new form – all of this is difficult. We’ve said it many times before, but this year more than ever, it will be wise to start your application early to ensure that you have the resources necessary to craft a thoughtful and comprehensive E-rate application.
Please join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, February 17th as we look at more of the important steps that go into creating an E-rate application, and how you can set yourself up for success during this filing window.