- Prepare site spreadsheet. Schools and libraries will have a designated timeframe during which they will update the individual site information stored in the EPC system. This “administrative window” will open soon, but applicants do not need to wait to start their planning. Create and update a spreadsheet of your sites now. Finalize all of the information that you want to see in EPC, and then, when the time comes, you will be ready to move quickly.
- Receive bids. Now is the time to post Form 470s and release requests for bids. The delay in opening the Form 471 filing window gives applicants extra time to seek out proposals and negotiate contracts. If you have eligible goods or services that could potentially be delivered between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018, this filing window is your chance – and you still have time.
- Redo bids. Sometimes, during the course of a competitive bidding cycle, it becomes apparent that the RFP process needs to be reset. If this occurs too close to the Form 471 filing deadline, applicants lose the opportunity to submit funding requests for those goods and services. Because the close of the Form 471 filing window is still a few months away, your organization may have time to post a new Form 470 and rebid a contract. Take advantage of the extra time if you need it.
- Plan funding requests. Applicants do not need to wait for EPC in order to plan funding requests. The FY2017 Form 471 application will be very similar to FY2016. Therefore, a proactive school or library can start now mapping out their FRNs and detail lines. A simple spreadsheet, or a more sophisticated tool like E-rate Manager, can help you. No matter how you go about doing it, do not hold off planning because of USAC. Layout the framework of your application now.
Waiting on FY2016, Looking to FY2017
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Our mission is to provide high-quality consulting and support services for the needs of E-rate program participants. We consult with applicants to help them understand, effectively utilize, and maintain compliance with E-rate rules and regulations. We help prepare and submit paperwork, and interact with program administrators on our clients’ behalf.