Congratulations on preparing and submitting your FY2017 Form 471 application. It is a significant step on your journey towards receiving E-rate support. Next will come the application review process. Below are tips that can help you as you continue towards a funding commitment decision letter.
- Verify 471 Certification Status
Verify that your application is certified in EPC. This can be done in EPC by accessing your entity by selecting Records, selecting FCC Forms in the side navigation menu, Select the FCC Form 471 in the Category drop down tool, select your funding year 2017 and Status ALL. A list of applications you have prepared will display by the SLD assigned application number and the Nick-name you assigned your application.The status for each application will be displayed with the status of that form (Incomplete, Certified, Committed) and the final column will provide the Certified Date for each application.
- Organize Application Documentation
With your applications certified online now is the best time to organize and retain all documentation supporting those funding requests. Program rules require the retention of all documentation for a period of 10 years. Items gathered while preparing the 471 may include the following items; quotes, contracts, letter(s) of intent to award, evaluation girds, calculation estimates and vendor selection correspondence. Rule of thumb, if it was used to prepare the application *retain it*.
- Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL).
Review each 471 application for accuracy. If a discrepancy is identified or a profile change necessary the RAL is a very good option to make these adjustments with USAC.To make a modification to an application locate your Form 471 as identified in Tip 1 and choose Related Actions from the left side bar, then select Submit Modification Request (RAL)
- Program Integrity Assurance
Be on alert for communication from the SLD seeking information to process your application. These notification requests are in EPC News.These requests are TIME SENSITIVE.If you believe you may have missed a notification you can locate a request by selecting the 471 (TIP 1) and by selecting Review Inquiries. Responsiveness is the key to a speedy funding commitment. Check Tasks for notifications and the news feeds in EPC for any notification requests. Changes to your applicant profile can be accomplished in PIA while working with your SLD reviewer.
- Monitor EPC regularly
Keep watch in EPC in News, Tasks, FCC Forms and the Landing Page. Check your application status on a weekly basis.EPC is the system in which all program communication is received. EPC may issue emails to the account administrator or authorized contact on your application. Remind all parties to watch for these email notifications and be responsive. Contact USAC if the email notification is not clear or if additional information is needed. Don’t delay, reach out and inquire about E-rate application and form status updates.
- Don’t forget the current Funding Year
With all the excitement of submitting your FY17 471 funding requests it can be easy to sit back and take some time off from E-rate but don’t forget the E-rate FY16 will end on June 30. Verify that all services have been received and invoices paid for the current funding year.Confirm that discounts for all FY16 services have been received by direct discount to invoices by the provider (the provider will invoice USAC) or by paying in full and submitting invoices to USAC to request direct reimbursement.Retain copies of all invoices, discounts and proof of payments.
- Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letters (RFCDL) And other post-commitment notifications are now issued in EPC. These RCDL notifications are in the Notifications section of your Landing Page. These notifications will include information about appeals, service substitutions and changes in service providers.
- If Something Goes Wrong
Don’t delay.Reach out to the SLD for guidance if something is not accurate, delayed or otherwise incomplete upon review. Customer Service questions can be submitted directly in EPC. Select your Entity in Records and chose Create a Customer Service Case in the upper right. Provide as much information as possible when completing the case request. The case detail will allow you to upload a document and associate FCC Forms. Finally, if you believe you received an adverse decision for any application or form submit an appeal asap to USAC.
The E-rate process can be challenging at times. But following these tips will make your life a little easier and will dramatically increase your chances of success.