A total of around 40,000 applications are expected to be submitted for funding year 2018. As recently noted, last year 42% of applications were submitted during the last week of the filing window. However, applicants are encouraged not to wait until the last day. On-going challenges associated with use of the USAC EPC application system can create last minute headaches and frustrations. Here are a few tips and reminders:
- Services do not all need to be listed on the same Form 471 application. If you have more than one contract, and you are waiting for one of them to be signed or approved, consider submitting services on separate applications. This way you will know with certainty that some of your funding requests are already in the system.
- Multiyear contracts require an application every year. Do not forget to re-submit multiyear agreements. E-rate applications only cover one funding year at a time. Even if a contract was funded last year, it would have only been funded for 12 months of service and/or a certain specific scope of services. If you intend to receive additional goods and services in FY2018 using an existing contract, then you will need to prepare new funding requests.
- Check last year’s application(s). Are you worried that you might be missing something, or that your dollars don’t add up? One way to check your work is to compare this year’s funding requests with last year. If a site or service was included in 2017, there is a good chance that it might need to be on this year’s application again, and with a price that is similar. Note: telephone service is the big exception to this rule of thumb. The phase down of support for telephone service is hurting school and library budgets, and chances are, you will be completely “phased out” of voice discounts and will not be submitting those requests in 2018.