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E-rate Work Shifts to Summer

Most schools are now out for the summer. But this does not mean an end to E-rate work. As shown below, 57% of the FY2018 funds requested are still pending. And, of course, there are many projects and services taking place this summer that are supported by E-rate discounts, either from FY2017 or FY2018.
 Below are a few helpful tips and reminders to make the most of your E-rate experience this summer.

Application Review (PIA)

With 57 percent of FY2018 applications still pending a commitment decision, applicants should continue to expect program integrity assurance (PIA) questions during the Summer months. If your application is still pending and you are going to be out for extended periods of time during the Summer, you will want to notify the individual listed as the Summer contact on the Form 471 so that they are aware and watching for correspondence from USAC. 

If you do not have a Summer contact listed on the Form 471, and the PIA reviewer is unable to contact you, your application should be put on Summer deferral. The SLD recognizes that you might be unavailable to answer questions during the summer and should not penalize you for not being available to answer questions during the Summer months. Applicants can call the SLD’s Client Services Bureau at 888-203-8100 to expedite informing the SLD of their desire to set up the summer deferral for your district. 

If you are available during the Summer months, be sure to monitor your email and EPC for correspondence from PIA reviewers. If the reviewer can contact you, the responses are still expected within 15-days, with one extension of 7 days, if necessary. Answering the reviewer’s questions in a thorough and timely manner will help expedite the review process and subsequent funding commitment.  

Payment Paperwork

The best prepared and submitted E-rate applications are worthless until the payment paperwork is submitted and processed. If you have paid invoices that qualify for reimbursement, start that paperwork now
Even though your deadline to invoice USAC is probably the end of October, there is no reason to wait. Have the bills have not yet arrived? You still can submit those that have been paid already and process the remaining invoices later. Do what you can now, even if it is just a little bit, and it will save you headache in October. 
Now, you may be thinking, “It’s so much easier to submit all the invoices at once. And if that can’t happen until October, so be it.”
You do not want to wait until the invoice deadline to get started. 
What if your EPC credentials need a refresh or if your invoice is erroneously reduced or denied? Sure, you can get an extension, but invoice deadline extensions are an on-going source of frustration and why risk leaving an FRN off of the extension request? Do yourself a favor and avoid these debates. Get your paperwork submitted now.
Starting 2018
July 1 will mark the official start of the 2018 funding year. Remember that E-rate discounts are time-sensitive. You can only receive a discount for goods and services that are delivered within the allowable dates for a specific funding request. The service start and end dates must line up with the funding year. They must also coincide with the effective dates of the service provider contract. More than 5,000 applicants are still waiting to receive their 2018 funding commitments. Others have received their funding decisions and are preparing to submit their Form 486. Whatever your situation, now is a good time to consider and confirm the best start dates for the services you will be using. For some, you may choose to proceed regardless of the status of your funding commitments. For others, you may need to wait until a funding decision letter is released.
E-rate is often a process of managing the end of one funding year, while preparing for the start of another, while also looking ahead for the next application filing window. The Summer months are no exception. Take this time to prepare for these different stages, or make sure that someone is available to do so in your absence. 
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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.

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