As of March 27, 2020, there have been 20,718 Form 471 applications submitted for E-rate funding year 2020. In what would have been the last two weeks of the 2020 filing window, only 2,875 Forms 471 were submitted. By comparison, 16,284 Form 471 applications were submitted for E-rate funding year 2019 during the last two weeks of the filing window last spring.
On March 13, 2020, the FCC extended this year’s E-rate filing deadline to April 29, 2020. This was a welcome move for schools and libraries, many of whom were focused on closing down facilities because of the coronavirus. Ultimately, we expect the number of applications in submitted 2020 to be very similar to last year. But given the very dramatic change in the pace of 471 applications, it is unclear if all applications will be submitted by the new deadline. The FCC may need to consider offering deadline waivers for applicants who are unable to meet the April 29 date.