E-Rate Fall 2019 Check-In

For many school districts across the nation now is the time to shout ‘Show me the E-rate money!’. The 486 confirmation and 472 BEAR invoicing forms are now ready to be filed. These two forms are the most overlooked in the program, but take just minutes to file.

For many school districts, now is the time to shout, “Show me the E-rate money!” The 486 confirmation and 472 BEAR invoicing forms are now ready to be filed. These two forms are the most overlooked in the program, but take just minutes to file. Last week applicants also received a notice from USAC asking them to update yet another form, the 498 banking form. All of these form numbers, deadlines and requests can make your head spin! In order to expedite the process, please review the following sections to ensure E-rate funds are successfully collected.

486 Form:  This form is required for ALL funding in the E-rate program. It is filed after an applicant receives a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) from USAC with confirmation that your requests made in the 471 forms are approved. The form is filed in the EPC, on-line portal and can be located in the upper right of the landing page. It is due 120 days after receiving the FCDL or start of service. If the FCDL was dated on or before July 1, 2019, then the form must be completed by October 28, 2019. If your FCDL is dated after July 1, then you have a bit more time to file. The form asks you to confirm service starting dates and verify that you are meeting CIPA requirements. DO NOT check all of the boxes without reading the form. Doing so could delay funding and cause the form to enter manual review. Most applicants will check only the boxes indicating eligibility for the program, recognition of discount terms and the first of the CIPA options, stating filtering is in place to prevent students from accessing harmful content on the network. Ordering of services and equipment should not be made until this form is completed. The form should be completed now for the FY19 (2019-20) year. 

472 BEAR Form:  This form is required for any applicant that did not receive discounts on the bills eligible for the program. If discounts were provided, the service provider filed an alternate form to collect funds from USAC, and only passed on the undiscounted portion to the district. If the applicant paid full price for the goods and services, the BEAR will allow reimbursement directly to the district. This funding is usually referred to as a ‘lump sum reimbursement’ by those working in the program. The form is filed in the traditional system and can be found by visiting the USAC website, choosing schools and libraries from the top option, then forms on the side panel under Resources and Tools. Filing the form will also require a PIN signature to sign in. If a new PIN is needed, one can be requested with a customer service case in the EPC system or by calling the USAC customer service bureau at (888) 203-8100. A BEAR form will need to be filed for each service provider, and will require information found on the 486 confirmation letter or FCDL. Many applicants will need to file a BEAR for some services, even if they received discounts on other services. It’s a good idea to make contact with service providers to confirm dollar amounts and invoicing agreements before submitting the form. The form should be completed now for on-going services in FY18 (2018-19) and one-time purchases already made for FY19 (2019-20). The BEAR 472 deadline for on-going services in FY18 is October 27, 2019. Missing this deadline may result in loss of funding and/or will require an appeal to the FCC. Request for reimbursement of one time FY19 charges can be made as soon as order and payment have been completed, there is no need to wait until the end of the funding year to collect.

498 Form:  This form is only required if an applicant is receiving funds directly from USAC (filing or planning to file a BEAR 472). The form provides official banking information for automatic funds transfer. The notification from USAC last week requested that all applicants go into the form and indicate a business type. This is a new requirement related to new legislation for the FCC. Applicants are asked to choose the business type that most accurately represents their entity. Up to three choices may be made, and ‘other’ is an option for those who do not identify with one of the listed options. At least one business type must be selected in order to process funding disbursements. 498 forms will not go through an additional approval process if the bank account and routing information are not changed.

The Learning Technology Center of Illinois offers support for the completion of these forms. Video demonstrations of form completions are linked from our website (https://ltcillinois.org/access/erate/). Mindy Fiscus, Digital Access Coordinator is also available to answer questions at mfiscus@ltcillinois.org.

Lastly, please mark your calendars for the upcoming Form 470 & 471 Application Tour. ‘Seeing E-rate Clearly 2020’ will begin in mid-November and will run through the FY20 application window. Visit https://ltcillinois.org/access/erateworkshops/ for dates and locations.