How to Apply for E-Rate Funding—Step 3: Applying for Funding

Rhea Fawley

When you have completed the competitive bidding process and all bids have been evaluated, you are ready to apply for funding with FCC Form 471. The FCC Form 471 is a description of services and products being ordered and also includes a certification form stating you were in compliance with all the FCC rules and regulations.

The FCC Form 471 window is generally open for 75 days (early January to late March). USAC announces the exact dates on their website for windows that will be opening or closing.

When submitting the Form 471, you must include detailed information. Examples of what is requested on this form are:

  • Recipients of service
  • Service providers
  • Descriptions of services (costs, dates of service, etc.)

Additional resources that USAC offers include Bulk Upload Templates, which are located on the USAC website. Bulk Upload Templates are used when an applicant has a large number of recipients for service or large numbers of eligible services. The templates assist with funding request data.

There are two things you cannot forget:

  1. This form cannot be certified before the allowable contract date (28 days after the FCC form 470 competitive bidding process).
  2. Your chosen service provider is allowed to help with any questions, comments, concerns, or requests for documentation once their SPIN is attached to your Form 471.

But what if you find you need to make changes once the FCC Form 471 has been submitted?

Dealing with Changes and Corrections

After you have completed the application process, keep in mind that there are a number of tasks that may be required outside the normal process. When you review your documents and information provided to USAC, always make sure you are correcting any information that was submitted incorrectly.

Here are two of the ways you can submit necessary changes:

  • Example 1: The FCC Form 470 and FCC Form 471 both have different instructions when it comes to changes. The instructions to make corrections are included on the Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) sent once the 470 has been submitted and on the Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) once the 471 has been submitted.
  • Example 2: If you need to change contact information, that can be updated through the EPC portal!

Making other changes can be classified as submitting for a service substitution. When it comes to a service substitution, the main guideline is that the equipment or service being substituted must offer a similar function, and the cost cannot be higher than the original. You can also submit to change the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), and when a school or library closes, merges, or separates. For this type of change, you must call USAC directly.

No question is a bad question. Anytime that you are unsure, you should always reach out with those questions. Connection has resources available to help get you where you need to be in situations within compliance of the rules and regulations. Never forget that before you are done, you can submit for appeals, request changes, and even open cases to make sure all information is correct. The Key to E-Rate is filing all forms accurately and in a timely manner.

In our next article, we’ll discuss Step 4: Application Review, so stay tuned!

If you haven’t read Step 1 or Step 2 you can check them out here on Connected Community.

Rhea Fawley is an E-rate Sales Specialist at Connection, specializing in the education marketplace. When she’s not helping customers solve IT challenges or navigate the E-Rate process, you’ll find her reading, writing, or taking her two young children on adventures.