How to Apply for E-Rate Funding—Step 6: Invoicing

Rhea Fawley

Welcome to the final step in our E-Rate funding series! It’s time to learn about invoicing. As soon as USAC has processed your submitted FCC Form 486, the time has come for you and your service provider to begin invoicing USAC for the discount share. USAC offers two options for invoicing: BEAR and SPI.

BEAR Invoicing

Your first invoice option is Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR). The BEAR method requires you to pay the service provider in full. Once you have done so, you can submit to USAC for reimbursement on the discounted share.

USAC has issued requirements that must be met before you can submit your BEAR form:

  1. You have received your FCDL, and it has a positive commitment.
  2. FCC Form 486 has been submitted and processed.
  3. Service provider has certified their FCC Form 473 (SPAC).
  4. You have paid for the eligible services and products in full (products and services have been delivered).
  5. You have filed an FCC form 498 to obtain an applicant 498 ID.
Get E-Rate Questions Answered

The deadline for BEAR forms is 120 days after the last day to receive services or 120 days after the Form 486 notification letter date, whichever is later. When you receive notifications on your submitted BEAR form, be sure to look at the error codes for explanation on any issues listed in the letter.

SPI Invoicing

Your second invoice option is Service Provider Invoice (SPI). If you choose to go with this invoice method, you are requesting that the service provider only bill you for your non-discount share and then invoice USAC for the discounted share.

At Connection, we can utilize both of the invoice methods, whichever method is easier for you.

Extras to Keep in Mind

Once an FRN has been processed under an invoice method, it cannot be changed. For instance, if it is processed as BEAR when it should have been SPI, there is unfortunately no way to change this. Be sure to look everything over carefully before you submit your forms.

Always discuss your options with the service provider. Our goal is to be able to help as much as we can and prevent any mishaps that could cause more confusion and chaos. E-Rate is not cut and dry, and there are moving parts in all processes. As a service provider, we may be limited during the competitive bidding process, but we can get you to the right place to ask questions.

Don’t risk losing your funding—ask the question. At Connection, we’re here to get you the answers.I

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.