8 Ways to Lose Your E-Rate Dollars
It's a hectic time of year! We're in the midst of E-Rate season, and the Form 470 is now available online.Where are you at in the process?
Although a daunting task, E-Rate is worth the painstaking process so that schools and libraries can continue to bring technology to students in the building. However, the biggest fear is losing those valuable E-Rate dollars. To stay on track with the E-Rate process, be sure to NOT do the following:
Fail to plan You won't want to miss this step. Make a list of services that will meet your goals for improving technology. Then map a plan for the filing forms and meeting deadlines.
Cheat on the bidding process The FCC requires that all applicants play fair. That means no advance notification to service providers, treating all vendors the same and openly sharing information.
Fill out the Form 470 incorrectly For each service request, know which of the six categories it falls under. For Web Hosting service, indicate the Internet Access category.
Don'Ât wait 28 days The Form 470 (and RFP if you issued one) must be publicly available for 28 days. Once this time period has passed, you may make vendor selections and submit the Form 471. You do not have to make selection in 28 days but you cannot file the form 471 before the 28 days.
Forget the Item 21 Attachment You won't want to forget this additional document.Service(s) and costs will need to be listed separately on the Item 21 Attachment form
Miss deadlines Once USAC releases the program dates, mark your calendar for these critical deadlines and don'ÂÂt miss them. There is no grace period.
Fail to submit requested documentation E-Rate reviewers may have questions. You have 15 days to respond to their questions or request an extension.
Fail to pay service provider After receiving the Funding Commitment Decision Letter and filing the Form 486, services can begin. You have 90 days to pay the service provider upon receiving an invoice.
Knowing what not to do can be equally beneficial as to knowing what to do in this process. By avoiding these pitfalls and breaking down the tasks, the E-Rate process doesn'ÂÂt have to be an overwhelming job.
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