School districts and libraries rely on updated and secure communications and network services more than ever before. So remember, this is the time of year you can truly maximize your purchases by applying for E-Rate funding. Here’s what you should know. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)
1. Create or review your E-Rate account
Now through February 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Create or log in to your account in the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) and review, update or assign user rights for anyone who will need access for the 2017 funding year. Make sure the latest version of your browser is installed on your computer. For more filing tips, visit the File Along with Me site.
Important reminders to consider when filing your application:
- School districts should take extra care to be sure they have inserted the latest National School Lunch Program (NSLP) student counts (or alternative discount mechanisms) as well as included new construction, non-instructional facilities and Adult Education and Head Start programs.
- Libraries should confirm their square footage, main branch, and public school district of the main branch information is correct and that any bookmobiles or kiosks are included.
- - If you have not filed your Form 470 to start the competitive bidding process, you may do so at any time. Check out USAC’s Getting Started page for more help. Remember, April 13 is the last day you can file a Form 470 in order to satisfy the 28-day competitive bidding window requirement.
2. Submit and finalize your Form 471
During the Filing Window, February 27 at 12 p.m. – May 11 at 11:59 p.m. ET
All K-12 schools and public libraries must file during the window listed above to submit and finalize Form 471 applications to participate in the E-Rate program. If you want a quick look at the filing process, see our E-Rate Process Infographic.
What else is new for 2017 filing?
- - You can open a single filing window for 2017 and better prioritization of application processing so funding decisions are provided in a timelier manner.
- Applicants will recognize the flow of the online application process, and further enhancements will be available including the "Copy My FRN" feature along with the templates for uploads of large entries.
- Along with continued enhanced stakeholder education and outreach, the formation of a stakeholder innovation group who will provide guidance and feedback on the design of a new applicant portal.
The time to ensure you qualify for E-Rate discounts is now. Be sure to follow Windstream’s blog to keep up with all of the E-Rate program details and deadlines. For more information on Windstream’s K-12 school and library technology solutions, contact a Windstream E-Rate specialist today.