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E-Rate Central News for the Week
January 8, 2018

Introduction

The New York E-Rate Forum, prepared for New York applicants by E-Rate Central, is sponsored by the New York State Education Department. Additional E-rate resources are on the E-Rate Central website and on the New York State E-rate website. We can be contacted by phone (516-801-7804), fax (516-801-7814), or through our Contact Us Web form.

Funding Status – FY 2018 and FY 2017

FY 2018:

The FY 2018 Form 471 Application Window will:

    • Open Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 12:00 noon EST.
    • Close Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

FY 2017:

Wave 32 for FY 2017 was released Thursday, January 4th, for a total of $10.5 million. Funding for New York was $846 thousand for 2 BOCES. Cumulative national funding through Wave 32 is $2.03 billion, including $86.0 million for New York.

Wave 33, approving 13 small hurricane relief applications filed during the Second FY 2017 Application Window, was released on Saturday, January 6th. A regular Wave 34 is expected to be released Friday, January 12th.

Updates on USAC’s E-Rate Productivity Center and Legacy System

Entity Profile Update Deadline:

Important note: On January 10 at 11:59 p.m. EST, USAC will lock every applicant’s EPC entity profile for the duration of the Application Window. Any changes applicants need to make in preparation for the FY 2018 application cycle — most importantly, student enrollment and eligibility data — should be made before these profiles are locked.

The easiest way to check existing profile data within EPC is to start on the basic district page and click on the “Discount Rate” tab.

EPC Discount Rate Tab

The initial “Requested Discount Rate” display for a school district shows only the district-wide student totals and the resulting discount rates. To see the student data for the individual district schools, click on the “SHOW ENTITIES” button.

EPC Requested Discount Rate

To update an individual entity, we suggest opening each school link separately in a new tab. This will maintain the school list page thus avoiding having to repeat the school search process after each update.

If you’re curious as to when the entity data for a specific school was last updated, you may be able to see a history of any changes made by clicking on the “Modifications” tab. As discussed in our newsletter of January 1st, however, we have found that this EPC feature often does not work. A more reliable source for determining the last modification date is to use the non-EPC Entity Download Tool (also discussed in our last newsletter).

Note that the entity list displayed on the “Requested Discount Rate” page includes only schools. To check or change any information on non-instructional facilities (“NIFs”) or annexes, start on the district page and follow the “Related Entities” path through EPC.

E-Rate Updates and Reminders

Upcoming 2018 E-Rate Dates:

January 8 FY 2017 Form 486 deadline for funding committed in Wave 15. Upcoming Form 486 deadlines include:

Wave 16         01/15/2018
Wave 17         01/22/2018
Wave 18         01/29/2018

Applicants missing these (or earlier) deadlines should watch carefully for “Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters” in EPC. The Reminders will afford applicants with 15-day extensions to submit their Form 486s without penalty.

January 10 FY 2018 EPC Administrative Window closes. As of 11:59 p.m. EST, EPC entity profiles will be locked. Applicants will not be able to update their profiles (e.g., with student NSLP data) until after the close of the Form 471 Application Window.
January 11 FY 2018 Form 471 Application Window opens at 12:00 noon EST.
March 22 FY 2018 Form 471 Application Window closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

USAC Response to the FCC:

A few days before New Year’s, outgoing USAC Board Chair Brian Talbott sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stressing the Board’s commitment to “strengthening oversight and delivery of timely, reliable and secure systems needed to fully administer all aspects of the Universal Service Fund.”  Mr. Talbott’s letter was in response to an earlier December letter from Chairman Pai criticizing USAC for not ensuring “that the technology systems it has implemented to administer the Universal Service Fund (USF) are available, reliable, secure, and compliant with applicable guidance.”  In its response, USAC pointed to the recent nomination of Radha Sekar as USAC’s next CEO, and indicated that USAC is “actively seeking a qualified Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer to augment our information technology and security management functions.”  All of us who have lived through the past few years of EPC struggles can fully support USAC and the FCC in these efforts to improve the E-rate program’s systems and processes.

USAC News Brief Dated January 5 – Upcoming Dates and Deadlines

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of January 5, 2018, highlights and discusses the following pivotal first quarter 2018 dates:

January 11 Opening day of the FY 2018 Form 471 Application Window.
January 29 Invoicing deadline for FY 2016 non-recurring services OR the deadline for requesting a 120-day extension of that invoicing deadline.
February 22 Last possible date for posting a Form 470 intended for use with an FY 2018 Form 471.
February 26 Extended invoicing deadline for FY 2016 recurring services.
March 22 Closing day of the FY 2018 Form 471 Application Window.
 
Disclaimer: This newsletter may contain unofficial information on prospective E-rate developments and/or may reflect E-Rate Central's own interpretations of E-rate practices and regulations. Such information is provided for planning and guidance purposes only. It is not meant, in any way, to supplant official announcements and instructions provided by the SLD, FCC, or NYSED.