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E-Rate Central News for the Week
March 12, 2018


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 close Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

USAC has announced extended hours of operation for the Client Service Bureau (“CSB”) during the last six days of the Application Window.

PIA review is underway for filed applications. An increasing number of these applications have already been designated as “Wave Ready” making them candidates for funding as early as Wave 1. Funding for FY 2018 is anticipated to begin in early April.

FY 2017:

Wave 45 for FY 2017 was released Thursday, March 8th, for a total of $28.2 million. Funding included $268 thousand for three parochial schools. Cumulative national funding through Wave 45 is $2.24 billion, including $92.0 million for New York. USAC is scheduled to release Wave 46 on Thursday, March 15th.

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

Update on Category 2 Budget Factors for FY 2018:

Last month, the FCC announced (DA 18-163) a 1.8% inflation adjustment for E-rate funding setting the FY 2018 funding cap at just over $4.06 billion. Neither USAC nor the FCC, however, has translated the inflation adjustment into the Category 2 budget factors to be used by individual schools and libraries. The delay in providing these factors may revolve around a pending mathematical decision on multi-year rounding.

By our calculations, pending official confirmation, the FY 2018 Category 2 budget factors are:

Schools $156.23 per student
Non-urban libraries       $2.40 per square foot (but could be $2.39)
Urban libraries   $5.21 per square foot
Minimum $9,582.23 per entity

  USAC’s Category 2 budget tools must be used with a careful understanding of their differences and limitations. In particular:

  • The internal EPC budget tool, available only to authorized applicant users:
    • Reflects an unrounded FY 2018 inflation adjustment.
    • Uses current EPC entity profile data for school enrollment and library square footage.
    • Does not account for any Category 2 funding committed in FY 2015.
  • The non-EPC Category Two Budget Tool:
    • Has not yet been updated for FY 2018 inflation.
    • Uses FY 2017 entity profile data.
    • Does include FY 2015 Category 2 funding.

Newly Deployed EPC Modifications:

Last week’s USAC News Brief (referenced below) noted the following helpful EPC updates:

  • A fix enabling users to clear Copy FRN error messages.
  • The broader distribution of Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters.
  • The availability of updated versions of Form 471 Category 2 upload templates.

E-Rate Updates and Reminders

Upcoming 2018 E-Rate Dates:

March 12 FY 2017 Form 486 deadline for funding committed in Wave 24. Other upcoming Form 486 deadlines include:

Wave 25         03/19/2018
Wave 26         03/22/2018
Wave 27         04/02/2018

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.

March 22 FY 2018 Form 471 Application Window closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

New York State “Valid File” for FY 2018:

New York State’s “valid file” for FY 2018 was submitted to USAC last week and is available online in E-Rate Central’s NYSED E-rate Resources site. Each year, USAC asks each state to provide a database of its schools, enrollment, and NSLP student eligibility to be used to validate E-rate discounts during the PIA application review period.

Traditionally, New York has provided a data file to USAC of all entities reporting NSL data through NYSED’s Child Nutrition Management System. This year, for the first time, Col. A-M of the  2018-NYS-Valid-File is provided in USAC’s preferred template format, organized by USAC entity numbers — when available. Col. N-T of this year’s file also includes NYSED LEA and Institution ID Codes.

Inclusion of both USAC entity numbers and NYSED entity codes is the result of a new matching process — a work in progress. Many independent and charter schools in New York, including the majority of the schools reporting NSLP through the NYC Chancellor’s Office remain unmatched.

We are asking all NYS school and district applicants to review the current version of NYS valid file and do the following:

  • Email entity number or parent-child corrections to NYerate@e-ratecentral.com.
  • Compare the entity names as used in the NYSED SEDREF file with the corresponding USAC entity names, and consider making needed alignments.
  • Remember that the NYS valid file contains NSLP data only for reporting entities. Applicants wishing to use eligibility data other than October 2017 for FY 2018 should check NYSED’s Eligible to Enrollment Report. Applicants not reporting NSLP data to NYSED are responsible for validating their own school enrollment and eligibility numbers.
  • Religious and independent schools should follow the instructions in the recent SORIS Code Memo and the SORIS Code FAQ to assure that they have registered their schools and all their locations in SEDREF by June 29, 2018.

USAC News Brief Dated March 9 – Application Contract Reminders

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of March 9, 2018, reminds applicants that contracts referenced in Form 471 funding requests must first be entered in the applicants’ profiles. Any service agreement signed — even for tariffed or month-to-month services — is considered a “contract” for E-rate purposes.

More detailed reminders are also provided on the use of state master contracts, including:

  • The proper Form 470 to be cited when using state master contracts.
  • Mini-bid requirements for using state master contracts, if applicable.
  • A link to USAC’s State Replace Contract guidance which is needed when citing state master contracts expiring after the close of the Application Window.

Finally, the News Brief notes that USAC is currently undergoing its annual audit, and that randomly selected applicants will be asked to confirm balances (i.e., commitments less disbursements) on specified FRNs as of October 31, 2017.

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.