E-rate Process – Dates to Remember E-rate funding years are named for the year in which they START. For example, the funding year which covers bills incurred between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 is called FY2020.
The E-rate program consists of 3 main forms that must be done for any successful funding. Those forms are:
Form 470 This is a procurement document that notifies the public that you are accepting bids for services. Typically this document is done in the fall (approximately 9 months) preceding the funding year services are sought.
Form 471 This is the actual request for funding and contains the Form 470 number posted that led to the bid….that led to the agreement you are basing your funding request on. This form is done within a “window” of type that typically occurs 4-5 months preceding the funding year.
Form 486 This form officially “accepts” the funding and allows you to stipulate that you are complying with CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act). Invoicing may not start until the Form 486 is on file. This form is a “moving target” because you may not accept the funding until after a Funding Commitment Decision Letter has awarded, which can happen just prior to the funding year commencing to the fall after the funding year has begun. There may be factors that cause the FCDL to be delayed but the USAC goal is to have commitments done by the end of September, or 3 months after the funding year starts.