Reimbursement Guide: State, ECF, E-rate
There is a TON of information in this post, so please keep it handy! In this newsletter we will cover:
If You’ve Just Received an E-rate Funding Commitment — Funding Year 2022
State Reimbursements — Invoices through June 2022
Emergency Connectivity Fund Round #3 — Resources and Tips
E-rate Reimbursements — Invoices through June 2022
ANNUAL E-RATE SURVEY
Funds For Learning is conducting their 12th nationwide survey of E-rate applicants. The aggregate results will be presented to members of Congress and the FCC in July. It is essential that national leaders hear directly from schools and libraries about their internet needs and the efficacy of the E-rate funding program. This year, the FCC is considering revamping the E-rate competitive bidding process.
The survey consists of 34 primary questions, plus 6 more optional demographic items. It takes about 8 minutes to complete.
The results are completely confidential. Only aggregate data is reported (click here to read last year’s results).
If You’ve Just Received a Funding Commitment (FCDL) - Funding Year 2022
Wave 1 of Funding Year 2022 was released last Friday! Idaho schools and libraries have received over $6,410,000 of funding commitments for the 22-23 school year (7/1/2022 - 6/30/2023). That’s almost 40% of all requested funding by Idaho,
Work with your service provider(s) to determine if your bills will be discounted or if you will request reimbursement from USAC after paying the undiscounted cost for the services you receive.
Review the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements and file the FCC Form 486 (Service Confirmation and CIPA Certification Form). The deadline to submit this form is 120 days from the date of your Funding Commitment Letter or from the service start date (whichever is later). Most Internet services have a start date of 7/1.
You can file an FCC Form 486 early (before services have started) if:
You have received your FCDL;
Your services will start in the month of July;
You can truthfully make all of the certifications on the form; and
You are filing the form on or before July 31.
Do you have questions about broadband funding, E-rate filings, or the Broadband Reimbursement Program? Please click below to schedule a call with the Idaho Broadband and E-rate Coordinator:
State Reimbursements - Funding Year 2021
The Idaho State Department of Education is proud to offer the Broadband Reimbursement Program for all E-rate eligible LEAs in Idaho. This program reimburses LEA’s remaining monthly Internet costs that were discounted by E-rate, including wide area network connections and other one-time costs eligible for Category 1 funding.
To Submit Your LEA’s Invoices for Reimbursement
Email email@example.com to request your LEA’s OneDrive link.
Invoices must include LEA name, billing date, and billed amount.
Can be submitted as individual PDFs, or grouped by vendor or connection.
Please provide invoices through May 2022. Your June invoice will be proactively reimbursed based on the January - May invoice amounts.
Deadline to submit June 15th, 2022 (billed for time period 7/1/2021 - 6/30/2022)
Invoices received any later cannot not be reimbursed after 7/1/2022.
Emergency Connectivity Fund #3
Opens: April 28, 2022 at 7:00 am MT
Closes: May 13, 2022 at 9:59 pm MT
USAC will host a series of ECF Webinars and Office Hours sessions where applicants and service providers can ask questions about the third application filing window and receive information about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.
Register for these events at the below links:
Tuesday, April 26 @ 1 p.m. MT: ECF Window 3 Information Session
Tuesday, May 3 @ 1 p.m. MT: ECF Window 3 Office Hours
Tuesday, May 10 @ 1 p.m. MT: ECF Window 3 Office Hours
Tips and Notes
Review the FAQ sections on the bottom of the FCC’s official page: https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-connectivity-fund-faqs
LICENSES (such as Chromebook licenses) are not eligible for reimbursement, unless they are included in the base price of the device.
If the cost of the license is displayed as a line item on a price quote or invoice, then reimbursement for the license cost will be denied.
Therefore, it is not recommended to provide price quotes that “break-out” pricing components.
Can schools request ECF support for a small number of replacement devices that may be needed during the school year?
No. Applicants are limited to reimbursement of one connected device per student and cannot request additional connected devices or other equipment to account for anticipated loss or breakage.
Can an applicant request funding for connected devices or Wi-Fi hotspots for all of its students as part of a 1:1 device initiative?
No. Applicants must certify, as part of their funding application, that they are only seeking support for eligible equipment and/or services provided to students and school staff who would otherwise lack access to connected devices or broadband services sufficient to engage in remote learning.
How should applicants determine their unmet needs?
The FCC has not prescribed a specific way for applicants to go about estimating what they will need to address unmet needs.
In the case of schools, applicants should provide their best estimates about the number of students who do not have access to adequate connected devices, broadband connections, or both; and how the applicant expects those numbers to change with the requested ECF Program support.
What will school applicants need related to unmet need at the different stages of the ECF Program process (e.g., application, invoicing, or audits)
At the application stage, schools just need best estimates of their unmet need. They may use whatever method they deem appropriate for estimating unmet need and are not required to provide any documentation to support these estimates when they submit their ECF FCC Form 471 application. Here is a link to see the unmet need questions for schools on the application: www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/ecf-fcc-form-471/entity-information.
Subscribe to the official ECF Newsletter for up-to-date news, FAQs, and changes to the program: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6296809/Emergency-Connectivity-Fund
Eligible Services and Devices
The following types of equipment purchased for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack sufficient connectivity to engage in remote learning are eligible for support:
Laptop and tablet computers
Per device limit of $400 each
IMPORTANT: Licenses are not eligible for reimbursement, unless they are included in the base price of the device. Therefore, it is not recommended to provide price quotes that “break-out” pricing components.
ACCESSIBILITY: If the device is over $400 because it serves students or staff with disabilities, the applicant can request a waiver for full reimbursement.
FCC comments on approved waivers (read here): “These petitioners requested full reimbursement for connected devices with accessibility features that increased device prices, such as compatibility with software providing screen magnification, screen reading functionalities, and captioning services; larger screens; enhanced resolution; and touchscreens for students with significant fine motor skills difficulties.”
Wi-Fi hotspots and monthly service (up to 12 months)
Per device limit of $250 each
Monthly services “of reasonable cost”
There is no cap to monthly costs, however if submitted costs are far and beyond average similar costs it could be capped or denied.
Schools and libraries can also receive funding for commercially available broadband internet service that provides a fixed or mobile broadband connection for off-campus use by students, school staff, or library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connectivity sufficient to engage in remote learning.
Applicants can apply for up to 12-months of service between the period of July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023
Modems (including air cards), Routers, and Devices that combine a modem and router.
In limited circumstances where a school or library can demonstrate that there are no available service options sufficient to support remote learning for its students, school staff, or library patrons, the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program may support the construction of new networks and the equipment needed for datacasting services.
To request reimbursements for ECF purchases, make sure you have the following:
Copies of detail invoices to upload
Invoices should include the delivery date
How to: https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/applicants/ecf-fcc-form-472/
Funding Year 2021 (July 1, 2021 - June 30 2022)
If you have not yet filed invoices for E-rate Reimbursement, it is not too late to get started! You can file the BEAR Reimbursement Form (Form 472) as often as you wish (e.g. monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, annually). However, you must have received and have paid in full for the eligible products or services received before filing a BEAR Form.
Deadline: You must file the BEAR Form no later than 120 days after the latest of the following:
Service Delivery Deadline (the last date to receive service, often 6/30 for Internet services);
Date of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter;
Date of the approved post-commitment Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letter; or
Date of an approved appeal Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letter on a previously denied or reduced funding request.
How to File Reimbursement Form 472 (BEAR)
File this form online in the E-Rate program legacy system.
To file a BEAR Form, you must:
Set up an E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) account with USAC.
Next, obtain an applicant 498 ID by filing the FCC Form 498 (Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form).
The FCC Form 498 collects contact and banking information so that USAC can reimburse you directly.
Once you verify your banking information, USAC will issue an applicant 498 ID after the verification process has been completed.
After receiving an applicant 498 ID, you must request access to the BEAR Form for the form to appear in your account for One Portal (USAC’s multi-factor authentication system).
You can practice filing on the BEAR training site.
If you need assistance, call the Customer Service Center (CSC) at (888) 203-8100.
After Filing FCC Form 472
USAC mails a BEAR Notification Letter to the applicant and the service provider upon successful certification of the BEAR Form.
USAC also emails an Electronic BEAR Remittance Statement to the General Financial Contact found on the approved applicant FCC Form 498. This notice provides an explanation of the BEAR payments made to the banking account associated with the applicant’s approved FCC Form 498 ID.
This is certainly a lot of information to keep up to date on. Please feel free to share this informational newsletter with your colleagues or anyone else that works in the broadband/E-rate space.
Do you have questions about broadband funding, E-rate filings, or the Broadband Reimbursement Program? Please click below to schedule a call with the Idaho Broadband and E-rate Coordinator, and subscribe to the newsletter for important reminders and updates!
Thank you for reading!