A study guide to help ace your funding efforts
E-rate provides funding on eligible equipment and services to schools and libraries for the modernization of their internet connections. To help you navigate the application process, we’ve created a quick study guide to help you avoid common application mistakes, and submit an E-rate application with the structure and integrity that maximizes your chance of getting the most possible funding.
Ensure you file a Form 470 to announce you are seeking E-rate support to purchase eligible goods and services.
Remember, cost must be the heaviest weighted factor in your vendor evaluation, but the lowest bid doesn’t always receive the highest score.
Remember that even if you have bond funding, you can still use your E-rate funds to help offset the taxpayer cost burden.
Note that a minimum of 28 days is required to hold an open-bidding competition.
Be aware that Category 2 internal connections services can start as early as April 1 prior to the funding year. This does not include Category 1 or recurring services.
Consider that E-rate-funded equipment may not be traded in or disposed of until at least five years after the date of installation has passed. After the five-year mark, you can trade in your equipment with some stipulations. You will have to deduct the pre-discount amount from the value of the trade-in.
Forget that CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliance is required to participate in the E-rate program.
Neglect other factors beyond cost when completing your vendor evaluation; cost is heavily weighted but other factors must be considered too.
Count on E-rate to fund everything. You still need a robust funding strategy. Consider grants, bonds, and your own budget sources. Identify your technology needs and budget early in the E-rate cycle to help you plan.
Think that you have to post your application for exactly 28 days. You can post sooner and make your Form 470 available longer. Your application will be jeopardized only if you don’t post for a minimum of 28 days.
Overlook the fact that completed Form 471s must go through the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review process before Funding Commitment Decisions Letters (FCDLs) are sent. This process ensures that all applications meet all requirements to receive funding.
Forget to confirm you’re making appropriate requests by reviewing the Eligible Services List.