E-rate Hub
Everything you need to know to navigate the E-rate program
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Everything you need to know to navigate the E-rate program.
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  • Learn about the 2018 E-rate program
  • Learn how much funding you qualify for
  • Learn how to enhance the overall learning experience with a robust WLAN network

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How to Apply for E-rate

Step 1 - Getting Started 

You will need to have this information available to start the E-Rate process:

  • What are your plans or goals for your E-rate Wi-Fi project?
  • What is your District or School’s student enrollment?
  • Use these tools to determine your E-rate discount percentage:
  • Use the urban/rural online tool on the USAC site to determine your classification
  • What is your total Wi-Fi budget for E-rate? Use the Aerohive online E-rate calculator

Next you must determine the size and scope of your project:

  • Select the Aerohive solution that best fits your needs
  • If you are submitting an RFP, use the Aerohive RFP template.
Step 2 - Filing Your Form 470 
The Form 470 is the application form that begins the E-rate process. This form lets interested vendors and service providers know that you are applying for E-rate funding.

 

Resources

  • USAC E-rate Forms
  • Download Form 470
  • Form 470 instructions
  • For section 10, detail the equipment and services information discussed in Step 1 with your Aerohive E-rate team
  • Attach your RFP if you are posting one
  • Indicate if you will require site surveys or walk-through/onsite meeting for those bidding on your projects or services
  • Follow the instructions closely to ensure the form is filled out accurately to avoid any processing delays
Step 3 - Filing Your Form 471 

Once you file your Form 470, vendors have 28 days to bid on your project/service. The next step is to file your Form 471, which announces your chosen bidder & requested costs.

Resources

Tips

  • Ensure sufficient time is allocated during these 28 days for walk-throughs, FAQ’s, RFP response review, and bid evaluation
  • Require your chosen vendor to provide a prepopulated Item 21-B detailing the items & services of the project
  • Expect multiple bids and use a scoring matrix to evaluate them
  • Example matrix
Step 4 - The PIA Process 

During the Program Integrity Audit (PIA) process, your E-rate application forms & processes are reviewed for compliance. During the PIA process, you are issued a series of questions that you must respond to in 15 days or less. At the end of the PIA process, a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) is sent to all parties detailing the funding status & amount.

Resources

Tips

  • There are 15 days to respond to PIA questions but you can ask for a 1 week extension. Plan to do so if you need additional time.
  • There will be a minimum of 2-4 questions but it can be as many as several 100
  • Be readily available during this time period to spend time on responding to the PIA questions & make sure to communicate everything in writing by email so you have a record between yourself, the PIA reviewer & your vendors.
Step 5 - Filing the Form 486 & Starting Your Project or Service 

The Form 486 is filed to “turn on the funding pipeline”. After receipt, a notification letter is sent to all parties. You can then start the project or service.

Resources

Step 6 - Invoicing: Form 472 (BEAR) or 474 (SPI) 

This phase determines how invoicing/funding occurs:

  • 472 BEAR (Billed Entity Application Reimbursement): Using this invoice method, the school pays the vendor in full, then is reimbursed by USAC. In this case, the project can start as soon as April 1
  • 474 SPI (Service Provider Invoice): Using this method, the vendor invoices the school and USAC directly for their designated portions. In this case, the project cannot start until July 1

Resources


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The information and materials on this page are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be relied upon. Questions regarding the process of applying for, or determinations regarding, the E-rate program should be directed to the Universal Service Administrative Company ("USAC"). Please see the USAC homepage for additional information.