Consortium: IMC - KENT ISD
About the E-rate Activity
A disparity exists in the cost of Internet connectivity for Michigan schools. Some regions pay in excess of 30 times what some urban and suburban schools pay for this critical component of high-stakes online assessment technology readiness. Ensuring that all schools can afford to purchase the needed connectivity is a critical foundation for high-stakes assessments. This statewide project will ensure that every Michigan school receives the most competitive price possible for Internet access and connectivity. As a result, schools will be able to acquire the bandwidth needed for online assessments and in turn, that will enhance the educational process year round.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
E-Rate is part of the Universal Service Fund (USF) Program, Schools and Libraries Division, under oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and provides discounts on data transport, Internet access, and internal broadband connections for schools and libraries. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) manages the fund. Discounts range from 20-90% based on the poverty level of the district. The total fund per year allocation is $3.9 billion dollars. Since the inception of the program in 1998, Michigan schools and libraries have received discounts totaling over $1 billion dollars.
E-Rate discounts offset the cost of building networks that create rich digital learning environments. E-Rate discounts are for broadband services and some of the equipment needed to deliver broadband services that can increase equity, data flow for student information systems, access to learning resources, and secure and robust online testing, ultimately increasing student achievement.
School districts, ISDs, charter schools, and libraries (eligible entities) may form consortia and buy eligible services and goods to facilitate education-driven connectivity projects including Internet and Wifi access to broadband. Every year the FCC publishes a list of eligible products and services, the Eligible Services List for the funding year which begins July 1 and ends June 30. Category One consists of data transmission and internet access services to the school and Category Two consists of internal connections, managed internal broadband services, and basic maintenance of internal connections. Category Two funds have a five year per student pre-discount budget of $150/student. If student counts go down, applicants do not have to pay back past year funding. District-wide discounts are determined by urban/rural status and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participation (see Table 1). Voice is eligible for discount but is being phased out at a rate of 20% discount less per year beginning with funding year (FY) 2015. Voice discounts for FY2017 are a phase down of 60%; by FY2019 voice will be ineligible.
The application process is completed entirely online through the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). An entity applying for E-Rate must have an account administrator. If an entity does not have an account administrator or does not know who the account administrator is, call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 1-888-203-8100. Each year a Form 471 Window is announced, these dates are key deadlines for E-Rate services for the following FY. For FY2017 the window opens at noon on February 27, 2017 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on May 11, 2017.
Form 470 – Services Requested and competitive bidding process – must be posted for 28 days
Form 471 – Services ordered (must be submitted during application window)
Program Integrity Assurance (PIA)
Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL)
Form 486 – Receipt of Services and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance (must be submitted no later than 120 days after the FDCL OR the Service Start Date on any funding request number [FRN])
Form 500 – Adjustment to funding commitments and modifications to receipt of services confirmation – to change a service start date or contract expiration date OR cancel or reduce a funding commitment
Form 472 – Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) - applicant pays full amount to service provider and then seeks reimbursement from USAC (must be submitted no later than 120 days after the last date for receiving services) – requires PIN (as of FY16 this is in a separate system from EPC) – and the completion of a Form 498 which contains the billed entity’s financial information including bank account and routing number
Form 474 – Service Provider Invoice (SPI) – if an applicant choses SPI invoicing, after providing discounted bills to the applicant, the service provider invoices USAC
State E-Rate Coordinator for technical assistance, PIA support, training, etc. – email@example.com (interim: Ann-Marie Mapes, Michael Andrews, Becky Rains)
Michigan E-Rate Forum Weekly Newsletter - http://22itrig.org/activities/e-rate/e-rate-weekly-newsletter/
New two-way E-Rate listserv, erateinfo
To subscribe, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of the message, leaving the subject blank and with any signature deleted, enter in the message body "subscribe erateinfo YourFirstName YourLastName"
unsubscribe erateinfo John Doe
State of Michigan E-Rate Coordinator
Our consultant, E-Rate Central, has assumed the role of state coordinator for E-Rate. They are available to help in all E-Rate related issues, particularly when dealing with the USAC Program Integrity Assurance staff. You can contact them for this purpose at email@example.com.