There’s good news for school districts grappling with recent changes to E-Rate. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which administers the program, is extending the deadline to April 16 for submitting E-Rate Form 471, which asks applicants to list the contracts they are requesting discounts for.
This is the first filing window since the FCC implemented sweeping changes to the E-Rate program late last year. The Council of Great City Schools, a coalition of the nation’s largest urban public school districts, requested the extension to ensure that districts “have sufficient time to align their requests with the changes enacted in the program and provide all of the required application information in a new online system.”
Schools and libraries that have already submitted applications will not be affected by the extension, according to the USAC. “In preparation for the expected volume of applications and to help ensure that we issue timely decisions, we have added and trained a significant number of additional reviewers,” the USAC reported.
E-Rate is the nation’s largest federal education technology program. In 2014, the FCC approved a massive $1.5 billion annual increase for the program to help schools pay for broadband connectivity and network infrastructure. The FCC also restructured the program by phasing out discounts for telecom and eliminating email and web hosting services while boosting support for Wi-Fi. For more information, submit a question to the USAC or call 1.888.203.8100.