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E-Rate Training

E-Rate Training

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E-Rate Training

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  1. E-Rate Training Arkansas State Library November 9-10, 2010

  2. E-Rate Overview Amber Gregory Coordinator of E-Rate Services 900 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 100 Little Rock, AR 72201 (501) 682-8576

  3. Arkansas State Library & E-Rate • Arkansas State Library provides E-Rate support in the following ways. • E-Rate Training and Support Amber Gregory, Coordinator of E-Rate Services • Technology Plan Approval Sally Hawkes, Manager of Network Services • Advice and Consultation on Technology Donovan Mays, Coordinator of Technology Support

  4. What is E-Rate? • E-Rate is a program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that allows for schools and libraries to receive discounts on technology. • The discount level is determined by the urban/rural designation and the percentage of students who qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the school district in which the library is located. • Discounts range from 20% to 90% of eligible services. • E-Rate is the common name for the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Fund.

  5. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) • E-Rate began with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 • FCC sets rules and policy • E-Rate is funded by the FCC through the Federal Universal Service Fee

  6. Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) • Not-for-profit that administers the fund • Four programs: • Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) • Rural Health Care Program • High Cost Program • Low Income Program •

  7. E-Rate Funds • Each funding year the program is capped at $2.25 Billion. • Starting with FY2010, the fund is adjusted for inflation, making the commitment $2.27 Billion. • Each year a rollover amount is released by the FCC • FY2009 $900 million

  8. USAC Correspondence • USAC sends the applicant a letter each time a form is filed. • FY 2008 Blue • FY 2009 Canary • FY 2010 Pink • Retain all correspondence from USAC. • Sample E-Rate binder labels and outline available from USAC: • •

  9. USAC Correspondence • Keep all letters and E-Rate documents for 5 years after the last service is provided for any individual funding year.

  10. Eligible Entities • Libraries & Library Systems • Schools & School Systems • Consortia • Libraries • Schools • Libraries & Schools

  11. Eligible Entities • Library* • Eligible for assistance from a State library administrative agency under the LSTA act of 1996 • Non-Profit • Budget separate from a school system • *Block 5 Certification on Form 470

  12. Eligible Services • P1 (First Priority) • Telecommunications Services • Internet Access • P2 (Second Priority) • Internal Connections • Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections • Each year a new Eligible Services List (ESL) is approved by the FCC.

  13. Letter of Agency (LOA) • Establishes authority to file an application on behalf of an applicant • May be required by USAC if applicant is part of a consortia or uses the services of a consultant • When would a Letter of Agency be required? • Consultant • Complete (sign & date) LOA before first action taken on your behalf by consultant • Consortia • Complete (sign & date) LOA before date of 471 certification

  14. Time Commitment • 470 – 4 Hours • 471 – 4 Hours • 486 – 1.5 Hours • 472 – 1.5 Hours • Based on Office of Management and Budget calculations

  15. File Online • USAC recommends filling out forms, filing and certifying online. • 90% of applicants file online. • Helps eliminate errors before the application is filed. • Forms can be filled out using interview mode or manually. • Forms can be saved online to complete at a later time.

  16. E-Rate timeline • Develop a Technology Plan • File Form 470 (RFP) • Wait 28 days • Negotiate and sign contract • File Form 471 • Application window stays open 75 days • July 1 - begin receiving service • File Form 486 • 120 days after service begins or after receipt of FCDL, whichever is later. • File Form 472 (BEAR)

  17. Technology Plan • Four required elements • Goals and Strategies for using technology to improve education or library services • Needs assessment • Staff training • Evaluation plan • Budget: no longer required in the technology plan

  18. Technology Plan • Deadlines • Must be approved by the time services begin or when the 486 is filed, whichever is earlier. • Technology plan must be approved by Sally Hawkes, Arkansas’ USAC certified Technology Plan Approver (TPA). • Current technology plans on file at the Arkansas State Library cover 2009-2012. • Changes can be made to the current technology plans via addendum.

  19. Technology Plan • Starting FY2011, the technology plan will only be required for P2 – Internal Connections. • P1 services will no longer require a technology plan. • USAC warns to be aware of services that appear to be P1 but are moved to P2 upon review of the application (bucket switch). • Refer to “On-premise P1 equipment” in reference section of USAC SLD website. •

  20. Form 470 • Form 470 opens the competitive bidding process. • File yearly for terrified and/or month-to-month services • File once for multi-year contract • Describes the scope of the service & the categories and function of service. • Must be sufficiently detailed • Consistent with the technology plan. • USAC sends Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) to applicant summarizing Form 470 after Form 470 is posted. • The service provider cannot file Form 470 for library.

  21. Form 470 • Billed Entity Number (BEN) – Number assigned by USAC to each library. • Personal Identification Number (PIN) – Number assigned by USAC to each person filing E-Rate forms. • If more than one person is authorized to fill out forms, each person needs a PIN. • Contact Client Services Bureau to get BEN or PIN: (888) 203-8100

  22. Form 470 & RFPs • Request for Proposals (RFP) are documents that give details about the services desired, location and bid requirements to potential bidders. • RFPs are not required by E-Rate. • Check for local and state requirements on competitive bidding guidelines. • Follow the stricter of the rules – state, local or E-Rate.

  23. Form 470 • Block 2 – Item 7 • Select all that may apply: tariffed, month-to-month or contracted services in order to get the best bid response. • Select multi-year contracts and voluntary extensions. If this option is not selected, you will not be able to enter into a multi-year contract or a voluntary extension without submitting a new 470 the following funding year.

  24. Form 470 • Block 2 – Items 8,9,10,11 • Request service in any category in which you may file a Form 471 • Example: telecommunications services & internet access • If your Form 471 category of service does not match your Form 470, funding can be denied.

  25. Form 470 • If you are requesting telecommunications services, the service provider must be an eligible telecommunications service provider. • Conduct a SPIN search on the USAC website. • Print and file the page with E-Rate records.

  26. Form 470 – Tips • RFP Development and Contract Execution • Consider requiring that vendor must have a SPIN as condition of bid award • Consider requiring that vendor must have filed a Service Provider Annual Certification Form • Consider requiring documentation as a condition of bid award that vendor is an eligible telecommunications service provider if you are requesting telecommunications services • Consider requiring the method of payment in the contract (BEAR/SPI) *Tips from EdTech Strategies, LLC

  27. 470 Receipt Notification Letter • Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) confirms receipt of 470 • Form 470 Application Number as assigned by SLD • Provides date (29th day) when you can sign contract • Confirms receipt status of Block 5 certifications

  28. Important! • Make sure to wait at least 28 days after posting a Form 470 or an RFP before selecting a vendor, signing a contract or submitting a Form 471(when the application window is open). • Consider how long it will take to: • Conduct the competitive bidding process • Evaluate bids • Negotiate bids • Receive administrative authorization • Execute Contract • Obtain signatures

  29. Competitive Bidding • Bidding process must be fair and open. • Responsibility for bidding process rests on the applicant. • A service provider cannot run the competitive bidding process on behalf of the applicant.

  30. Bid Evaluation Matrix • Price for eligible services must be the most heavily weighted factor. • As long as price is the most important factor, the other factors can be up to the library. • Examples include: • Past positive experience with vendor • Environmental Objectives • Price for ineligible services • Flexible invoicing (Bear or SPI)

  31. Bid Evaluation Matrix * Sample from USAC website

  32. Competitive Bidding • FY 2011- Stricter rules for competitive bidding and gifts • Rules apply not just during the application window, but at all times. • Gift Rules – Nothing worth over $20 in value may be accepted at any one time from a service provider. • Cannot accept more than $50 in gifts/meals per year from any one service provider. • Be very careful when accepting gifts/meals. E-Rate funding could be at stake.

  33. Service Providers • Arkansas Vendor information on ASL website • Public Library Services • Vendors & Purchasing • List is not an endorsement of the vendors, but a list of possible service providers • We will continue to update the website with current vendor information

  34. Roles of Service Provider • Respond to 470/RFP • Assist applicant with Item 21 attachment on Form 471 (after contract signed) • Assist with technical questions from PIA • Provide discounted bills or reimbursements • Comply with certifications *Roles from EdTech Strategies, LLC

  35. Select a Service Provider • Wait 28 days after posting 470/RFP • Evaluate Bids • Choose Service Provider • Sign a Contract • Submit Form 471 (after the window has opened)

  36. Form 471 • Form 471 provides more detail about: • Entity requesting discount • Service provider • Eligible Services applied for • Discount calculation information • Certifies compliance with program rules

  37. Determine Discount • The discount amount is based on two factors: • Number of students in the school district in which the library is located who are eligible for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) • Information available on Arkansas Department of Education website: • Also available on Arkansas State Library website • Rural or Urban designation • Based on Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) data • Designation can be found at USAC website •

  38. Determine Discount • Calculate the discount based on NSLP. • Total number of students in the school district where library is located. • Determine number of students eligible for NSLP. • Divide the number of students eligible for NSLP by the total number of students to arrive at the percentage. • Locate discount in discount matrix. • Designation needed for application process.

  39. Determine Discount *Spreadsheet from Arkansas Department of Education website

  40. Determine Discount *Table from USAC website

  41. Form 471 Application Window • Usually opens in early November • FY 2011 – Expect window to open early January (close mid-March) • Open 75 days • Application window applies only to Form 471. Form 470 can be posted before window opens.

  42. Form 471- Acronyms • Funding Request Number (FRN) – Number assigned to Form 471 Block 5 funding request • Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) – Identification number given to a service provider by USAC • SPIN contact search available on USAC website • Service Providers may have more than one SPIN • Contact Service Provider to clarify • Item 21 Attachment – Details the services requested in funding application • Service Provider can provide clarification and details for Item 21 Attachment.

  43. Form 471- Acronyms • Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) – Sent to applicant and service provider by USAC summarizing form 471 • Contains FRN, SPINs, Service Provider names, Category of Service, Pre-Discount amount requested, discount percentage • Clerical corrections can be made to 471entries via RAL no later than 20 days after date of RAL • Non-Instructional Facility (NIF) • Eligible for P1 service • Eligible for P2 service if necessary to provide transport to public areas of library

  44. Cost Allocation • Applicants are required to cost allocate out ineligible services from eligible services on the Form 471. • If an ineligible service must be cost allocated out, the corresponding service and installation must be as well. • Document and retain files associated with cost allocation process • Cost allocation must be “based on tangible criteria that provide a realistic result”. - USAC • USAC makes this determination

  45. Cost Allocation • Examples of Cost Allocation • A bundled service with individualized prices for services • Use the simple average of the eligible services performed by a component if it performs both eligible and ineligible functions. • If a bundle of eligible & ineligible services/products receives a discount, the discount must be cost allocated across both eligible & ineligible services • Other examples of cost allocation can be found at USAC website

  46. Form 471 • Reminders… • File Priority 1 (P1) and Priority 2 (P2) services on separate 471 forms. • Applicant must be able to pay for the non-discounted portion of the service. • File Item 21 attachment when Form 471 is filed.

  47. Priority Two Funding • 2 in 5 Rule • Library may not receive funding on P2 (internal connections) more than two out of every five years. • This does not apply to basic maintenance of internal connections.

  48. Review and Funding Commitments • Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) – begins reviewing applications when 471 and Item 21 attachment are submitted. • Makes funding decisions • Checks for program compliance • Eligible Entity • Eligible Purpose • Eligible Services • Eligible Sites/Locations

  49. PIA Review • USAC checks to make sure application properly completed • Competitive Bidding Process • Discount Calculation • Contracts • Sufficient Budget • Certifications • Form 470 • Technology Plan • Letters of Agency

  50. PIA Review • Applicant’s Role in PIA Review • Have documents ready and organized • Respond with required information within the specified time frame • Review Selective Review Information Request (SRIR) found in SLD reference area • Document the communication in writing • Document the call and response • If more time is needed, ask SLD • Receive confirmation, Document that extra time is granted