The following is an update of the status of the Universal Service Fund (E-Rate) applications for the 1998-99 period and an announcement of the application window for fiscal year 1999-2000.
Current Funding Status
After numerous delays and challenges to the program, the first notifications of funding have been delivered to schools. Thirty-two schools and regional service cooperatives have received letters confirming funding for services through June 30, 1999. The Schools and Libraries Corporation (SLC) will announce additional funding in "waves" over the next four to six weeks.
Two responses are required for applicants who receive notification of approval. The first response is completion of Form 486 which informs the SLC that requested services have begun and documents the dates covered by those service(s). The Form 486 is due back five business days after receipt of the confirmation letter. Secondly, if the district seeks to claim reimbursement for eligible services provided prior to the date of notification, a separate request must follow - Form 472 is used for this process. The date of return for this information is keyed by the date of notification of funding. Both of these forms are included with the approval letter.
It is our understanding that top funding priority has been given to requests for local and long distance telephone services, Internet services, and requests for internal connectivity in schools at the 90% poverty level.
Application Period for 1999-2000 Fiscal Year
The application window for Universal Service Fund discounts (E-Rate) for the fiscal year July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000 opens on December 1, 1998. The SLC has set an 80 day application window which extends the "first-day application status" through February 18, 1999. Applications for discounted services must be filed on Form 470 which can be accomplished on the Web site (www.slcfund.org). Form 470 applications must be posted on the SLC Web site for a period of 28 days to allow time for competitive bids on services. At the close of the bid window, schools complete the selection process on Form 471. All of this application process - Form 470, the 28 day bid process, and Form 471 completion must occur within the 80 day window - or prior to February 19 - to qualify as a day-one application.
Questions concerning the Universal Service Fund (E-Rate) can be addressed to Dr. Charles Watson at 501-682-4474.