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E-rate filing window opens, unaffected by government shutdown

Eligible schools and libraries can now apply for E-rate funding for FY2019. The filing window runs Jan. 16 through March 27, 2019.
Jan 16, 2019

PITTSBURGH — Unaffected by the ongoing government shutdown, the filing window for E-rate funding for 2019 opens today, Wednesday, January 16.

In a statement posted on its website, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which administers the E-rate program under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), stated, “During the government shutdown, USAC will remain open for business as usual and all universal service deadlines remain in effect. Disbursements will continue to be issued by USAC. USAC events such as conference calls and webinars will take place as scheduled.”

Eligible schools and libraries have until March 27, 2019 to file an FCC Form 471 to apply for funding for FY2019, which runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

Filing the Form 471 is the third step in the E-rate process. Entities must first request services by filing an FCC Form 470. Many schools and libraries have already completed this step.

After the form is approved, it is posted online where it must remain for 28 days. This is often referred to as the competitive bidding process. During those 28 days, vendors such as Dagostino Electronic Services can review posted Form 470 forms and respond to applicants with bids for requested services.

Note: The last day for eligible entities to file Form 470s is February 20, 2019.

Once the competitive bidding process is over, the school or library who submitted the Form 470 must evaluate the bids received and select a vendor. They have until March 27, 2019 to do this, when they must submit their Form 471 and include the selected vendor’s bid.

The E-rate program is the single largest funding source for technology in schools and provides discounts of 20 to 90 percent to help schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.

DES’ suite of products and solutions includes much of the eligible services under Category 2 of E-rate such as structured cabling, wireless access points, switches and routers.

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