Need an NCES or FSCS code?
The Form 471 Block 4 worksheet requests an NCES code for each school entity and an FSCS code for each library entity listed on the worksheet. If you do not know your code, you can proceed as follows:
- If you need the NCES code for a public school, go to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) school search tool and choose the appropriate search criteria to find your school and NCES code. You can also ask your state department of education, which may post NCES codes on a state website.
- If you need the FSCS code for a public library, go to the Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) library search tool and choose the appropriate search criteria to find your library and FSCS code. You can also ask your state library, which may post FSCS codes on a state website.
- If you cannot locate your code and you are filing online, you can leave this item blank. You will have to click "OK" to bypass the warning message that you receive, but the system will then allow you to continue to work on your application. If you leave the item blank, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) may ask for your code during application review.
- Note that some entities, such as private schools or libraries, non-instructional facilities, or schools and libraries under construction, may not have codes.
Does your district have Pre-K students?
In the State of MO, Pre-K students are eligible to count towards the district E-rate discount. However, any costs that serve solely Pre-K students are not eligible for discount. In short, the students are in, the costs are out. So, if your district has Pre-K students and they are served in the same general building as any K-12 students, then E-rate costs to that building are allowed with no concern over the Pre-K. However, if your Pre-K students are served in a separate building, or you have specific costs that only benefit the Pre-K students, then those costs are NOT eligible for E-rate discount. On the E-rate Form 471 Block 4 you enter student counts. The student counts reported by DESE and by MOREnet (including the spreadsheet from this listserv) do NOT include Pre-K students for any districts. If you want to include Pre-K students in your student counts, you will have to add them to the reported figures. Keep written documentation to the counts added.
How to: Determine the Status of Your E-rate Application
Solution: It is easy to learn the status of your E-rate application and to track your application through the approval process. As your E-rate application navigates the application process, your status will update in real time. Initially, you want your Form 471 to show as 'Certified In-Window'. Your goal is to see 'FCDL Issued XX/XX/XX'. This is a great (and easy!) tool for checking the status of your application!
Details: From the 'Apply Online' screen of the SLD webpage (http://www.sl.universalservice.org/menu.asp), choose 'Application Status' under the Form 471. From there, you will enter your Billed Entity Number (BEN) and choose the year you wish to search. Please note that you can search your applications all the way back to the inception of the E-rate program...this is a helpful tool if you are curious about what your organization has applied for under E-rate in the past. From there, you will be taken to a screen that lists each Form 471 you filed and the current status of the application. Under that information is the glossary to help you determine what your status means.
How to: Find A Vendor's Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN)
Solution: All service providers chosen by an applicant to provide E-rate services MUST have a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN). If you choose a vendor that does NOT have a SPIN, your E-rate service request will not be reviewed or funded. The SLD website provides an online interface that allows you to search for a service provider SPIN.
Details: Visit the SLD webpage and choose 'Search Tools' (http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/default.aspx/). Choose 'SPIN Contact Search' (http://www.sl.universalservice.org/Forms/SPIN_Contact_Search.asp). On this screen, you may enter the service provider's name. For best search results, enter the name followed by %, a wildcard sign. So, your search may look like: Centurylink%. The results page will show you the vendor's legal business entity name, a contact person, address, phone number, and SPIN. Please note that many providers will list a number of valid SPINs. Be sure you are using the correct SPIN! Most will designate the purpose of the SPIN (for example, long distance or wireless, etc). If you are unclear, contact the person listed on the screen for clarification. This will save you headache and work down the road!
How to: Determine E-rate Eligibility of Services and Products
Solution: Most new E-rate applicants struggle with understanding exactly what to apply for on their E-rate application. As a general suggestion, all eligible Missouri schools and libraries should apply for basic phone service and long distance phone service. Remember that MOREnet applies for the E-rate on your MOREnet provided Internet connection. This leaves hundreds of other items that are E-rate eligible that every organization should consider taking advantage of on the next E-rate cycle. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) releases an Eligible Services List annually that itemizes services and products eligible for E-rate discounts. This list should be your guide in completing your E-rate application.
Details: To review the current Eligible Services List, visit the SLD website and choose 'Reference Area.' (http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/reference-area.aspx). From there, choose 'Eligible Services List'. (http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/beforeyoubegin/eligible-services-list.aspx). This screen will list the most current Eligible Services List and you may download a PDF for review. Carefully consider the list as you think about your E-rate application. The list does a great job of listing out eligible services and products, but also will highlight commonly questioned items that have been deemed ineligible.
How to use your USAC PIN?
A PIN (required to certify forms online and to file online BEAR forms) is two point pairing: last name and billed entity number. A valid use of a PIN can only be by the person with the correct last name certifying on behalf of the entity for which the PIN was established.
What this means:
1. A PIN established by or for an employee no longer with the organization should not be used.
2. A person leaving one organization moving to another organization and doing E-Rate for the new organization, cannot use their PIN from the previous organization.
How do you acquire a new PIN? You must file a paper form. The best and most simple way is to file a paper Form 470. There is no rule or requirement that services must be purchased by simply filing a Form 470; meaning that you can file the Form 470 to acquire the new PIN and take no action on the posted Form 470.
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