E-Rate Terminology

Allowable Contract Date - the first day an applicant can sign a contract with a service provider during the competitive bidding process. This is at least 28 days after the 470 was posted on the SLD Web site. The Allowable Contract Date is populated on the posted 470. If an RFP were added later, a contract couldn’t be signed until 28 days after the RFP was provided.

Applicant - A school or library that is seeking funding for telecommunications services through the E-rate program.

BEAR Form - Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement Form (Form 472). This form is to be completed and submitted by the school/library, and is used to request reimbursement by check for eligible E-rate services received.

BEN - see Billed Entity Number

Billed Entity - The school or library that pays the service provider for services delivered.

Billed Entity Number (BEN) - a unique number USAC assigns to each school and library for the E-rate program.

Case Number - When a service provider or school calls the Schools and Libraries (SLD) Hotline, the representative provides a number that refers to that particular discussion. That case number can be referenced in follow-up calls so any SLD representative can access the information.

Category 1 - Products/services in the Telecommunications and Internet Access categories, which are funded first.

Category 2 - Includes LAN (local area networks), WLAN (wireless local area networks) components, basic maintenance of broadband internal connections components, and managed internal broadband services.

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) - This is a law that requires applicants to have an Internet Safety policy and filtering.

CIPA - see Children's Internet Protection Act.

Corrective SPIN Change - A notification to USAC that the SPIN associated with a Funding Request Number (FRN) is incorrect. This may be due to data entry errors, the original service provider merging with another entity, or other situations in which the change was not initiated by the applicant.

Eligible Services List - A list and description of which products and services are eligible for E-rate funding. The list is posted on the SLD Web site.

E-rate - A government program that TDS participates in, which provides supplemental funding to schools and libraries for telecommunications services.

FCC - Federal Communications Commission. The FCC oversees the E-rate program.

FCDL - See Funding Commitment Decision Letter.

Form 470 - Applicant Form. Services Requested, a school or library files a 470 online to indicate that they’re seeking bids for services for the next E-Rate funding year, and describes the services and quantities needed. A school or library would also indicate on the 470 if they will be releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for those services. RFPs are not required.

Form 471 - Applicant form. Services Selected. This form is submitted by the school to SLD. It indicates which service provider the school selected to provide E-rate services for the next funding year, along with service descriptions, quantities, and costs.

Form 471 Filing Window - This is the time period designated by USAC during which schools and libraries can sign a contract with a service provider after posting a Form 470 for at least 28 days on the USAC Web site. The beginning and end dates are announced by USAC each year, and for the 2015-2016 bidding cycle, ran from mid-January to mid-April.

Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment Letter - A letter sent by SLD to the applicant and the service provider confirming that SLD has processed the applicant’s 471 form. The letter summarizes the data from the Form 471.

Form 472 - Applicant form. Also known as the BEAR form (Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement). The customer submits this form to USAC to request that they receive their E-rate reimbursement by check (rather than applied to their phone bill).

Form 473 - Service provider form. Service provider Annual Certification Form (SPAC). This form must be filed each year by a service provider to certify that they’ll follow the rules and guidelines of the E-rate program.

FRN - Funding Request Number. A number assigned by SLD to each separate request for service for a particular funding year. One entity may have several FRNs in the same funding year.

Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) – Once the Form 471 has been reviewed, the SLD issues a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) to both the applicant and the service provider, listing its funding decision for a particular Funding Request Number (FRN).

Funding Year - The funding year begins July 1 of a particular year, and ends the following year on June 30. SLD approves funding for schools one year at a time.

Form 474 - Service provider form. Service provider Invoice Form. A service provider submits this form to USAC to be reimbursed for E-rate discounts they’ve applied to customer bills.

Form 486 - Applicant form. Services Have Begun. The customer submits a 486 confirming that the school or library has started receiving eligible services from a service provider.

Form 498 - Service provider form. Used by carriers to obtain a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), to provide contact information, and to direct USAC where to send the carrier’s universal service payments.

Form 500 - Applicant form. Submitted by school/library to USAC if there's a change in the type of service or cost of the service.

Good Samaritan - If a school's original service provider (as indicated on the Form 486) has gone out of business, filed for bankruptcy protection before processing BEAR payment(s) for applicants, or in other situations agreed to by USAC, a school can obtain check reimbursement for services received from a "Good Samaritan" service provider. Such a provider receives the BEAR payment from USAC and passes the reimbursement through to the applicant.

Internet Access - A Category 1 service funded through the E-rate program. Eligible services for Internet Access are listed on the Eligible Services List.

Item 21 - This includes detailed information about the products/services requested in an FRN, and who will receive them. This is a section on Form 471.

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) - This program provides school lunches to eligible students at a free or reduced rate. A school or library’s E-rate discount percentage is based on how many students are eligible for the NSLP, and on the urban/rural status.

NSLP - see National School Lunch Program

Non-Discounted Amount - This is the portion of the cost for an eligible service that isn’t covered by E-rate funding. For example, is a school is funded at 90% and the bill is $1,000, the discounted amount is 90% of $1,000 ($900) and the non-discounted amount is 10% ($100). A service provider is required to bill for the non-discounted amount.

Operational SPIN Change - a request submitted by an applicant to SLD to change the service provider for an FRN, due to the choice of the applicant. An Operational SPIN change must be postmarked and received after the date on the Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL)

PIA - see Program Integrity Assurance

Pre-Discounted Amount - The total amount an eligible service will cost for one funding year, prior to any E-rate discount being applied.

Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) - the process of reviewing applications and invoices for compliance with program rules. A PIA Review is conducted after a 471 Form is submitted.

RAL - see Receipt Acknowledgement Letter

Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) - This letter is sent by USAC to the applicant and service provider to confirm that the 471 Form and certification was received on a timely basis from the applicant.

RFP - Request for Proposal. This is the document provided by a school/library requesting bids for products/services. Schools and libraries are not required to create RFPs for the bidding process.

Service Substitution - a change in the products and/or services that were applied for on Form 471. A school/library should submit Form 500 to SLD to request a Service Substitution. If the discount price is reduced, SLD will approve funding for the lesser amount of the two services.

SLD - Schools and Libraries Division of USAC. SLD administers the E-rate program.

SPAC Form - Service provider Annual Certification Form, also known as Form 473. This form must be filed each year by a service provider to certify that they'll follow the rules and guidelines of the E-rate program.

SPIN - Service provider Identification Number - a number assigned by SLD to each vendor participating in the E-rate program.

SPIN Change - In certain situations, applicants and service providers can request a change of the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN). A SPIN change may either be a Corrective SPIN Change or an Operational SPIN Change (see the Corrective SPIN Change and Operational SPIN Change entries in this glossary for more details).

Split FRN - If a school/library changes service providers during a funding year, they may have a split FRN - two separate FRNs for the same service.

Universal Service Administrative Company - the not-for-profit corporation that administers the Universal Service Fund (USF). Also see USAC.

USAC - Universal Service Administrative Company. This is the not-for-profit corporation that administers the Universal Service Fund (USF).

Wave - A wave is a group of funding commitment decision notifications that USAC sends to applicants and service providers on a particular date. USAC typically sends a wave of notifications each week. Each wave is numbered for identification purposes.

Whistleblower Hotline - A phone number that applicants, service providers and others can call to alert USAC anonymously about potentially misapplied program funds or program rule violations.