The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Services Administration Company (USAC) provides discounts for most schools and libraries in the United States through e-rate to obtain affordable telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections.
All billed entity applicants should now have a FCC Registration Number. Branch libraries that are billed under a main library have to have their own individual FCC Registration Number.
All FSCS numbers for libraries are listed on the NCES page, but each entity will have to search for their library. Please note: the FSCS number for Form 471 must be in the following format:
All forms and instructions are available through the Schools and Libraries Division Web site. As of now, Forms 470, 471, and 486 may be filed online. Please note: you may only certify your forms online if you have a PIN from the SLD.
The application process for e-rate is as follows:
1. Begin development of a Technology Plan (if you apply for Internet access or internal connections) and update annually. Each tech plan must be certified every 3 years.
2. File Form 470. Each applicant will receive a "Receipt Acknowledgement Letter" that indicates the beginning of the allowable vendor contract date, which is 28 days after your Form 470 was posted or received.
3. Wait a minimum of 28 days as indicated on your Receipt Acknowledgement Letter. Receive bids for new services.
4. File Form 471 before the filing window closes. Be sure to have all attachment documentation with your Form. Each applicant will receive a "Receipt Acknowledgement Letter" letting the applicant know that the form was received, but no decision has been made as to funding. Contact will be made between the SLD and the applicant if further information is needed to complete the review of Form 471.
5. A "Funding Commitment Decision Letter" will be received by each applicant whose form has been approved for funding.
6. File Form 486 within 120 days of the service start date or the date of your funding commitment decision letter, whichever is later. Each applicant will receive a "Receipt Acknowledgement Letter" once the Form 486 is received.
7. File Form 472, if you receive reimbursements within 120 days of the last date of service on your funding commitment decision letter. If you receive discounts on your bills, then you do not have to file a Form 472.
Each billed entity must have a FCC Registration Number on file with the FCC. This is a result of further implementation of the Federal Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, including the "Red-Light Rule". Under the red light rule, the USAC will not disburse any Federal benefits to an entity that shares the same taxpayer identification number as an entity that has delinquent debt owed to the Commission or its reporting components until such debt is paid.
As stated in the Application Process, technology plans must be certified every three years by the State E-Rate Coordinator for Public Libraries in Tennessee. A technology plan only has to be submitted for certification if an applicant is applying for Internet access or internal connections. The following criteria must be included in the technology plan for it to be certified:
1. The plan must establish clear goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve library services.
2. The plan must have a professional development strategy to ensure that staff know how to use these new technologies to improve library services
3. The plan must include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve library services.
4. The plan must provide for a sufficient budget to acquire and support the non-discounted elements of the plan: the hardware, software, professional development, and other services that will be needed to implement the strategy.
5. The plan must include an evaluation process that enables the library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities as they arise.
To check the status of your tech plan, please refer to the tech plan page. Note that the date that the tech plan is valid through is based on fiscal year, not calendar year. So, a plan that is valid through 2006 should be resubmitted for certification for Funding Year 2006-2007.
Please submit all tech plans to:
The amount of your discount is measured using the numbers in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program in the school district that your library physically resides in. For the statistics, please refer to the Free and Reduced Lunch Program website for Tennessee. The other determining factor is whether your county is designated by the SLD to be urban or rural. To check your county's status, please refer to the MSA portion of the SLD Web site, and click on Tennessee. The counties listed are considered rural.
Once the statistics are retrieved for your school district, the number enrolled in the program is divided by the total number of students to get a percentage. You can use the discount matrix below to determine your discount percentage.
Note: Keep a copy of the data from the Free and Reduced Web site for your records, in case of questions from the SLD concerning your discount percentage.
Attachments for Form 471
Attachments can now be filed either online or via a paper form mailed in.
To submit an Item 21 attachment, please go to the Schools and Libraries Division Web Site and click on the Item 21 Attachment button at the bottom of the Form 471 column.
Filing via paper form
Instructions for attachments are available through the Schools and Libraries Division Web site for attachments. The attachment can consist of (from the Web site):
Regardless of the specific format utilized, the Item 21 Attachment should include the following type of information:
In addition, a narrative description is useful to provide the SLD with a clear understanding of the funding request. This narrative description should include information needed by the SLD to make an appropriate eligibility decision, such as: