This chart sums it up nicely:
The steps you follow depend on many factors, including the services you’re requesting, the type of contract you need, and whether you’re part of a consortium. But in general, the process goes like this:
- State your school/library’s needs on FCC Form 470, which initiates competitive bidding between potential service providers.
- Wait at least 28 days while service providers provide proposals (bids) about the type and cost of service they can provide to you.
- Select the service provider with the most cost-effective offer and sign a contract.
Applying for Discounts
- Tell USAC what services you ordered by submitting FCC Form 471. It is strongly recommended that you submit it during the FCC Form 471 “filing window.”
- USAC reviews your request and issues a notice about its decisions on your funding request.
- The service for which you requested funding starts.
- Inform USAC that your services have started by submitting an FCC Form 486.
- Invoice USAC by submitting an FCC Form 472 or an FCC Form 474.
Each of these steps is nuanced, and sometimes has sub-steps — we really recommend browsing through all the application process steps on the E-rate Program website if you’re new or need a refresher about the program.
We’re here to help you
USAC is available to help you through every step of the application process. If you need assistance, you can submit a question by commenting on a post, through your EPC account, through Submit a Question, or by calling our Customer Service Bureau.
Next week, we’ll start the step-by-step posts with how to activate and set up your account in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), the E-rate Program’s online application portal.