The last step of the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program application process is to invoice USAC for your discounted share of your bill. You can submit an invoice to the E-rate Program only after:
- You received a positive funding amount on your funding commitment decision letter (FCDL),
- Your services have started/been delivered,
- You’ve submitted FCC Form 486 and received a notification in response,
- You’ve paid for the services, and
- Your service provider has filed its annual certification form.
We mentioned in Post #58 that you should tell your service provider which invoicing method to use. The two options available are:
Invoice Method #1: Applicant reimbursement
Receive payment directly to your bank account
If you select the “BEAR method” (billed entity applicant reimbursement), you will pay your service provider in full. Then, you will ask USAC to reimburse you at your discount level by filing the FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form). The amount will be deposited directly to your organization’s bank account.
There are two changes to the BEAR process this year:
- The entire process is managed between the school/library and USAC
- No certification, reimbursement, or other action is required from the service provider
- Applicants using the BEAR method must complete FCC Form 498 to obtain a 498 ID.
- This form provides your banking information to USAC
- After your initial 498 filing, you will only need to file the form again if there are changes to your banking information
Invoice Method #2: Service provider invoicing
A discount on your bill
If you select the “SPI method” (service provider invoicing), you will pay your service provider a discounted amount, which will be reflected on your bill. Your service provider handles the reimbursement process with USAC by filing the SPI form.
No action is required from the school/library applicant for this method.
Whichever method you select, you can work with USAC and your service provider if you need assistance with invoicing.
Next on the blog, we’ll discuss the process for the “BEAR method” of invoicing in detail, including tips for filling out FCC Form 498 and verifying your organization’s banking information.