How to respond to PIA inquiries

Post 55: How to respond to PIA questions

If a PIA reviewer has a question about your application, they’ll post it in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and send you an email, asking you to log in and respond.

It’s important to make a distinction between answering the PIA questions, and asking clarifying questions:

  • If you are ready to formally respond to the PIA inquiry, respond in EPC, and be sure to do so within 15 days (do not respond via email).
  • If you do not understand the PIA inquiry, or need help, contact your PIA reviewer via phone or email (do not respond in EPC). The PIA reviewer will provide their contact information as part of the inquiry.

Today, we’ll cover how to view and formally respond to the PIA inquiries you receive.

Three ways to view your PIA questions (inquiries)

PIA reviewers will send questions about your application through the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). EPC does not send automatic e-mail alerts when reviewers post a question for you, but, the reviewer will send the application’s main contact an email prompting them to log in and view the question.

There are three ways to access your PIA questions in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC):

Option 1: Locate in the EPC News Feed

All questions for a given application will appear together in a single notice.

  1. Log in and select the “News” tab at the top of your screen.
  2. The title of the message will be, “From the FCC Form 471 Review Team.” Locate it more quickly by using the “Search” bar on the left to search for “471 Review Team” (case-sensitive).
  3. Click the application nickname (the blue bar at the bottom of the notice) to access your inquiries.
  4. When your form summary appears, select “Review Inquiries” from the left-menu.
  5. At the top of the screen, click “Respond to Inquiries.”
    • Do not respond to inquiries as a “comment” on the News Feed — comments are public and are visible by all users at your organization, but not your PIA reviewer. Only answer questions on the “Review Inquiries” dashboard.
Search for PIA inquiries in news feed

To view inquiries, search for “471 Review Team” in your EPC News Feed. Then, click on the form’s nickname.

Option 2: Locate in the EPC “Tasks” Tab

Each question will appear as a separate task.

  1. Log in and select the “Tasks” tab at the top of your screen.
  2. Locate the inquiry; the title will be “Respond to Notifications for Form 471 [form number].”
    1. If the task is complete or overdue, it will not appear in the “Tasks” list any more.
  3. Click on the task, and it will direct you to the “Pending Inquiries” tab.
  4. At the top of the screen, click “Respond to Inquiries.”

Option 3: Locate in your school or library’s profile

View all questions for an application in the application’s dashboard

  1. Log into your EPC account and, from your landing page, click on your school or library.
  2. From the menu on the left, select “FCC Forms.”
  3. Use the drop down to choose “FCC Form 471” and funding year 2016.
  4. Choose the form number that’s referenced in the email from your PIA reviewer.
  5. From the form summary page, select “Review Inquiries” from the menu on the left
  6. At the top of the screen, click “Respond to Inquiries.”

Option 4: Locate in the EPC “Records” Tab

View all questions for a given application on a dashboard/repository.

  1. Log in and select the “Records” tab at the top of your screen.
  2. Choose “FCC Forms 471.”
  3. Choose the form number that’s referenced in the email from your PIA reviewer.
  4. From the form summary page, select “Review Inquiries” from the menu on the left.
  5. At the top of the screen, click “Respond to Inquiries.”
Review Inquiries link in left menu

Or, go to the “Records” tab, select your form, and select “Review Inquiries”

How to respond to PIA inquiries

Once you access your questions, you’ll see pending inquiries and submitted inquiries.

Pending inquiries are questions submitted by the PIA reviewer.

Submitted inquiries are your responses.

Press the “respond to inquiries” button at the top to view details of an inquiry. When you select an inquiry, a worksheet will appear that shows the questions and a space to enter your answer and/or supporting documentation.

PIA inquiry dashboard in EPC

From the “Review Inquiries” dashboard, select the “Respond to Inquiries” button.

If you save an unfinished response, you can find it later using the same method you used to locate the inquiry.

Need help? Call or email your PIA reviewer using the contact information listed on the inquiry. You can find their contact information in the “Review Inquiries” section of EPC (accessible through the “Records” tab).

After PIA review is complete, USAC will make a decision about your funding request and issue a funding commitment decision letter (FCDL). Next on the blog, we’ll talk about what to do when you get your FCDL.

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