RALs

Introduction

Once an FCC Form 471 is certified and submitted, the applicant receives an email confirmation. However, they can view the Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (“RAL”) by searching the News Feed in EPC. Click the “News” tab on the top left of your screen, then type “RAL” into the search box and press “Enter.”

The RAL confirms that your FCC Form 471 was successfully submitted and certified. The letter provides a link to the Form 471 submitted, and information about how to make changes/updates to the form.

RALs should be carefully reviewed as soon as possible. These letters give applicants a chance to correct any data entry errors and certain other errors made by the applicants themselves – while the applications are still in the SLD review process and before funding commitment decisions made. Quick response is critical. Once a Form 471 is certified in EPC, it moves to the Problem Resolution and/or Program Integrity Assurance (“PIA”) stages, and then to the funding commitment stage. There is no built-in delay in the process to allow for corrective responses from the applicants. Errors not corrected before the funding commitment decision step will have to be handled through a more cumbersome and time-consuming appeals process.

Applicants may be receiving several different types of correspondence from the SLD during the same period, so each must be checked vigilantly. Keep in mind, RAL letters are not the same as Funding Commitment Decision Letters  ("FCDLs"). RALs merely mirror application data; FCDLs reflect an E-rate award decision.

 

How to Review Your 471:

To review your Form 471, scroll to the bottom of the receipt acknowledgement letter (RAL) and click the blue button to the left (with the application’s nickname). Basic information about your form will appear. On the left-hand menu, choose “Funding Requests,” “Connectivity Information,” “Discount Calculation,” and “Entity Information” to review each of these parts of your form.

To view your whole form as a PDF, select “Summary” from the left-hand menu and scroll to the bottom. In the “FCC Form 471 Generated Documents” section, click the link “FCC Form 471 Original Version,” and a PDF of the form will be downloaded in your browser.

How to Prepare for a 471 review:

The RAL letter reminds you to gather documentation (proof) of the information you entered on the Form 471. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Your National School Lunch Program (NSLP) student counts (schools only)
  • A list of entities receiving services
  • Any calculations you made by hand, including Category Two cost allocations

Remember: program rules require you to keep the documents related to your funding requests for ten (10) years after the last date you receive services.

Correcting Form 471 Errors with the RAL

Technically, the RAL correction process is only designed to address ministerial and clerical (“M&C”) errors.  M&C errors are defined as data entry errors or mistakes applicants made on the FCC Form 471. Such errors include only the kinds of errors that a typist might make when entering data from one list to another, such as mistyping a number, using the wrong name or phone number, failing to enter an item from the source list onto the application, or making an arithmetic error. USAC can process requests to correct M&C errors until the time that a FCDL is issued.

Allowable FCC Form 471 Corrections:

  • Spelling errors
  • Simple addition, subtraction, multiplication or division errors
  • Transposed letters and numbers
  • Misplaced decimal points
  • Other punctuation marks (hyphens, periods, commas, etc.) included or not included or misplaced
  • Failing to enter an item from the source list (e.g., NSLP data, uploaded entity, FRN, etc.)
  • Incorrect citations such as:
    • FCC Form 470 number
    • Discount percent
    • Urban/rural status
    • Contract number
    • Billing Account Number/Multiple Billing Account Numbers
    • FCC Form 471  entity information
  • Updates or changes to contact person and/or consultant information
  • Errors in dollars figures on an FRN
  • Adding or removing entities accidentally omitted or included
  • Accidental omission of FRNs from the FCC Form 471
  • Changing the amount budgeted for ineligible services (Item 26d, "necessary resources") in FCC Form 471 certifications
  • Changing the service delivery time period (e.g., month-to-month to contractual, recurring to non-recurring)
  • Mis-keying the service provider name or Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), also known as the service provider's 498 ID
  • Corrective SPIN changes
  • Correcting the annual charges for recurring charges
  • Incorrectly identifying ineligible charges and services or products

Non-allowable FCC Form 471 Corrections:

  • Operational SPIN changes
  • Changes to the services on the FCC Form 471 funding request that are not a result of an M&C error (e.g., renegotiated contract terms or pricing)
  • Adding an entity to the discount calculation that was not listed in the original source document
  • Revising NSLP data dated after the close of the filing window
  • Adding a category or categories of service on the FCC Form 470 after it has been posted
  • Adding new services or changing service descriptions on FCC Forms 470 and RFPs after the forms have been posted
  • Changes based on service provider documentation that was not used in the applicant's competitive bidding process or that is dated after the close of the filing window

Some corrections do not need to be reviewed by USAC. For those that do, USAC currently processes requests for allowable corrections to FCC Forms 471 through EPC. In many cases, USAC can determine whether the correction is allowable and, if so, complete the correction without requesting additional information. However when the nature of the correction is not apparent, USAC may request the appropriate source documentation to determine whether the correction is allowable. Source documentation is the documentation containing the information used to prepare the form (e.g., contract, vendor quote, NSLP data, etc.).

You will be informed if your FCC Form 471 correction was allowable and if it was processed in your Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL).