Form 471 Application Tips
FCC Form 471 "Services Ordered and Certification Form" is the second form that must be filed by a school or library in the E-rate application process. Its purpose is to individually list all contracts and services for which the applicant is requesting discounts. To have any chance of being approved, Form 471 must be submitted within the SLD's application window period (typically announced by the SLD in October).
Detailed instructions for completing a Form 471, either online or by mail, can be found on the SLD's web site at: 471 Application Guidance.
Block 4 Tips:
Discount rates should be based on student eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, not simply on student participation. For guidance on maximizing discount levels, see Discount Rate Optimization.
Although applicants are fully entitled to use alternative methods to determine student eligibility, the SLD application review team has access only to state Free and Reduced Price Lunch participation data. Applicants should be prepared to thoroughly document any significant differences between eligibility and participation data.
Block 5 Tips:
Applications filed on paper must use the newest version of Form 471 which is available in our Forms Rack.
A supplier's legal name is often different from the name it uses for business. SLD reviewers will often question apparent mismatches between SPINS and Service Provider Names.
The following steps can be taken to find or check the correct SPIN of a service provider:
When in doubt, call the vendor's sale representative directly or use the SPIN contact search function available in the Reference Area of the SLD's Web site.
Hint: The SLD's search mechanism is very sensitive to company name. If the full and formal name is not known, enter the start of the name followed by a "%" for a "wild card" search as described in the directions.
If the search yields multiple contacts for a vendor, start by calling the person listed geographically closest. We have found that some listed contacts know little about the E-rate program (or that they're even supposed to be the contact). Keep calling until you find a knowledgeable person. A reverse lookup capability is provided in the Vendor Area of the SLD's Web site under the button marked "Service Provider Information by SPIN." By entering a SPIN number, you can see the name of the associated vendor (if assigned).
- A list of SPINs for vendors doing business within New York State has been compiled by E-Rate Central and is available on this Web site under NYS Vendor Information. This list should be used with extreme care. Many vendors utilize a series of SPINs for different divisions or geographic sales territories (possibly distinguishing between upstate and downstate). E-Rate Central does not warrant the accuracy of this list. It is provided only to help applicants determine if a typo had been made in the recording of a SPIN in a FCDL. The final authority on any SPIN should be the vendor.
Formal contracts are needed for all funding requests other than for telecommunications services provide under tariff or for certain month-to-month billing arrangements. So far, the only SLD-approved examples of month-to-month services are Internet access, cellular/PCS and paging.
For contract services, applicants should pay strict attention to the Contract Award Date (Item 18). It must be on or after the Allowable Vendor Selection/Contract Date (Item 17) determined by the Form 470 in which the associated service requirement was posted. It must also be on or before the date the Form 471 is signed and submitted.
The Service Start Date (Item 19a) refers to the start of service in the upcoming funding year, not when service may have started years before. For most services in Funding Year 2005, this will be 07/01/2005. The Service End Date (Item 19b) applies only for tariffed or month-to-month services. Similarly, it refers to the end of service in the funding year, most typically 06/30/2006.
Every attempt should be made to make sure that contracts do not expire before the end of the upcoming year. Funding is only provided for services received prior to the Contract Expiration Date (Item 20) or the Service End Date (Item 19b).
Eligible and ineligible services must be carefully differentiated. Applicants not sure of the eligibility of a certain service should file for the questionable portion as a separate funding request.
Each Block 5 funding request should be referenced with an associated exhibit with contract and/or billing documentation. Multiple site-specific requests can reference the same attachments. E-Rate Central recommends that each attachment include a cover sheet, such as the one shown below, highlighting the contract status and included documentation.