Form 471


FCC Form 471 "Description of 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, the Form 471 must be submitted within the USAC's application window period.

Form Instructions:

Detailed instructions for completing a Form 471 online in EPC can be found on the USAC' s web site at:  FCC Form 471 Filing.

E-rate Discount 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 PIA 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.

Funding Request Tips:

Tip 1:

All applications must be filed online in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Tip 2:

A service provider's legal name is often different from the name it uses for business. SLD reviewers will often question apparent mismatches between SPIN 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 service provider's sale representative directly or use the SPIN contact search function available in the SPIN Search Tool on the SLD's web site.


  1. The USAC's basic 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.
  2. Searches can also be conducted using the Service Provider Download Tool.  This tool, although not listed as a contact search mechanism, provides more flexible search options. 

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 SPIN and BEAR Contact Search on USAC's web site. By entering a SPIN number, you can see the name of the associated vendor (if assigned).

Tip 3:

Formal contracts are needed for all funding requests other than for telecommunications services provided under tariff or certain month-to-month billing arrangements. Currently, the only USAC-approved examples of month-to-month services  are Internet Access, Wide Area Network Circuits, and service for mobile devices (Hot-spots, Air-cards, etc.)

Tip 4:

For contract services, applicants should pay strict attention to the Contract Award Date. It must be on or after the Allowable Vendor Selection/Contract Date 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.

Tip 5:

The Service Start Date refers to the start of service in the upcoming funding year, not when service may have started years before. The Service End Date applies only for tariffed or month-to-month services. Similarly, it refers to the end of service in the funding year.

Tip 6:

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 or the Service End Date.

Tip 7:

Eligible and ineligible services must be carefully differentiated. Applicants  unsure of the eligibility of a certain service, should file for the questionable portion as a separate funding request.

 Tip 8:

Category 2 funding requests must specify which site(s) are receiving each piece of equipment or service for MIBS or Basic Maintenance requests. Each school site is limited to a specific per-student budget in a five year period of time. The budget for libraries is based on square footage.  Unused committed C2 funds should be returned using an FCC Form 500 to allow the funding to be “added back” into an applicant’s available C2 budget. Read more on this website’s Form 500 information page.

Tip 9:

E-Rate Central recommends for Category 2 funding requests that each part number be on its own FRN line item. It is also suggested to include zero-dollar part numbers on the funding request with an assigned dollar amount of $.01. This shows USAC that the equipment is part of the scope of work and allows for greater flexibility if a Service Substitution Request is necessary in the future.