This guest post comes from AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. Dan serves on the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which oversees the four programs of the Universal Service Fund, including E-Rate.
Tomorrow, February 3, marks the beginning of the 2016 application filing window for the E-Rate program. The filing window will be open through April 29, meaning school districts will have 87 days (nearly two weeks longer than normal!) to submit an E-Rate application.
2014 was a big year for the E-Rate program, bringing both a program modernization and an increase in the funding cap. The updated program came with a new application process, and USAC is currently in the middle of migrating the E-Rate information technology system and forms to a new platform.
Last year (2015 application window), applicants expressed frustration with the new application forms and portals. While USAC has tried to remedy these shortcomings, there may still be some hangups. We encourage you to give us feedback as you work through this year's application to submit your E-Rate forms. Tell us what worked and what didn't; let us know what went according to plan and where there is room for improvement.
Share these comments with us by contacting Noelle Ellerson (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also submit your feedback to USAC via EPCfeedback@usac.org.
You can read USAC's announcement on the 2016 application window here.