Acronyms & Select Terms Used in E-Rate
Newcomers to E-rate, in particular, often become confused with all of the program's acronyms. We thought it might be useful to post a list of the key acronyms together with a brief description. Here are a few!
BEAR Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement form (FCC Form 472). The applicant form used to invoice USAC for E-rate discounts on a retroactive basis after the applicant has paid for the services in full.
BEN Billed Entity Number. An E-rate program identification number assigned to entities that are billed for E-rate eligible services. BENs are a subset of Entity Numbers which are assigned to all organizations and facilities participating in E-Rate.
BMIC Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. One of the four categories of eligible service. Along with Internal Connections, BMIC is a Priority 2 service. BMIC "ensures the necessary and continued operation of eligible internal connections at eligible locations." (USAC definition)
CIPA Children’s Internet Protection Act. A law requiring E-rate applicants to have an Internet Safety Policy and to filter Internet service. CIPA applies only to applicants applying for Internet Access, Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections discounts.
COMAD Commitment Adjustment. A procedure initiated when a SLD funding error is uncovered as a result of additional information and/or review. If funding has already been disbursed, the COMAD procedure will lead to a request for repayment from either the applicant or service provider.
Competitive Bidding Process. This process is initiated when an applicant files the Form 470/RFP to solicit bids from service providers for services. The process must be fair and open.
CSB Client Service Bureau. The SLD’s help line and data entry organization located in Lawrence, KS. The CSB can be reached by calling 888-203-8100 or by using "Submit a Question" on the SLD website.
E-Rate. The common name given to the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Fund. E-Rate provides discounts on eligible services to eligible schools and libraries.
ESL Eligible Services List. A list of services and products that are eligible for E-Rate discounts. The ESL is divided into four categories: Telecommunications Services and Internet Access (P1), Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections (P2). A new ESL is approved each year by the FCC.
FCC Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has overall administrative authority for the Universal Service Fund, generally, and the E-rate program, specifically.
FCC RN FCC Registration Number. An identification number assigned to any entity, including E-rate participants, doing business with the FCC.
FCDL Funding Commitment Decision Letter. A commitment letter sent to an applicant listing the funding decisions made on every request in the applicant’s Form 471 application. A separate version of the FCDL is also sent to the service provider to report funding decisions affecting that provider.
FRN Funding Request Number. This number is assigned by USAC to each Form 471 Block 5 funding request.
FY Funding Year. Runs July 1st to the following June 30th.
LOA Letter of Agency. This form authorizes a consortium leader or consultant to act on behalf of the applicant.
NIF Non-Instructional Facility. A facility owned or controlled by an E-rate applicant that is not officially recognized as a school or library (e.g., administrative office, bus garage, etc.).
NSLP National School Lunch Program. The free and reduced-priced lunch program that provides the primary indication of school poverty levels upon which an applicant’s discount rate is determined.
P2 Priority Two Services. These services are funded after P1 services, starting with the highest discount levels. Services include Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections.
PIA Program Integrity Assurance. The SLD’s application review process completed before funding commitments are decided.
PIN Personal Identification Number. This is a code assigned to each unique E-Rate applicant in order to submit and certify forms online.
RAL Receipt Acknowledgement Letter. A RAL is sent to the applicant to acknowledge the successful filing of a Form 471 application and to permit the applicant to make limited corrections to the application before review. A separate version of the RAL is also sent to the associated service providers to report funding requests affecting those providers.
RFP Request For Proposal. The RFP provides an invitation to bid and provides additional information to potential bidders on the services being requested.
RNL Receipt Notification Letter. RNLs are sent to the applicant when the SLD has accepted and successfully processed a Form 470. Other notification letters are sent in connection with processed appeals, BEARs, Form 486s, and Form 500s.
SPAC Service Provider Annual Certification form (FCC Form 473). An E-rate vendor is required to file a general certification form for each funding year. USAC will not pay any invoice (BEAR or SPI) for any funding year for which a SPAC has not been filed.
SPI Service Provider Invoice form (FCC Form 474). The service provider form used to invoice USAC for E-rate discounts provided directly to applicants.
SPIN Service Provider Identification Number. A unique identification number assigned to each service provider for E-rate purposes.
USAC Universal Service Administrative Company. A private not-for-profit company established by the FCC for the administration of the Universal Service Fund. The SLD is one division of USAC.
USF Universal Service Fund. This fund allows Americans access to affordable telephone service and provides funding for discounts to schools and libraries, high cost areas, low income areas and rural healthcare facilities.