This year’s fast-approaching filing deadline for E-rate requests falls on March 27. John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning, has several tips for school districts. “Rather than waiting to apply in 2020—and being frustrated with potential delays—get ahead of the game and apply now for next year’s infrastructure upgrades,” Harrington says.
- Choose service providers who have experience with E-rate. An inexperienced vendor can put the funding at risk with a missed deadline or form.
- Create digital copies of all E-rate paperwork to protect against technical issues with or misplaced electronic forms.
- Give yourself enough time. There is a 28-day waiting period before closing the competitive vendor bid process. Then, time is needed for bid evaluations and selection. Also, take into account request deadlines and meeting dates if school board or other internal department approvals are required, as well as response time for any Federal Communications Commission application questions.