E-Rate Glossary

Anti-Deficiency Act:

Under ADA, new E-rate commitments are limited to un-obligated funds on hand, leading to funding freezes and delays. E-rate is operating under a temporary ADA exemption for 2005. Legislation is pending to make this exemption permanent.

Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement form (FCC Form 472):

The applicant form used to invoice USAC for E-rate discounts on a retroactive basis (when the service provider does not discount applicant bills directly).

Billed Entity Number:

An E-rate program identification number associated with applicants, organizations, or other entities that are billed for Erate eligible services. BENs are a subset of Entity Numbers which are assigned to all E-rate participating organizations and facilities.

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 and Internal Connections discounts.

Common Carrier:

Any telecommunications company that provides telecommunications services for a fee to the general public or to businesses.

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.


Looks like, but is not actually an acronym. Refers to a FCC decision on an appeal by Copan (OK) Public Schools that established the rules governing SPIN changes.

Client Service Bureau:

The SLD’s helpline and data entry organization located in Lawrence, KS. More complex issues are handled by a smaller, related organization called the Technical Client Service Bureau (“TCSB”). The CSB can be reached by calling 888-203-8100.

Debt Collection Improvement Act:

As applied to the FCC, a law prohibiting any entity owing monies to the FCC from receiving additional benefits.

Federal Communications Commission:

The regulatory agency that oversees the E-rate, among many other responsibilities.

FCC Registration Number:

An identification number assigned to any entity, including E-rate participants, doing business with the FCC. The FCC also refers to these numbers as “FRNs”.

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 the service provider to report funding decisions affecting that provider.


A common name for the Universal Service Fund for Schools and Libraries.

Internal Connections:

The wires and equipment needed for connecting computers within an entity.

Month-to-Month Contract:

Services billed on a monthly basis without a formal, written contract.

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.

PIA Program Integrity Assurance:

The SLD’s application review organization operating out of Whippany, NJ.


Plain Old Telephone Service for placing and receiving phone calls.

Pre-discount Cost:

Cost of service before E-rate discount is applied.

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 the associated service providers to report funding requests affecting those providers.

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.


Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company responsible for administering universal service.

Shared Services:

Services delivered to more than one site; discount based on average or aggregate level. Site-Specific Services: Services delivered to only one entity, such as a single school.

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. The SPI is sometimes referred to as a “SPIF.”

Service Provider Identification Number:

A unique, nine-digit, identification number assigned to service providers for E-rate purposes.

Tariff services:

Telephone service (e.g., local and long distance) regulated by state and federal officials.

Telecommunications Act:

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, among other things, established the federal universal service support mechanism for eligible schools and libraries.


Technical Client Service Bureau. See “CSB,” above.

Universal Service Fund:

Provides discounts to telecommunications carriers for delivering affordable telecommunications services to various categories of customers, including schools and libraries.


The Universal Service Administrative Company is the parent company responsible for overseeing the administration of the Universal Service Fund. The SLD is one division of USAC.

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse:

E-rate problems, highlighted in the press and in Congress, driving a number of new rules and review procedures.

Weighted Average:

The calculated amount of discount that reflects the number of students eligible, for instance, the National Free Lunch Program for a school district.


Time during which all Form 471s are treated as if filed on same day.


For more information, please contact:

DIS Call Center