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Friday, January 19, 2007

Yet more paper

The E-Rate world is all abuzz: a new piece of paper has entered the process. Basically, the SLD is sending a note to the contact on every 470, reminding her or him to file a Form 471.

What I don't like about it:
  1. It reminds applicants to file, but might mislead applicants into filing before the required 28-day bid period has passed. Of course, the online Form 471 won't let you fill in Block 5 until 28 days have passed. [You are filing online, right? You're crazy not to. I mentioned in an earlier posting that the SLD says 80% of paper applications are denied. So if you file on paper, you have a one in five chance of getting any funding.]
  2. It feels wasteful to get all that paper for a reminder I don't need.
  3. I have a nagging worry that the SLD is going to claim that they have pre-emptively given applicants the 15-day warning required by the Bishop Perry order, meaning they don't have to give applicants who miss the February 7 deadline another 15 days. But I'm not too worried; when I suspect the worst of the SLD, it proves to be baseless.

What I like about it:

  1. Communication is good. Warnings are good. Proactive is good.
  2. The SLD sent it to the name and address given for the Contact on the 470. The 470 RNL goes out to the contact name, but at the billed entity's address. For my clients, that means an envelope shows up at the district office with my name on it. If someone recognizes my name, they usually send it to me, but a lot of them probably end up in the Mystery File.
  3. The envelopes were pink! Those who have been reading for a while have heard me complain about the white envelopes with colored paper inside. For the first time in a while, the envelopes match the paper.

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