Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Glass half full

This could be the start of something big. For years now, I've been telling everyone who would listen, up to and including Mel Blackwell, that the best way to cut down on appeals is to send applicants a letter saying in plain language: "We've decided to deny your funding. Here's why, and here's what you can do to prevent denial." And I've insisted that the first sentence should say, "you're going to be denied."

Yesterday, I got a letter that almost does it. I have a client that just failed a Cost Effectiveness Review (I would be interested to see the stats on how many applicants get a CER, and what percentage of them are denied, because I think it's really high). And I got an email that starts: "Based on the documentation that you have provided, the entire FRN ???????? and, the entire FRN ????????? will be denied." Excellent!

But then it falls apart. The second and third parts of the letter "Here's why" and "here's what you can do" are so vague as to be useless. I don't know why the contract was deemed cost-ineffective, or what information might change the reviewers' minds.

The problem, of course, is that the Cost Effectiveness Review process is completely secret. To actually tell us the reasoning behind the denial would be to lift the veil of secrecy. So instead of telling us, "the ports/classroom ratio is too high," or "the dollars/student ratio is too high," or whatever, the letter just refers us to the eligible services page on the USAC Web site. Puh-lease. I've read that page many times, and I think everything that was requested is eligible.

But still, merely getting the letter is a positive development.

No comments:

Post a Comment