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Entity Validation Letter Guidelines

In order to assist California E-rate applicants, the California Department of Education (CDE) provides third party entity validation according to the guidelines listed below.

In some cases, an E-rate eligible school is not listed in the California School Directory. Applicants from the public K-12, adult education, juvenile justice, or special education programs that meet the statutory definition of an elementary or secondary school External link opens in new window or tab. found in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 United States Code [U.S.C.] section 7801 (18) and (38), and/or the Eligibility for non-traditional K-12 students and facilities External link opens in new window or tab. as found on the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) Web site, may submit a validation letter to the CDE to validate a site as an E-rate eligible school. Entity validation letters must meet all the guidelines and requirements listed below.

General Guidelines

  1. Entity validation letters can only be used to validate schools and should not include any information related to enrollment or poverty level. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) provides a number of alternative discount mechanisms for validating student enrollment and poverty level on their Web site. See the alternative discount mechanisms External link opens in new window or tab. Web page on the USAC Web site.

  2. An entity validation request letter may be submitted with the initial application or in response to a Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review letter. If an entity validation request is made in response to a PIA review letter from USAC, then a copy of the PIA letter must accompany the entity validation letter submission.

  3. A single letter can be used to request entity validation for multiple schools within a single program. However:

    • Only the schools for which the applicant is seeking validation should be included in the list of schools. If schools beyond those identified in the PIA letter are included, or if the information listed is incomplete, the letter will be returned unverified.

    • Schools from different types of programs, require a separate letter. For example, a request for validation of three public K-12 schools and two special education schools would require two letters (one for the K-12 public schools and one for the special education schools). View the E-rate Entity Validation Matrix information provided on the Entity Validation Web page to learn more about the different traditional and non-traditional schools and programs.

  4. Send all entity validation letters and supporting documentation to E-RATE@cde.ca.gov.

Letter Content Requirements

  1. The letter should be addressed to the State E-rate Coordinator, Educational Data Management Division, California Department of Education, 1430 N Street, Suite 6308, Sacramento, CA 95814.

  2. The certification should be signed by a district/county official (e.g., Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent), on official letterhead, dated and e-mailed to E-rate@cde.ca.gov in a PDF file attachment.

  3. If true and accurate, the certification should read:

    "I certify that: (1) each of the school site(s) listed in the letter has been established, organized, maintained, and operated as an independent “school,” rather than a secondary site, by official action of the governing board (or the authorizing board of a Charter School) and such action is reflected in the governing board’s minutes; (2) each of such schools meets the statutory definition of an elementary or secondary school found in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. section 7801 (18) and (38), and/or the Eligibility for non-traditional K-12 students and facilities as found on the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD), Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Web site."

  4. If true, a certification statement immediately prior to the signature that reads:

    "I certify that all information contained in this certification letter and its attachments are true and accurate and supported by written documentation maintained in the entity’s official records of which will be made available promptly upon request. I acknowledge, on behalf of the governing board, that USAC distinguishes between an “annex” and a “school” and that, if USAC determines during an audit or otherwise that a school site is not a separate “school” but rather an “annex,” the LEA could incur a significant liability/disallowance."


  5. In an attachment to the letter (or within the letter), provide the following information for each school site:

    • The school site name(s) (If the name in EPC is different from the name in the school’s official name, then list both names.)
    • County-District-School (CDS) code (If available)
    • School/program type (public K-12, adult education, juvenile justice, or special education)
    • E-rate entity number
    • Address with administrator name and telephone/e-mail contact information
    • The school district name, CDS code, address, and Web site

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Questions:   Education Data Office | E-rate@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9394
Last Reviewed: Friday, August 25, 2017
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