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Notice

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant Proposals: United States-East Timor Scholarship Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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SUMMARY:

The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the United States—East Timor Scholarship Program (formerly the East Timor Scholarship Program). Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Start Printed Page 5880Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to provide administrative and support services for the United States—East Timor Scholarship Program (USET).

Program Information

Overview: In response to Public Law 103-236, which directed the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for East Timorese students, ECA created an East Timor scholarship program in Fiscal Year (FY) 1999.As East Timor makes the transition to independence and democratic government, it is essential to develop the human resource capacity of the East Timorese people, especially in fields such as agricultural science, business, communication, economics, education, environmental science, international relations, political science, and psychology.The goal of the scholarship program is to identify and support undergraduate level study at accredited higher education institutions in the United States for a select cadre of academically talented East Timorese who are expected to assume future leadership roles in East Timor's development.

Guidelines: Program administration activities should cover the time period June 1, 2002 through December 31, 2005. The projected grantee caseload is expected to be up to five (5) new students to begin U.S. English language training in January 2003. USET scholarships are offered for the final two years of undergraduate level study in designated fields, with the provision of pre-academic training depending on participant academic readiness and English-language abilities. Program design should either assume placement of all grantees at a single academic institution or propose an alternative structure in order to foster grantee cohesion and build USET program identity. The successful applicant will have responsibility for program administration, which involves performance of services in the following broad categories: Program Planning and Management; Recruitment and Selection; Placement; Orientations; Supervision and Support Services; Special Programs Management; Fiscal Management and Budgeting Services; and Program Projection, Reporting and Evaluation Services. Applicants for this award should submit a program proposal with yearly budget projections for the full duration of the award. Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further information.

Budget Guidelines

The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant up to $500,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this program. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding from private sources in support of its programs. Proposals whose administrative costs are 20% or less of the total requested from ECA will be deemed more competitive.

Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.

Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the United States—East Timor Scholarship Program and number ECA/A/E/EAP-02-USET.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Matt McMahon, Office of Academic Exchange Programs,ECA/A/E/EAP, Room 208, United States Department of State,301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20547, phone:(202) 619-4148, fax: (202) 401-1728, e-mail: mmcmahon@pd.state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. The Solicitation Package contains detailed award criteria, required application forms, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. Please specify Program Officer Matt McMahon on all inquiries and correspondence.

Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's website at http://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​RFGPs. Please read all information before downloading.

Deadline for Proposals

All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. time on April 4, 2002. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents postmarked the due date but received on a later date will not be accepted. Each applicant must ensure that the proposals are received by the above deadline.

Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and seven (7) copies of the application should be sent to:U.S. Department of State,SA-44,Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs,Ref.: ECA/A/E/EAP-02-USET,Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534,301 4th Street, SW.,Washington, D.C. 20547.

Applicants must also submit the “Executive Summary” and

“Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal on a 3.5” diskette, formatted for DOS. These documents must be provided in ASCII text (DOS) format with a maximum line length of 65 characters.

Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines

Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. “Diversity” should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the 'Support for Diversity' section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into the total proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that “in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy,” the Bureau “shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.” Public Law 106—113 requires that the governments of the countries described above do not have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.

Review Process

The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein Start Printed Page 5881and in the Solicitation Package.All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the appropriate Public Diplomacy Section overseas. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review.Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs.Final technical authority for assistance awards resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:

1. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission.

2. Program planning: Detailed agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity. Agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above.

3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and plan.

4. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual linkages.

5. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity.Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of participants, program venue and program evaluation) and program content(orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities).

6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or project's goals.

7. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by Bureau Grant Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.

8. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that Bureau supported programs are not isolated events.

9. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology used to link outcomes to original project objectives is recommended. Successful applicants will be expected to submit intermediate reports after each project component is concluded or quarterly, whichever is less frequent.

10. Cost-effectiveness: The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate. Proposals whose administrative costs are 20% or less of the total requested from ECA will be deemed more competitive.

11. Cost-sharing: Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.

Authority

Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in Public Law 103-236. The purpose of the legislation is to make available scholarships for qualified East Timorese students to study at U.S. colleges and universities. The funding authority for the United States—East Timor Scholarship Program is provided through legislation.

Notice

The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative.Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding.Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.

Notification

Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.

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Dated: January 29, 2002.

Patricia S. Harrison,

Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

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[FR Doc. 02-3007 Filed 2-6-02; 8:45 am]

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