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Notice

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant Proposals: Educational Advising Program for International Students From Hong Kong/China

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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SUMMARY:

The Educational Information and Resources Branch of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for an Educational Advising Program for International Students from Hong Kong/China. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to provide information on U.S. higher education to prospective students and serve as country coordinator for Department of State-affiliated advising centers in China.

Program Information

Overview: An ideal program should provide a state-of-the-art advising center in Hong Kong dedicated to providing information, orientation, and advice to Chinese students interested in studying in the U.S. The center should coordinate educational information resources with other Department of State-affiliated advising centers in the People's Republic of China. The centers are located at the U.S. embassy and consulates, and include universities, language institutes, libraries and Chinese Service Centers for Scholarly Exchange. The proposal should address the applicant's ability to do the following:

1. Produce and disseminate advising information packets and materials about US higher education to advising centers in China;

2. Recommend appropriate level of educational advising resource materials supplied by the Educational Information and Resources Branch (ECA/A/S/A) to advising centers in China;

3. Develop and maintain a database of advising centers in China;

4. Order books and materials for advising centers in China through ECA/A/S/A's web-based book ordering system;

5. Ensure centers receive and provide information for surveys to ECA/A/S/A;

6. Provide feedback to ECA/A/S/A and Regional Educational

Advising Coordinator on site visits, consultations, training activities, and advising needs/concerns after each site visit and upon request from ECA/A/S/A;

7. Encourage communication and networking among advising centers within China.

The center should work with the Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) to provide in-country and regional workshops and seminars, site visits, needs assessments and training for U.S.-affiliated advising center personnel in China as requested.

Guidelines: The Grant should begin on October 1, 2002 and end on September 30, 2003. The programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to Solicitation Package for further information. The proposal should be presented in three parts.

I. Applicant's Background and Overview

The first part of the proposal should contain an overview of the applicant's history and purpose. Evidence of previous experience with advising or educational exchange of international students and scholars must be included. The overview should indicate the total amount of funding requested with a justification as well as a budget presentation outlining the total project costs.

A listing of names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers of the executive officer(s) and of the person(s) ultimately responsible for the project, must be included in the proposal. Resumes or vitae of key personnel must be Start Printed Page 42096provided. ECA/A/S/A also recommends the inclusion of brochures and general information concerning the applicant, e.g., websites, organizational charts, job descriptions, the names of board members (or similar groups), the number of employees, etc.

II. Advising Center Operation and Services

The second part of the proposal should contain details on the advising center's proposed location and hours of operation, proposed staffing pattern (including the percentage of time each employee will devote to advising activities and a description of their functions and responsibilities), budget, and advising services to be provided. A resume or brief narrative explaining the qualifications of the person or persons who will have primary responsibility for conducting advising and/or providing oversight of the advising center staff should be included. The proposal should demonstrate the center's ability to provide the following educational advising services to international students and scholars:

1. Information and guidance on U.S. educational institutions, systems, tuition and related costs, fields of study, specialized training, testing, etc.;

2. Information and research on short-term institutional training in technical and professional fields;

3. Information on English language training programs in the U.S.;

4. Group and individual advising sessions, pre-departure orientation and reentry programs, as appropriate. The applicant should be willing to assist the embassy and consulates in China in support of educational outreach activities by developing a network of contacts with the local offices of the Ministry of Education, universities, U.S. government-affiliated advising centers, and other appropriate institutions.

III. Provision of Resource Materials, Equipment and Training

The third part of the proposal should address the extent to which the headquarters office will support this advising program through the provision of educational advising resource materials and professional development activities and training.

Student access to a comprehensive university catalog collection, in print and/or computer software programs, and an extensive collection of current references on U.S. educational institutions and programs, through print or computer networks, is an integral component of an educational advising center and the applicant's ability to provide such should be made clear in this section.

Office equipment that facilitates the processing of inquiries, such as electronic mail, internet and facsimile machines would be regarded as an asset to the advising function and mention of such equipment should be made in the proposal. The Bureau expects the advising center to be equipped with audio visual aids for students' use. Videos/CD-ROMS on U.S. study and life should complement the presentation and materials offered at group and individual advising sessions.

Budget Guidelines

The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant not to exceed $90,000 under this grant competition. Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. Therefore, organizations must demonstrate at least four years experience in conducting international exchanges to be eligible to apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost-sharing and funding from private sources in support of this program.

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.

Allowable costs for the program include the following:

1. Salary and benefits

2. Budget for travel and per diem

3. Office supplies and expenses

4. Rent and utilities

5. Outreach and publicity

6. Indirect costs

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 above title and number ECA/ASA-03-04.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

The Educational Information and Resources Branch, ECA/A/S/A, Room 349, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone: 202-260-6936, fax: 202-401-1433, http://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​rfgps 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 Bureau Program Dorothy Mora on all other 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, DC time on Thursday, August 1, 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 eight copies of the application should be sent to:

U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/ASA-03-04, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 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. The Bureau will transmit these files electronically to the Public Affairs section at the U.S. Embassy for its review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to get embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review process.

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 Start Printed Page 42097advancement 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 and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. 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 grants or cooperative agreements 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. Institutional 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 to use 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.

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

12. Value to U.S.-partner country relations: Proposed projects should receive positive assessments by the U.S. Department of State's geographic area desk and overseas officers of program need, potential impact, and significance in the partner country(ies).

Authority

Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries * * *; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above 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: June 13, 2002.

Rick Ruth,

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

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[FR Doc. 02-15611 Filed 6-19-02; 8:45 am]

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