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Notice

Final Priority on Alternative Financing Program Technical Assistance (AFPTA) under Title III of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice of final priority.

SUMMARY:

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a final priority on Alternative Financing Program Technical Assistance (AFPTA) under title III of the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) of 1998 that is administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions in FY 2003 and in later years. We take this action to focus research attention on an identified national need. We intend this priority to provide information and technical assistance to States and outlying areas participating in or interested in participating in the AFP.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This priority is effective January 27, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carol Cohen, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 3420, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. Telephone: (202) 205-5666 or via the Internet: carol.cohen@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY), you may call the TTY number at (202) 205-4475.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Description of the Alternative Financing Program Technical Assistance Program (AFPTA)

Title III of the AT Act established an Alternative Financing Program (AFP), which pays part of the cost for the States and outlying areas to establish or maintain alternative financing projects to increase access to assistive technology (AT) for individuals with disabilities. The purpose of the AFPTA is to provide information and technical assistance to States and outlying areas participating in the AFP. Public or private agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, are the entities eligible for an AFPTA grant award.

This priority reflects issues discussed in the New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR's Long-Range Plan (the Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/​news/​freedominitiative/​freedominiative.html.

The Plan can be accessed on the Internet at: http://www.ed.gov/​offices/​OSERS/​NIDRR/​Products.

We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for the Alternative Financing Mechanisms Program (AFP) in the Federal Register on August 8, 2002 (67 FR 51744). Except for minor revisions there are no differences between the notice of proposed priority (NFP) and this notice of final priority (NFP).

Analysis of Comments and Changes

In response to our invitation in the NPP, no parties submitted comments on the proposed priority.

The background for the priority was published in the NPP.

Note:

This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

When inviting applications we designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows:

Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).

Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either (1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).

Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Statutory Priority

As required by section 306(a) of the AT Act, the AFPTA project must:

(a) Provide assistance to States preparing applications for the AFP;

(b) Assist States to develop and implement the AFP; and

(c) Provide any other information and technical assistance (TA) the Assistant Secretary determines to be appropriate to assist States to achieve the objectives of AFP.

Priority

In addition to the statutory priority, NIDRR is particularly interested in having the AFPTA collect, analyze, compile, and report data provided by the AFP projects. AFP projects currently report data using an instrument that was developed and implemented to assist the State grantees with their data collection obligations. NIDRR will provide this instrument to the grantee upon receipt of award. The AFPTA must:

(1) Collect data from the AFP projects and assist the projects in this effort;

(2) Propose strategies for reviewing the AFP data collection instrument to determine what modifications should be made to improve its usability, reliability and validity and suggest strategies to facilitate and expedite the collection of uniform annual data from the AFP projects;

(3) Provide technical assistance to the State grantees on the data collection instrument that will support and improve the data collection efforts of the States;

(4) Provide technical assistance and training to State grantees on data collection strategies that will improve the quality of the data collected; and

(5) Through the technical assistance activities conducted under this priority, the project shall prepare a report on the activities funded under this Title. The report shall include the following: (a) The type of alternative financing mechanisms used by each State and the community-based organization with which each State entered into a contract, under the program; and (b) the amount of assistance given to consumers through the program. Additionally, the consumers should be classified by age, gender, type of disability, type of assistive technology device or assistive technology service financed through the program, geographic distribution within the State, and whether the consumers are part of an underrepresented population or rural population. An executive summary should be prepared which includes a description of data collection procedures utilized, an analysis of the aggregated States' data and a discussion of trends.

Intergovernmental Review

This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Start Printed Page 78915

Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

You may review this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​legislation/​FedRegister

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO access at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​index.html.

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Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 3056.

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(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.224C, Alternative Financing Program.)

Dated: December 19, 2002.

Robert H. Pasternack,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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[FR Doc. 02-32575 Filed 12-24-02; 8:45 am]

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