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Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance Program; Notice Inviting Applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Note to Applicants:

This notice is a complete application package. Together with the statute authorizing the program and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), this notice contains all of the information, application forms, and instructions you need to apply for a grant under this competition.

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Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Assistive Technology (AT) Act Data Collection Project is to provide technical assistance (TA) to the Assistive Technology (AT) Act State Grant Program Grantees and to the Protection and Advocacy Grantees (P&A). The authority for the Secretary to fund TA projects is contained in section 104 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act).

For FY 2003 the competition for a new award focuses on a project designed to meet the priority we describe in the Priority section of this application notice. We intend this priority to improve data collection activities of the State AT projects and the P&A projects funded under the AT Act that serve individuals with disabilities.

In order to provide applicants with a 30-day application period and to ensure that this grant is awarded before the end of FY 2003, NIDRR is inviting applications based on the proposed priority. NIDRR will publish the final priority after the comment period closes.

Depending upon the comments that NIDRR receives, the final priority may include revisions to the proposed priority. It is generally the policy of the Department not to solicit applications before the publication of a final priority. However, in this case, it is essential to solicit applications on the basis of the proposed priority in order to allow applicants sufficient time to prepare applications of appropriate quality to be funded. Applicants are advised to begin to develop their applications based on the proposed priority. If changes are made in the final priority, applicants will be given an opportunity to revise or resubmit their applications.

Eligible Applicants: Parties eligible to apply for grants under this program are States, public, or private agencies, including for-profit agencies.

Applications Available: August 14, 2003.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: September 15, 2003.

Estimated Available Funds: $428,000.

Maximum Award: $428,000 for year 1 and $300,000 each year for years 2 and 3.

Note:

We will reject without consideration or evaluation any application that proposes a budget exceeding the stated maximum award amount in any year (See 34 CFR 75.104(b)).

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

Applicable Regulations: EDGAR, 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86 and 97.

Priority

This competition focuses on a project designed to meet the priority in the notice of proposed priority for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

For FY 2003, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.

Selection Criteria

We use the following selection criteria from 34 CFR 75.210 to evaluate applications under this program.

The maximum score for all of these criteria is 100 points. The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses.

(a) Significance (8 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the extent to which the results of the proposed project are to be disseminated in ways that will enable others to use the information or strategies (8 points).

(b) Quality of the project design (35 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable (12 points).

(ii) The extent to which the design of the proposed project is appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target population or other identified needs (10 points).

(iii) The extent to which the proposed project represents an exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the competition (8 points).

(iv) The extent to which the proposed project will be coordinated with similar or related efforts, and with other appropriate community, State, and Federal resources (5 points).

(c) Quality of project services (16 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability (5 points).

(3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or beneficiaries of those services (5 points).

(ii) The extent to which the technical assistance services to be provided by the proposed project involve the use of efficient strategies, including the use of technology, as appropriate, and the leveraging of non-project resources (6 points).

(d) Quality of project personnel (12 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the project.

(2) In determining the quality of proposed project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability (3 points).

(3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director or principal investigator (5 points).

(ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel (4 points).

(e) Adequacy of resources (6 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project.

(2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the lead applicant organization (3 points).

(ii) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project (3 points).

(f) Quality of the management plan (11 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed Start Printed Page 48743project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timeliness, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks (6 points).

(ii) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project (5 points).

(g) Quality of the project evaluation (12 points total).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project (6 points).

(ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible (6 points).

Application Procedures

Note:

Some of the procedures in these instructions for transmitting applications differ from those in the EDGAR (34 CFR 75.102). Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. However, these amendments make procedural changes only and do not establish new substantive policy. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), the Secretary has determined that proposed rulemaking is not required.

Pilot Project for Electronic Submission of Applications

In FY 2003, the U.S. Department of Education is continuing to expand its pilot project for electronic submission of applications to include additional formula grant programs and additional discretionary grant competitions. The Assistive Technology Act Data Collection Project—CFDA #84.224B is one of the programs included in the pilot project. If you are an applicant under this project, you may submit your application to us in either electronic or paper format.

The pilot project involves the use of the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application). Users of e-Application will be entering data online while completing their applications. You may not e-mail a soft copy of a grant application to us. If you participate in this voluntary pilot project by submitting an application electronically, the data you enter online will be saved into a database. We request your participation in e-Application. We shall continue to evaluate its success and solicit suggestions for improvement.

If you participate in e-Application, please note the following:

  • Your participation is voluntary.
  • You will not receive any additional point value because you submit a grant application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit an application in paper format. When you enter the e-Application system, you will find information about its hours of operation.
  • You may submit all documents electronically, including the Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424), Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement, which will include a PR/Award number (an identifying number unique to your application).
  • Within three working days after submitting your electronic application, fax a signed copy of the Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424) to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

(1) Print ED 424 from the e-Application system.

(2) The institution's Authorizing Representative must sign this form.

(3) Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner of the hard copy signature page of the ED 424.

(4) Fax the signed ED 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 260-1349.

  • We may request that you give us original signatures on all other forms at a later date.
  • Closing Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If you elect to participate in the e-Application pilot for the 84.224B competition and you are prevented from submitting your application on the closing date because the e-Application system is unavailable, we will grant you an extension of one business day in order to transmit your application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery. For us to grant this extension—

(1) You must be a registered user of e-Application, and have initiated an e-Application for this competition; and

(2) (a) The e-Application system must be unavailable for 60 minutes or more between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Washington, DC, time on the deadline date; or

(b) The e-Application system must be unavailable for any period of time during the last hour of operation (that is, for any period of time between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC, time) on the deadline date.

The Department must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension you must contact either (1) the person listed elsewhere in this notice under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or (2) the e-GRANTS help desk at 1-888-336-8930.

You may access the electronic grant application for the 84.224B competition at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

Parity Instructions

Users of e-Application, a data driven system, will be entering data online while completing their applications. This will be more interactive than just e-mailing a soft copy of a grant application to us. If you participate in this voluntary pilot project by submitting an application electronically, the data you enter online will go into a database and ultimately will be accessible in electronic form to our reviewers.

This pilot project continues the Department's transition to an electronic grant award process. In addition to e-Application, the Department plans to expand the number of discretionary programs using the electronic peer review (e-Reader) system and to increase the participation of discretionary programs offering grantees the use of the electronic annual performance reporting (e-Reports) system.

To help ensure parity and a similar look between electronic and paper copies of grant applications, we are asking each applicant that submits a paper application to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Submit your application on 8.5″ by 11″ paper.
  • Leave a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • Use consistent font throughout your document. You may also use boldface type, underlining, and italics. However, please do not use colored text.
  • Please use black and white, also, for illustrations, including charts, tables, graphs and pictures.
  • For the narrative component, your application should consist of the number and text of each selection criterion followed by the narrative. The text of the selection criterion, if Start Printed Page 48744included, does not count against any page limitation.
  • Place a page number at the bottom right of each page beginning with 1; and number your pages consecutively throughout your document.

Additional Application Procedures

Appendices: Do not attach any appendices if all of your appendices are not in electronic format. Type in the appendices section: “Appendices are being sent separately.” and note the date that they are hand delivered or mailed. Put the PR/award number and the word “Appendices” in the upper right hand corner of each page of the appendices. Send the entire package of appendices to: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA # 84.224B)-Appendices, 7th & D Streets, SW., Room 3671, Regional Office Building 3, Washington, DC 20202-4725.

You must clearly label the outside of the envelope with the PR/Award Number and the word “Appendices.” You must submit all hard copy appendices according to the Instructions for Transmitting Applications found elsewhere in this notice.

Instructions for Transmitting Applications

If you want to apply for a grant in paper format and be considered for funding, you must meet the following deadline requirements:

(a) If You Send Your Application by Mail.

You must mail the original and two copies of the application on or before the deadline date. To help expedite our review of your application, applicants are encouraged to submit an original and seven copies. Mail your application to: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA # 84.224B), 7th & D Streets, SW., Room 3671, Regional Office Building 3, Washington, DC 20202-4725.

You must show one of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary.

If you mail an application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark.

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

(b) If You Deliver Your Application by Hand.

You or your courier must hand deliver the original and two copies of the application by 4:30 p.m. (Washington, DC, time) on or before the deadline date. To help expedite our review of your application, we would appreciate your voluntarily including an additional seven copies of your application. Deliver your application to: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA # 84.224B), 7th & D Streets, SW., Room 3671, Regional Office Building 3, Washington, DC 20202-4725.

The Application Control Center accepts application deliveries daily between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Washington, DC, time), except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. The Center accepts application deliveries through the D Street entrance only. A person delivering an application must show identification to enter the building.

(c) If You Submit Your Application Electronically.

You must submit your grant application through the Internet using the software provided on the e-Grants Web site (http://e-grants.ed.gov) by 4:30 p.m. (Washington, DC, time) on the deadline date.

The regular hours of operation of the e-Grants Web site are 6 a.m. until 12 midnight (Washington, DC, time) Monday-Friday and 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturdays. The system is unavailable on the second Saturday of every month, Sundays, and Federal holidays. Please note that on Wednesdays the Web site is closed for maintenance at 7 p.m. (Washington, DC, time).

Notes

(1) The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

(2) If you send your application by mail or if you or your courier delivers it by hand, the Application Control Center will mail a Grant Application Receipt Acknowledgment to you. If you do not receive the notification of application receipt within 15 days from the date of mailing the application, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 708-9493.

(3) If your application is late, we will notify you that we will not consider the application.

(4) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 4 of the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424 (exp. 11/30/2004)) the CFDA number—and suffix letter, if any—of the competition under which you are submitting your application.

(5) If you submit your application through the Internet via the e-Grants Web site, you will receive an automatic acknowledgment when we receive your application.

Application Forms and Instructions

The Appendix to this notice contains forms and instructions, a statement regarding estimated public reporting burden, and various assurances and certifications. Please organize the parts and additional materials in the following order:

  • PART I: Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424 (Exp. 11/30/2004)) and instructions.
  • PART II: Budget Form—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524) and instructions and definitions.
  • PART III: Application Narrative.
  • PART IV: Additional Materials.
  • Estimated Public Reporting Burden.
  • Assurances—Non-Construction Programs (Standard Form 424B).
  • Certification Regarding Lobbying, Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters: And Drug-Free Work-Place Requirements (ED Form 80-0013) and instructions.
  • Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion: Lower Tier Covered Transactions (ED Form 80-0014) and instructions.

(Note: ED Form GCS-014 is intended for the use of primary participants and should not be transmitted to the Department.)

  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (Standard Form LLL) and instructions.
  • Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants.

An applicant may submit information on a photocopy of the application and budget forms, the assurances, and the certifications. However, the application form, the assurances, and the certifications must each have an original signature. No grant may be awarded unless a completed application form has been received.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3412, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. Telephone: (202) 205-5880 or via Internet: Donna.Nangle@ed.gov.

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

Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, Start Printed Page 48745audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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: 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. 3014.

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Dated: August 11, 2003.

Loretta Petty Chittum,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and, Rehabilitative Services.

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Appendix—Instructions for Estimated Public Reporting Burden

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The valid OMB control number for this collection of information is 1820-0634. Expiration date: 10/31/2003. We estimate the time required to complete this collection of information to average 30 hours per response, including the time to review instructions, search existing data sources, gather the data needed, and complete and review the collection of information. If you have any comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate or suggestions for improving this form, please write to: U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC 20202-4651. If you have comments or concerns regarding the status of your submission of this form, write directly to: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3412, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645.

Application Forms and Instructions

Applicants are advised to reproduce and complete the application forms in this section. Applicants applying in paper copy format are required to submit an original and two copies of each application as provided in this section. However, applicants are encouraged to submit an original and seven copies of each application in order to facilitate the peer review process and minimize copying errors.

Frequent Questions

1. Can I Get an Extension of the Due Date?

No. On rare occasions the Department of Education may extend a closing date for all applicants. If that occurs, a notice of the revised due date is published in the Federal Register. However, there are no extensions or exceptions to the due date made for individual applicants except as noted for unavailability of the e-APPLICATION system.

2. What Should Be Included in the Application?

The application should include an abstract, a project narrative, vitae of key personnel, and a budget, as well as the Assurances forms included in this package. Vitae of staff or consultants should include the individual's title and role in the proposed project, and other information that is specifically pertinent to this proposed project. The budgets for both the first year and all subsequent project years should be included.

If collaboration with another organization is involved in the proposed activity, the application should include assurances of participation by the other parties, including written agreements or assurances of cooperation. It is not useful to include general letters of support or endorsement in the application.

Many applications contain voluminous appendices that are not helpful and in many cases cannot even be mailed to the reviewers. It is generally not helpful to include such things as brochures, general capability statements of collaborating organizations, maps, copies of publications, or descriptions of other projects completed by the applicant.

3. What Format Should Be Used for the Application?

NIDRR generally advises applicants that they may organize the application to follow the selection criteria that will be used. The specific review criteria vary according to the specific program, and are contained in this Notice Inviting Applications package.

4. May I Submit Applications to More Than One NIDRR Program Competition or More Than One Application to a Program?

Yes, you may submit applications to any program for which they are responsive to the program requirements. No, you may not submit more than one application to this competition.

5. What Is the Allowable Indirect Cost Rate?

The limits on indirect costs vary according to the program and the type of application. The Technical Assistance Program does not place any limit on indirect costs.

6. Can Profitmaking Businesses Apply for Grants?

Yes. However, for-profit organizations will not be able to collect a fee or profit on the grant.

7. Can Individuals Apply for Grants?

No. Only organizations are eligible to apply for grants under the Technical Assistance Program.

8. Can I Call NIDRR to Find Out if My Application Is Being Funded?

No. When NIDRR is able to release information on the status of grant applications, it will notify applicants by letter. The results of the peer review cannot be released except through this formal notification.

9. If My Application Is Successful, Can I Assume I Will Get the Requested Budget Amount in Subsequent Years?

No. Funding in subsequent years is subject to availability of funds and project performance.

10. Will All Approved Applications Be Funded?

No. It often happens that the peer review panels approve for funding more applications than NIDRR can fund within available resources. Applicants who are approved but not funded are encouraged to consider submitting similar applications in future competitions.

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BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

[FR Doc. 03-20794 Filed 8-13-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-C