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Notice

Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training-Comprehensive System of Personnel Development; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Purpose of Program: The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program provides financial assistance for projects that provide basic or advanced training leading to an academic degree, provide a specified series of courses or program of study leading to award of a certificate, or provide support for medical residents enrolled in residency training programs in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program is designed to provide academic training in identified areas of personnel shortages.

For FY 2004 the competition for new awards focuses on projects designed to meet the priority we describe in the PRIORITY section of this application notice.

Eligible Applicants: States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations, including Indian tribes and institutions of higher education, are eligible for assistance under the Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program.

Applications Available: October 31, 2003.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: January 6, 2004.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: March 6, 2004.

Estimated Available Funds: $1,600,000.

Estimated Range of Awards: $100,000-$200,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $150,000.

Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $200,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

Estimated Number of Awards: 8.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

Page Limit: Part III of the application, the application narrative, is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 45 pages, using the following standards:

  • A page is 8.5″ × 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12-point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, you must include all of the application narrative in Part III.

We will reject your application if—

  • You apply these standards and exceed the page limit; or
  • You apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, and 86. (b) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR parts 385 and 386.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education only.

Priority

This competition focuses on projects designed to meet the priority in the notice of final priority for this program, published in the Federal Register on October 16, 1998 (63 FR 55764).

For FY 2004 this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105 (c)(3) we consider only applications that meet the priority:

Projects must—

(1) Provide training leading to academic degrees or academic certificates to current vocational rehabilitation counselors, including counselors with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and those from diverse backgrounds, toward meeting designated State unit (DSU) personnel standards required under section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, commonly referred to as the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD);

(2) Address the academic degree and academic certificate needs specified in the CSPD plans of those States with which the project will be working; and

(3) Develop innovative approaches (e.g., distance learning, competency-based programs, and other methods) that would maximize participation in, and the effectiveness of, project training.

Multi-State projects and projects that involve consortia of institutions and agencies are also authorized, although other projects will be considered.

The regulations in 34 CFR 386.31(b) require that a minimum of 75 percent of project funds be used to support student scholarships and stipends. The regulations also provide that the Secretary may waive this requirement under certain circumstances, including new training programs.

Finally, the Secretary intends to approve a wide range of approaches for providing training and different levels of funding, based on the quality of individual projects. The Secretary takes these factors into account in making grants under this priority.

Performance Measures: The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 directs Federal departments and agencies to improve the effectiveness of their programs by engaging in strategic planning, setting outcome-related goals for programs, and measuring program results against those goals. Program officials must develop performance measures for all of their grant programs to assess their performance and effectiveness. The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has established a set of indicators to assess the effectiveness of the Rehabilitation Training program and Start Printed Page 61195will use the following indicator for the Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program projects:

  • The percentage of graduates fulfilling their payback requirement through acceptable employment.

Each grantee must report annually on this indicator using the electronic grantee reporting system administered by RSA for this purpose.

Application Procedures

The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-277) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Pub. L. 106-107) encourage us to undertake initiatives to improve our grant processes. Enhancing the ability of individuals and entities to conduct business with us electronically is a major part of our response to these Acts. Therefore, we are taking steps to adopt the Internet as our chief means of conducting transactions in order to improve services to our customers and to simplify and expedite our business processes.

Note:

Some of the procedures in these instructions for transmitting applications differ from those in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (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.

We are requiring that applications for grants for FY 2004 under Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Comprehensive System of Personnel Development be submitted electronically using e-Application available through the Department's e-GRANTS system. The e-GRANTS system is accessible through its portal page at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

An applicant who is unable to submit an application through the e-Grants system may submit a written request for a waiver of the electronic submission requirement. In the request, the applicant should explain the reason or reasons that prevent the applicant from using the Internet to submit the application. The request should be addressed to: Beverly Steburg, U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration, 61 Forsyth Street, room 18T91, Atlanta, GA, 30303. Please submit your request no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

If, within two weeks of the application deadline date, an applicant is unable to submit an application electronically, the applicant must submit a paper application by the application deadline date in accordance with the transmittal instructions in the application package. The paper application must include a written request for a waiver documenting the reasons that prevented the applicant from using the Internet to submit the application.

Pilot Project for Electronic Submission of Applications

In FY 2004, the Department is continuing to expand its pilot project for electronic submission of applications to include additional formula grant programs and additional discretionary grant competitions. Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, CFDA number 84.129W, is one of the programs included in the pilot project. If you are an applicant under Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, you must submit your application to us in electronic format or receive a waiver.

The pilot project involves the use of the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application). Users of e-Application will be entering data on-line while completing their applications. You may not e-mail a soft copy of a grant application to us. The data you enter on-line will be saved into a database. We shall continue to evaluate the success of e-Application and solicit suggestions for its improvement.

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

  • When you enter the e-Application system, you will find information about its hours of operation. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to initiate an e-Application package.
  • You will not receive 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.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424), Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • Your e-Application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • 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 Education Assistance (ED 424) to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

1. Print ED 424 from e-Application.

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 other forms at a later date.
  • Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If you are prevented from submitting your application on the application deadline 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 application 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 application deadline date.

The Department must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension or to confirm the Department's acknowledgement of any system unavailability, you may 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 Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Comprehensive System of Personnel Development at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

For Applications Contact: Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Telephone (toll free): 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (301) 470-1244. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf Start Printed Page 61196(TDD), you may call (toll free): 1-877-576-7734.

You may also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: http://www.ed.gov/​pubs/​edpubs.html.

Or you may contact ED Pubs at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.129W.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3317, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 205-8207. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339. However, the Department is not able to reproduce in an alternative format the standard forms included in the application package.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Beverly Steburg, Rehabilitation Services Administration, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., room 18T91, Atlanta, GA 30303. Telephone (404) 562-6336 or via Internet: Beverly.Steburg@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

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

Electronic Access to This Document

You may view 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/​news/​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.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772.

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Dated: October 21, 2003.

Robert H. Pasternack,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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[FR Doc. 03-26990 Filed 10-24-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4001-01-P