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Office of Postsecondary Education; Overview Information; Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education-The Comprehensive Program; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.116A (pre-application) and 84.116B (final application).

Dates: Applications Available: September 13, 2004.

Deadline for Transmittal of Pre-Applications: November 3, 2004. Start Printed Page 55145

Deadline for Transmittal of Final Applications: March 22, 2005.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 21, 2005.

Eligible Applicants: Institutions of higher education or combinations of those institutions and other public and private nonprofit institutions and agencies.

Estimated Available Funds: $12,700,000 for new awards.

The Administration has requested $32 million for this program for FY 2005 (approximately $12.7 million of which will be available for new Comprehensive Program awards). The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Estimated Range of Awards: $50,000—$600,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $212,000 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 60.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Comprehensive Program supports grants and cooperative agreements to improve postsecondary education opportunities. It encourages reforms, innovations, and improvements of postsecondary education that respond to problems of national significance and provide access to quality education for all.

Invitational Priorities: For FY 2005 these priorities are invitational priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

These priorities are:

Projects to support new ways to ensure equal access to postsecondary education and to improve rates of retention and program completion, especially for underrepresented students whose retention and completion rates continue to lag behind those of other groups, and especially to encourage wider adoption of proven approaches to this problem.

Projects to promote innovative reforms in the curriculum and instruction of various subjects at the college preparation, undergraduate, and graduate/professional levels, especially through student-centered or technology-mediated strategies, and including the subject area of civic education.

Projects designing more cost-effective ways of improving postsecondary instruction and operations, i.e., to promote more student learning relative to institutional resources expended.

Projects to improve the quality of K-12 teaching through new models of teacher preparation and through new kinds of partnerships between schools and colleges and universities that enhance students' preparation for, access to, and success in college.

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Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1138-1138d.

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Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

Note:

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

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants or cooperative awards.

Estimated Available Funds: $12,700,000 for new awards.

The Administration has requested $32 million for this program for FY 2005 (approximately $12.7 million of which will be available for new Comprehensive Program awards). The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Estimated Range of Awards: $50,000—$600,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $212,000 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 60.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Institutions of higher education or combinations of those institutions and other public and private nonprofit institutions and agencies.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not involve cost sharing or matching.

3. Other: All applicants must submit a pre-application to be eligible to submit a final application.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: 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 (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 84.116A.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20006-8544. Telephone: (202) 502-7500. The application text and forms may be obtained from the Internet address: http://www.ed.gov/​FIPSE.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Pre-Application: Letters of support, references, and other appendices and attachments are discouraged for the pre-application.

Page Limit: The application narrative is where the applicant addresses the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate the application. You must limit the pre-application narrative to the equivalent of no more than 5 pages or approximately 1,250 words and the final application narrative to the equivalent of no more than 25 pages or approximately 6,250 words, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 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, except footnotes, quotations, references, and text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font size that is 11 point or larger and no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

The page limits for the pre-application and final application do not apply to the title page; the assurances and certifications; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification for the final application; or the one-page abstract, resumes, letters of support, or bibliography for the final application. Start Printed Page 55146

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: September 13, 2004.

Deadline for Transmittal of Pre-Applications: November 3, 2004.

Deadline for Transmittal of Final Applications: March 22, 2005.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

Applications for grants under this program may be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) accessible through the Department's e-Grants system, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or by mail or hand delivery, please refer to Section IV. 6. Other Submission Requirements in this notice.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 21, 2005.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.

5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

6. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this Comprehensive Program may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

If you submit your application to us electronically, you must use e-Application available through the Department's e-Grants system, accessible through the e-Grants portal page at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

While completing your electronic application, you will be entering data online that will be saved into a database. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

Please note the following:

  • Your participation in e-Application is voluntary.
  • You must complete the electronic submission of your grant application by 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The e-Application system will not accept an application for this program [competition] after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process.
  • The regular hours of operation of the e-Grants Web site are 6 a.m. Monday until 7 p.m. Wednesday; and 6 a.m. Thursday until midnight Saturday, Washington, DC time. Please note that the system is unavailable on Sundays, and between 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6 a.m. on Thursdays, Washington, DC time, for maintenance. Any modifications to these hours are posted on the e-Grants Web site.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
  • You must submit all documents electronically, including the application for the Comprehensive Program (ED 40-514), the Comprehensive Program Budget Summary form, and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • Prior to submitting your electronic application, you may wish to download it and print a copy of it for your records.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement that 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 Comprehensive Program Title Page (Form No. ED 40-514) to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

1. Print ED 40-514 from e-Application.

2. The applicant's Authorizing Representative must sign this form.

3. Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner (Item #1) of the hard-copy signature page of the ED 40-514.

4. Fax the signed ED 40-514 to the Application Control Center at (202) 245-6272.

  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on other forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of System Unavailability: If you are prevented from electronically 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. We will grant this extension if—

1. You are a registered user of e-Application and you have initiated an electronic application for this competition; and

2. (a) The e-Application system is 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 is unavailable for any period of time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

We must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability before granting you an extension. To request this extension or to confirm our acknowledgement of any system unavailability, you may contact either (1) the person listed elsewhere in this notice under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT (see VII. Agency Contact) or (2) the e-Grants help desk at 1-888-336-8930.

Extensions referred to in this section apply only to the unavailability of the Department's e-Application system. If the e-Application system is available, and, for any reason, you are unable to submit your application electronically or you do not receive an automatic acknowledgement of your submission, you may submit your application in paper format by mail or hand delivery in accordance with the instructions in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must send the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84116A and 84.116B), 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

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; or

4. Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the U.S. Secretary of Education.

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

1. A private metered postmark, or

2. A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service. Start Printed Page 55147

If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

Note:

Applicants should note that 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.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must hand deliver the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.116A or 84.116B), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department:

1. You must indicate on the envelope the CFDA number and suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application.

2. 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 mailing of your application, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are as follows:

In evaluating pre-applications and final applications for grants under this competition, the Secretary uses the following selection criteria chosen from those listed in 34 CFR 75.210. The Secretary gives equal weight to each of the selection criteria, and within each of these criteria, the Secretary gives equal weight to each of the factors.

Pre-applications. In evaluating pre-applications, the Secretary uses the following four selection criteria:

(a) Need for project. The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project. In determining need, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) The magnitude or severity of the problem to be addressed by the proposed project.

(2) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project.

(b) Significance. The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining the significance, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) The potential contribution of the proposed project to increased knowledge or understanding of educational problems, issues, or effective strategies.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project involves the development or demonstration of promising new strategies that build on, or are alternatives to, existing strategies.

(3) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project.

(4) The potential replicability of the proposed project or strategies, including, as appropriate, the potential for implementation in a variety of settings.

(c) Quality of the project design. The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) 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.

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

(3) The extent to which the design for implementing and evaluating the proposed project will result in information to guide possible replication of project activities or strategies, including information about the effectiveness of the approach or strategies employed by the project.

(4) The extent to which the proposed project is designed to build capacity and yield results that will extend beyond the period of Federal financial assistance.

(d) Quality of the project evaluation. The Secretary considers the quality of the project evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about effective strategies suitable for replication or testing in other settings.

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

(3) 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.

Final Applications. In evaluating final applications, the Secretary uses the following seven selection criteria:

(a) Need for project. The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project. In determining need, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) The magnitude or severity of the problem to be addressed by the proposed project.

(2) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project.

(b) Significance. The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining significance, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) The potential contribution of the proposed project to increased knowledge or understanding of educational problems, issues, or effective strategies.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project involves the development or demonstration of promising new strategies that build on, or are alternatives to, existing strategies.

(3) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project.

(4) The potential replicability of the proposed project or strategies, including, as appropriate, the potential for implementation in a variety of settings.

(c) Quality of the project design. The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) 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.

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

(3) The extent to which the design for implementing and evaluating the proposed project will result in information to guide possible replication of project activities or Start Printed Page 55148strategies, including information about the effectiveness of the approach or strategies employed by the project.

(4) The extent to which the proposed project is designed to build capacity and yield results that will extend beyond the period of Federal financial assistance.

(d) Quality of the project evaluation. The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of evaluation to be conducted, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about effective strategies suitable for replication or testing in other settings.

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

(3) 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.

(e) Quality of the management plan. The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan, the Secretary considers the adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks.

(f) Quality of project personnel. The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. In determining the quality of project personnel the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

(1) 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.

(2) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel.

(g) Adequacy of resources. The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project. In determining the adequacy of resources, the Secretary considers each of the following factors:

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

(2) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project.

(3) The potential for continued support of the project after Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated commitment of appropriate entities to such support.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may also notify you informally.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as specified by the Secretary in 34 CFR 75.118.

4. Performance Measures: The success of FIPSE's Comprehensive Program depends upon (1) the extent to which funded projects are being replicated, i.e., adopted or adapted by others; and (2) the manner in which projects are being institutionalized and continued after grant funding. These two results constitute FIPSE's indicators of the success of our program.

If funded, you will be asked to collect and report data in your project's annual performance report (EDGAR, 34 CFR 75.590) on steps taken toward these goals. Consequently, applicants to FIPSE's Comprehensive Program are advised to include these two outcomes in conceptualizing the design, implementation and evaluation of the proposed project. Consideration of FIPSE's two performance outcomes is an important part of many of the review criteria discussed below. Thus, it is important to the success of your application that you include these objectives. Their measure should be a part of the project evaluation plan, along with measures of objectives specific to your project.

VII. Agency Contact

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Levenia Ishmell, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., suite 6147, Washington, DC 20006-8544. Telephone: (202) 502-7668 or by e-mail Levenia.Ishmell@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 in this section.

For additional program information call the FIPSE office (202-502-7500) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday.

VIII. Other Information

Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department 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.

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Dated: September 8, 2004.

Sally L. Stroup,

Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

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[FR Doc. E4-2165 Filed 9-10-04; 8:45 am]

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