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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as Amended-National Activities-National Assistive Technology Public Internet Site; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005.

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.224B-2.

Dates: Applications Available: June 24, 2005.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 25, 2005.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 22, 2005.

Eligible Applicants: Public or private nonprofit or for-profit organizations, including institutions of higher education, that—

(1) Emphasize research and engineering;

(2) Have a multidisciplinary research center; and

(3) Have demonstrated expertise in—

(a) Working with assistive technology and intelligent agent interactive information dissemination systems;

(b) Managing libraries of assistive technology and disability-related resources;

(c) Delivering to individuals with disabilities education, information, and referral services, including technology-based curriculum-development services for adults with low-level reading skills;

(d) Developing cooperative partnerships with the private sector, particularly with private-sector computer software, hardware, and Internet services entities; and

(e) Developing and designing advanced Internet sites.

Estimated Available Funds: $100,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended Start Printed Page 36572(AT Act), authorizes support for activities that increase the availability of, funding for, access to, provision of, and training about assistive technology (AT) devices and AT services. Section 6 of the AT Act provides for national activities to improve the administration of the AT Act. One national activity that is authorized by the AT Act is the renovation, updating, and maintenance of a National Assistive Technology Public Internet Site (National AT Internet Site). The National AT Internet Site will provide to the public comprehensive, up-to-date information on resources related to AT and programs supported under the AT Act.

Priority: We are establishing this priority for the FY 2005 grant competition only, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2005, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is: National Assistive Technology Public Internet Site.

Under this priority, a project must renovate, update, and maintain an Internet site that contains the following features:

(1) Availability of information at any time. The site must be designed so that any member of the public may obtain information posted on the site at any time.

(2) Innovative automated intelligent agent. The site must be constructed with an innovative automated intelligent agent that is a diagnostic tool for assisting users in problem definition and the selection of appropriate AT devices and AT services resources.

(3) Resources. (a) Library on assistive technology. The site must include access, either directly or through links, to a comprehensive working library on AT for all environments, including home, workplace, transportation, and other environments.

(b) Information on accommodating individuals with disabilities. The site must include access, either directly or through links, to evidence-based research and best practices concerning how AT can be used to accommodate individuals with disabilities in the areas of education, employment, health care, community living, and telecommunications and information technology.

(c) Resources for a number of disabilities. The site must include, either directly or through links, resources relating to the largest possible number of disabilities, including resources relating to low-level reading skills.

(4) Links to private-sector resources and information. To the extent feasible, the site must be linked to relevant private-sector resources and information, under agreements developed between the recipient of the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement and cooperating private-sector entities.

(5) Links to public-sector resources and information. To the extent feasible, the site must be linked to relevant public-sector resources and information, such as the Internet sites of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the Department of Education, the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the Department of Labor, the Small Business Administration, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, the Technology Administration of the Department of Commerce, the Jobs Accommodation Network funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the Department of Labor, and other relevant sites.

(6) Minimum library components. At a minimum, the site must maintain updated information on and provide links, if available, to—

(a) Device demonstration programs funded under the AT Act and, to the extent practicable, not funded under the AT Act, where individuals may try out AT devices;

(b) Device loan programs funded under the AT Act and, to the extent practicable, not funded under the AT Act, where individuals may borrow AT devices;

(c) Device reutilization programs funded under the AT Act and, to the extent practicable, not funded under the AT Act, that provide for the exchange, repair, recycling, or other reutilization of AT devices;

(d) Alternative financing programs or State financing systems operated through, or independently of, State AT programs, and other sources of funding for AT devices;

(e) Protection and advocacy for assistive technology (PAAT) programs;

(f) Cooperative volume-purchasing programs funded under the AT Act or, to the extent practicable, not funded under the AT Act;

(g) Other projects funded under section 6 of the AT Act;

(h) Relevant State and Federal programs, and other resources, that provide or increase access to AT devices and services; and

(i) Various programs, including programs with tax credits, available to employers for hiring or accommodating employees who are individuals with disabilities.

(7) Stakeholder input. The project must include a plan for designing and implementing the National AT Internet Site with the input of—

(a) Directors of statewide AT programs;

(b) Directors of alternative financing programs;

(c) Directors of PAAT programs;

(d) Individuals with disabilities who use AT and understand the barriers to the acquisition of that technology and AT services;

(e) Family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives of those individuals;

(f) Relevant employees from Federal departments and agencies, other than the Department of Education;

(g) Representatives of businesses; and

(h) Venders and public and private researchers and developers.

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities. Ordinarily, this practice would have applied to the absolute priority for the National AT Public Internet Site. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA (20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1)), however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant competition for this program under section 6 of the AT Act and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forego public comment on the proposed absolute priority under section 437(d)(1). This absolute priority will apply to the FY 2005 grant competition only.

Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.

Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 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: Cooperative agreement.

Estimated Available Funds: $100,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months. Start Printed Page 36573

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Public or private nonprofit or for-profit organizations, including institutions of higher education, that—

(1) Emphasize research and engineering;

(2) Have a multidisciplinary research center; and

(3) Have demonstrated expertise in—

(a) Working with assistive technology and intelligent agent interactive information dissemination systems;

(b) Managing libraries of assistive technology and disability-related resources;

(c) Delivering to individuals with disabilities education, information, and referral services, including technology-based curriculum-development services for adults with low-level reading skills;

(d) Developing cooperative partnerships with the private sector, particularly with private-sector computer software, hardware, and Internet services entities; and

(e) Developing and designing advanced Internet sites.

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

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 84.224B-2.

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 Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5075, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

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.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) 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 60 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.

Our reviewers will not read any pages of your application that—

  • Exceed the page limit if you apply these standards; or
  • Exceed the equivalent of the page limit if you apply other standards.

3. Submission Dates and Times: Applications Available: June 24, 2005.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 25, 2005.

Applications for grants under this competition 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.

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

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 22, 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 competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications. If you choose to 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 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 Federal Education Assistance (ED 424), Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • Any narrative sections of your application must be attached as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page limit requirements described in this notice.
  • Prior to submitting your electronic application, you may wish to print a copy of it for your records.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an Start Printed Page 36574automatic acknowledgment 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 ED 424 to the Application Control Center after following these steps:

(1) Print ED 424 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 of the hard-copy signature page of the ED 424.

(4) Fax the signed ED 424 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 acknowledgment 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. If the system is down and therefore the application deadline is extended, an e-mail will be sent to all registered users who have initiated an e-Application.

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 acknowledgment 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 mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the applicable following address:

By mail through the U.S. Postal Service: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.224B-2), 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260;

or

By mail through a commercial carrier: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center—Stop 4260, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.224B-2), 7100 Old Landover Road, Landover, MD 20785-1506.

Regardless of which address you use, 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 Secretary of the U.S. Department 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.

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

Note:

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 deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, 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 84.224B-2), 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.

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 and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 4 of the ED 424 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 grant application receipt acknowledgment within 15 business days from the application deadline date, 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 from 34 CFR 75.210 and are in the application package.

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 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 Start Printed Page 36575outcome-related goals for programs, and measuring program results against those goals. The goal of the National AT Internet Site is to provide the public with comprehensive, up-to-date information on resources related to AT and programs supported under the AT Act. In order to assess the success of the grantee in meeting this goal, in addition to the annual performance report provided by the grantee, a biannual review of the site will be conducted by a panel of individuals with relevant expertise. This panel will report to the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the grantee on the—(1) Effectiveness of the site at linking visitors to appropriate resources related to AT; (2) comprehensiveness and relevance of resources and information available on the site; (3) availability of content or features unique to the site; (4) effectiveness at supporting and promoting programs supported under sections 4, 5, and 6 of the AT Act and other AT resources not funded under the AT Act; (5) responsiveness to the input of stakeholders; (6) responsiveness to the recommendations of previous biannual reviews; and (7) other factors relevant to determining the performance of the grantee.

VII. Agency Contact

For Further Information Contact: Jeremy Buzzell, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5025, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2800. Telephone: (202) 245-7319 or by e-mail: jeremy.buzzell@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) 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.

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: June 16, 2005.

John H. Hager,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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[FR Doc. 05-12592 Filed 6-23-05; 8:45 am]

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