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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals (RFGP): Congressionally Mandated-One-Time Grants Program for Academic Programs- Competition A

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Announcement Type: New Grant.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 00.000

Key Dates:

Application Deadline: May 14, 2009.

Executive Summary: This competition is one of two competitions that the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is conducting as directed in the FY-2009 Omnibus Appropriation (Pub. L. 111-8) under Division H of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, under “Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs” in support of a $6 million “competitive one-time grants program.” All applications must be submitted by, public or private non-profit organizations, meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3). Total funding for this “one-time grants Start Printed Page 17727program” is $6 million. $2.1 million will be dedicated to this competition, (Competition A—Academic Programs One-time Grants Program—reference number ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A), and $3.9 million will be dedicated to and announced simultaneously in a separate RFGP (Competition B—Professional, Cultural and Youth One-time Grants Program- reference number ECA/PE/C-09-One-time-Comp. B). Please note: The Bureau reserves the right to reallocate funds it has initially allocated to each of these two competitions, based upon factors such as the number of applications received and responsiveness to the review criteria outlined in each of the solicitations.

Applicants may only submit one proposal (total) to the one-time grants program. Applicants may submit either one proposal for the Academic Programs competition or one proposal for the professional program competition, as referenced above. In addition, applicants under this competition (ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A) may only apply to administer one of the listed activities (total): (1) Undergraduate Intensive English Language Program, (2) Capacity Building for Undergraduate or Graduate Study Abroad, or (3) Study of the United States Institutes for Foreign Undergraduate Students. If multiple proposals are received from the same applicant, all submissions will be declared technically ineligible and will be given no further consideration in the review process. Eligible applicants are strongly encouraged to read both RFGPs thoroughly, prior to developing and submitting proposals, to ensure that proposed activities are appropriate and responsive to the goals, objectives and criteria outlined in each of the solicitations.

As further directed by the Congress, “The program shall be only for the actual exchange of people and should benefit a population that is not being addressed through existing authorized exchanges.”

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces a competition for grants that support international exchanges in order to increase mutual understanding and build relationships, through individuals and organizations, between the people of the United States and their counterparts in other countries. The Bureau welcomes proposals from organizations that have not had a previous grant from the Bureau as well as from those that have; see eligibility information below and in section III.

Organizations that received grant funding under the FY-2008 Competitive One-time Grants Program (Reference numbers: ECA/A-08-One-time-Comp. A or ECA/PE/C/-08-One-time-Comp. B) are not eligible to apply for this FY-2009 One-time Program.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Authority

Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries * * * ; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.” The funding authority for the program above is provided through legislation.

Background

The FY-2009 Omnibus Appropriation (Pub. L. 111-8) under Division H of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, under “Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs” provides $6 million for a “competitive one-time grants program. Grants shall address issues of mutual interest to the United States and other countries, consistent with the program criteria established in Public Law 110-161. Programs shall support the actual exchange of people and should benefit a population that is not being addressed through existing authorized exchanges.”

ECA anticipates awarding approximately 10 grants under this Competition A—One-time Grants Program for Academic Programs.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Grant Agreement.

Fiscal Year Funds: FY-2009.

Approximate Total Funding: $2.1 Million.

Approximate Number of Awards: 10.

Approximate Average Award: $300,000.

Floor of Award Range: Depending upon an organization's length of experience in conducting international exchanges, grants could be awarded for less than $60,000. See section III.3.a., below.

Ceiling of Award Range: $700,000.

Anticipated Award Date: August 2009.

Anticipated Project Completion Date: Approximately 24 months after the start date of the grant.

Additional Information: As stipulated in the legislation, this is a competitive one-time grants program.

The Office of Academic Programs will accept proposals for the following one-time special initiatives. For each of the activities listed below, Bureau emphasis is given to engaging participants from select geographic regions. Further details on specific program responsibilities are included in the Program Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI) document for this initiative. Interested organizations should read the entire Federal Register announcement for all information prior to preparing proposals. Please refer to the solicitation package for further instructions.

1. Undergraduate Intensive English Language Program: The U.S. Department of State is dedicated to increasing its engagement with undergraduate students worldwide who demonstrate the potential to become student leaders and who represent indigenous, disadvantaged or underrepresented communities. ECA offers exchange programs for undergraduates from underserved sectors of society that increase participants' knowledge and understanding of the United States. The Undergraduate Intensive English Program will enroll foreign undergraduate students in eight-week intensive English language courses at colleges and universities in the United States, and provide them with an introduction to American institutions, society and culture. ECA expects to fund a total of approximately 60 students. Regions of emphasis: Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East Asia and the Pacific.

Purpose: The Undergraduate Intensive English Language Study Program will provide promising first, second, and third-year undergraduate students from underserved sectors, who would not otherwise qualify for U.S. exchange opportunities based on English language ability, an opportunity to increase their English language skills through a substantive U.S. exchange experience, and thereby make them more competitive to participate in other U.S. government-sponsored exchanges or for later graduate admission to U.S. institutions.

Program Design: Programs should have a duration of eight weeks. ECA anticipates a total of approximately 60 Start Printed Page 17728participants, who may be divided into several cohorts of students. For planning purposes, interested applicants should anticipate that programs should be planned from May-September 2010. Programs should provide participants with intensive English language training, including English for Academic Purposes, as well as the development of general reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, and the testing of those skills.

Student participants will be undergraduates and will be recruited and selected by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections or Fulbright Commissions in the students' home countries. ECA will approve nominations and make final selection. Participants will come from non-elite backgrounds, from both rural and urban sectors, and with little to no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country. It is anticipated that the selection of participants will reflect each region's geographic, institutional, ethnic, and gender diversity. Most of the students selected will have a basic knowledge of the English language through formal study. For applicants representing a consortium of colleges or universities, it is necessary to indicate the lead institution and produce letters of support from all institutions or organizations that will carry out activities as part of the consortia. In identifying the participating host institutions, the proposal should make clear why these institutions have been recommended, and how those institutions will specifically meet the purposes outlined above.

It is essential that participants be placed in classes with students from a variety of language backgrounds and not only in courses that contain only speakers of their native language. Applicants should design a program that will offer an academic residency component of eight weeks, the central element of which is an intensive English language training course (English for Academic Purposes), together with other instructional elements that will develop participants' general reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Provisions should also be made for testing those skills.

The program should also provide opportunities for participants to routinely meet with U.S citizens from a variety of backgrounds, to regularly meet with their American peers, and to speak to appropriate students and civic groups about their experiences and life in their home countries. Programs should include a community service component, in which the students experience firsthand how not-for-profit organizations and volunteerism play key roles in American civil society.

A total of one grant will be awarded for the administration of the Intensive English Language Study Program. Applicant organizations should include in their proposals the pedagogical rationale for their plan to administer a program to students from multiple regions (regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East Asia/Pacific). ECA reserves the right to adjust the regional composition of student cohorts according to Bureau or program priorities. Participating countries within regions will be determined by ECA, in consultation with Public Affairs Sections at U.S. embassies abroad.

Proposals should demonstrate regional expertise. International travel will be arranged separately by ECA and therefore should not be included in budget requests (please see POGI for details). Please see the POGI document for detailed budget information. It is anticipated that the total amount of funding for administrative and program costs will be approximately $560,000. However, the total funding for this project will be approximately $700,000. ECA anticipates withholding approximately $140,000 for the purchase of participants' airline tickets.

Number of Awards: 1.

Award Amount: $560,000.

Contact: Vincent Pickett, PickettVS@state.gov, 202-453-8137.

2. Capacity Building for Undergraduate or Graduate Study Abroad:

Purpose: The project will encourage the development of new undergraduate and/or graduate study abroad programs.

Program Design: Awards will support exploratory visits of U.S. faculty and/or study abroad administrators from accredited U.S. higher education institutions, as well as a limited number of U.S. student participants. Program funds will not support any travel of representatives or students from foreign institutions to the United States.

Programs should focus on increasing the capacity of foreign institutions to host U.S. undergraduate and/or graduate students interested in pursuing quality academic work that forms an integral part of their degree programs. The Bureau especially welcomes applications focusing on non-traditional study abroad destinations and non-traditional fields of study, including critical languages.

Regions of Emphasis: Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Central America, Middle East, Asia.

The Bureau anticipates funding approximately seven projects at levels not to exceed $100,000 with total Bureau funding not to exceed $700,000. Applicants that do not have four years of experience would receive awards that do not exceed $60,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: 7. Approximate Average Award: $100,000.

Ceiling of Award Range: $700,000.

Contact: Amy Forest; ForestAL@state.gov; 202-453-8866.

3. Study of the United States Institutes for Foreign Undergraduate Students: The U.S. Department of State is dedicated to increasing its engagement with undergraduate students worldwide who demonstrate the potential to become leaders and who represent indigenous, disadvantaged, or underrepresented communities. ECA offers exchange programs for undergraduate students from underserved sectors of society that increase participants' knowledge and understanding of the United States. The Bureau is seeking detailed proposals for two different Study of the United States Institutes for Foreign Undergraduate Students under the topics of: (1) Energy and the Environment and (2) Social Entrepreneurship. Applicants should demonstrate the expertise and regional knowledge, if applicable, to provide participants with a program that provides them information and know-how that they can implement when they return home.

Purpose: The purpose of the Study of the United States Institutes for Foreign Undergraduate Students is to provide outstanding first, second, and third-year undergraduate students with intensive and collaborative six-week academic programs on current developments in their respective fields of study, as well as broad exposure to U.S. society. Each program will include 20-24 undergraduates whose major course of study or demonstrated interests are appropriate for the thematic focus of the institute.

Program Design: Each institute should be a specially designed intensive academic program that combines seminars, discussions, readings, debates, site visits, and educational travel into a coherent whole. The institutes must not simply replicate existing or previous lectures, workshops, or group activities designed for American or other students.

Each institute should provide academic study in the specific discipline as well as the development of practical skills. Sessions should include lectures, group discussions, and exercises, and should promote leadership, team-building, and problem-Start Printed Page 17729solving skills. In addition, these institutes are intended to promote a better understanding of the United States and its people. Participants should gain a deeper understanding of the history and evolution of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions.

During each program, participants should spend approximately four weeks at the host institution for the academic residency component, and approximately two weeks on an educational study tour, including two to three days in Washington, DC, at the conclusion of the institute. The educational travel component should directly complement the academic program, and should allow participants to observe varied aspects of American life in cities and other sites of interest.

The program should provide opportunities for participants to meet American citizens from a variety of backgrounds, to interact with their American peers, and to speak to appropriate student and civic groups about their experiences and life in their home countries. Schedules should include a community service component, comprised of three to four volunteering sessions directly related to the institute theme, in which the students gain hands-on experience with the key roles of not-for-profit organizations and volunteerism in American civil society.

U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections or Fulbright Commissions in the students' home countries will recruit and select the undergraduate student participants based on academic merit and leadership potential. Participants will come from non-elite backgrounds, from both rural and urban sectors, and should have little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside their home country. It is anticipated that the selection of participants will reflect each region's geographic, institutional, ethnic, and gender diversity.

Institute Themes

(1) Study of the United States Institute on Energy and the Environment

Study of the United States Institute on Energy and the Environment should provide participants with historical insight into the role that energy and environmental policy has played in the economic and political development of the United States. The Institute should examine various aspects of energy and environmental management, from local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, to market-oriented approaches, to Federal Government policies and regulation. The Institute also should explore international aspects of the subject, including collaboration among governments and the private sector, joint ventures among countries, and U.S. involvement in negotiated international agreements. Topics may include, (but are not limited to): The development and transfer of new technologies; the effects of U.S. Government policies related to energy conservation, investment, and production on the economy and environment; and the future possibilities for green technology and renewable energy to address global climate change.

Participants will be drawn from majors that include business and management, public administration, political science, and the natural sciences. Regions of emphasis: Global.

(2) Study of the United States Institute on Social Entrepreneurship

Study of the United States Institute on Social Entrepreneurship should provide participants with an overview of how to employ business techniques and entrepreneurial skills to address social issues (i.e. community or economic development, civil society development, education, environment, healthcare, youth employment, or cultural arts programs). The institute should review the development, history, challenges, and successes of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises, in the United States and globally. Case studies and local site visits should highlight the different business skills and techniques employed such as: Organizational development and management; strategy development; fundraising; grant writing; financial management; marketing; public relations; project management; emerging markets and risk analysis; corporate social responsibility; human resource and volunteer management; training; and sustainability issues. The program should be comparative in nature, explaining how the United States may differ globally in terms of government regulation, access to credit, support networks, funding, primary and tertiary education, and entrepreneurial history.

Participants will be drawn from fields that include business and management, public administration, social science, and non-profit management. Regions of emphasis: Eurasia, Near East, South and Central Asia, or sub-Saharan Africa.

The Bureau anticipates funding the two institutes at levels not to exceed $350,000 each with total Bureau funding not to exceed $700,000. Applicant organizations may propose to administer both institutes utilizing separate host institutions with sub-grant agreements. However, applicant institutions may not host more than one undergraduate student leader institute.

Approximate Number of Awards: 2.

Approximate Average Award (1 institute): $350,000.

Ceiling of Award Range (2 institutes): $700,000.

Contact: Brendan M. Walsh, WalshBM@state.gov, 202-453-8532.

III. Eligibility Information

III.1. Eligible Applicants

Applications must be submitted by public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

Organizations listed in the FY-2009 Omnibus Appropriation (Pub. L. 111-8) under Division H of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, under “Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs” in support of a $6 million “competitive one-time grants program” are encouraged to apply.

In addition, organizations listed in the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 2008 (Division J, Pub. L. 110-161) under “Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs—a competitive one-time grants program” that did not receive funding under the FY-2008 Competitive One-time Grants Program are encouraged and/or eligible to apply.

III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching Funds

There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved grant agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal Government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, (Revised), Subpart C.23—Cost Sharing and Matching. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, ECA's contribution will be reduced in like proportion.Start Printed Page 17730

III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements

a. Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be limited to $60,000. Therefore, applicants should explain their experience in conducting international exchanges, and, if that experience is less than four years, should limit their proposed grant budgets to $60,000.

As directed by the Congress, “The program shall be only for the actual exchange of people and should benefit a population that is not being addressed through existing authorized exchanges.”

b. Technical Eligibility: All proposals must comply with the following:

—Eligible applicants may only submit one proposal (total) for one of the two competitions referenced in the Executive Summary Section of this document. If multiple proposals are received from the same applicant, all submissions will be declared technically ineligible and will be given no further consideration in the review process. Applicants under this competition (ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A) may only apply to administer one of the three listed activities (total).

—Proposals requesting funding for infrastructure development activities, sometimes referred to as “bricks and mortar support” are not eligible for consideration under this competition and will be declared technically ineligible and will receive no further consideration in the review process.

—The Bureau does not support proposals limited to conferences or seminars (i.e., one- to fourteen-day programs with plenary sessions, main speakers, panels, and an audience). It will support conferences only when they are a small part of a larger project in duration that is receiving Bureau funding from this competition.

—No funding is available exclusively to send U.S. citizens to conferences or conference type seminars overseas; nor is funding available for bringing foreign nationals to conferences or to routine professional association meetings in the United States.

—Organizations that received grant funding under the FY-2008 Competitive One-time Grants Program (Reference numbers: ECA/A-08-One-time-Comp. A or ECA/PE/C/-08-One-time-Comp. B) are not eligible to apply for this FY-2009 one-time program. In the event a proposal is received from a FY-2008, One-time grant recipient, the proposal will be declared technically ineligible and will receive no further consideration in the review process. Please note: A FY-2008, One-time grant recipient, per above, is defined by the DUNS number of the organization and by the signature of the authorized representative contained on “Application for Federal Assistance Form” (SF-424) that was submitted under the FY-2008 Competitive One-time Grants Program.

Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instruction (PSI) document for additional requirements.

IV. Application and Submission Information

Note:

Please read the complete announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

IV.1. Contact Information To Request an Application Package

Please contact the Office of Academic Exchanges, ECA/A/E, Room 234, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, tel: 202-453-8137, fax: 202-453-8125, PickettVS@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A located at the top of this announcement when making your request.

Alternatively, an electronic application package may be obtained from grants.gov. Please see section IV.3f for further information.

The Solicitation Package contains the Proposal Submission Instruction (PSI) document which consists of required application forms, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation.

It also contains the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document, which provides specific information, award criteria and budget instructions tailored to this competition.

Please specify Program Officer Vincent Pickett, and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A located at the top of this announcement on all other inquiries and correspondence.

IV.2. To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's Web site at http://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​rfgps/​menu.htm.

Please read all information before downloading.

IV.3. Content and Form of Submission

Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and seven copies of the application should be sent per the instructions under IV.3e. “Submission Dates and Times section” below.

IV.3a. You are required to have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to apply for a grant or cooperative agreement from the U.S. Government. This number is a nine-digit identification number, which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a DUNS number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, access http://www.dunandbradstreet.com or call 1-866-705-5711. Please ensure that your DUNS number is included in the appropriate box of the SF—424 which is part of the formal application package.

IV.3b. All proposals must contain an executive summary, proposal narrative and budget.

IV.3c. You must have nonprofit status with the IRS at the time of application. Please note: Effective January 7, 2009, all applicants for ECA federal assistance awards must include in their application the names of directors and/or senior executives (current officers, trustees, and key employees, regardless of amount of compensation). In fulfilling this requirement, applicants must submit information in one of the following ways:

(1) Those who file Internal Revenue Service Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,” must include a copy of relevant portions of this form.

(2) Those who do not file IRS Form 990 must submit information above in the format of their choice.

In addition to final program reporting requirements, award recipients will also be required to submit a one-page document, derived from their program reports, listing and describing their grant activities. For award recipients, the names of directors and/or senior executives (current officers, trustees, and key employees), as well as the one- page description of grant activities, will be transmitted by the State Department to OMB, along with other information required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), and will be made available to the public by the Office of Management and Budget on its USASpending.gov Web site as part of ECA's FFATA reporting requirements.

If your organization is a private nonprofit which has not received a grant or cooperative agreement from ECA in Start Printed Page 17731the past three years, or if your organization received nonprofit status from the IRS within the past four years, you must submit the necessary documentation to verify nonprofit status as directed in the PSI document. Failure to do so will cause your proposal to be declared technically ineligible.

IV.3d. Please take into consideration the following information when preparing your proposal narrative:

IV.3d.1. Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa: The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the official program sponsor of the exchange program covered by this RFGP, and an employee of the Bureau will be the “Responsible Officer” for the program under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, which covers the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program (J visa program). Under the terms of 22 CFR part 62, organizations receiving grants under this RFGP will be third parties “cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's program.” The actions of grantee program organizations shall be “imputed to the sponsor in evaluating the sponsor's compliance with” 22 CFR part 62. Therefore, the Bureau expects that any organization receiving a grant under this competition will render all assistance necessary to enable the Bureau to fully comply with 22 CFR part 62 et seq.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places critically important emphases on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J visa) Programs and adherence by grantee program organizations and program participants to all regulations governing the J visa program status. Therefore, proposals should explicitly state in writing that the applicant is prepared to assist the Bureau in meeting all requirements governing the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR part 62. If your organization has experience as a designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor, the applicant should discuss their record of compliance with 22 CFR part 62 et seq., including the oversight of their Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible Officers, screening and selection of program participants, provision of pre-arrival information and orientation to participants, monitoring of participants, proper maintenance and security of forms, record-keeping, reporting and other requirements.

The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of ECA will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this program. A copy of the complete regulations governing the administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is available at http://exchanges.state.gov or from: United States Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation ECA/EC/ECD—SA-44, Room 734, 301 Fourth Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547; Telephone: (202) 203-5029; FAX: (202) 453-8640.

IV.3d.2. Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines: Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. “Diversity” should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and disabilities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the ‘Support for Diversity’ section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into your proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that “in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy,” the Bureau “shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.” Public Law 106-113 requires that the governments of the countries described above do not have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.

IV.3d.3. Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Proposals must include a plan to monitor and evaluate the project's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The Bureau recommends that your proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other instrument plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. The Bureau expects that the grantee will track participants or partners and be able to respond to key evaluation questions, including satisfaction with the program, learning as a result of the program, changes in behavior as a result of the program, and effects of the program on institutions (institutions in which participants work or partner institutions). The evaluation plan should include indicators that measure gains in mutual understanding as well as substantive knowledge.

Successful monitoring and evaluation depend heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Your evaluation plan should include a description of your project's objectives, your anticipated project outcomes, and how and when you intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are “smart” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and placed in a reasonable timeframe), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. You should also show how your project objectives link to the goals of the program described in this RFGP.

Your monitoring and evaluation plan should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. Output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change. Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported, but the focus should be on outcomes.

We encourage you to assess the following four levels of outcomes, as they relate to the program goals set out in the RFGP (listed here in increasing order of impact):

1. Participant satisfaction with the program and exchange experience.

2. Participant learning, such as increased knowledge, aptitude, skills, and changed understanding and attitude. Learning includes both substantive (subject-specific) learning and mutual understanding.

3. Participant behavior, concrete actions to apply knowledge in work or community; greater participation and responsibility in civic organizations; interpretation and explanation of experiences and new knowledge gained; continued contacts between participants, community members, and others.

4. Institutional changes, such as increased collaboration and partnerships, policy reforms, new programming, and organizational improvements.

Please note:

Consideration should be given to the appropriate timing of data collection for each level of outcome. For example, satisfaction is usually captured as a short-term outcome, whereas behavior and institutional changes are normally considered longer-term outcomes.

Start Printed Page 17732

Overall, the quality of your monitoring and evaluation plan will be judged on how well it (1) specifies intended outcomes; (2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; (3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and (4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups). (Please note that evaluation plans that deal only with the first level of outcomes [satisfaction] will be deemed less competitive under the present evaluation criteria.)

Grantees will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.

IV.3e. Please take the following information into consideration when preparing your budget:

IV.3e.1. Applicants must submit SF-424A—“Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs” along with a comprehensive budget for the entire program. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.

IV.3e.2. Allowable costs for the program include the following:

(1) Travel. International and domestic airfare; visas; transit costs; ground transportation costs. Except in the case of Undergraduate Intensive English Language Program; please see POGI for further information. Please note that all air travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. There is no charge for J-1 visas for participants in Bureau-sponsored programs.

(2) Per Diem. For U.S.-based programming, organizations should use the published Federal per diem rates for individual U.S. cities. Domestic per diem rates may be accessed at: http://www.gsa.gov/​Portal/​gsa/​ep/​contentView.do?​contentId=​17943&​contentType=​GSA_​BASIC.

(3) Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

IV.3F. Application Deadline and Methods of Submission:

Application Deadline Date: Thursday, May 14, 2009.

Reference Number: ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A.

Methods of Submission: Applications may be submitted in one of two ways: 1. In hard-copy, via a nationally recognized overnight delivery service (i.e., Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.), or

2. Electronically through http://www.grants.gov.

Please Note:

ECA strongly encourages organizations interested in applying for this competition to submit printed, hard copy applications as outlined in section IV.3f.1., below rather than submitting electronically through Grants.gov. This recommendation is being made as a result of the anticipated high volume of grant proposals that will be submitted via the Grants.gov Web portal as part of the Recovery Act stimulus package. As stated in this RFGP, ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

Along with the Project Title, all applicants must enter the above Reference Number in Box 11 on the SF-424 contained in the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) of the solicitation document.

IV.3f.1 Submitting Printed Applications: Applications must be shipped no later than the above deadline. Delivery services used by applicants must have in-place, centralized shipping identification and tracking systems that may be accessed via the Internet and delivery people who are identifiable by commonly recognized uniforms and delivery vehicles. Proposals shipped on or before the above deadline but received at ECA more than seven days after the deadline will be ineligible for further consideration under this competition. Proposals shipped after the established deadlines are ineligible for consideration under this competition. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of application. It is each applicant's responsibility to ensure that each package is marked with a legible tracking number and to monitor/confirm delivery to ECA via the Internet. Delivery of proposal packages may not be made via local courier service or in person for this competition. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Only proposals submitted as stated above will be considered.

Important note:

When preparing your submission please make sure to include one extra copy of the completed SF-424 form and place it in an envelope addressed to “ECA/EX/PM”.

Applicants must also submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” and budget sections of the proposal as well as any essential attachments, in Microsoft Word and/or Excel on a PC-formatted disk. As appropriate, the Bureau will provide these files electronically to Public Affairs Sections at the U.S. Embassies for their review.

The original and eight copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: Ref.: ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

Along with the Project Title, all applicants must enter the above Reference Number in Box 11 on the SF-424 contained in the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) of the solicitation document.

IV.3f.2. Submitting Electronic Applications: Applicants have the option of submitting proposals electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov). Complete solicitation packages are available at Grants.gov in the “Find” portion of the system.

Please Note:

ECA strongly encourages organizations interested in applying for this competition to submit printed, hard copy applications as outlined in section IV.3f.1. above, rather than submitting electronically through Grants.gov. This recommendation is being made as a result of the anticipated high volume of grant proposals that will be submitted via the Grants.gov Web portal as part of the Recovery Act stimulus package. As stated in this RFGP, ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

Please follow the instructions available in the `Get Started' portion of the site (http://www.grants.gov/​GetStarted).

Several of the steps in the Grants.gov registration process could take several weeks. Therefore, applicants should check with appropriate staff within their organizations immediately after reviewing this RFGP to confirm or determine their registration status with Grants.gov.

Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. In addition, validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

The Grants.gov Web site includes extensive information on all phases/aspects of the Grants.gov process, including an extensive section on frequently asked questions, located under the “For Applicants” section of the Web site. ECA strongly recommends Start Printed Page 17733that all potential applicants review thoroughly the Grants.gov Web site, well in advance of submitting a proposal through the Grants.gov system. ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

Direct all questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission to: Grants.gov Customer Support. Contact Center Phone: 800 -518-4726. Business Hours: Monday—Friday, 7 a.m.—9 p.m. Eastern Time. E-mail: support@grants.gov.

Applicants have until midnight (12 a.m.), Washington, DC time of the closing date to ensure that their entire application has been uploaded to the Grants.gov site. There are no exceptions to the above deadline. Applications uploaded to the site after midnight of the application deadline date will be automatically rejected by the grants.gov system, and will be technically ineligible.

Please refer to the Grants.gov Web site, for definitions of various “application statuses” and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through Grants.gov. ECA will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications.

It is the responsibility of all applicants submitting proposals via the Grants.gov web portal to ensure that proposals have been received by Grants.gov in their entirety, and ECA bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes.

IV.3g. Intergovernmental Review of Applications: Executive Order 12372 does not apply to this program.

Applicants must also submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal the Executive Summary, Proposal Narrative, and Budget sections of the proposal, as well as any essential attachments, in Microsoft Word and/or Excel on a PC-formatted disk. The Bureau will provide these files electronically to the appropriate Public Affairs Sections at the U.S. Embassies for their review.

V. Application Review Information

V.1. Review Process

The Bureau will review all proposals for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and forwarded to Bureau grant panels for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (grants) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below.

1. Quality of the Program Idea and Program Planning: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. The proposal should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and plan. The proposed program should be creative and well developed, respond to the design outlined in the solicitation, and demonstrate originality. It should be clearly and accurately written, substantive, and with sufficient detail. The program plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above.

2. Ability to Achieve Program Objectives: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and plan.

3. Support of Diversity: The proposal should demonstrate the recipient's commitment to promoting the awareness and understanding of diversity in participant selection and exchange program design and content.

4. Institutional Capacity and Track Record: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program goals. The proposal should demonstrate an institutional record, including solid programming and responsible fiscal management. The Bureau will consider the past performance, including compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants.

5. Program Evaluation: The proposal should include a plan to evaluate the program's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. The proposal should include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. Please see Section IV.3d.3. of this announcement for more information.

6. Cost-effectiveness and Cost Sharing: The applicant should demonstrate efficient use of Bureau funds. The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate. The proposal should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.

VI. Award Administration Information

VI.1a. Award Notices: Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures. Successful applicants will receive a Federal Assistance Award (FAA) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The FAA and the original grant proposal with subsequent modifications (if applicable) shall be the only binding authorizing document between the recipient and the U.S. Government. The FAA will be signed by an authorized Grants Officer, and mailed to the recipient's responsible officer identified in the application.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification of the results of the application review from the ECA program office coordinating this competition.

VI.1b. The following additional requirements apply for exchanges involving the Palestinian Authority, West Bank, and Gaza:

All awards made under this competition must be executed according to all relevant U.S. laws and policies regarding assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and to the West Bank and Gaza. Organizations must consult with relevant Public Affairs Offices before entering into any formal arrangements or agreements with Palestinian organizations or institutions.

Note:

To assure that planning for the inclusion of the Palestinian Authority complies with requirements, please contact Amy Forest in the Office of Global Education Programs (e-mail: ForestAL@state.gov; phone: 202-453-8866) for additional information.

VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: Terms and Conditions for the Administration of ECA agreements include the following:

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-122, “Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations”;Start Printed Page 17734

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions”;

OMB Circular A-87, “Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Governments”;

OMB Circular No. A-110 (Revised), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Nonprofit Organizations;

OMB Circular No. A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants-in-Aid to State and Local Governments;

OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Government, and Non-profit Organizations.

Please reference the following Web sites for additional information:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​grants.

http://fa.statebuy.state.gov.

VI.3. Reporting Requirements: You must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus one copy of the following reports:

1. A final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award.

2. A concise, one-page final program report summarizing program outcomes no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award. This one-page report will be transmitted to OMB, and be made available to the public via OMB's USAspending.gov Web site—as part of ECA's Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) reporting requirements.

3. A SF-PPR, “Performance Progress Report” Cover Sheet with all program reports.

4. Interim program and financial reports after each program phase, as required in the Bureau grant agreement.

Award Recipients will be required to provide reports analyzing their evaluation findings to the Bureau in their regular program reports. (Please refer to IV. Application and Submission Instructions (IV.3.d.3) above for Program Monitoring and Evaluation information.)

All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years and provided to the Bureau upon request.

All reports must be sent to the ECA Grants Officer and ECA Program Officer listed in the final assistance award document.

VI.4. Program Data Requirements: Organizations awarded grants will be required to maintain specific data on program participants and activities in an electronically accessible database format that can be shared with the Bureau as required. As a minimum, the data must include the following:

(1) Name, address, contact information and biographic sketch of all persons who travel internationally on funds provided by the grant or who benefit from the grant funding but do not travel.

(2) Itineraries of international and domestic travel, providing dates of travel and cities in which any exchange experiences take place. Final schedules for in-country and U.S. activities must be received by the ECA Program Officer at least three work days prior to the official opening of the activity.

VII. Agency Contacts

For questions about this announcement, please contact: Undergraduate Intensive English Language Program, Vincent Pickett, Academic Programs, Tel: (202) 453-8137; E-mail: PickettVS@state.gov.

Capacity Building for Undergraduate or Graduate Study Abroad, Amy Forest, Global Educational Programs, Tel: (202) 453-8137; E-mail: ForestAL@state.gov.

Study of the United States Institutes for Foreign Undergraduate Students, Brendan M. Walsh, Study of the United States, Tel: (202) 453-8532; E-mail: WalshBM@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/A-09-One-time-Comp. A.

Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

VIII. Other Information

Notice: The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements per section VI.3 above.

Start Signature

Dated: April 8, 2009.

C. Miller Crouch,

Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E9-8642 Filed 4-15-09; 8:45 am]

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