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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals; Access Teacher Development Online Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Announcement Type: New Cooperative Agreement.

Funding Opportunity Number: ECA/A/L-11-05.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.421.

Key Dates: Application Deadline: June 4, 2011.

Executive Summary: The Office of English Language Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA/A/L) announces an open Start Printed Page 27150competition for the Access Teacher Development Online Program (ATDOP), including online distance education, a U.S. exchange component in summer 2012 and a follow-on program for exchange participants. The award level for this cooperative agreement will be up to $900,000. The purpose of this program is to increase the oral and aural proficiency of English as a foreign language teachers while developing their speaking and listening teaching methods.

U.S. public and private universities with graduate TESOL or Applied Linguistics programs meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to implement the program that will include the following:

1. A teacher needs analysis survey and English language proficiency assessment plan to be administered at the beginning and end of the online program;

2. A multi-platform online distance education program developed in collaboration with selected English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) providers and designed to improve the oral/aural English Language proficiency and teaching methodologies of 250-350 Access and potential Access teachers working with 14-18 year olds;

3. A four-week, U.S. exchange program for 26 of the top performing participants from the online courses;

4. A five-week online follow-up course designed to assist the 26 teachers in developing and implementing professional development seminars for English teachers in their respective countries;

5. The creation of an on-going online community via a Ning site where Access teachers and in-country providers can continue to communicate and collaborate.

Access provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged 14- to 18-year-olds through two-year programs of after-school classes and intensive summer learning activities. Access students also gain an appreciation for U.S. culture and democratic values through cultural enhancement activities. Since its inception in 2004, over 70,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the Access Program. More detailed information about each of the five components of this cooperative agreement are detailed below and in the Program Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI).

Applicant organizations should demonstrate a significant track record of conducting substantive academic programs for EFL educators with a particular emphasis on the innovative use of internet media and mobile-based technologies in the development and implementation of training programs, conducting needs assessments internationally with foreign partners, developing English language teaching curriculum for English learners with diverse levels of English language proficiency and managing the U.S. and foreign logistical and administrative aspects of similar programs.

The participants in the online course will be selected by Access providers and Regional English Language Officers (RELOs) and will be approved by ECA/A/L. Participants will be: Citizens of one of 6-8 ECA selected strategic countries in which they reside; university degree holders; employed as English teachers and have been working with disadvantaged 14-18 year old students for at least two but not more than approximately seven years; have no significant previous US travel experience; employed by one of the selected Access host institutions teaching Access or other secondary school level classes; and able to have regular and easy access to a computer with reliable broadband Internet.

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.

Purpose

The purpose of the ATDOP is to improve overall English Access Microscholarship Program capacity to educate students by significantly enhancing the oral/aural proficiency and teaching practices of current and future Access teachers and providing opportunities to augment the impact of the course by having the program participants create and implement replicable teacher development seminars for other high school level English teachers in their countries. The project should also develop a self-sustaining online community for Access teachers and providers where ideas and experiences can be shared for years to come.

Overview

The online teacher development course and the U.S. based exchange component should significantly enhance the oral/aural proficiency and teaching skills needed for participants to confidently create and present seminars on practical English language teaching methods and American culture/values to other Access teachers in their respective countries. This program should expose participants to up-to-date methodologies for teaching listening and speaking to 14-18 year old English learners, insights into the role online technologies can play in English language learning, teaching, and professional development, and approaches to developing learner-centered activities with technology and electronic materials. The program should also include a substantive cultural/educational exchange experience in the United States.

Program Design

The program should be designed as an intensive, practically focused online course and exchange component for early career high school teachers from abroad. Both the online course and exchange component should reflect the participants' previous experience, education, and the realities of their regional challenges while promoting strategies for participants to share their knowledge with course participants and colleagues in their home countries.

Participants for the online teacher development course will be selected by local providers in consultation with RELOs at U.S. embassies and approved by the Office of English Language Programs in Washington, DC. Exchange component participants will be selected by recipient in coordination with local providers and approved by ECA/A/L and RELOs. Approximately the same number of participants for the online program and the U.S. exchange will be selected from each of the 6-8 participating countries.

ATDOP will focus on developing teaching skills relevant and appropriate to ECA/A/L's ongoing English language programming efforts around the world. Activities should focus on enhancing language and teaching methodologies and creating new capacities (student Start Printed Page 27151centered teaching, authentic examples of American culture/values, and using internet based activities) for use in Access curricula. Selection of ATDOP curricula will be made by the recipient in consultation with select Access providers and RELOs and approved by ECA/A/L. Curricula will be based on the results of the needs assessment carried out by the recipient.

The Department of State will retain full ownership of the prepared curriculum and all online social networking and mobile sites created to fulfill program objectives, including the right to print, publish, repurpose, and distribute all media including electronic media, and in all languages and editions.

Program Content

Proposals must include preliminary ideas regarding the structure and content of the online program, the exchange component and follow-on course that can be revised in light of the results of the participant needs analysis and English language proficiency assessment results. Possible speakers and trainers, site visits, ways of using social media, video and chat conferencing programs and the use of mobile technology should be discussed. The accompanying Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI) document provides program-specific guidelines that all proposals must address fully.

Program Dates

It is anticipated that the cooperative agreement will begin on or about September 1, 2011, and the recipient should complete all post-exchange activities by December 31, 2012. The exchange program will take place during June/July, 2012. Please refer to additional program specific guidelines in the Program Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI) document.

Program Guidelines

Under the auspices of the Cooperative Agreement, the Bureau's Office of English Language Programs and U.S. embassies are substantially involved in ATDOP. The Bureau provides overall program and policy design and direction, with substantial involvement at all levels of the program while U.S. embassies are responsible for in-country aspects of the program. The roles and responsibilities of the Bureau include:

  • Selection of strategic countries and Access providers from which teachers will be selected;
  • Inviting RELOs and providers to nominate program participants;
  • Approving nominees for the online course and exchange component;
  • Participating in the Washington segment of the exchange program.

Posts are responsible for:

  • Identifying and nominating program participants from their countries/regions in collaboration with providers;
  • Briefing program participants on all aspects of the program;
  • Monitoring and supporting the online segment of the program;
  • Monitoring and reporting to ECA/A/L on program impact;
  • Facilitating communication between the recipient and program participants regarding exchange logistics (e.g. obtaining visas); and
  • Conducting post-program follow-up opportunities as appropriate.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement. ECA's level of involvement in this program is listed under number I above.

Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2011.

Approximate Total Funding: $900,000.

Approximate Number of Awards: One (1).

Approximate Average Award: One award of $900,000.

Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2011.

Anticipated Program Completion Date: July 31, 2013.

Additional Information: Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew this cooperative agreement for two additional fiscal years, before openly competing it again.

III. Eligibility Information

III.1. Eligible Applicants

Applications may be submitted by public and private U.S. colleges and universities with a graduate TESOL or applied linguistics program meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

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 cooperative 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.

III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements

(a) Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with fewer than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates awarding one cooperative agreement, in an amount up to $900,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement ATDOP. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

(b) Technical Eligibility: All proposals must comply with the following: (list requirements) or they will result in your proposal being declared technically ineligible and given no further consideration in the review process.

—Eligible applicants may not submit more than one proposal in this competition.

—If more than one proposal is received from the same applicant, all submissions will be declared technically ineligible and will receive no further consideration in the review process. Please note: Applicant organizations are defined by their legal name, and EIN number as stated on their completed SF-424 and additional supporting documentation outlined in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document.

IV. Application and Submission Information

Note:

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.

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IV.1. Contact Information To Request an Application Package

Please contact Craig Dicker of the Office of English Language Programs, ECA/A/L, Room 4-B15, U.S. Department of State, SA-5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20037, telephone: (202) 632-9277, fax: (202) 632-9464, e-mail: Dickercl@state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/A/L-11-05 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 Program Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document, which provides specific information, award criteria and budget instructions tailored to this competition.

Please specify Craig Dicker, telephone: (202) 632-9277, and refer to the Funding Opportunity Number ECA/A/L-11-05 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/​grants/​open2.html or from the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov.

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 submitted per the instructions under IV.3f. “Application Deadline and Methods of Submission” 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.

Please Refer to the Solicitation Package. It contains the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) document and the Program Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) document for additional formatting and technical requirements.

IV.3c. All federal award recipients and sub-recipients must maintain current registrations in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database and have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Recipients and sub-recipients must maintain accurate and up-to-date information in the CCR until all program and financial activity and reporting have been completed. All entities must review and update the information at least annually after the initial registration and more frequently if required information changes or another award is granted. 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 the 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 Citizen Exchanges 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 awards (either a grant or cooperative agreement) under this RFGP will be third parties “cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor's program.” The actions of recipient 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 an award 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 recipient 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 Citizen Exchanges of ECA will be responsible for issuing DS-Start Printed Page 271532019 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:

Office of Designation, Private Sector Programs Division, U.S. Department of State, ECA/EC/D/PS, SA-5, 5th Floor, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20037.

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 Program'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 technique plus a description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original Program objectives. The Bureau expects that the recipient 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 Program's objectives, your anticipated Program 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 time frame), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. You should also show how your Program 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 Program 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 Program 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 importance):

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.

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.)

The recipient 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.3.d.4. Describe your plans for staffing: Please provide a staffing plan which outlines the responsibilities of each staff person and explains which staff member will be accountable for each program responsibility. The Office of English Programs requests that several members of the staff be well versed in current methodology of teaching English as a foreign language, preferably holding an advanced degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), applied linguistics or a related field. In depth knowledge of best practices in the English language teaching (ELT) field is preferable. Wherever possible please streamline administrative processes.

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. The budget request from ECA should not exceed $900,000, including all administrative costs. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets for host campus and foreign teacher involvement in the program. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.

The summary and detailed administrative and program budgets should be accompanied by a narrative which provides a brief rationale for each line item including a methodology for Start Printed Page 27154estimating appropriate average maintenance allowance levels and tuition costs (as applicable) for the participants, and the number that can be accommodated at the levels proposed. The total administrative costs funded by the Bureau must be reasonable and appropriate.

IV.3e.2. Allowable costs for the program and additional budget guidance are outlined in detail in the POGI document. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

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

Application Deadline Date: June 4, 2011.

Reference Number: ECA/A/L-11-05.

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., DHL, Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, or U.S. Postal Service Express Overnight Mail, etc.), or

(2) electronically through http://www.grants.gov.

Along with the Program 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”.

The original and nine (9) copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, Program Management Division, ECA-IIP/EX/PM, Ref.: ECA/A/L-11-05 SA-5, Floor 4, Department of State, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20037.

Applicants submitting hard-copy applications must also submit the “Executive Summary” and “Proposal Narrative” sections of the proposal in text (.txt) format on a PC-formatted disk.

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

Please Note:

ECA bears no responsibility for applicant timeliness of submission or data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes for proposals submitted via Grants.gov.

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 that 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.

Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail from grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. 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.

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. 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 (cooperative Start Printed Page 27155agreement) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:

1. Quality of Program Plan and Ability to Achieve Program Objectives: Proposals should exhibit originality, innovation, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission as well as the objectives of ATDOP. It should include an effective, feasible plan and clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives. A detailed agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity.

2. Multiplier effect/impact: The proposed program should strengthen long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual linkages.

3. Support for Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of speakers, program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities).

4. Institutional Capacity and Record: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by Bureau Grants Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. The successful proposal will demonstrate the organization's experience in international educational exchange, intensive asynchronous and synchronous online programs, and teaching English as a foreign language methodology.

5. Follow-up and Follow-on Activities: Proposals should discuss provisions made for follow-up with returned participants as a means of establishing longer-term individual and institutional linkages. Proposals also should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that the Bureau supported programs are not isolated events. Proposals also should include a plan for tracking and maintaining updated lists of all alumni. These lists should be made available to ECA/A/L and the Office of Alumni Affairs.

6. Program Evaluation: Proposals should discuss provisions to quantifiably evaluate the program's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original program objectives is recommended.

7. Cost-effectiveness and Cost Sharing: 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. Proposals 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 an Federal Assistance Award (FAA) from the Bureau's Grants Office. The FAA and the original cooperative agreement 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.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.”

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 Circulr No. A-110 (Revised), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutiions 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://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​grantsdiv/​terms.htm#articleI.

VI.3. Reporting Requirements

You must provide ECA with a hard copy original plus one copy of the following reports:

(1) Quarterly program and financial reports;

(2) A final program and financial report no more than 90 days after the expiration of the award;

(3) 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 website—as part of ECA's Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) reporting requirements;

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

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 Federal Assistance Award.

VII. Agency Contacts

For questions about this announcement, contact: Craig Dicker, Office of English Language Programs, ECA/A/L, Room 4-B015, ECA/A/L, U.S. Department of State, SA-5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20037, Tel: 202-632-9277; Fax: 202-632-9464, DickerCL@state.gov.

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/A/L-11-05. 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.Start Printed Page 27156

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: May 3, 2011.

Ann Stock,

Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2011-11421 Filed 5-9-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P