Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.
Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities—Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities.
Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2011.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.327D.
Applications Available: August 17, 2011.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: September 16, 2011.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program is to: (1) Improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational media services activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for students with disabilities; and (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom.
Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), this priority is from allowable activities specified in the statute (see sections 674(c)(1)(D) and 681(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.)).
Absolute Priority: For FY 2011, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.
This priority is:
Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities—Educational Materials in Accessible Start Printed Page 51007Formats for Students With Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities.
The purpose of this priority is to fund a cooperative agreement to support the establishment and operation of a project that will provide free educational materials, including textbooks, in accessible media for visually impaired and print disabled students in elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and graduate schools. (For the purposes of this priority, students with print disabilities means visually impaired and print disabled students unless otherwise noted.) The educational materials and textbooks must be provided in accessible formats that are of high quality and meet industry standards for accessibility and digital rights management. Processes, strategies, and models used in the production, dissemination, and in digital rights management must be user-friendly, efficient, and cost-effective.
To be considered for funding under this absolute priority, applicants must meet the application requirements contained in this priority. Any project funded under this absolute priority also must meet the programmatic and administrative requirements specified in the priority.
Application Requirements. An applicant must include in its application—
(a) A budget for attendance at a one day kick-off meeting to be held in Washington, DC, within four weeks after receipt of the award. The primary purposes of this meeting will be to review the Department's grantee requirements, discuss the project's planned activities and budget, and confirm the expectations for the project's performance measures and evaluation.
(b) A budget for attendance at the three-day Project Director's meeting in Washington, DC, during the project, and one additional two-day trip to Washington, DC, to meet with the Project Officer for the Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) and other funded projects for purposes of cross-project collaboration and information exchange.
Project Activities. To meet the requirements of this priority, the project, at a minimum, must conduct the following activities:
(a) Provide educational materials, including textbooks, in accessible formats to State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) for use by elementary and secondary education students with print disabilities. The educational materials, including any specialized software needed to use the materials, must be provided at no cost to students, families, schools, SEAs, and LEAs. Thus, the project may not assess membership fees to individual students or to institutions, including schools, SEAs, and LEAs.
(b) Provide educational materials in accessible formats for students with print disabilities attending postsecondary and graduate schools. Materials may be provided directly to eligible students  or to postsecondary and graduate schools and vocational rehabilitation agencies requesting materials in accessible formats on behalf of eligible students. The accessible educational materials, including any specialized software needed to use the materials must be provided at no cost to students, postsecondary and graduate schools, and vocational rehabilitation agencies. Thus, the project may not assess fees to individual students or to institutions, including vocational rehabilitation agencies, postsecondary and graduate schools.
(c) Produce high-quality, user-friendly educational materials in accessible formats including, digital text, braille-ready files, and audio formats of which at least 50 percent must be in text-to-speech audio format. Materials must include image descriptions, digital images, and graphics.
(d) Include cost and efficiency measures for production and design of accessible materials.
(e) Provide high-quality, up-to-date software needed to use the accessible educational materials, at no cost to students, families, schools, LEAs, SEAs, postsecondary and graduate schools, and vocational rehabilitation agencies. The project must also keep abreast of emerging technologies and implement changes and updates to technology, software, and other materials that meet industry standards.
(f) Develop and implement an evaluation plan that includes measures for continuous improvement of project activities and annual outcome measures.
(g) Provide and implement a detailed digital rights management plan that protects the interests of rights holders while maintaining ease of access to the accessible educational materials for students with print disabilities.
(h) Develop and implement a plan for consulting with publishers, software developers, other manufacturers of accessible materials for individuals with print disabilities, and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) to ensure that the project uses the most efficient, cost-effective technology available to provide timely access to educational materials.
(i) Produce accessible materials using files that are compliant with the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
(j) Develop and implement a plan for increasing SEA and LEA use of the project's resources and accessible educational materials as part of their systems for providing educational materials in accessible formats to students with print disabilities.
(k) Ensure that project activities are conducted in compliance with section 121 of the Copyright Act, as amended: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#121.
(l) Establish an advisory group consisting of SEA and LEA representatives, representatives from community colleges and four-year institutions of higher education, representatives from vocational rehabilitation agencies, parents of individuals with visual impairments and other print disabilities ages birth through 26, consumers with visual impairments and consumers with other print disabilities who use educational materials in accessible formats, and representatives of schools or other institutions where educational materials in accessible formats are used. The purpose of this advisory group is to provide the project with input and ongoing advice on the project's goals, objectives, program activities, and services.
(m) Include on its Web site, if the project maintains a Web site, relevant information and documents in a format that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for accessibility.
Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and requirements. Section 681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.
Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.Start Printed Page 51008
The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.
The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education only.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.
Estimated Available Funds: $3,000,000.
Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $3,000,000 for the single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.
Estimated Number of Awards: 1.
The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
Project Period: Up to 12 months.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: National, nonprofit entities with a proven track record of meeting the needs of students with visual impairments and other print disabilities through services described in section 674(c)(1)(D) of IDEA that have the capacity to produce, maintain, and distribute, in a timely fashion, up-to-date textbooks in digital audio formats to qualified students and that have a demonstrated ability to significantly leverage Federal funds through other public and private contributions, as well as through the expansive use of volunteers (see section 674(d)(2) of IDEA; 17 U.S.C. 121(d)(1)).
2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost sharing or matching.
3. Other: General Requirements:
(a) The project funded under this competition must make positive efforts to employ, and advance in employment, qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).
(b) The applicant and grant recipient funded under this competition must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26 in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of IDEA).
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. Fax: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.
If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.327D.
Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the person or team listed under Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition. Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 25 pages, using the following standards:
- A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
- Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions.
- Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
- Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.
The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, the references, or the letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section (Part III).
We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit; or if you apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.
3. Submission Dates and Times:
Applications Available: August 17, 2011.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: September 16, 2011.
Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov), or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV.7. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.
We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.
Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.
4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.
5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—
a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), the Government's primary registrant database;
c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
d. Maintain an active CCR registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.
You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one business day.
If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.Start Printed Page 51009
The CCR registration process may take five or more business days to complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete.
In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) Be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: http://www.Grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically or in paper format by mail or hand delivery.
a. Electronic Submission of Applications.
We are participating as a partner in the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site. The Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities competition, CFDA number 84.327D, is included in this project. We request your participation in Grants.gov.
If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must use the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at http://www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.
You may access the electronic grant application for the Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities competition, CFDA number 84.327D at http://www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.327, not 84.327D).
Please note the following:
- Your participation in Grants.gov is voluntary.
- When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
- Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
- 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. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
- You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at http://www.G5.gov.
- You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
- If you submit your application electronically, you must upload all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
- If you submit your application electronically, you must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a .PDF (Portable Document) format only. If you upload a file type other than a .PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.
- Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.
- After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by e-mail. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).
- We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.
Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues With the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.
If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.
The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the Start Printed Page 51010technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.
b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.327D), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.
You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.
(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.
(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
(1) A private metered postmark.
(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.
The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.
c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.
If you submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.327D), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.
The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—
(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and
(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.
V. Application Review Information
1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.
2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
3. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors: In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The Standing Panel requirements under IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that, for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers, by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process, while permitting panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department decides to select an equal number of applications in each group for funding, this may result in different cut-off points for fundable applications in each group.
4. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary may impose special conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.
VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.
If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.
3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
(b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department has Start Printed Page 51011established a set of performance measures, including long-term measures, that are designed to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness and quality of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program. These measures are included in the application package and focus on the extent to which projects are of high quality, are relevant to improving outcomes of children with disabilities, and contribute to improving outcomes for children with disabilities. We will collect data on these measures from the project funded under this competition. The grantee will be required to report information on its project's performance in its final performance report to the Department (34 CFR 75.590).
VII. Agency ContactStart Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
David Malouf, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4063, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2600. Telephone: (202) 245-6253.
If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
VIII. Other Information
Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: http://www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.Start Signature
Dated: August 11, 2011.
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
1. For purposes of this priority, eligible students are students with a print disability as defined in section 771 of the Higher Education Act. Section 771 defines student with a print disability as “a student with a disability who experiences barriers to accessing instructional material in nonspecialized formats, including an individual described in section 121(d)(2) of title 17, United States Code.”Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-20884 Filed 8-16-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P