Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education
Overview Information: Strengthening Institutions Program
Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2013.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.031F.
Applications Available: May 2, 2013.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 3, 2013.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 31, 2013.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: The Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs) to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.
The FY 2013 SIP grant competition will have two application options for institutions. Under the regular CFDA SIP number, 84.031A, applicants may address two competitive preference priorities. Under the new CFDA number, 84.031F, applicants must address an absolute priority. Applicants may apply to both the 84.031A and 84.031F competitions but can receive an award under only one of the competitions.
This notice includes one absolute priority. This priority is from the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637).
Absolute Priority: For FY 2013 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.
This priority is:
Absolute Priority—Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for which there is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness.
Projects that are supported by strong or moderate evidence.
The purpose of this priority is to support projects that have demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. As such, in responding to this priority, applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how each of their primary activities (of which there should be no more than three) proposed in the evidence narrative is supported by either strong or moderate evidence. Applicants are also encouraged for each primary activity to identify up to two pieces of evidence that it deems are the best indicators that this activity meets the definition of strong or moderate evidence. Applicants are not limited to proposing three activities in their applications. Rather, of all the proposed activities, applicants should identify which are the primary activities, up to three, and provide evidence for those.
Applicants are encouraged to not only identify the evidence-based practices they intend to carry out, but also how those practices will be implemented in a way that will change institutional practices and cultures, and their overall approach to improving results for students. Applicants are also encouraged to discuss how funds received for the proposed evidence-based practices would fit into larger institutional goals and plans.Start Printed Page 25711
In addition, applicants should consider how their proposed implementation of practices with an existing evidence base presents new opportunities for evaluation or knowledge-building about these practices that could be used to improve these practices either at their institution or in other contexts.
As published, this priority reads: “Projects that are supported by strong or moderate evidence. A project that is supported by strong evidence (as defined in this notice) will receive more points than a project that is supported by moderate evidence (as defined in this notice).” The second sentence, however, is inapplicable to the priority when used as an absolute priority. Only projects that are supported by strong evidence or moderate evidence will be considered for funding in this competition.
Definitions: The following definitions are from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637), and apply to the priority in this notice:
Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that attempts to approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice). More specifically, it is a design in which project participants are matched with non-participants based on key characteristics that are thought to be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, but are not limited to:
(1) Prior test scores and other measures of academic achievement (preferably, the same measures that the study will use to evaluate outcomes for the two groups);
(2) Demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, English proficiency, ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational attainment, and single- or two-parent family background;
(3) The time period in which the two groups are studied (e.g., the two groups are children entering kindergarten in the same year as opposed to sequential years); and
(4) Methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of reading skills administered in the same way to both groups).
The characteristics cited in this definition are examples of variables that might be considered when designing a carefully matched comparison group study. When designing their study, applicants should consider participant characteristics relevant to the specific intervention being implemented.
Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not to participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project is the average difference in outcomes between the treatment and control groups.
The types of random assignment mentioned above are provided as examples. Applicants might want to consider random assignment that is relevant in the higher education context.
Interrupted time series design means a type of quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) in which the outcome of interest is measured multiple times before and after the treatment for program participants only. If the program had an impact, the outcomes after treatment will have a different slope or level from those before treatment. That is, the series should show an “interruption” of the prior situation at the time when the program was implemented.
Adding a comparison group time series, such as schools not participating in the program or schools participating in the program in a different geographic area, substantially increases the reliability of the findings.
Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence:
(1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) supporting the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation or analysis that limit generalizability;
(2) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that does not demonstrate equivalence between the intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no other major flaws related to internal validity; or
(3) Correlational research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.
Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts to approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice) and can support causal conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal validity, such as selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-experimental studies include carefully matched comparison group designs (as defined in this notice), interrupted time series designs (as defined in this notice), or regression discontinuity designs (as defined in this notice).
Regression discontinuity design study means, in part, a quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) design that closely approximates an experimental study (as defined in this notice). In a regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned to a treatment or comparison group based on a numerical rating or score of a variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an application for funding. Another example would be assignment of eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain score (“cut score”) to the treatment group and assignment of those below the score to the comparison group.
The types of regression discontinuity study designs are provided as examples to help applicants. Applicants might want to consider regression discontinuity study designs that are relevant in the higher education context.
Strong evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity), and studies that in total include enough of the range of participants and settings to support scaling up to the State, regional, or national level (i.e., studies with high external validity). The following are examples of strong evidence:
(1) More than one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental study (as defined in this notice) or well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-experimental study (as Start Printed Page 25712defined in this notice) that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or
(2) One large, well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) randomized controlled, multisite trial that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program.
Well-designed and well-implemented means, with respect to an experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice), that the study meets the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards, with or without reservations (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1 and in particular the description of “Reasons for Not Meeting Standards” at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/Doc.aspx?docId=19&tocId=4#reasons).
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1057-1059d (title III, Part A, of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)).
In 2008, the HEA was amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) Pub. L. 110-315. The HEOA made a number of technical and substantive revisions to SIP. Please note that the regulations for the SIP in 34 CFR part 607 have not been updated to reflect these statutory changes.
Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Education Department suspension and debarment regulations in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 607. (d) The notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637).
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: Discretionary grant. Five-year Individual Development Grants will be awarded in FY 2013. No Cooperative Arrangement Development Grants will be awarded in FY 2013.
Estimated Available Funds: $10,000,000.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2014 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.
Individual Development Grants:
Estimated Range of Awards: $1,000,000-$2,000,000 per year.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,500,000 per year.
Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $2,000,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.
Estimated Number of Awards: 5.
The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
Project Period: Up to 60 months.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: This program is authorized by title III, Part A, of the HEA. To qualify as an eligible institution under any title III, Part A program, an institution must—
(a) Be accredited or preaccredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association that the Secretary has determined to be a reliable authority as to the quality of education or training offered;
(b) Be legally authorized by the State in which it is located to be a junior college or to provide an educational program for which it awards a bachelor's degree;
(c) Be designated as an “eligible institution” by demonstrating that it: (1) has an enrollment of needy students as described in 34 CFR 607.3; and (2) has low average educational and general expenditures per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student as described in 34 CFR 607.4.
For purposes of establishing eligibility for this competition, the Notice Inviting Applications for Designation as Eligible Institutions for FY 2013 was published in the Federal Register on November 14, 2012 (77 FR 67805), and the deadline for submission of the designation of eligibility application was January 30, 2013. Only institutions that submitted the required application and received designation through this process are eligible to submit applications for this competition.
Relationship between the title III, Part A programs and the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) programs.
A grantee under the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program, which is authorized under title V of the HEA, may not receive a grant under any HEA, title III, Part A program. The title III, Part A programs include the SIP, as well as the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, and Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions programs. Furthermore, a current HSI program grantee may not give up its HSI grant to receive a grant under SIP or any title III, Part A program as described in 34 CFR 607.2(g)(1).
An eligible HSI that does not fall within the limitation described in Note 1 (i.e., is not a current grantee under the HSI program) may apply for a FY 2013 grant under all title III, Part A programs for which it is eligible, as well as receive consideration for a grant under the HSI program. However, a successful applicant may receive only one grant as described in 34 CFR 607.2(g)(1).
An eligible IHE that submits more than one application may only be awarded one individual development grant in a fiscal year.
The Department will make five-year awards for Individual Development Grants in rank order from the funding slate according to the average score received from a panel of three readers. However, applications within funding range will have the evidence submitted in response to the Absolute Priority reviewed by IES. Those applicants whose evidence is found to not meet the requirements of strong or moderate evidence will not be considered for funding, regardless of where they are located on the slate.
2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching unless the grantee uses a portion of its grant for establishing or improving an endowment fund. If a grantee uses a portion of its grant for endowment fund purposes, it must match those grant funds with non-Federal funds (20 U.S.C. 1059c(c) (3)(B)).
b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement-not-supplant funding requirements. Grant funds shall be used so that they supplement and, to the extent practical, increase the funds that would otherwise be available for the activities to be carried out under the grant and in no case supplant those funds (34 CFR 607.30(b)).
Other: An IHE, if selected, for a SIP award can only receive funding for one award under this program. If the IHE scores within funding range for both the Absolute Priority competition and the Competitive Preference Priority competition (CFDA number 84.031A), the IHE may only accept one grant award, not both.
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application via the Internet using the following Start Printed Page 25713address: www.Grants.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact Kelley Harris or Nalini Lamba-Nieves, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6035, Washington, DC 20006-8513. You may contact the individuals at the following email addresses and telephone numbers:
Kelley.Harris@ed.gov; (202) 219-7083
Nalini.Lamba-Nieves@ed.gov; (202) 502-77562
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
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 program contacts listed in this section.
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 program.
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. We have established mandatory page limits for Individual Development Grant applications.
You must limit the application narrative (Part III) to no more than 55 pages for the Individual Development Grant application. Applicants should provide information addressing the absolute priority in the section of the application narrative titled, “Absolute Priority—Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for which there is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness” of the grant application package. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how each of their primary activities (of which there should be no more than three) proposed in the evidence narrative is supported by either strong or moderate evidence. Applicants are also encouraged for each primary activity to identify up to two pieces of evidence that it deems are the best indicator that this activity meets the definition of strong or moderate evidence. Of the 55-page limit, you may use up to five pages to address the absolute priority. No portion of these five pages can be used as additional pages to respond to the selection criteria. An applicant must include copies or PDFs of all supporting evidence. If the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient information, the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide additional information to support the application.
For the purpose of determining compliance with the page limit, each page on which there are words will be counted as one full page. Applicants must use the following standards:
- A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides. Page numbers and an identifier may be outside of the 1″ margin.
- Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions. Text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs in the application narrative may be single spaced and will count toward the page limit.
- Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, and no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch). However, you may use a 10-point font in charts, tables, figures, graphs, footnotes, and endnotes.
- Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. Applications submitted in any other font (including Times Roman and Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.
The page limit does not apply to Part I, the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424-cover sheet); the Supplemental Information for SF 424 Form required by the Department of Education; Part II, the Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs Form (ED 524); Section A—Budget Summary—U.S. Department of Education Funds; Section B—Budget Summary—Non-Federal Funds; and Section C—Budget Narrative; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; the one-page program abstract; the response to the Absolute Priority in the section entitled, “Absolute Priority—Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for which there is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness;” resumes; bibliography; or letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section (Part III), including the budget narrative of the selection criteria. If you include any attachments or appendices not specifically requested in the application package, these items will be counted as part of your application narrative (Part III) for the purpose of the page limit requirement. You must include your complete response to the selection criteria in the application narrative.
The Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs Form (ED 524) Sections A-C are not the same as the narrative response to the Budget section of the selection criteria.
We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit.
3. Submission Dates and Times:
Applications Available: May 2, 2013.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 3, 2013.
Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, 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.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 31, 2013.
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 program.
5. Funding Restrictions: (a) General. We specify unallowable costs in 34 CFR 607.10(c). We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
(b) Applicability of Executive Order 13202. Applicants that apply for construction funds under the title III, Part A, HEA programs, must comply with Executive Order 13202, signed by former President George W. Bush on February 17, 2001, and amended on April 6, 2001. This Executive order provides that recipients of Federal construction funds may not “require or prohibit bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors to enter into or adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or other construction project(s)” or “otherwise discriminate against bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors for becoming or refusing to become or Start Printed Page 25714remain signatories or otherwise adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or other construction project(s).” However, the Executive order does not prohibit contractors or subcontractors from voluntarily entering into these agreements. Projects funded under this program that include construction activity will be provided a copy of this Executive order and will be asked to certify that they will adhere to it.
6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, Central Contractor Registry, and System for Award Management: 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)—and, after July 24, 2012, with the System for Award Management (SAM)—the Government's primary registrant database;
c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
d. Maintain an active CCR or SAM 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 two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.
The CCR or SAM 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 registration annually. This may take three or more business days to complete. Information about SAM is available at SAM.gov.
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: www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under the Strengthening Institutions Program must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.
a. Electronic Submission of Applications.
Applications for grants under the Strengthening Institutions Program (CFDA number 84.031F) must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at 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 email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.
We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.
You may access the electronic grant application for this competition at 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 84.031, not 84.031F).
Please note the following:
- 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 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 qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.
- You must submit 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.
- You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable 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 email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-Start Printed Page 25715specified 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 technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.
Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—
- You do not have access to the Internet; or
- You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and
- No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.
If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.
Address and mail or fax your statement to: Nalini Lamba-Nieves, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6024, Washington, DC 20006-8513. FAX: (202) 502-7861.
Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.
b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. 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 84.031F), 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 qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You 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 84.031F), 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 607.22(a) through (g). Applicants must address each of the following selection criteria (separately for each proposed activity). The total weight of the selection criteria is 100 points; the maximum score for each criterion is noted in parentheses. The complete language of the selection criteria is in the application package for this competition.
(a) Quality of The Applicant's Comprehensive Development Plan (Maximum 25 Points).
(b) Quality of Activity Objectives (Maximum 15 Points).
(c) Quality of Implementation Strategy (Maximum 20 Points).
(d) Quality of Key Personnel (Maximum 7 Points).
(e) Quality of Project Management Plan (Maximum 10 Points).
(f) Quality of Evaluation Plan (Maximum 15 Points).
(g) Budget (Maximum 8 Points).Start Printed Page 25716
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).
A panel of three non-Federal reviewers will score the application, except for the evidence portion. A rank order funding slate will be made from this review, based on the selection criteria. In applying the absolute priority, the Department will first develop a rank order slate of all applicants and determine which applicants will be considered for funding based on their reviewed scores. From there, applications within the funding range will have the quality of their evidence evaluated by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) to determine whether it meets the definition of strong or moderate evidence. Applicants that are found to have insufficient evidence will not be considered for funding, regardless of where they appear in the slate. The Department will continue reviewing the evidence of applications within the funding range until it has a sufficient number of applicants that are highly rated and meet the evidence test and the Department has used all funding available for this competition. Applicants whose scores fall below this group will not have their evidence reviewed. Awards will be made in rank order according to the average score received from the peer review as well as evidence and study standard evaluations. Applicants whose evidence does not meet the requirements for strong or moderate evidence as set forth in the absolute priority will not receive funding, regardless of their average score received from the peer review.
Tie-breaker for Development Grants. In tie-breaking situations for development grants, 34 CFR 607.23(b) requires that we award one additional point to an application from an IHE that has an endowment fund of which the current market value, per full time equivalent (FTE) enrolled student, is less than the average current market value of the endowment funds, per FTE enrolled student, at comparable type institutions that offer similar instruction. We award one additional point to an application from an IHE that has expenditures for library materials per FTE enrolled student that are less than the average expenditure for library materials per FTE enrolled student at similar type institutions. We also add one additional point to an application from an IHE that proposes to carry out one or more of the following activities—
(1) Faculty development;
(2) Funds and administrative management;
(3) Development and improvement of academic programs;
(4) Acquisition of equipment for use in strengthening management and academic programs;
(5) Joint use of facilities; and
(6) Student services.
For the purpose of these funding considerations, we use 2010-2011 data.
If a tie remains after applying the tie-breaker mechanism above, priority will be given in the case of applicants for Individual Development grants to applicants that have the lowest endowment values per FTE enrolled student.
3. 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 (34 CFR 607.24(c)(2)); 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) ; or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your 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 and 34 CFR 607.31. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the following key performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the Strengthening Institutions Program:
a. The percentage change, over the five-year period, of the number of full-time degree-seeking undergraduates enrolled at SIP institutions. Note that this is a long-term measure, which will be used to periodically gauge performance;
b. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students at four-year SIP institutions who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;
c. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students at two-year SIP institutions who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;
d. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at four-year SIP institutions graduating within six years of enrollment; and
e. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at two-year SIP institutions graduating within three years of enrollment.
Start Printed Page 25717
While these measures are used by the Department to assess the effectiveness of the program, each grantee should develop project-specific, measureable objectives that can be used to assess whether the grantee is making substantial progress.
5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a grantee has made “substantial progress toward meeting the objectives in its approved application.” This consideration includes the review of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
VII. Agency Contacts
Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kelley Harris, or Nalini Lamba-Nieves, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6035, Washington, DC 20006-8513. You may contact these individuals at the following email addresses and telephone numbers:
Kelley.Harris@ed.gov (202) 219-7083.
Nalini.Lamba-Nieves@ed.gov (202) 502-7562.
If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the 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) on request to the program contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.
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: 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: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.
End Further Info
Dated: April 26, 2013.
Under Secretary for Education.
[FR Doc. 2013-10420 Filed 5-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P