Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.
Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements: Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2014.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.116Q.
Applications Available: July 24, 2014.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 25, 2014.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: The objective of this program is to support a Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements at an institution of higher education as authorized by section 741(a)(3) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended and as described in S. Rpt. 113-71, 113th Cong., 1st Sess. at 196 (2013) to study and develop best practices in postsecondary education for online education and the use of technology-based teaching and learning tools. The Center funded under this section must, in collaboration with other institutions of higher education and organizations: (a) Collect and evaluate data on outcomes achieved by students, including students with disabilities, associated with courses or programs that utilize online education and technology-based teaching and learning tools, (b) identify effective and accessible technologies, materials and practices, that work for all students in these courses or programs and (c) disseminate the findings widely.
Priority: We are establishing this priority for the FY 2014 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
Competitive Preference Priority—This priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award any application that meets this competitive preference priority an additional two points. Applicants must clearly mark the Abstract and Information page in the application package if they intend to address this competitive preference priority.
Competitive Preference Priority
Projects that will, in collaboration with other institutions of higher education, focus on measuring student outcomes and identifying best practices for competency-based education courses or programs that incorporate online education and technology-based teaching and learning tools.
The Department is using this competitive preference priority to increase the body of research and the information available for best practices on competency-based education (CBE) programs. Because of several features of CBE, postsecondary programs that utilize this approach to teaching and learning have the potential to improve outcomes for students. A competency-based approach may be able to achieve greater relevance to labor market needs and improved quality as CBE programs are constructed around a defined set of “competencies” necessary to perform particular functions or sets of tasks and students' progress by demonstrating these competencies as measured by assessments. In contrast, most traditional postsecondary programs of study measure student progress based on completion of scheduled time periods and completion of credit or clock hours.
Many CBE programs allow students to self-pace their progression through a program and incorporate online and other technology-based teaching and learning tools. These programs may make postsecondary education more accessible, particularly for adult learners and those that are employed while in school, because students have a greater ability to learn on their own time and at a place of their choosing. These flexibilities also have the potential to make postsecondary education more affordable by reducing time to degree and reliance on the costly infrastructure of traditional postsecondary institutions and the programs they offer.
Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking
Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities, definitions, and other requirements. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements, regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant competition for the Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements program under section 741(a)(3) and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forego public comment on the priorities, definitions, and requirements under section 437(d)(1) of the HEA and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forego public comment on the priority under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. The priority will apply to the 2014 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.
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.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Discretionary grant.
Estimated Available Funds: $1,485,000.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2015 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.
Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $1,485,000 for the entire grant period. The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education 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 48 months.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: An IHE that: (1) Is accredited by an accrediting agency or association recognized by the Secretary, (2) participates in the Federal student financial aid programs under title IV of the HEA, and (3) has minority student enrollment of no less than 15 percent.
For purposes of this competition we are adopting the definition of “minority student” in 34 CFR 607.7 as a student who is Alaskan Native, American Indian, Asian-American, Black (African-American), Hispanic American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.
To qualify as an eligible IHE for purposes of this competition, an IHE must have a minority student enrollment of no less than 15 percent. To determine the applicant's minority enrollment percentage, use the following guidelines.
To qualify as an eligible IHE for this program, a postsecondary institution's enrollment of minority students must represent at least 15% of its total enrollment (including graduate and undergraduate, full-time and part-time students, based on the most recent academic year for which IPEDS data are available). The Department will screen the applications to verify an IHE's minority enrollment eligibility based on the criterion.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs).
To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html.
To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: 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) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.
You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: e firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA number 84.116Q.
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 contact person 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. Any application addressing the competitive preference priority must address it in the abstract and the narrative. You must limit the application narrative to no more than 35 pages, using the following standards:
- A “page” is 8.5″ × 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
For purposes of determining compliance with the page limit, each page on which there are words will be counted as one full page.
- Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, footnotes, endnotes, quotations, references, and captions. Charts, tables, figures, and graphs in the application narrative may be single spaced.
- Use a font that is either 12 point or larger; or, 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. 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 Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424) and the Department of Education Supplemental Information for the SF 424 Form; the one-page Abstract; Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524); or Part IV, the Assurances and Certifications. The page limit also does not apply to a Table of Contents, if you include one. However, the page limit does apply to all of the project narrative section in Part III.
If you include any attachments or appendices not specifically requested, these items will be counted as part of the program narrative [Part III] for purposes of the page limit requirement.
3. Submission Dates and Times:
Applications Available: July 24, 2014.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 25, 2014.
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.
4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. However, under 34 CFR 79.8(a), we waive the intergovernmental review in order to make an award by the end of FY 2014.
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 Start Printed Page 43034Number, 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 System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly 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 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 to two business days.
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.
The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.
Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov. and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov.
If you are currently registered with SAM, 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.
Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.
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/web/grants/register.html.
7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this 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 Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements, CFDA number 84.116Q, 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 the Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.116, not 84.116Q).
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 Start Printed Page 43035Grants.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-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 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: Stephanie Stoll Dalton, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6154, Washington, DC 20006-8544. FAX: (202) 502-7877.
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 84.116Q), 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 84.116Q), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, 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 Start Printed Page 43036funds, 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. 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); 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 in this notice.
We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section in 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 www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the following Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) performance measure for the Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements: (1) The extent to which the project is institutionalized at the end of the project period; and (2) The number of strategies developed, identified or disseminated by the grantee whose efficacy is supported by rigorous evidence. (Note: For guidance on what constitutes rigorous evidence, refer to the What Works Clearinghouse Standards, which are explained in The What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 3.0, March 2014), found at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19).
These measures constitute the Department's indicator of success for this program. Consequently, we advise an applicant for a grant under this program to give careful consideration to this measure in conceptualizing the approach and evaluation for its proposed project.
If funded, you will be required to collect and report data in your project's annual performance report (34 CFR 75.590).
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 Contact
Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Stephanie Stoll Dalton, Ed.D., Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6109, Washington, DC 20006-8544. Telephone: (202) 502-7536 or by email: Stephanie.Dalton@ed.gov.
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 person 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 this 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: July 21, 2014.
Lynn B. Mahaffie,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2014-17442 Filed 7-23-14; 8:45 am]
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