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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program-Rehabilitation Specialty Areas

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information: Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)—Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas.

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Numbers: 84.129Q and W.

DATES:

Applications Available: March 25, 2015.

Date of Pre-Application Webinar: April 8, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 26, 2015.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 23, 2015.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program provides financial assistance for projects that provide—

(1) Basic or advanced training leading to an academic degree in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation as identified by the Secretary;

(2) A specified series of courses or program of study leading to the award of a certificate in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation as identified by the Secretary; and

(3) Support for medical residents enrolled in residency training programs in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Priority: This priority is from the notice of final priority for this program, published on July 23, 2014 in the Federal Register (79 FR 42680).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2015 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:

Rehabilitation Specialty Areas.

The purpose of the priority is to fund programs leading to a master's degree or certificate in one of two specialty areas: Rehabilitation of Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (84.129Q) and Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (84.129W). The goal of this priority is to increase the skills of scholars in these rehabilitation specialty areas so that, upon successful completion of their master's degree or certificate programs, they are prepared to effectively meet the needs and demands of individuals with disabilities.

Under this priority, applicants must:

(a) Provide data on the current and projected employment needs and Start Printed Page 15761personnel shortages in the specialty area in State VR agencies and other related agencies as defined in 34 CFR 386.4 in their local area, region, and State, and describe how the proposed program will address those employment needs and personnel shortages.

(b) Describe how the proposed program will provide rehabilitation professionals with the skills and knowledge that will help ensure that the individuals with disabilities whom they serve can meet current demands and emerging trends in the labor market, including how:

(1) The curriculum provides a breadth of knowledge, experience, and rigor that will adequately prepare scholars to meet the employment needs and goals of VR consumers and aligns with evidence-based and competency-based practices in the rehabilitation specialty area;

(2) The curriculum prepares scholars to meet all applicable certification standards;

(3) The curriculum addresses new or emerging consumer needs or trends at the national, State, and regional levels in the rehabilitation specialty area;

(4) The curriculum teaches scholars to address the needs of individuals with disabilities who are from diverse cultural backgrounds;

(5) The curriculum trains scholars to assess the assistive technology needs of consumers, identify the most appropriate assistive technology services and devices for assisting consumers to obtain and retain employment, and train consumers to use such technology;

(6) The curriculum teaches scholars to work with employers effectively in today's economy, including by teaching strategies for developing relationships with employers in their State and local areas, identifying employer needs and skill demands, making initial employer contacts, presenting job-ready clients to potential employers, and conducting follow-up with employers; and

(7) The latest technology is incorporated into the methods of instruction (e.g., the use of distance education to reach scholars who live far from the university and the use of technology to acquire labor market information).

(c) Describe their methods to:

(1) Recruit highly capable prospective scholars who have the potential to successfully complete the academic program, all required practicum and internship experiences, and the required service obligation;

(2) Educate potential scholars about the terms and conditions of the service obligation under 34 CFR 386.4, 386.34, and 386.40 through 386.43 so that they will be fully informed before accepting a scholarship;

(3) Maintain a system that ensures that scholars sign a payback agreement and an exit form when they exit the program, regardless of whether they drop out, are removed, or successfully complete the program;

(4) Provide academic support and counseling to scholars throughout the course of the academic program to ensure successful completion;

(5) Ensure that all scholars complete an internship in a State VR agency or a related agency as a requirement for completion of a program leading to a master's degree. The internship must be in a State VR agency unless the VR agency does not directly perform work related to the scholar's course of study or an applicant can provide sufficient justification that it is not feasible for all students receiving scholarships to complete an internship in a State VR agency. In such cases, the applicant may require scholars to complete an internship in a related agency, as defined in 34 CFR 386.4. Circumstances that would constitute sufficient justification may include, but are not limited to, a lack of capacity at the State VR agency to provide adequate supervision of scholars during their internship experience and the physical distance between scholars and the nearest office of the State VR agency (e.g., for scholars enrolled in distance-learning programs or at rural institutions). Applicants should include a written justification in the application or provide it to RSA for review and approval by the appropriate RSA Project Officer no later than 30 days prior to a scholar beginning an internship in a related agency. For applicants proposing a certificate program, the requirement for an internship in a State VR agency or a related agency is waived unless the certificate program has an internship requirement.

(6) Provide career counseling, including informing scholars of professional contacts and networks, job leads, and other necessary resources and information to support scholars in successfully obtaining and retaining qualifying employment;

(7) Maintain regular contact with scholars upon successful program completion to ensure that they have support during their search for qualifying employment as well as support during the initial months of their employment (e.g., by matching scholars with mentors in the field);

(8) Maintain regular communication with scholars after program exit to ensure that their contact information is current and that documentation of employment is accurate and meets the regulatory requirements for qualifying employment; and

(9) Maintain accurate information on, while safeguarding the privacy of, current and former scholars from the time they are enrolled in the program until they successfully meet their service obligation.

(d) Describe a plan for developing and maintaining partnerships with State VR agencies and community-based rehabilitation service providers that includes:

(1) Coordination between the grantee and the State VR agencies and community-based rehabilitation service providers that will promote qualifying employment opportunities for scholars and formalized on-boarding and induction experiences for new hires;

(2) Formal opportunities for scholars to obtain work experiences through internships, practicum agreements, job shadowing, and mentoring opportunities; and

(3) When applicable, a scholar internship assessment tool that is developed to ensure a consistent approach to the evaluation of scholars in a particular program. The tool should reflect the specific responsibilities of the scholar during the internship. The grantee and worksite supervisor are encouraged to work together as they see fit to develop the assessment tool. Supervisors at the internship site will complete the assessment detailing the scholar's strengths and areas for improvement that must be addressed and provide the results of the assessment to the grantee. The grantee should ensure that (i) scholars are provided with a copy of the assessment and all relevant rubrics prior to beginning their internship, (ii) supervisors have sufficient technical support to accurately complete the assessment, and (iii) scholars receive a copy of the results of the assessment within 90 days of the end of their internship.

(e) Describe how scholars will be evaluated throughout the entire program to ensure that they are proficient in meeting the needs and demands of today's consumers and employers, including the steps that will be taken to provide assistance to a scholar who is not meeting academic standards or who is performing poorly in a practicum or internship setting.

(f) Describe how the program will be evaluated. Such a description must include:

(1) How the program will determine its effect over a period of time on filling vacancies in the State VR agency with qualified rehabilitation professionals Start Printed Page 15762capable of providing quality services to consumers;

(2) How input from State VR agencies and community-based rehabilitation service providers will be included in the evaluation;

(3) How feedback from consumers of VR services and employers (including the assessments described in paragraph (d)(3)) will be included in the evaluation;

(4) How data from other sources, such as those from the Department on the State VR program, will be included in the evaluation; and

(5) How the data and results from the evaluation will be used to make necessary adjustments and improvements to the program.

Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project: In deciding whether to continue funding any Rehabilitation Long-Term Training project for the fourth and fifth years, the Secretary will consider the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a), and in addition—

(a) The recommendation of the RSA project officer who will monitor the reported annual performance of the grantee's training program and measure progress towards achieving the projections in the grantee's application. This review will consider the number of students actually enrolled in the grantee's training program, the number of students who successfully enter qualifying employment with State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, and the number of students who obtain qualifying employment in related agencies;

(b) The timeliness and effectiveness with which all requirements of the grant award have been or are being met by the grantee, including the submission of annual performance reports and annual RSA scholar payback program reports, and adherence to fiduciary responsibilities related to the budget submitted in the application; and

(c) The quality, relevance, and usefulness of the grantee's training program and activities, and the degree to which the training program and activities and their outcomes have contributed to significantly improving the quality of VR professionals ready for employment with State VR agencies and related agencies, as measured by the percentage of students entering eligible employment under 34 CFR 386.34.

Grantees must also provide assurances that they will abide by all of the administrative and performance reporting requirements associated with the RSA scholar payback program reports and will retain all the documentation, including the scholarship agreement, exit forms, and any other documentation, necessary to ensure students understand their financial responsibilities and liabilities under this program (34 CFR part 386).

Note:

While applicants may not hire staff or select trainees based on race or national origin/ethnicity, they may conduct outreach activities to increase the pool of eligible minority candidates. We may disqualify and not consider for funding any applicant that indicates that it will hire or train a certain number or percentage of minority candidates.

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Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772.

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Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR parts 385 and 386. (e) The notice of final priority published in the Federal Register on July 23, 2014 (79 FR 42680).

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply only to institutions of higher education (IHEs).

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $3,450,000.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2016 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: See chart.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: See chart.

Maximum Award: See chart.

Estimated Number of Awards: See chart.

Project Period: See chart.

Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas

Application Notice for Fiscal Year 2015

CFDA No. and nameApplications availableDeadline for transmittal of applicationsEstimated range of awardsEstimated average size of awardsMaximum award (budget period of 12 months) 1Estimated number of awardsProject periodContact person
Rehabilitation of Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (84.129Q)3/25/155/26/15$140,000-$150,000$145,000$150,0003Up to 60 monthsDon Bunuan, 202-245-6616, don.bunuan@ed.gov, PCP, Room 5046.
Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (84.129W)$190,000-$200,000195,000200,00015Up to 60 monthsKaren Holliday, 202-245-7318, karen.holliday@ed.gov, PCP, Room 5090.
1 We will reject any application under 84.129Q that proposes a budget exceeding $150,000 for a single budget period of 12 months, and we will reject any application under 84.129W that proposes a budget exceeding $200,000 for a 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.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations, including Indian tribes and IHEs.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: Cost sharing of at least 10 percent of the total cost of the project is required of grantees under the Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program. The Secretary may Start Printed Page 15763waive part of the non-Federal share of the cost of the project after negotiations if the applicant demonstrates that it does not have sufficient resources to contribute the entire match (34 CFR 386.30).

Note:

Under 34 CFR 75.562(c), an indirect cost reimbursement on a training grant is limited to the recipient's actual indirect costs, as determined by its negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, or eight percent of a modified total direct cost base, whichever amount is less. Indirect costs in excess of the limit may not be charged directly, used to satisfy matching or cost-sharing requirements, or charged to another Federal award.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet, from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), or from the program office.

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: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.129Q or 84.129W.

To obtain a copy from the program office, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

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 the application narrative to the equivalent of no more than 45 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, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • 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 of 45 pages applies to all of the application narrative section, Part III. We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit for Part III, or if you apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

However, 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 double-spaced abstract.

If you submit optional materials such as resumes, a bibliography, or letters of support, please limit these materials to a total of no more than 30 pages.

Please note that, if you receive funding under the competition, the abstract will be made available to the public.

3. Submission Dates and Times: Applications Available: March 25, 2015. Date of Pre-Application Webinar: Interested parties are invited to participate in a pre-application webinar. The pre-application webinar with staff from the Department will be held on April 8, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., Washington, DC time. The webinar will be recorded. For further information about the pre-application webinar, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 26, 2015.

Applications for grants under this competition 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 23, 2015.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition 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 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 two to five 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 Start Printed Page 15764Federal 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.

Note:

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: 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 competition 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 Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas competition, CFDA numbers 84.129Q and W, 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 Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas competition 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 84.129, not 84.129Q or W).

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-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.Start Printed Page 15765

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.

Note:

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 prevents 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: Karen Holliday, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5090, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2800. FAX: (202) 245-7318.

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 84.129Q or W), 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.

Note:

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 84.129Q or W), 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 competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and 34 CFR 386.20 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. Special Conditions: Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk 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 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; 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 Start Printed Page 15766and 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 www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​appforms/​appforms.html.

In addition, all Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas grantees must submit the following quantitative and qualitative data in an annual performance report:

(a) Program activities that occurred during each fiscal year from October 1 to March 31 and projected program activities to occur from April 1 to September 30. For subsequent reporting years, grantees confirm projections made from the prior year;

(b) Summary of academic support and counseling provided to scholars to ensure successful completion;

(c) Summary of career counseling provided to scholars upon program completion to ensure that they have support during their search for qualifying employment, as well as during the initial months of their employment. This may include, but is not limited to, informing scholars of professional contacts, network opportunities, and job leads, matching scholars with mentors in the field, and connecting scholars to other necessary resources and information;

(d) Summary of partnership and coordination activities with State VR agencies and community-based rehabilitation providers. This may include but is not limited to obtaining input and feedback regarding curricula from State VR agencies and community-based rehabilitation providers; organizing internships, practicum agreements, job shadowing, and mentoring opportunities; and assessing scholars at the work site;

(e) Assistance provided to scholars who may not be meeting academic standards or who are performing poorly in a practicum or internship setting;

(f) Results of the program evaluation, as well as information describing how these results will be used to make necessary adjustments and improvements to the program;

(g) Results from scholar internship, practicum, job shadowing, or mentoring assessments, as well as information describing how those results will be used to ensure that future scholars receive all necessary preparation and training prior to program completion;

(h) Results from scholar evaluations and information describing how these results will be used to ensure that future scholars will be proficient in meeting the needs and demands of today's consumers and employers;

(i) Number of scholars who began an internship during the reporting period;

(j) Number of scholars who completed an internship during the reporting period;

(k) Number of scholars who dropped out or were dismissed from the program during the reporting period;

(l) Number of scholars receiving RSA scholarships during the reporting period;

(m) Number of scholars who graduated from the program during the reporting period;

(n) Number of scholars who obtained qualifying employment during the reporting period;

(o) Number of vacancies filled in the State VR agency with qualified counselors from the program during the reporting period;

(p) A budget and narrative detailing expenditures covering the period of October 1 through March 31 and projected expenditures from April 1 through September 30. The budget narrative must also verify progress towards meeting the 10 percent match requirement. For subsequent reporting years, grantees will confirm projections made from the prior year; and

(q) Other information, as requested by RSA, in order to verify substantial progress and effectively report program impact to Congress and key stakeholders.

4. Performance Measures: The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) directs Federal departments and agencies to improve the effectiveness of programs by engaging in strategic planning, setting outcome-related goals for programs, and measuring program results against those goals.

The goal of RSA's Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas program is to increase the number of qualified VR personnel, including counselors and other professional and paraprofessional staff, working in State VR or related agencies. At least 75 percent of total project funds must be used for direct payment of student scholarships.

Grantees are required to maintain a system that safeguards the privacy of current and former scholars from the time they are enrolled in the program until they successfully meet their service obligation through qualified employment or monetary repayment. This system must ensure that scholars sign a payback agreement and an exit form when they exit the program, regardless of whether they drop out, are removed, or successfully complete the program. Specifically, each grantee is required to maintain the following scholar information:

(a) Current contact information for all students receiving scholarships, including home address, email, and a phone number (home or cell);

(b) A point of contact for each scholar in the event that the grantee is unable to contact the student. This contact must be at least 21 years of age and may be a parent, relative, spouse, partner, sibling, or guardian;

(c) Cumulative financial support granted to scholars;

(d) Scholar debt in years;

(e) Program completion date and reason for exit for each scholar;

(f) Annual documentation from the scholar's employer(s) until the scholar completes the service obligation. This documentation must include the following elements in order to verify qualified employment: Start date of employment to the present date, confirmation of full-time or part-time employment (if the scholar is working part-time the number of hours per week must be included in the documentation), type of employment, and a description of the roles and responsibilities performed on the job. This information is required for each employer if the scholar has worked in more than one setting in order to meet the service obligation.

If the scholar is employed in a related agency, the agency must also provide documentation to validate that there is a relationship with the State VR agency. Start Printed Page 15767This may be a formal or informal contract, cooperative agreement, memorandum of understanding, or related document;

(g) Annual documentation from the scholar's IHE to verify dates of deferral, if applicable. The documentation may be prepared by the scholar's advisor or department chair and must include: Confirmation of enrollment date, estimated graduation date, confirmation that the scholar is enrolled in a full-time course of study, and confirmation of the scholar's intent to fulfill the service obligation upon completion of the program.

Grantees are required to report annually to RSA on the data elements described above using the RSA Grantee Reporting Form, OMB number 1820-0617, an electronic reporting system supported by the RSA Management Information System (RSA MIS). In addition, grantees are required to utilize all forms required by RSA to prepare and process repayment, as well as requests for deferral and exceptions. The RSA Grantee Reporting Form collects specific data, including the number of scholars entering the rehabilitation workforce, the rehabilitation field each scholar enters, and the type of employment setting each scholar chooses (e.g., State VR agency, nonprofit service provider, or professional practice group). This form allows RSA to measure the progress towards achieving the goal of increasing the number of qualified VR personnel working in State VR and related agencies.

5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application. 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

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

See chart in the Award Information section in this notice for the name, room number, telephone number, and email address of the contact person for each specialty area of this competition. You can write to the specialty area contact person at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2600.

If you use a TDD or TTY, call the Federal Relay Service, 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.

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Dated: March 20, 2015.

Sue Swenson,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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[FR Doc. 2015-06880 Filed 3-24-15; 8:45 am]

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