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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information:

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Program

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

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.200A.

DATES:

Applications Available: April 1, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 29, 2015.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 28, 2015.Start Printed Page 17421

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The GAANN Program provides grants to academic departments and programs of institutions of higher education (IHEs) to support graduate fellowships for students with excellent academic records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their course of study at the institution.

Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), the absolute priority is from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 648.33(a) and Appendix to part 648—Academic Areas).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2015 and any subsequent year for 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.

The absolute priority is:

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need.

A project must provide fellowships in one or more of the following areas of national need: Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies; Biological Sciences/Life Sciences; Chemistry; Computer and Information Sciences; Engineering; Foreign Languages; Mathematics; Nursing; Physics; Psychology; and Educational Evaluation, Research, and Statistics.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1135.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB 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. (c) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 648.

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 IHEs.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants redistributed as graduate fellowships to individual fellows.

Estimated Available Funds: $23,629,000.

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

Estimated Range of Awards: $140,877 to $281,754.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $189,032.

Estimated Number of Awards: 125.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

Stipend Level: The Secretary will determine the fellowship stipend for the GAANN Program for the 2015-2016 academic year based on the level of support provided by the graduate fellowships of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, as of February 1, 2015. However, the Secretary will adjust the amount as necessary so as not to exceed the fellow's demonstrated level of financial need as calculated for purposes of the Federal Student Financial Aid Programs under title IV, part F, of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Institutional Payment: The Secretary will determine the institutional payment for the 2015-2016 academic year by adjusting the previous academic year's institutional payment, which is $14,959 per fellow, by the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index for the 2014 calendar year.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants:

(a) Any academic department of an IHE that provides a course of study that—

(i) Leads to a graduate degree in an area of national need; and

(ii) Has been in existence for at least four years at the time of an application for a grant under this competition.

(b) An academic department of an IHE that—

(i) Satisfies the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section; and

(ii) Submits a joint application with one or more eligible non-degree-granting institutions that have formal arrangements for the support of doctoral dissertation research with one or more degree-granting institutions.

Note:

Students are not eligible to apply for grants under this program.

2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: An institution must provide, from non-Federal funds, an institutional matching contribution equal to at least 25 percent of the grant amount received. (See 34 CFR 648.7.)

b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement-not-supplant funding requirements. (See 34 CFR 648.20(b)(5).)

3. Other: For requirements relating to selecting fellows, see 34 CFR 648.40.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: Rebecca Ell, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 7105, K-OPE-7-7063, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 502-7779 or by email: OPE_GAANN_Program@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), 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 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 project narrative, Part II of the application, is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit the project narrative (Part II) to no more than 40 pages, using the standards listed below. A partial page will count as a full page toward the page limit. For purposes of determining compliance with the page limit, each page on which there are words will be counted as one full page, except as specifically discussed below:

  • A project narrative in a single discipline must be limited to no more than 40 pages.
  • An inter-disciplinary project narrative must be limited to no more than 40 pages. An inter-disciplinary application must request funding for a single proposed program of study that involves two or more academic disciplines.
  • A multi-disciplinary project narrative must be limited to no more than 40 pages for each academic department included in the proposal. A multi-disciplinary application must request funding for two or more academic departments in areas of national need designated as priorities by the Secretary that are independent and unrelated to one another.
  • 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 project narrative, including Start Printed Page 17422titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions. Charts, tables, figures, and graphs in the project narrative may be single spaced and will count toward the page limit.
  • 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.
  • Appendices are limited to the following: Curriculum Vitae (no more than two pages per faculty member); a course listing; letters of commitment; a bibliography; and one additional optional appendix relevant to the support of the proposals, not to exceed five pages.

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; the GAANN Statutory Assurances Form; the GAANN Budget Spreadsheet(s) Form; the Appendices; or Part III, the Assurances and Certifications. The page limit also does not apply to a two-page Table of Contents, if you include one. However the page limit does apply to all of the project narrative section in Part II.

We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: April 1, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 29, 2015.

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 28, 2015.

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: We specify unallowable costs in 34 CFR 648.64. We reference additional 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 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.

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: 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 GAANN Program, CFDA number 84.200A, 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 GAANN Program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Start Printed Page 17423Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.200, not 84.200A).

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 program to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at http://www.G5.gov.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you 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, the GAANN Budget Spreadsheet(s) Form, and the GAANN Statutory Assurances, 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.

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 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: Rebecca Ell, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 7105, K-OPE-7-7063, Washington, DC 20006. FAX: (202)502-7857.

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:Start Printed Page 17424

U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.200A), 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 84.200A), 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 in 34 CFR 648.31.

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).

Additional factors we consider in selecting an application for an award are in 34 CFR 648.32.

3. Special Conditions: Under current 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12 and, when grants are made under this NIA, 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 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable or, when grants are awarded, 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 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 648.66. If you wish to view the performance report currently required, visit the GAANN Program Web site at: http://www2.ed.gov/​programs/​gaann/​performance.html. Please be advised that the report is for informational purposes only and does not reflect the actual reporting instrument that you will use should you receive a GAANN grant. 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.

(c) Grantees will be required to submit a supplement to the Final Performance Report two years after the expiration of their GAANN grant. The purpose of this supplement is to identify and report the educational outcome of each GAANN fellow.

4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the following measures will be used by the Department in assessing the performance of the GAANN Program:

(1) The percentage of GAANN fellows completing the terminal degree in the designated areas of national need.

(2) The percentage of GAANN fellows from traditionally underrepresented groups.

(3) The median time to completion of Master's and Doctorate degrees for GAANN students.

If funded, you will be required to collect and report data in your project's annual performance report (34 CFR 75.590) on those measures and steps taken toward improving performance on Start Printed Page 17425those outcomes. Consequently, applicants are advised to include these outcomes in conceptualizing the design, implementation, and evaluation of their proposed projects. Their measurement should be a part of the project evaluation plan, along with measures of your progress and on the goals and objectives specific to your project.

All grantees will be expected to submit an annual performance report documenting their success in addressing these performance measures.

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

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rebecca Ell, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 7105, K-OPE-7-7063, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 502-7779 or by email: OPE_GAANN_Program@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 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.

Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated authority to Jamienne S. Studley, Deputy Under Secretary, to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

Start Signature

Dated: March 27, 2015.

Jamienne S. Studley,

Deputy Under Secretary.

End Signature End Further Info End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2015-07483 Filed 3-31-15; 8:45 am]

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