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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Predominantly Black Institutions Competitive Grant Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education

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ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information:

Predominantly Black Institutions Competitive Grant Program (PBI Program)

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

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.382A.

Dates:

Applications Available: May 18, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 2, 2015.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 31, 2015.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the PBI Program is to strengthen Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) to carry out programs in the following areas: science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM); health education; internationalization or globalization; teacher preparation; or improving educational outcomes of African-American males.

Background: We encourage applicants to read carefully the Selection Criteria section of this notice. Consistent with the Department's increasing emphasis in recent years on promoting evidence-based practices through our grant competitions, the Secretary will evaluate applications on the extent to which the proposed project is supported by a logic model that meets the evidence standard of “strong theory” (as defined in this notice). Resources to assist applicants in creating a logic model can be found here: http://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​edlabs/​regions/​pacific/​pdf/​REL_​2014007.pdf.

Priorities: This notice contains two competitive preference priorities. These priorities are from the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs (Supplemental Priorities), published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014 (79 FR 73425).

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2015 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award an application up to three additional points for each priority, for a total of up to six additional points, depending on how well the application meets each of these priorities.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1: Increasing Postsecondary Access, Affordability, and Completion (up to 3 points).

Projects that are designed to address one or both of the following:

(a) Reducing the net cost, median student loan debt, and likelihood of student loan default for high-need students who enroll in college, other postsecondary education, or other career and technical education.

(b) Supporting the development and implementation of high-quality online or hybrid credit-bearing and accessible learning opportunities that reduce the cost of higher education, reduce time to degree completion, or allow students to progress at their own pace.

Competitive Preference Priority 2: Improving Teacher Effectiveness and Promoting Equitable Access to Effective Teachers (up to 3 points).

Projects that are designed to increase the number and percentage of effective teachers in lowest-performing schools, schools in rural local educational agencies, or schools with high concentrations of students from low-income families and minority students, through such activities as:

(a) Improving the preparation, recruitment, selection, and early career development of teachers; implementing performance-based certification systems; reforming compensation and advancement systems; and reforming hiring timelines and systems.

(b) Improving the retention of effective teachers through such activities as creating or enhancing opportunities for teachers' professional growth; delivering professional development to teachers that is relevant, effective, and outcome-oriented; reforming compensation and advancement systems; and improving workplace conditions to create opportunities for successful teaching and learning.

Definitions: The following definitions are from the Supplemental Priorities and from 34 CFR 77.1 and apply to the priorities and selection criteria in this notice:

High-minority school means a school as that term is defined by a local educational agency (LEA), which must define the term in a manner consistent with its State's Teacher Equity Plan, as required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). The applicant must provide the definition(s) of high-minority schools used in its application.

High-need students means students who are at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools, who are far below grade level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English learners.

Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.

Note:

In developing logic models, applicants may want to use resources such as the Pacific Education Laboratory's Education Logic Model Application (www.relpacific.mcrel.org/​PERR.html or http://files.eric.ed.gov/​fulltext/​ED544779.pdf) to help design their logic models.

Lowest-performing schools means—

For a State with an approved request for flexibility under the ESEA, priority schools or Tier I and Tier II schools that have been identified under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.

For any other State, Tier I and Tier II schools that have been identified under the SIG program.

Persistently-lowest achieving school means, as determined by the State—

(a)(1) Any Title I school that has been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA and that—

(i) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater; or

(ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate, as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b), that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; and

(2) Any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that—

(i) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, whichever number of schools is greater; or

(ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate, as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b), that is less than 60 percent over a number of years.

(b) To identify the lowest-achieving schools, a State must take into account both—Start Printed Page 28250

(i) The academic achievement of the “all students” group in a school in terms of proficiency on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and

(ii) The school's lack of progress on those assessments over a number of years in the “all students” group.

Priority schools means schools that, based on the most recent data available, have been identified as among the lowest-performing schools in the State. The total number of priority schools in a State must be at least five percent of the Title I schools in the State. A priority school is—

(a) A school among the lowest five percent of Title I schools in the State based on the achievement of the “all students” group in terms of proficiency on the statewide assessments that are part of the state educational agency's (SEA's) differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system, combined, and has demonstrated a lack of progress on those assessments over a number of years in the “all students” group;

(b) A Title I-participating or Title I-eligible high school with a graduation rate that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; or

(c) A Tier I or Tier II school under the SIG program that is using SIG funds to implement a school intervention model.

Regular high school diploma means the standard high school diploma that is awarded to students in the State and that is fully aligned with the State's academic content standards or a higher diploma and does not include a General Education Development credential, certificate of attendance, or any alternative award.

Rural local educational agency means an LEA that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement program or the Rural and Low-Income School program authorized under title VI, part B of the ESEA. Eligible applicants may determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by referring to information on the Department's Web site at www2.ed.gov/​nclb/​freedom/​local/​reap.html.

Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice that includes a logic model.

Tier I schools means—

(a) A Title I school that has been identified as in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA and that is identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(1) of the definition of persistently-lowest achieving school.

(b) An elementary school that is eligible for title I, part A funds that—

(1)(i) Has not made adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years; or

(ii) Is in the State's lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and

(2) Is no higher achieving than the highest-achieving school identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of the definition of persistently-lowest achieving school.

Tier II schools means—

(a) A secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, title I, part A funds and is identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(2) of the definition of persistently-lowest achieving schools.

(b) A secondary school that is eligible for title I, part A funds that—

(1)(i) Has not made adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years; or

(ii) Is in the State's lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and

(2)(i) Is no higher achieving than the highest-achieving school identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(2)(i) of the definition of persistently-lowest achieving school; or

(ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate, as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b), that is less than 60 percent over a number of years.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1067q.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, 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 Supplemental Priorities.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $13,920,000.

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 Average Size of Awards: $600,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 23.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: To qualify as an eligible institution under the PBI Program, an institution of higher education (IHE) must—

(a) Have an enrollment of needy students, as defined by section 371(c)(3) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1067q(c)(3)).

The term enrollment of needy students means the enrollment at the eligible IHE with respect to which not less than 50 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled in an academic program leading to a degree—

(i) In the second fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the determination is made, were Federal Pell Grant recipients for such year;

(ii) Come from families that receive benefits under a means-tested Federal benefit program (as defined in section 371(c)(5) of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 1067q(c)(5));

(iii) Attended a public or nonprofit private secondary school that—

(A) Is in the school district of an LEA that was eligible for assistance under part A of title I of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.), for any year during which the student attended such secondary school; and

(B) For the purpose of this paragraph and for that year, was determined by the Secretary (pursuant to regulations and after consultation with the SEA of the State in which the school is located) to be a school in which the enrollment of children counted under a measure of poverty described in section 1113(a)(5) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6313(a)(5)) exceeds 30 percent of the total enrollment of such school; or

(iv) Are first-generation college students, as that term is defined in section 402A(h) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-11(h)), and a majority of such first-generation college students are low-income individuals, as that term is defined in section 402A(h) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-11(h));

(b) Have an average educational and general expenditure that is low, per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student, in comparison with the average educational and general expenditure per FTE undergraduate student of IHEs that offer similar instruction. The Secretary may waive this requirement, in accordance with section 392(b) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1068a(b)), in the same manner as the Secretary applies the waiver requirements to grant applicants under section 312(b)(1)(B) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1058(b)(1)(B));Start Printed Page 28251

(c) Have an enrollment of undergraduate students—

(i) That is at least 40 percent Black American students;

(ii) That is at least 1,000 undergraduate students;

(iii) Of which not less than 50 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled at the institution are low-income individuals, as that term is defined in section 402A(h) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-11(h)), or first-generation college students, as that term is defined in section 402A(h) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-11(h)); and

(iv) Of which not less than 50 percent of the undergraduate students are enrolled in an educational program leading to a bachelor's or associate's degree that the institution is licensed to award by the State in which the institution is located;

(d) Be legally authorized to provide, and provide, within the State an educational program for which the IHE awards a bachelor's degree or, in the case of a junior or community college, an associate's degree;

(e) Be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered, or be, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation; and

(f) Not be receiving assistance under part B of title III or part A of title V of the HEA or an annual authorization of appropriations under the Act of March 2, 1867 (20 U.S.C. 123).

Note:

The notice for applying for designation as an eligible institution was published on November 3, 2014 (75 FR 65197) and applications were due on December 22, 2014. Only institutions that submitted applications by the deadline date and that the Department determined are eligible may apply for a grant.

Applicants must provide, as an attachment to the application, the documentation the institution relied upon to determine that at least 40 percent of the institution's undergraduate enrollment are Black American students. The 40 percent requirement applies only to undergraduate Black American students and is calculated based upon unduplicated undergraduate enrollment. Instructions for formatting and submitting the verification documentation are in the application package for this competition.

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 via the Internet at Grants.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact Bernadette D. Miles, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20006-8513. Telephone: (202) 502-7616.

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 application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria and the competitive preference priorities that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We have established the following mandatory page limits. You must limit the section of the application narrative that addresses:

  • The selection criteria to no more than 40 pages.
  • A competitive preference priority, if you are addressing one or both, to no more than three pages (for a total of six pages if you address both).

Accordingly, under no circumstances may the application narrative exceed 46 pages. Please include a separate heading for each competitive preference priority that you address.

For the purpose of determining compliance with the page limit, each page on which there are words will be counted as one full page. Applicants must use the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1” margins at the top, bottom, and both sides. Page numbers and an identifier may be within the 1” margins.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, captions, and all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs. These items may be single-spaced. Charts, tables, figures, and graphs in the application narrative 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. Applications submitted in any other font (including Times Roman and Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet SF 424; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; or Part IV, the assurances and certifications. The page limit also does not apply to the table of contents, the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. If you include any attachments or appendices not specifically requested, these items will be counted as part of the application narrative for purposes of the page-limit requirement. You must include your complete response to the selection criteria and priorities in the application narrative.

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

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: May 18, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 2, 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: August 31, 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 Start Printed Page 28252is 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 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 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 PBI Program, CFDA number 84.382A, 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 PBI Program 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 84.382, not 84.382A).

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. Additional, detailed information on how to attach files is in the application instructions.Start Printed Page 28253
  • 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 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: Bernadette D. Miles, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6025, Washington, DC 20006-8513. Fax: (202) 502-7861.

Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:

U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.382A) 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 84.382A), 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. Applicants must address each of the following selection criteria. We will award up to 100 points to an application under the selection criteria; the total possible points for each selection criterion are noted in parentheses.

a. Need for project. (Maximum 15 points) The Secretary considers the Start Printed Page 28254need for the proposed project. In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

1. The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project. (5 points)

2. The extent to which the proposed project will focus on serving or otherwise addressing the needs of disadvantaged individuals. (5 points)

3. The extent to which specific gaps or weaknesses in services, infrastructure, or opportunities have been identified and will be addressed by the proposed project, including the nature and magnitude of those gaps or weaknesses. (5 points)

b. Quality of the project design. (Maximum 30 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

1. The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable. (10 points)

2. The extent to which the design of the proposed project is appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target population or other identified needs. (10 points)

3. The extent to which the proposed project is supported by strong theory (as defined in this notice). (10 points)

c. Quality of project services. (Maximum 10 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project. In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. In addition, the Secretary considers:

1. The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or beneficiaries of those services. (5 points)

2. The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project reflect up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice. (5 points)

d. Quality of project personnel. (Maximum 10 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

In addition, the Secretary considers:

1. The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director or principal investigator. (5 points)

2. The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel. (5 points)

e. Adequacy of resources. (Maximum 5 points) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

1. The extent to which the budget is adequate to support the proposed project. (3 points)

2. The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project. (2 points)

f. Quality of the management plan. (Maximum 15 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

1. The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks. (5 points)

2. The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and continuous improvement in the operation of the proposed project. (5 points)

3. The adequacy of mechanisms for ensuring high-quality products and services from the proposed project. (5 points)

g. Quality of the project evaluation. (Maximum 15 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers:

1. The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (5 points)

2. The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible. (5 points)

3. The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (5 points)

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 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 Start Printed Page 28255necessary 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). Please see the application package for details of annual and final reporting requirements. For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​appforms/​appforms.html.

4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the following key performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the PBI Program:

(a) The percentage of change in the number of full-time, degree-granting undergraduate students enrolled at PBIs.

(b) The percentage of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students at four-year PBIs who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same four-year PBI.

(c) The percentage of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students at two-year PBIs who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same two-year PBI.

(d) The percentage of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at four-year PBIs who graduate within six years of enrollment.

(e) The percentage of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at two-year PBIs who graduate within three years of enrollment.

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 award, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contacts

For Further Information Contact: Bernadette D. Miles, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6025, Washington, DC 20006-8513. Telephone: (202) 502-7616 or by email: bernadette.miles@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: May 13, 2015.

Jamienne S. Studley,

Deputy Under Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 2015-11986 Filed 5-15-15; 8:45 am]

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