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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Educational Opportunity Centers 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.

ACTION:

Notice.

Overview Information: Educational Opportunity Centers Program (EOC Program) Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.066A.

Dates:

Applications Available: February 2, 2016.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 4, 2016.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 1, 2016.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purposes of the EOC Program are to: provide information regarding financial and academic assistance available for qualified adults who want to enter or continue to pursue a program of postsecondary education; provide assistance to those individuals in applying for admission to institutions at which a program of postsecondary education is offered, including preparing necessary applications for use by admissions and financial aid officers; and assist in improving the financial and economic literacy of program participants.

An Educational Opportunity Centers project may provide the following services:

(1) Public information campaigns designed to inform the community regarding opportunities for postsecondary education and training;

(2) Academic advice and assistance in course selection;

(3) Assistance in completing college admission and financial aid applications;

(4) Assistance in preparing for college entrance examinations;

(5) Education or counseling services designed to improve the financial literacy and economic literacy of students;

(6) Guidance on secondary school reentry or entry to a general educational development (GED) program or other alternative education program for secondary school dropouts;

(7) Individualized personal, career, and academic counseling;

(8) Tutorial services;

(9) Career workshops and counseling;

(10) Mentoring programs involving elementary or secondary school teachers, faculty members at institutions of higher education (IHEs), students, or any combination of these persons; and

(11) Programs and activities as described in items (1) through (10) that are specially designed for students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of the foster care system, or other disconnected students.

(12) Other activities designed to meet the purposes of the EOC Program.

Note:

Consistent with 34 CFR 75.209, the Secretary will use the selection criteria outlined in 34 CFR 644.21 to evaluate the applications submitted for new grants under this program. In addition, consistent with the Department's increasing emphasis on promoting evidence-based practices through our grant competitions, the Secretary will also evaluate applications on the extent to which the components of the proposed project are supported by a logic model that meets the evidence standard of “strong theory” (as defined in this notice). We encourage applicants to read carefully the Selection Criteria section of 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. The competitive preference priorities are from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014 (79 FR 73425) (Supplemental Priorities).

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2016 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 two additional points for each priority, for a total of up to four additional points, depending on how well the application meets each of these priorities.

The competitive preference priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1: Improving Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (up to 2 additional points).

The Secretary gives priority to projects that are designed to improve student outcomes through implementing initiatives that improve community engagement (as defined in this notice), the relationships between parents or families and school or program staff by cultivating sustained partnerships (as defined in this notice).

Competitive Preference Priority 2: Supporting Military Families and Veterans (up to 2 additional points).

The Secretary gives priority to projects that are designed to address the needs of military- or veteran-connected students (as defined in this notice).

Note:

Applicants must include, in the one-page abstract submitted with the application, a statement indicating which, if any, of the competitive preference priorities are addressed. If the applicant has addressed the competitive preference priorities, this information must also be listed in the application package on the EOC Program Profile Form.

Definitions: These definitions are from the Supplemental Priorities and 34 CFR 77.1.

Community engagement means the systematic inclusion of community organizations as partners with State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), or other educational institutions, or their school or program staff to accomplish activities that may include developing a shared community vision, establishing a shared accountability agreement, participating in shared data collection and analysis, or establishing community networks that are focused on shared community-level outcomes. These organizations may include faith- and community-based organizations, IHEs (including minority-serving institutions eligible to receive aid under title III or title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA)), businesses and industries, labor organizations, State and local government entities, or Federal entities other than the Department.

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 Start Printed Page 5426hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.

Military- or veteran-connected student means (a) A child participating in an early learning and development program, a student enrolled in preschool through grade 12, or a student enrolled in postsecondary education or career and technical training who has a parent or guardian who is a member of the uniformed services (as defined by 37 U.S.C. 101, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or Public Health Service); (b) A student who is a member of the uniformed services, a veteran of the uniformed services, or the spouse of a service member or veteran; or (c) A child participating in an early learning and development program or a student enrolled in preschool through grade 12 who has a parent or guardian who is a veteran of the uniformed services (as defined by 37 U.S.C. 101).

Note:

For the purpose of this competition, only subpart (b) of this definition is applicable, and the term “students” in this definition includes prospective students.

Parent and family engagement means the systematic inclusion of parents and families, working in partnership with SEAs, State lead agencies (under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or the State's race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant), LEAs, or other educational institutions, or their staff, in their child's education, which may include strengthening the ability of (a) parents and families to support their child's education; and (b) school or program staff to work with parents and families.

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

Sustained partnership means a relationship that has demonstrably adequate resources and other support to continue beyond the funding period and that consists of community organizations as partners with an LEA and one or more of its schools. These organizations may include faith- and community-based organizations, IHEs (including minority-serving institutions eligible to receive aid under title III or title V of the HEA), businesses and industries, labor organizations, State and local government entities, or Federal entities other than the Department.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1070a-11 and 20 U.S.C. 1070a-16.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75 (except for 75.215 through 75.221), 77, 79, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Education Department debarment and suspension regulations as adopted in 2 CFR part 3485 and the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards as adopted in 2 CFR part 3474. (c) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 644. (d) The Supplemental Priorities.

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 to IHEs only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $54,296,053.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2017 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $236,000-$1,207,694.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $377,661.

Maximum Award:

  • For an applicant that is not currently receiving an EOC Program grant, the maximum award amount is $236,000, based upon a per-participant cost of no more than $236 and a minimum of 1,000 participants.
  • For an applicant that is currently receiving an EOC Program grant, the maximum award amount is an amount equal to 103 percent of the applicant's base award amount for FY 2015. The minimum number of participants an applicant proposes to serve must be at least the number of participants approved to serve in FY 2015.

We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding the applicable maximum amount listed above for a single budget period of 12 months. We will also reject any application that proposes a budget to serve fewer than 1,000 participants, or any application that proposes a budget that exceeds the maximum per-participant cost of $309.

Estimated Number of Awards: 151.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs, public and private agencies and organizations including community-based organizations with experience in serving disadvantaged youth; combinations of such institutions, agencies, and organizations; and secondary schools.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

3. Other: An applicant may submit more than one application for an EOC Program grant so long as each application describes a project that serves a different target area (34 CFR 644.10(a)). The term “target area” is defined as a geographic area served by a project (34 CFR 644.7(b)).

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: Rachael Couch, Ed.D., U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E311, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 502-7655 or by email: Rachael.Couch@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 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, which includes the budget narrative, to no more than 60 pages using the following standards. However, any application addressing the competitive preference priorities may include up to 4 additional pages for each of the priorities that is addressed. Those additional pages must be used to discuss how the application meets the competitive preference priorities.

  • 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″ margin.
  • Each page on which there is text or graphics will be counted as one full page.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative.
  • Titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as Start Printed Page 5427well as all text in figures, charts, and graphs, may be single-spaced.
  • 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 and Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

The page limit does not apply to Part I—the Application for Federal Assistance Face Sheet (SF 424); Part II—the Budget Information Summary form (ED Form 524); Part III—the EOC Program Profile form; Part III—the one-page Project Abstract form; and Part IV—the Assurances and Certifications. The page limit also does not apply to a table of contents, which you should include in the application narrative. If you include any attachments or appendices, these items will be counted as part of Part III—the application narrative for purpose of the page-limit requirement. You must include your complete response to the selection criteria in Part III—the application narrative.

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

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: February 2, 2016.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 4, 2016.

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 Other Submission Requirements in section IV 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 program contact person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII in 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: June 1, 2016.

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 644.31. 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), 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 at the following Web site: http://fedgov.dnb.com/​webform. 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 you enter into the SAM database. 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, it may be 24 to 48 hours before you can access the information in, and 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 EOC Program, CFDA number 84.066A, 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 EOC Program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.066, not 84.066A).

Please note the following:Start Printed Page 5428

  • 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 www.G5.gov. In addition, for specific guidance and procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov, please refer to the Grants.gov Web site at: www.grants.gov/​web/​grants/​applicants/​apply-for-grants.html.
  • 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: 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 read-only, non-modifiable Portable Document Format (PDF). Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF (e.g., Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material. Please note that this could result in your application not being considered for funding because the material in question—for example, the project narrative—is critical to a meaningful review of your proposal. For that reason it is important to allow yourself adequate time to upload all material as PDF files. The Department will not convert material from other formats to PDF.
  • 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. Grants.gov will also notify you automatically by email if your application met all the Grants.gov validation requirements or if there were any errors (such as submission of your application by someone other than a registered Authorized Organization Representative, or inclusion of an attachment with a file name that contains special characters). You will be given an opportunity to correct any errors and resubmit, but you must still meet the deadline for submission of applications.

Once your application is successfully validated by Grants.gov, the Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you an email with a unique PR/Award number for your application.

These emails do not mean that your application is without any disqualifying errors. While your application may have been successfully validated by Grants.gov, it must also meet the Department's application requirements as specified in this notice and in the application instructions. Disqualifying errors could include, for instance, failure to upload attachments in a read-only, non-modifiable PDF; failure to submit a required part of the application; or failure to meet applicant eligibility requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your submitted application has met all of the Department's requirements.

  • 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 program contact 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 the problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will contact you after we determine 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 Grants.gov 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 Start Printed Page 5429days 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: Gaby Watts, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E311, Washington, DC 20202. Fax: (202) 205-0063.

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 84.066A), 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.

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.

We will not consider applications postmarked after the deadline date.

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 84.066A), 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 grant 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 following selection criteria for this competition total 105 points and are from 34 CFR 644.21 and 34 CFR 75.210:

(a) Need for the project (24 points). The Secretary evaluates the need for an EOC project in the proposed target area on the basis of the extent to which the application contains clear evidence of—

(1) A high number or percentage, or both, of low-income families residing in the target area;

(2) A high number or percentage, or both, of individuals residing in the target area with education completion levels below the baccalaureate level;

(3) A high need on the part of residents of the target area for further education and training from programs of postsecondary education in order to meet changing employment trends; and

(4) Other indicators of need for an EOC project, including the presence of unaddressed educational or socio-economic problems of adult residents in the target area.

(b) Objectives (8 points). The Secretary evaluates the quality of the applicant's objectives and proposed targets (percentages) in the following areas on the basis of the extent to which they are both ambitious, as related to the need data provided under paragraph (a) of this section, and attainable, given the project's plan of operation, budget, and other resources—

(1) Secondary school diploma or equivalent (2 points).

(2) Postsecondary enrollment (3 points).

(3) Financial aid applications (1.5 points).

(4) College admission applications (1.5 points).

(c) Plan of operation (30 points). The Secretary evaluates the quality of the applicant's plan of operation on the basis of the following—

(1) The plan to inform the residents, schools, and community organizations in the target area of the goals, objectives, and services of the project and the eligibility requirements for participation in the project (4 points);

(2) The plan to identify and select eligible participants and ensure their participation without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, or disability (4 points);

(3) The plan to assess each participant's need for services provided by the project (2 points);

(4) The plan to provide services that meet the participants' needs and achieve the objectives of the project (12 points); and

(5) The management plan to ensure the proper and efficient administration of the project including, but not limited to, the project's organizational structure, the time committed to the project by the project director and other personnel, and, where appropriate, its coordination with other projects for disadvantaged students (8 points).

(d) Applicant and community support (16 points). The Secretary evaluates the applicant and community support for the proposed project on the basis of the extent to which the applicant has made provision for resources to supplement the grant and enhance the project's services, including—

(1) Facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, and other resources committed by the applicant (8 points); and

(2) Resources secured through written commitments from schools, community organizations, and others (8 points).

(e) Quality of personnel (9 points). (1) The Secretary evaluates the quality of the personnel the applicant plans to use in the project on the basis of the following—

(i) The qualifications required of the project director.

(ii) The qualifications required of each of the other personnel to be used in the project.

(iii) The plan to employ personnel who have succeeded in overcoming Start Printed Page 5430disadvantages or circumstances like those of the population of the target area.

(2) In evaluating the qualifications of a person, the Secretary considers his or her experience and training in fields related to the objectives of the project.

(f) Budget (5 points). The Secretary evaluates the extent to which the project budget is reasonable, cost-effective, and adequate to support the project.

(g) Evaluation plan (8 points). The Secretary evaluates the quality of the evaluation plan for the project on the basis of the extent to which the applicant's methods of evaluation—

(1) Are appropriate to the project's objectives;

(2) Provide for the applicant to determine, using specific and quantifiable measures, the success of the project in—

(i) Making progress toward achieving its objectives (a formative evaluation); and

(ii) Achieving its objectives at the end of the project period (a summative evaluation); and

(3) Provide for the disclosure of unanticipated project outcomes, using quantifiable measures if appropriate.

(h) Quality of the project design (5 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 extent to which the proposed project is supported by strong theory (as defined in this notice).

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 assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4,104.5,106.4,108.8, and 110.23).

For this competition, a panel of non-Federal reviewers will review each application in accordance with the selection criteria in 34 CFR 644.21 and 34 CFR 75.210. The individual scores of the reviewers will be added and the sum divided by the number of reviewers to determine the peer review score received in the review process. Additionally, in accordance with 34 CFR 644.22, the Secretary will award prior experience points to applicants that conducted an EOC Program project during budget periods 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15, based on their documented experience. Prior experience points, if any, will be added to the application's averaged reader score to determine the total score for each application.

If there are insufficient funds for all applications with the same total scores, the Secretary will choose among the tied applications so as to serve geographic areas and eligible populations that have been underserved by the EOC Program.

3. Risk Assessment and Special Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. 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 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.

(c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.

4. Performance Measures: The success of the EOC Program will be measured by the EOC Program participants' success in completing a secondary school diploma or its equivalent, completion of applications for student financial aid, submission of applications for postsecondary admission, and postsecondary enrollment. All EOC Program grantees will be required to submit annual performance reports.

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 management 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 Contacts

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rachael Couch, Ed.D., U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 7E311, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 502-7655 or by email: Rachael.Couch@ed.gov. Start Printed Page 5431

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 computer disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/​fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site.

You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

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Dated: January 27, 2016.

Lynn Mahaffie,

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation Delegated the Duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

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[FR Doc. 2016-01832 Filed 2-1-16; 8:45 am]

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