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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement 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:

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2017.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.217A.

DATES:

Applications Available: February 21, 2017.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 7, 2017.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 6, 2017.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement (McNair) Program is one of the eight programs known as the Federal TRIO Programs, which provides postsecondary educational support for qualified individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The McNair Program awards discretionary grants to institutions of higher education for projects designed to provide disadvantaged college students with effective preparation for doctoral study.

Background

The Federal TRIO programs, including the McNair Program, represent a national commitment to education for all students regardless of race, ethnic background, disability status, or economic circumstances. The Department of Education (Department) has a strong interest in ensuring that groups traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, such as low-income students, first-generation college students, students who are English learners, students with disabilities, homeless students, students who are in foster care, and other disconnected students, receive the support necessary to assist them in successfully pursuing doctoral degrees.

The Department views the McNair Program as a critical component of its efforts to improve postsecondary outcomes for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education and graduate school by providing disadvantaged college students with effective preparation for doctoral study, and improving the quality of student outcomes so that more students are well prepared for graduate school and careers.

To strategically align the McNair Program with overarching national strategies for increasing the number of students pursuing and completing degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, this notice includes a competitive preference priority intended to encourage applicants to propose activities that support this comprehensive goal, consistent with a logic model (as defined in this notice).

The inclusion of this competitive preference priority will encourage applicants to increase the number of individuals in the McNair Program's target population that have access to STEM programs at the postsecondary level and are prepared for graduate study in STEM. The McNair Program's target population includes groups underrepresented in graduate education, as defined in the McNair Program regulations; low-income individuals who are first generation college students; and groups underrepresented in STEM as documented by standard statistical references or other national survey data submitted to and accepted by the Secretary.

Consistent with 34 CFR 75.210, the Secretary will use the selection criteria outlined in 34 CFR 647.21 to evaluate the applications submitted for new Start Printed Page 11197grants under this program. In addition, consistent with the Department's increasing emphasis on promoting evidence-based practices through our grant competitions, the Secretary will evaluate applications on the extent to which the components and anticipated outcomes 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 for this program in 34 CFR 647.21 and listed in the application package. 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.

Priority: This notice contains one competitive preference priority. The competitive preference priority is 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). Applicants must include in the one-page abstract submitted with the application a statement indicating whether they addressed the competitive preference priority. The priority must also be listed on the McNair Program Profile Sheet.

Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2017 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we will award up to five additional points to an application depending on the extent to which the application meets this priority.

This priority is:

Competitive Preference Priority—Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education (up to 5 points).

Projects that are designed to improve student achievement or other related outcomes by increasing the number of individuals from groups that have been historically underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women, who are provided with access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM or who are prepared for postsecondary study and careers in STEM. (up to 5 points)

Note:

The definition of “student achievement” from the Secretary's Supplemental Priorities does not apply here because that definition applies only to elementary and secondary grades and subjects that are covered by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended. For the purposes of this program, “other related outcomes” could include end-of-course grades, or improvement in research or laboratory skills, among other outcomes.

Definitions

The definition of the term “groups underrepresented in graduate education” is from the McNair Program regulations, 34 CFR 647.7(b). The definitions of the terms “logic model” and “strong theory” are from 34 CFR 77.1.

Groups underrepresented in graduate education include Black (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native (as defined in section 7306 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA)), Native Hawaiians (as defined in section 7207 of the ESEA), and Native American Pacific Islanders (as defined in section 320 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended).

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.

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

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1070a-11 and 20 U.S.C. 1070a-15.

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 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 as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 645.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $900,000,000 for the Federal TRIO Programs for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $40,000,000 for McNair awards. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2018 and subsequent fiscal years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $226,600 to $378,783.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $243,589.

Maximum Award:

Pursuant to 34 CFR 647.32(a), we will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding the applicable maximum amount listed here for a single budget period of 12 months. We will also reject any application from a new applicant that proposes a budget to serve fewer than 25 participants or, for applicants that are current grantees, any application with a proposed budget to serve fewer than the number of participants the applicant was approved to serve in FY 2016.

For an applicant not currently receiving a McNair Program grant, the maximum award is $226,600 to serve a minimum of 25 eligible participants, based upon a per participant cost of no more than $9,064.

For an applicant currently receiving a McNair Program grant and applying to serve a different campus, the maximum award is $226,600 to serve a minimum of 25 eligible participants, based upon a per participant cost of no more than $9,064.

For an applicant currently receiving a McNair Program grant and not applying to serve a different campus, the maximum award is the amount equal to the applicant's grant award amount for FY 2016 (i.e., 2016-17). This funding will serve at least the same number of participants that was approved for the current project in FY 2016 (i.e., 2016-17).

Estimated Number of Awards: 164.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: Institutions of higher education and combinations of those institutions.

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 a McNair grant as long as each application describes a project that serves a different Start Printed Page 11198campus or a designated different population (34 CFR 647.10(a)). The McNair Program regulations define “different campus” as “a site of an institution of higher education that—(1) Is geographically apart from the main campus of the institution; (2) Is permanent in nature; and (3) Offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.” 34 CFR 647.7(b). The Secretary is not designating any additional populations for which an applicant may submit a separate application under this competition (34 CFR 647.10(b)).

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package: You may request a copy of the application package from: Carmen Gordon, McNair Program, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5C111, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-7311 or by email: Carmen.Gordon@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 and form 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 will 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:

  • 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, including charts, tables, figures, and graphs. Titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions may be single spaced.
  • Use a font size that is either 12 point or larger, or no smaller than 10 pitch (character 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 McNair Program Profile; Part III, the one-page Project Abstract narrative; 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 purposes of the page-limit requirement. You must include your complete response to the selection criteria, which also includes the budget narrative.

Any application addressing the competitive preference priority may include up to four additional pages for the priority. These additional pages must be used to discuss how the application meets the competitive preference priority. The additional pages allotted to address the competitive preference priority cannot be used for or transferred to the project narrative or any other section of the application.

Partial pages will count as a full page toward the page limit. For the purpose of determining compliance with the page limit, each page containing text will be counted as one full page.

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

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: February 21, 2017.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 7, 2017.

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 6, 2017.

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 647.31. 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), 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. Therefore, if you think Start Printed Page 11199you 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 take 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: 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 McNair Program, CFDA number 84.217A, 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 no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. 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 McNair 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 84.217, not 84.217A).

Please note the following:

  • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
  • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
  • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
  • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this program to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at 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 application 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 will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you an email with a unique PR/Award number for your application.Start Printed Page 11200

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 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: Katie Blanding, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5E105, Washington, DC 20202. FAX: (202) 260-7464.

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 84.217A), 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 84.217A), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition total 110 points and are from 34 CFR 647.21 and 34.CFR 75.210:

(a) Need (16 Points). The Secretary reviews each application to determine the extent to which the applicant can clearly and definitively demonstrate the need for a McNair project to serve the target population. In particular, the Secretary looks for information that clearly defines the target population; describes the academic, financial and other problems that prevent potentially Start Printed Page 11201eligible project participants in the target population from completing baccalaureate programs and continuing to postbaccalaureate programs; and demonstrates that the project's target population is underrepresented in graduate education, doctorate degrees conferred and careers where a doctorate is a prerequisite.

(b) Objectives (9 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) (2 points) Research or scholarly activity.

(2) (3 points) Enrollment in a graduate program.

(3) (2 points) Continued enrollment in graduate study.

(4) (2 points) Doctoral degree attainment.

(c) Plan of Operation (44 points). The Secretary reviews each application to determine the quality of the applicant's plans of operation, including—

(1) (4 points) The plan for identifying, recruiting and selecting participants to be served by the project, including students enrolled in the Student Support Services program;

(2) (4 points) The plan for assessing individual participant needs and for monitoring the academic growth of participants during the period in which the student is a McNair participant;

(3) (5 points) The plan for providing high quality research and scholarly activities in which participants will be involved;

(4) (5 points) The plan for involving faculty members in the design of research activities in which students will be involved;

(5) (5 points) The plan for providing internships, seminars, and other educational activities designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral study;

(6) (5 points) The plan for providing individual or group services designed to enhance a student's successful entry into postbaccalaureate education;

(7) (3 points) The plan to inform the institutional community of the goals and objectives of the project;

(8) (8 points) The plan to ensure proper and efficient administration of the project, including, but not limited to, matters such as financial management, student records management, personnel management, the organizational structure, and the plan for coordinating the McNair project with other programs for disadvantaged students; and

(9) (5 points) The follow-up plan that will be used to track the academic and career accomplishments of participants after they are no longer participating in the McNair project.

(d) Quality of key personnel (9 points). The Secretary evaluates the quality of key personnel the applicant plans to use on the project on the basis of the following:

(1)(i) The job qualifications of the project director.

(ii) The job qualifications of each of the project's other key personnel.

(iii) The quality of the project's plan for employing highly qualified persons, including the procedures to be used to employ members of groups underrepresented in higher education, including Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (including Native Hawaiians).

(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.

(e) Adequacy of the resources and budget (15 points). The Secretary evaluates the extent to which—

(1) The applicant's proposed allocation of resources in the budget is clearly related to the objectives of the project;

(2) Project costs and resources, including facilities, equipment, and supplies, are reasonable in relation to the objectives and scope of the project; and

(3) The applicant's proposed commitment of institutional resources to the McNair participants, as for example, the commitment of time from institutional research faculty and the waiver of tuition and fees for McNair participants engaged in summer research projects.

(f) Evaluation plan (7 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, in specific and measurable ways, 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 a description of other project outcomes, including the use of quantifiable measures, if appropriate.

(g) Quality of 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).

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).

For this competition, a panel of non-Federal reviewers will review each application in accordance with the selection criteria in 34 CFR 647.21 and the competitive preference priority. 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 647.22, the Secretary will award prior experience points to applicants that conducted a McNair Program project during budget periods 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16, based on their documented experience. Prior experience points, if any, will be added to the application's average 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 McNair 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 Start Printed Page 11202financial 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.

4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through SAM. You may review and comment on any information about your institution that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.

Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

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 multiyear 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 McNair Program will be measured by the McNair Program participants' success in completing research and participation in scholarly activities, enrollment in a graduate program, continued enrollment in graduate study, and the attainment of a doctoral degree. All McNair Program grantees will be required to submit an annual performance report.

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 Contact

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carmen Gordon, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5C111, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-7311 or by email: Carmen.Gordon@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 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 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: February 15, 2017.

Linda Byrd-Johnson,

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Higher Education Programs, and Senior Director, Student Service.

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[FR Doc. 2017-03366 Filed 2-17-17; 8:45 am]

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