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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP)

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AGENCY:

Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the MSEIP, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.120A. This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1840-0109.

DATES:

Applications Available: June 19, 2019.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 19, 2019.

Pre-Application Webinar Information: The Department will hold a pre-application meeting via webinar for prospective applicants. Detailed information regarding this webinar will be provided on the website for the MSEIP at http://www2.ed.gov/​programs/​iduesmsi/​index.html.

ADDRESSES:

For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768), and available at www.govinfo.gov/​content/​pkg/​FR-2019-02-13/​pdf/​2019-02206.pdf.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Bernadette Hence, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 250-54, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-7913. Email: Bernadette.Hence@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.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The MSEIP is designed to effect long-range improvement in science and engineering education at predominantly minority institutions and to increase the flow of underrepresented ethnic minorities, particularly minority women, into scientific and technological careers, consistent with nondiscrimination requirements contained in the U.S. Constitution and Federal civil rights laws.

Priorities: This notice contains two competitive preference priorities and one invitational priority. The competitive preference priorities are from the Secretary's Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on March 2, 2018 (83 FR 9096) (Supplemental Priorities).

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2019, and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award an additional two points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1 or Competitive Preference Priority 2, for a maximum of four additional points.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1— Promoting Innovation and Efficiency, Streamlining Education With an Increased Focus on Improving Student Outcomes, and Providing Increased Value to Students and Taxpayers (2 points).Start Printed Page 28539

Projects that are designed to address the following priority area:

Supporting innovative strategies or research that have the potential to lead to significant and wide-reaching improvements in the delivery of educational services or other significant and tangible educational benefits to students, educators, or other Department stakeholders.

Competitive Preference Priority 2—Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills That Prepare Students To Be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens (2 points).

Projects that are designed to address the following priority area:

Supporting instruction in personal financial literacy, knowledge of markets and economics, and knowledge of higher education financing and repayment (e.g., college savings and student loans) or other skills aimed at building personal financial understanding and responsibility.

Invitational Priority: For FY 2019 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an invitational priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1), we do not give an application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

This priority is:

Invitational Priority—Projects that are Designed to Establish, Improve, or Expand Professional Science Master's (PSM) Degree Programs.

Under this priority, we are particularly interested in projects that are designed to establish, improve, or expand PSM degree programs, which combine traditional academic training with specialized knowledge and skills that: (a) Closely align with the expectations and needs of business and industry and (b) prepare students for direct entry into a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career options in business and industry, Federal government, or non-profit organizations.

Note:

Applicants must indicate in the one-page abstract and on the FY 2019 MSEIP Eligibility Certification Form in the application package whether they intend to address one or both of the competitive preference priorities and/or the invitational priority.

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Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1067-1067k.

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Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 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 637. (e) The Supplemental Priorities.

Note:

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

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $5,964,726.

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

Estimated Range of Awards:

Institutional Project Grants: $200,000-$250,000.

Special Project Grants: $200,000-$250,000.

Cooperative Project Grants: $275,000-$300,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards:

Institutional Project Grants: $240,000.

Special Project Grants: $249,000.

Cooperative Project Grants: $300,000.

Maximum Awards:

Institutional Project Grants: $250,000.

Special Project Grants: $250,000.

Cooperative Project Grants: $300,000.

Estimated Number of Awards:

Institutional Project Grants: 19.

Special Project Grants: 2.

Cooperative Project Grants: 2.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: The eligibility of an applicant is dependent on the type of MSEIP grant the applicant seeks. There are four types of MSEIP grants: Institutional project, special project, cooperative project, and design project.

Institutional project grants are grants that support the implementation of a comprehensive science improvement plan, which may include any combination of activities for improving the preparation of minority students for careers in science.

There are two types of special project grants. First, there are special project grants for which only minority institutions are eligible. These special project grants support activities that: (1) Improve quality training in science and engineering at minority institutions; or (2) enhance the minority institutions' general scientific research capabilities. There also are special project grants for which all applicants are eligible. These special project grants support activities that: (1) Provide a needed service to a group of eligible minority institutions; or (2) provide in-service training for project directors, scientists, and engineers from eligible minority institutions.

Cooperative project grants assist groups of nonprofit accredited colleges and universities to work together to conduct a science improvement program.

Design project grants assist minority institutions that do not have their own appropriate resources or personnel to plan and develop long-range science improvement programs. We will not award design project grants in the FY 2019 competition.

(a) For institutional project grants, eligible applicants are limited to—

(1) Public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education that: (i) Award baccalaureate degrees; and (ii) are minority institutions;

(2) Public or private nonprofit institutions of higher education that: (i) Award associate degrees; and (ii) are minority institutions that (A) have a curriculum that includes science or engineering subjects; and (B) enter into a partnership with public or private nonprofit institutions of higher education that award baccalaureate degrees in science and engineering.

(b) For special project grants for which only minority institutions are eligible, eligible applicants are described in paragraph (a).

(c) For special project grants for which all applicants are eligible, eligible applicants include those described in paragraph (a), and—

(1) Nonprofit science-oriented organizations, professional scientific societies, and institutions of higher education that award baccalaureate degrees that: (i) Provide a needed service to a group of minority institutions; or (ii) provide in-service training to project directors, scientists, and engineers from minority institutions; or

(2) A consortia of organizations that provide needed services to one or more minority institutions, the membership of which may include: (i) Institutions of higher education which have a curriculum in science or engineering; (ii) institutions of higher education that have a graduate or professional program Start Printed Page 28540in science or engineering; (iii) research laboratories of, or under contract with, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, or the National Institutes of Health; (iv) relevant offices of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Standards and Technology; (v) quasi-governmental entities that have a significant scientific or engineering mission; or (vi) institutions of higher education that have State-sponsored centers for research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

(d) For cooperative project grants, eligible applicants are groups of nonprofit accredited colleges and universities whose primary fiscal agent is an eligible minority institution as defined in 34 CFR 637.4(b).

Note:

As defined in 34 CFR 637.4(b), “minority institution” means an accredited college or university whose enrollment of a single minority group or a combination of minority groups as defined in 34 CFR 637.4 exceeds 50 percent of the total enrollment.

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

b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement-not-supplant funding requirements.

3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities described in its application.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768), and available at www.govinfo.gov/​content/​pkg/​FR-2019-02-13/​pdf/​2019-02206.pdf, which contain requirements and information on how to submit an application.

2. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the MSEIP grant competition, your application may include business information that you consider proprietary. In 34 CFR 5.11 we define “business information” and describe the process we use in determining whether any of that information is proprietary and, thus, protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended).

Because we plan to make successful applications available to the public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business information.

Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your application any information that you believe is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4. In the appropriate Appendix section of your application, under “Other Attachments Form,” please list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).

3. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. However, under 34 CFR 79.8(a), we waive intergovernmental review in order to make awards by the end of FY 2019.

4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

5. Recommended 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. We recommend that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 50 pages and (2) 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.
  • Double-space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions.
  • 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.

The recommended page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurance and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the biography, or letters of support. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all the application narrative.

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 637.32. Applicants should address each of the selection criteria. The points assigned to each criterion are indicated in the parentheses next to the criterion. An applicant may earn up to a total of 100 points based on the selection criteria. All applications will be evaluated based on the selection criteria as follows:

(a) Identification of need for the project (Total 5 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows the identification of need for the project.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) An adequate needs assessment;

(ii) An identification of specific needs in science; and

(iii) Involvement of appropriate individuals, especially science faculty, in identifying the institutional needs.

(b) Plan of operation (Total 20 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows the quality of the plan of operation for the project.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) Higher quality in the design of the project;

(ii) An effective plan of management that insures proper and efficient administration of the project;

(iii) A clear description of how the objectives of the project relate to the purpose of the program;

(iv) The way the applicant plans to use its resources and personnel to achieve each objective; and

(v) Methods of coordination. (See 34 CFR 75.580)

(c) Quality of key personnel (Total 10 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows the quality of the key personnel the applicant plans to use on the project.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) The qualifications of the project director (if one is to be used);

(ii) The qualifications of each of the other key personnel to be used in the project;

(iii) The time that each person referred to in paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section plans to commit to the project; and

(iv) The extent to which the applicant, as part of its nondiscriminatory employment practices, encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented, such as members of a racial or ethnic minority group, women, handicapped persons, and the elderly.

(3) To determine the qualifications of a person, the Secretary considers evidence of past experience and training, in fields related to the objectives of the project, as well as other information that the applicant provides.

(d) Budget and cost effectiveness (Total 10 points).Start Printed Page 28541

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows that the project has an adequate budget and is cost effective.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) The budget for the project is adequate to support the project activities; and

(ii) Costs are reasonable in relation to the objective of the project.

Note:

The Comprehensive Budget Narrative will be part of the information reviewed under this selection criterion.

(e) Evaluation plan (Total 15 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows the quality of the evaluation plan for the project. (See 34 CFR 75.590)

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows methods of evaluation that are appropriate for the project and, to the extent possible, are objective and produce data that are quantifiable.

Note:

In considering the quality of an evaluation plan, for each proposed objective, the Secretary may consider, among other things, the baseline indicators of progress for each proposed grant year, the methods of evaluation, the types of data that will be collected to assess the final project outcomes and the data collection procedures that will be used, the proposed timetable for conducting the evaluation, and the procedures for analyzing and using both formative and summative data.

Note:

In considering whether an evaluation plan shows methods of evaluation that are objective, the Secretary considers whether the evaluation is to be conducted by an independent evaluator.

(f) Adequacy of resources (Total 5 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows that the applicant plans to devote adequate resources to the project.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) The facilities that the applicant plans to use are adequate; and

(ii) The equipment and supplies that the applicant plans to use are adequate.

Note:

An Applicant should indicate if these resources are available at its institution or at partner institutions or if the applicant plans to acquire them.

(g) Potential institutional impact of the project (Total 10 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application to determine the extent to which the proposed project gives evidence of potential for enhancing the institution's capacity for improving and maintaining quality science education for its minority students, particularly minority women.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) For an institutional or cooperative project, the extent to which both the established science education program(s) and the proposed project will expand or strengthen the established program(s) in relation to the identified needs; or

(ii) For a special project, the extent to which it addresses needs that have not been adequately addressed by an existing institutional science program or takes a particularly new and exemplary approach that has not been taken by any existing institutional science program.

(h) Institutional commitment to the project (Total 5 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows that the applicant plans to continue the project activities when funding ceases.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) Adequate institutional commitment to absorb any after-the-grant burden initiated by the project;

(ii) Adequate plans for continuation of project activities when funding ceases;

(iii) Clear evidence of past institutional commitment to the provision of quality science programs for its minority students; and

(iv) A local review statement signed by the chief executive officer of the institution endorsing the project and indicating how the project will accelerate the attainment of the institutional goals in science.

(i) Expected outcomes (Total 10 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application to determine the extent to which minority students, particularly minority women, will benefit from the project.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) Expected outcomes likely to result in the accomplishment of the program goal;

(ii) Educational value for science students; and

(iii) Possibility of long-term benefits to minority students, faculty, or the institution.

(j) Scientific and educational value of the proposed project (Total 10 points).

(1) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows its potential for contributions to science education.

(2) The Secretary looks for information that shows—

(i) The relationship of the proposed project to the present state of science education;

(ii) The use or development of effective techniques and approaches in science education; and

(iii) Potential use of some aspects of the project at other institutions.

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 (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

3. Risk Assessment and Specific 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 specific 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.

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 $250,000), 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 the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself 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 Start Printed Page 28542$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. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20.

4. 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.

5. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act, the Department will use the following performance measures to evaluate the success of the MSEIP grants: (1) The percentage of change in the number of full-time, degree-seeking minority undergraduate students at the grantee's institution enrolled in the fields of engineering or physical or biological sciences, compared to the average minority enrollment in the same fields in the three-year period immediately prior to the beginning of the current grant; (2) the percentage of minority students enrolled at four-year minority institutions in the fields of engineering or physical or biological sciences who graduate within six years of enrollment. Please see the application package for details of data collection and reporting requirements for these measures.

6. 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. 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.

Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. 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 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.

Start Signature

Dated: June 14, 2019.

Diane Auer Jones,

Principal Deputy Under Secretary Delegated to Perform the Duties of Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education.

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[FR Doc. 2019-13008 Filed 6-18-19; 8:45 am]

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