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Notice

Applications for New Awards; Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success Program

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2020 for the Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success (CEVSS) Program, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.116G. This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1894-0006.

DATES:

Applications Available: October 5, 2020.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: November 4, 2020.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: January 4, 2021.

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.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kelly Harris, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 268-30, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-7346. Email: Kelly.Harris@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 purpose of this program is to encourage institutions of higher education (IHEs) to develop model programs to support veteran student success in postsecondary education by coordinating services to address the academic, financial, Start Printed Page 62716physical, and social needs of veteran students.

Priorities: This notice contains one absolute priority and two competitive preference priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), the absolute priority is from the activities specified in section 873 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). Competitive Preference Priority 1 is from the notice of final administrative priorities for discretionary grant programs (Administrative Priorities) published in the Federal Register on March 9, 2020 (85 FR 13640). Competitive Preference Priority 2 is from the Notice of Final Priority for Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2019 (84 FR 65300) (Opportunity Zones NFP).

Absolute Priority: For FY 2020 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

Projects that include the following required activities:

(a) Establishing a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success on the campus of the institution to provide a single point of contact to coordinate comprehensive support services for veteran students;

(b) Establishing a veteran student support team, including representatives from the offices of the institution responsible for admissions, registration, financial aid, veterans benefits, academic advising, student health, personal or mental health counseling, career advising, disabilities services, and any other office of the institution that provides support to veteran students on campus;

(c) Providing a coordinator whose primary responsibility is to coordinate the model program;

(d) Monitoring the rates of veteran student enrollment, persistence, and completion; and

(e) Developing a plan to sustain the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success after the grant period.

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2020 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, and one additional point to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 2, for a maximum of up to three additional points.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1—Applications From New Potential Grantees. (2 points)

Under this priority, an applicant must demonstrate that the applicant has never received a grant, including through membership in a group application submitted in accordance with 34 CFR 75.127-75.129, under the CEVSS program.

Competitive Preference Priority 2—Spurring Investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones. (1 point)

Under this priority, an applicant must demonstrate the following:

(a) The area in which the applicant proposes to provide services overlaps with a Qualified Opportunity Zone, as designated by the Secretary of the Treasury under section 1400Z-1 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). An applicant must—

(i) Provide the census tract number of the Qualified Opportunity Zone(s) in which it proposes to provide services; and

(ii) Describe how the applicant will provide services in the Qualified Opportunity Zone(s).

Note:

Applicants addressing this priority could consider indicating how they plan to conduct outreach and recruitment of veterans that reside in Qualified Opportunity Zones which, compared to areas that are not Qualified Opportunity Zones, have higher average poverty rates, lower median household incomes, higher unemployment rates, and lower levels of educational attainment.[1]

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1161t.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The Administrative Priorities. (e) The Opportunity Zones NFP.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $6,930,000.

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: $433,000 to $450,000 for up to 36 months.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $441,500 for up to 36 months.

Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $450,000 for a 36-month period.

Estimated Number of Awards: 16.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 36 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs and consortia of IHEs.

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. 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.

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

4. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative 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:Start Printed Page 62717

  • 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, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, and 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 the cover sheet; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract and the bibliography. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative.

Note:

The Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs Form (ED 524) Sections A-C are not the same as the narrative response to the Budget section of the selection criteria.

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210. Applicants should address each of the following selection criteria separately for each proposed activity. The selection criteria are worth a total of 100 points; the maximum score for each criterion is noted in parentheses.

(a) Need for project. (Maximum 10 points) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project. In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

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

(2) The extent to which the proposed project will provide services or otherwise address the needs of students at risk of educational failure.

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

(b) Significance. (Maximum 10 points) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project. In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the needs of the target population.

(2) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project.

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

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

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

(3) The extent to which the proposed project is designed to build capacity and yield results that will extend beyond the period of Federal financial assistance.

(d) Quality of project personnel. (Maximum 15 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project.

(1) In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

(2) In addition, the Secretary considers:

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

(ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel.

Note:

As stated in the absolute priority for this competition, a proposed Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success must have a coordinator whose primary responsibility is to coordinate the model program. In response to this selection criterion, the application must describe the qualifications of this individual, the members of the veteran student support team described in the absolute priority, and any other individuals who will help carry out the proposed project. The grant project director may or may not be the coordinator of the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success. Applicants should consider emphasizing how the training and experience of veteran employees staffing the project, if applicable, will support the goals of the project.

(e) Adequacy of resources. (Maximum 20 points) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

(1) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the lead applicant organization.

(2) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the number of persons to be served and to the anticipated results and benefits.

(3) The potential for continued support of the project after Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated commitment of appropriate entities to such support.

Note:

A budget summary and budget narrative attached to your proposal should itemize the support you are requesting through the CEVSS Program.

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

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

(2) The extent to which the methods of evaluation provide for examining the effectiveness of the project implementation strategies.

(3) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide timely guidance for quality assurance.

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 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). The projects must also be awarded and operated in a manner consistent with nondiscrimination requirements contained in the U.S. Constitution.

A panel of two non-Federal reviewers will review and score each application in accordance with the selection criteria. A rank order funding slate will be made from this review. Awards will be made in rank order according to the Start Printed Page 62718average score received from the peer review and from the competitive preference priorities addressed by the applicant.

If the Secretary has insufficient funding to award multiple applications with the same score, consistent with section 873(d)(2)(A) and (B) of the HEA, in making a selection, the Secretary will consider (a) the number of veteran students enrolled at each IHE; and (b) the need for model programs to address the needs of veteran students at a wide range of IHEs, including the need to provide (i) an equitable distribution of such grants to IHEs of various types and sizes; (ii) an equitable geographic distribution of such grants; and (iii) an equitable distribution of such grants among rural and urban areas.

3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this program 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 $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 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 34 CFR 75.110, the Secretary has established the following Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) performance measures for the CEVSS Program: (1) The extent to which the project is institutionalized at the end of the project period; and (2) The extent to which funded projects increase enrollment, persistence, and completion rates of veteran students at their institutions.

These measures constitute the Department's indicators of success for this program. Consequently, we advise an applicant for a grant under this program to give careful consideration to these measures in conceptualizing the approach and evaluation for its proposed project.

If funded, you will be required to collect and report data in your project's annual performance report (34 CFR 75.590).

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 Start Printed Page 62719your search to documents published by the Department.

Start Signature

Robert L. King,

Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  Brett Theodos, Brady Meixell, and Carl Hedman, “Did States Maximize Their Opportunity Zones Selections?” Urban Institute, 2018, available at: https://www.urban.org/​sites/​default/​files/​publication/​98445/​did_​states_​maximize_​their_​opportunity_​zone_​selections_​7.pdf.

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[FR Doc. 2020-21886 Filed 10-2-20; 8:45 am]

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