[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 85 (Thursday, May 2, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 25710-25717]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10420]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Strengthening Institutions Program 
(SIP)

AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education

ACTION: Notice.

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    Overview Information: Strengthening Institutions Program
    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 
2013.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.031F.
    DATES:
    Applications Available: May 2, 2013.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 3, 2013.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 31, 2013.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) 
provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs) to 
help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve 
low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the 
institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal 
stability.

    Note:  The FY 2013 SIP grant competition will have two 
application options for institutions. Under the regular CFDA SIP 
number, 84.031A, applicants may address two competitive preference 
priorities. Under the new CFDA number, 84.031F, applicants must 
address an absolute priority. Applicants may apply to both the 
84.031A and 84.031F competitions but can receive an award under only 
one of the competitions.

    Priority:
    This notice includes one absolute priority. This priority is from 
the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and 
definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal 
Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 
2011 (76 FR 27637).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2013 and any subsequent year in which we 
make awards from the list of unfunded applicants 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:
    Absolute Priority--Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies 
for which there is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness.
    Projects that are supported by strong or moderate evidence.

    Note 1:  The purpose of this priority is to support projects 
that have demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. As such, in 
responding to this priority, applicants are encouraged to 
demonstrate how each of their primary activities (of which there 
should be no more than three) proposed in the evidence narrative is 
supported by either strong or moderate evidence. Applicants are also 
encouraged for each primary activity to identify up to two pieces of 
evidence that it deems are the best indicators that this activity 
meets the definition of strong or moderate evidence. Applicants are 
not limited to proposing three activities in their applications. 
Rather, of all the proposed activities, applicants should identify 
which are the primary activities, up to three, and provide evidence 
for those.


    Note 2:  Applicants are encouraged to not only identify the 
evidence-based practices they intend to carry out, but also how 
those practices will be implemented in a way that will change 
institutional practices and cultures, and their overall approach to 
improving results for students. Applicants are also encouraged to 
discuss how funds received for the proposed evidence-based practices 
would fit into larger institutional goals and plans.

[[Page 25711]]

    In addition, applicants should consider how their proposed 
implementation of practices with an existing evidence base presents 
new opportunities for evaluation or knowledge-building about these 
practices that could be used to improve these practices either at 
their institution or in other contexts.


    Note 3:  As published, this priority reads: ``Projects that are 
supported by strong or moderate evidence. A project that is 
supported by strong evidence (as defined in this notice) will 
receive more points than a project that is supported by moderate 
evidence (as defined in this notice).'' The second sentence, 
however, is inapplicable to the priority when used as an absolute 
priority. Only projects that are supported by strong evidence or 
moderate evidence will be considered for funding in this 
competition.

    Definitions: The following definitions are from the notice of final 
supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant 
programs published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 
78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637), and apply to the 
priority in this notice:
    Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) that attempts to 
approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice). More 
specifically, it is a design in which project participants are matched 
with non-participants based on key characteristics that are thought to 
be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, but are not 
limited to:
    (1) Prior test scores and other measures of academic achievement 
(preferably, the same measures that the study will use to evaluate 
outcomes for the two groups);
    (2) Demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, 
English proficiency, ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational 
attainment, and single- or two-parent family background;
    (3) The time period in which the two groups are studied (e.g., the 
two groups are children entering kindergarten in the same year as 
opposed to sequential years); and
    (4) Methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of 
reading skills administered in the same way to both groups).

    Note:  The characteristics cited in this definition are examples 
of variables that might be considered when designing a carefully 
matched comparison group study. When designing their study, 
applicants should consider participant characteristics relevant to 
the specific intervention being implemented.

    Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of, 
for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to 
participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not to 
participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project 
is the average difference in outcomes between the treatment and control 
groups.

    Note:  The types of random assignment mentioned above are 
provided as examples. Applicants might want to consider random 
assignment that is relevant in the higher education context.

    Interrupted time series design means a type of quasi-experimental 
study (as defined in this notice) in which the outcome of interest is 
measured multiple times before and after the treatment for program 
participants only. If the program had an impact, the outcomes after 
treatment will have a different slope or level from those before 
treatment. That is, the series should show an ``interruption'' of the 
prior situation at the time when the program was implemented.
    Adding a comparison group time series, such as schools not 
participating in the program or schools participating in the program in 
a different geographic area, substantially increases the reliability of 
the findings.\1\
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    \1\ A single subject or single case design is an adaptation of 
an interrupted time series design that relies on the comparison of 
treatment effects on a single subject or group of single subjects. 
There is little confidence that findings based on this design would 
be the same for other members of the population. In some single 
subject designs, treatment reversal or multiple baseline designs are 
used to increase internal validity. In a treatment reversal design, 
after a pretreatment or baseline outcome measurement is compared 
with a post treatment measure, the treatment would then be stopped 
for a period of time; a second baseline measure of the outcome would 
be taken, followed by a second application of the treatment or a 
different treatment. A multiple baseline design addresses concerns 
about the effects of normal development, timing of the treatment, 
and amount of the treatment with treatment-reversal designs by using 
a varying time schedule for introduction of the treatment and/or 
treatments of different lengths or intensity.
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    Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose 
designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high 
internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate 
external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate 
internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence:
    (1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in 
this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in 
this notice) supporting the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or 
program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation 
or analysis that limit generalizability;
    (2) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in 
this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in 
this notice) that does not demonstrate equivalence between the 
intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no 
other major flaws related to internal validity; or
    (3) Correlational research with strong statistical controls for 
selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.
    Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts 
to approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice) and 
can support causal conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal 
validity, such as selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-
designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-
experimental studies include carefully matched comparison group designs 
(as defined in this notice), interrupted time series designs (as 
defined in this notice), or regression discontinuity designs (as 
defined in this notice).
    Regression discontinuity design study means, in part, a quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) design that closely 
approximates an experimental study (as defined in this notice). In a 
regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned to a 
treatment or comparison group based on a numerical rating or score of a 
variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an 
application for funding. Another example would be assignment of 
eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain 
score (``cut score'') to the treatment group and assignment of those 
below the score to the comparison group.

    Note:  The types of regression discontinuity study designs are 
provided as examples to help applicants. Applicants might want to 
consider regression discontinuity study designs that are relevant in 
the higher education context.

    Strong evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs 
can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal 
validity), and studies that in total include enough of the range of 
participants and settings to support scaling up to the State, regional, 
or national level (i.e., studies with high external validity). The 
following are examples of strong evidence:
    (1) More than one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in 
this notice) experimental study (as defined in this notice) or well-
designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-
experimental study (as

[[Page 25712]]

defined in this notice) that supports the effectiveness of the 
practice, strategy, or program; or
    (2) One large, well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in 
this notice) randomized controlled, multisite trial that supports the 
effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program.
    Well-designed and well-implemented means, with respect to an 
experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice), 
that the study meets the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence 
standards, with or without reservations (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1 and in particular 
the description of ``Reasons for Not Meeting Standards'' at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/Doc.aspx?docId=19&tocId=4#reasons).
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1057-1059d (title III, Part A, of the 
Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)).

    Note:  In 2008, the HEA was amended by the Higher Education 
Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) Pub. L. 110-315. The HEOA made a 
number of technical and substantive revisions to SIP. Please note 
that the regulations for the SIP in 34 CFR part 607 have not been 
updated to reflect these statutory changes.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 
82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Education Department suspension and 
debarment regulations in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The regulations for this 
program in 34 CFR part 607. (d) The notice of final supplemental 
priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published 
in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and 
corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637).

    Note:  The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants 
except federally recognized Indian tribes.


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

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grant. Five-year Individual 
Development Grants will be awarded in FY 2013. No Cooperative 
Arrangement Development Grants will be awarded in FY 2013.
    Estimated Available Funds: $10,000,000.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2014 from the list of 
unfunded applicants from this competition.
    Individual Development Grants:
    Estimated Range of Awards: $1,000,000-$2,000,000 per year.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,500,000 per year.
    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a 
budget exceeding $2,000,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. 
The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education may 
change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal 
Register.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 5.

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

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: This program is authorized by title III, 
Part A, of the HEA. To qualify as an eligible institution under any 
title III, Part A program, an institution must--
    (a) Be accredited or preaccredited by a nationally recognized 
accrediting agency or association that the Secretary has determined to 
be a reliable authority as to the quality of education or training 
offered;
    (b) Be legally authorized by the State in which it is located to be 
a junior college or to provide an educational program for which it 
awards a bachelor's degree;
    (c) Be designated as an ``eligible institution'' by demonstrating 
that it: (1) has an enrollment of needy students as described in 34 CFR 
607.3; and (2) has low average educational and general expenditures per 
full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student as described in 34 CFR 
607.4.

    Note:  For purposes of establishing eligibility for this 
competition, the Notice Inviting Applications for Designation as 
Eligible Institutions for FY 2013 was published in the Federal 
Register on November 14, 2012 (77 FR 67805), and the deadline for 
submission of the designation of eligibility application was January 
30, 2013. Only institutions that submitted the required application 
and received designation through this process are eligible to submit 
applications for this competition.

    Relationship between the title III, Part A programs and the 
Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) programs.

    Note 1: A grantee under the Developing Hispanic-Serving 
Institutions (HSI) Program, which is authorized under title V of the 
HEA, may not receive a grant under any HEA, title III, Part A 
program. The title III, Part A programs include the SIP, as well as 
the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and 
Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native 
American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, and Native American-
Serving Nontribal Institutions programs. Furthermore, a current HSI 
program grantee may not give up its HSI grant to receive a grant 
under SIP or any title III, Part A program as described in 34 CFR 
607.2(g)(1).


    Note 2: An eligible HSI that does not fall within the limitation 
described in Note 1 (i.e., is not a current grantee under the HSI 
program) may apply for a FY 2013 grant under all title III, Part A 
programs for which it is eligible, as well as receive consideration 
for a grant under the HSI program. However, a successful applicant 
may receive only one grant as described in 34 CFR 607.2(g)(1).


    Note 3: An eligible IHE that submits more than one application 
may only be awarded one individual development grant in a fiscal 
year.


    Note 4: The Department will make five-year awards for Individual 
Development Grants in rank order from the funding slate according to 
the average score received from a panel of three readers. However, 
applications within funding range will have the evidence submitted 
in response to the Absolute Priority reviewed by IES. Those 
applicants whose evidence is found to not meet the requirements of 
strong or moderate evidence will not be considered for funding, 
regardless of where they are located on the slate.

    2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost 
sharing or matching unless the grantee uses a portion of its grant for 
establishing or improving an endowment fund. If a grantee uses a 
portion of its grant for endowment fund purposes, it must match those 
grant funds with non-Federal funds (20 U.S.C. 1059c(c) (3)(B)).
    b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement-not-
supplant funding requirements. Grant funds shall be used so that they 
supplement and, to the extent practical, increase the funds that would 
otherwise be available for the activities to be carried out under the 
grant and in no case supplant those funds (34 CFR 607.30(b)).
    Other: An IHE, if selected, for a SIP award can only receive 
funding for one award under this program. If the IHE scores within 
funding range for both the Absolute Priority competition and the 
Competitive Preference Priority competition (CFDA number 84.031A), the 
IHE may only accept one grant award, not both.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an 
application via the Internet using the following

[[Page 25713]]

address: www.Grants.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet, 
please contact Kelley Harris or Nalini Lamba-Nieves, U.S. Department of 
Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6035, Washington, DC 20006-8513. You 
may contact the individuals at the following email addresses and 
telephone numbers:

Kelley.Harris@ed.gov; (202) 219-7083
Nalini.Lamba-Nieves@ed.gov; (202) 502-77562

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service, 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 contacts listed in this 
section.
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements 
concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you 
must submit, are in the application package for this program.
    Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) 
is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that 
reviewers use to evaluate your application. We have established 
mandatory page limits for Individual Development Grant applications.
    You must limit the application narrative (Part III) to no more than 
55 pages for the Individual Development Grant application. Applicants 
should provide information addressing the absolute priority in the 
section of the application narrative titled, ``Absolute Priority--
Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for which there is Strong 
or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness'' of the grant application 
package. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how each of their 
primary activities (of which there should be no more than three) 
proposed in the evidence narrative is supported by either strong or 
moderate evidence. Applicants are also encouraged for each primary 
activity to identify up to two pieces of evidence that it deems are the 
best indicator that this activity meets the definition of strong or 
moderate evidence. Of the 55-page limit, you may use up to five pages 
to address the absolute priority. No portion of these five pages can be 
used as additional pages to respond to the selection criteria. An 
applicant must include copies or PDFs of all supporting evidence. If 
the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient 
information, the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide 
additional information to support the application.
    For the purpose of determining compliance with the page limit, each 
page on which there are words will be counted as one full page. 
Applicants must use the following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides. Page numbers and an 
identifier may be outside of the 1'' margin.
     Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions. Text in charts, 
tables, figures, and graphs in the application narrative may be single 
spaced and will count toward the page limit.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, and no 
smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch). However, you may use a 10-
point font in charts, tables, figures, graphs, footnotes, and endnotes.
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial. Applications submitted in any other font 
(including Times Roman and Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.
    The page limit does not apply to Part I, the Application for 
Federal Assistance (SF 424-cover sheet); the Supplemental Information 
for SF 424 Form required by the Department of Education; Part II, the 
Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs Form (ED 524); Section A--
Budget Summary--U.S. Department of Education Funds; Section B--Budget 
Summary--Non-Federal Funds; and Section C--Budget Narrative; Part IV, 
the assurances and certifications; the one-page program abstract; the 
response to the Absolute Priority in the section entitled, ``Absolute 
Priority--Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for which there 
is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness;'' resumes; 
bibliography; or letters of support. However, the page limit does apply 
to all of the application narrative section (Part III), including the 
budget narrative of the selection criteria. If you include any 
attachments or appendices not specifically requested in the application 
package, these items will be counted as part of your application 
narrative (Part III) for the purpose of the page limit requirement. You 
must include your complete response to the selection criteria in 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.

    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit.
    3. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: May 2, 2013.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 3, 2013.
    Applications for grants under this program must be submitted 
electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For 
information (including dates and times) about how to submit your 
application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery 
if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, please refer to section IV. 7. Other Submission 
Requirements of this notice.
    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the 
deadline requirements.
    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact 
the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII 
of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the 
application process, the individual's application remains subject to 
all other requirements and limitations in this notice.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 31, 2013.
    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: (a) General. We specify unallowable costs 
in 34 CFR 607.10(c). We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    (b) Applicability of Executive Order 13202. Applicants that apply 
for construction funds under the title III, Part A, HEA programs, must 
comply with Executive Order 13202, signed by former President George W. 
Bush on February 17, 2001, and amended on April 6, 2001. This Executive 
order provides that recipients of Federal construction funds may not 
``require or prohibit bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors 
to enter into or adhere to agreements with one or more labor 
organizations, on the same or other construction project(s)'' or 
``otherwise discriminate against bidders, offerors, contractors, or 
subcontractors for becoming or refusing to become or

[[Page 25714]]

remain signatories or otherwise adhere to agreements with one or more 
labor organizations, on the same or other construction project(s).'' 
However, the Executive order does not prohibit contractors or 
subcontractors from voluntarily entering into these agreements. 
Projects funded under this program that include construction activity 
will be provided a copy of this Executive order and will be asked to 
certify that they will adhere to it.
    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification 
Number, Central Contractor Registry, 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 Central 
Contractor Registry (CCR)--and, after July 24, 2012, 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 CCR or SAM registration with current 
information while your application is under review by the Department 
and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.
    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number 
can be created within one business day.
    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 CCR or SAM registration process may take five or more business 
days to complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, 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 to complete. Information about SAM is available at 
SAM.gov.
    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/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under the 
Strengthening Institutions 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 Strengthening Institutions 
Program (CFDA number 84.031F) must be submitted electronically using 
the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through 
this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application 
package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your 
application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant 
application to us.
    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format 
unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of 
the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no 
later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written 
statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these 
exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that 
is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in 
this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.
    You may access the electronic grant application for this 
competition 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 84.031, 
not 84.031F).
    Please note the following:
     When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find 
information about submitting an application electronically through the 
site, as well as the hours of operation.
     Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time 
stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must 
be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as 
otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if 
it is received--that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov 
system--after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application 
deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply 
with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from 
Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application 
because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 
4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
     The amount of time it can take to upload an application 
will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the 
application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we 
strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline 
date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
     You should review and follow the Education Submission 
Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are 
included in the application package for this competition to ensure that 
you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov 
system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures 
pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 
system home page at www.G5.gov.
     You will not receive additional point value because you 
submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you 
if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your 
application in paper format.
     You must submit all documents electronically, including 
all information you typically provide on the following forms: the 
Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of 
Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information--Non-
Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and 
certifications.
     You must upload any narrative sections and all other 
attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) 
read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or 
fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, 
non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not 
review that material.
     Your electronic application must comply with any page-
limit requirements described in this notice.
     After you electronically submit your application, you will 
receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that 
contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates 
receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The 
Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send 
a second notification to you by email. This second notification 
indicates that the Department has received your application and has 
assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-

[[Page 25715]]

specified identifying number unique to your application).
     We may request that you provide us original signatures on 
forms at a later date.
    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues 
with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting 
your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov 
Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a 
Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your 
application on the application deadline date because of technical 
problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension 
until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to 
enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand 
delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing 
instructions described elsewhere in this notice.
    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC 
time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this 
notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you 
experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk 
Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a 
technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that 
problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The 
Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether 
your application will be accepted.

    Note:  The extensions to which we refer in this section apply 
only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the 
Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed 
to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before 
the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem 
you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an 
exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your 
application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application 
through the Grants.gov system because--
     You do not have access to the Internet; or
     You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to 
the Grants.gov system; and
     No later than two weeks before the application deadline 
date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the 
application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business 
day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement 
to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception 
prevent 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: Nalini Lamba-Nieves, 
U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6024, Washington, 
DC 20006-8513. FAX: (202) 502-7861.
    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the 
mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.
    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a 
commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail 
the original and two copies of your application, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.031F), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
U.S. Postal Service.
    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the 
U.S. Department of Education.
    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do 
not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
    (1) A private metered postmark.
    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
    If your application is postmarked after the application deadline 
date, we will not consider your application.

    Note:  The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a 
dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with 
your local post office.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper 
application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original 
and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: 
(CFDA Number 84.031F), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center 
Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except 
Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.
    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If you mail 
or hand deliver your application to the Department--
    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and--if not provided by the 
Department--in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix 
letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your 
application; and
    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification 
of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this 
notification within 15 business days from the application deadline 
date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application 
Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are 
from 34 CFR 607.22(a) through (g). Applicants must address each of the 
following selection criteria (separately for each proposed activity). 
The total weight of the selection criteria is 100 points; the maximum 
score for each criterion is noted in parentheses. The complete language 
of the selection criteria is in the application package for this 
competition.
    (a) Quality of The Applicant's Comprehensive Development Plan 
(Maximum 25 Points).
    (b) Quality of Activity Objectives (Maximum 15 Points).
    (c) Quality of Implementation Strategy (Maximum 20 Points).
    (d) Quality of Key Personnel (Maximum 7 Points).
    (e) Quality of Project Management Plan (Maximum 10 Points).
    (f) Quality of Evaluation Plan (Maximum 15 Points).
    (g) Budget (Maximum 8 Points).

[[Page 25716]]

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants 
that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, 
the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past 
performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as 
the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and 
compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider 
whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or 
submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or 
activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department 
of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    A panel of three non-Federal reviewers will score the application, 
except for the evidence portion. A rank order funding slate will be 
made from this review, based on the selection criteria. In applying the 
absolute priority, the Department will first develop a rank order slate 
of all applicants and determine which applicants will be considered for 
funding based on their reviewed scores. From there, applications within 
the funding range will have the quality of their evidence evaluated by 
the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) to determine whether it 
meets the definition of strong or moderate evidence. Applicants that 
are found to have insufficient evidence will not be considered for 
funding, regardless of where they appear in the slate. The Department 
will continue reviewing the evidence of applications within the funding 
range until it has a sufficient number of applicants that are highly 
rated and meet the evidence test and the Department has used all 
funding available for this competition. Applicants whose scores fall 
below this group will not have their evidence reviewed. Awards will be 
made in rank order according to the average score received from the 
peer review as well as evidence and study standard evaluations. 
Applicants whose evidence does not meet the requirements for strong or 
moderate evidence as set forth in the absolute priority will not 
receive funding, regardless of their average score received from the 
peer review.
    Tie-breaker for Development Grants. In tie-breaking situations for 
development grants, 34 CFR 607.23(b) requires that we award one 
additional point to an application from an IHE that has an endowment 
fund of which the current market value, per full time equivalent (FTE) 
enrolled student, is less than the average current market value of the 
endowment funds, per FTE enrolled student, at comparable type 
institutions that offer similar instruction. We award one additional 
point to an application from an IHE that has expenditures for library 
materials per FTE enrolled student that are less than the average 
expenditure for library materials per FTE enrolled student at similar 
type institutions. We also add one additional point to an application 
from an IHE that proposes to carry out one or more of the following 
activities--
    (1) Faculty development;
    (2) Funds and administrative management;
    (3) Development and improvement of academic programs;
    (4) Acquisition of equipment for use in strengthening management 
and academic programs;
    (5) Joint use of facilities; and
    (6) Student services.
    For the purpose of these funding considerations, we use 2010-2011 
data.
    If a tie remains after applying the tie-breaker mechanism above, 
priority will be given in the case of applicants for Individual 
Development grants to applicants that have the lowest endowment values 
per FTE enrolled student.
    3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary 
may impose special 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 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled 
the conditions of a prior grant (34 CFR 607.24(c)(2)); or, is otherwise 
not responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN) ; or we may send you an email containing a link to 
access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, 
also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual 
performance report that provides the most current performance and 
financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 
CFR 75.118 and 34 CFR 607.31. 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.
    4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the 
following key performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of 
the Strengthening Institutions Program:
    a. The percentage change, over the five-year period, of the number 
of full-time degree-seeking undergraduates enrolled at SIP 
institutions. Note that this is a long-term measure, which will be used 
to periodically gauge performance;
    b. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking 
undergraduate students at four-year SIP institutions who were in their 
first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are 
enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;
    c. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking 
undergraduate students at two-year SIP institutions who were in their 
first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are 
enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;
    d. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking 
undergraduate students enrolled at four-year SIP institutions 
graduating within six years of enrollment; and
    e. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking 
undergraduate students enrolled at two-year SIP institutions graduating 
within three years of enrollment.


[[Page 25717]]


    Note: While these measures are used by the Department to assess 
the effectiveness of the program, each grantee should develop 
project-specific, measureable objectives that can be used to assess 
whether the grantee is making substantial progress.

    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the 
Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a 
grantee has made ``substantial progress toward meeting the objectives 
in its approved application.'' This consideration includes the review 
of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes 
in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds 
in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and 
budget. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers 
whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in 
its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil 
rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities 
receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 
100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Agency Contacts

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelley Harris, or Nalini Lamba-Nieves, 
U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6035, Washington, 
DC 20006-8513. You may contact these individuals at the following email 
addresses and telephone numbers:

Kelley.Harris@ed.gov (202) 219-7083.
Nalini.Lamba-Nieves@ed.gov (202) 502-7562.
    If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-
8339.

VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to 
the program contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT in section VII of this notice.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF, 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: April 26, 2013.
Martha Kanter,
Under Secretary for Education.
[FR Doc. 2013-10420 Filed 5-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P