[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 180 (Tuesday, September 17, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57066-57067]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22626]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Parts 75 and 371

[Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.250C and 
84.250D]


Final Waivers and Extensions of Project Periods; American Indian 
Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) Program

AGENCY: Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special 
Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION: Final waivers and extensions of project periods.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary waives the regulations that generally limit 
project periods to 60 months and that restrict project period 
extensions involving the obligation of additional Federal funds. As a 
result, for the 60-month projects initially funded in fiscal years 
(FYs) 2007 and 2008 under the AIVRS program, the Secretary is extending 
the project periods until September 30, 2014.

DATES: Effective September 17, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: August Martin, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5049, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2800. Telephone: (202) 245-7410.
    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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 11, 2013, the Department published a 
notice in the Federal Register (78 FR 34962) inviting comments on the 
Department's proposal to make certain AIVRS grants effective for more 
than 60 months under the authority of Section 121(b)(3) of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). The Secretary 
proposed to waive the requirements of 34 CFR 75.250, which generally 
limit project periods to 60 months, and of 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which 
restrict project period extensions involving the obligation of 
additional Federal funds. The Secretary also proposed to extend the 
project period for the 32 AIVRS grantees from October 1, 2013, through 
September 30, 2014. The proposed waivers and extensions would enable 
the 32 AIVRS grantees to request, and continue to receive, Federal 
funds beyond the 60-month limitation set by 34 CFR 75.250.
    There are no substantive differences between the proposed and final 
waivers and extensions.

Public Comment

    In the June 11, 2013, notice for the AIVRS program, the Secretary 
invited comments on the effect these proposed waivers and extensions 
may have on the AIVRS program and on potential applicants for grant 
awards responding to any new AIVRS notice inviting applications (NIA), 
should there be one. We received comments from three commenters, all of 
whom supported the Department's proposal. In addition, one of the three 
commenters raised four concerns.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes. In 
addition, we do not address general comments that raise concerns not 
directly related to the proposed waivers and extensions.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    Comment: One commenter raised a concern about how a recent GAO 
report would affect the ability of current AIVRS grantees that do not 
have Federal or State reservations to continue serving tribal members 
with disabilities. The commenter also was concerned about the ``effect 
on the capacity and available resources for those tribes who will be 
determined `ineligible' to receive RSA 121 funds to prepare its tribal 
members with disabilities for gainful employment.'' (The reference to 
``121 funds'' refers to the section of the Act that authorizes the 
governing bodies and consortia of governing bodies of Indian Tribes to 
receive Federal assistance in order to provide vocational 
rehabilitation services to American Indians with disabilities.)
    Discussion: This comment addresses an issue that is outside the 
scope of this notice. The Department published a notice of tribal 
consultation and request for comment in the Federal Register (78 FR 
40458) on July 5, 2013. That notice specifically invited comments on 
the effect of a possible change in how the Department interprets the 
definition of the term ``reservation'' that is used to determine 
eligibility for a grant under the AIVRS program. The comment period for 
this notice closed on September 3, 2013. This comment will be 
considered as a response to the Department's request for comment under 
the Notice of Tribal Consultation.
    Changes: None.

[[Page 57067]]

    Comment: The same commenter raised a concern about whether there 
would be adequate funds available to grant awards to continuing AIVRS 
programs and other eligible tribal entities should RSA hold a section 
121 grant competition in FY 2014.
    Discussion: The AIVRS program is funded through a set-aside of the 
funds appropriated for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants 
program. Pending Congress's approval of a new budget, the Department 
anticipates that sufficient funds should be available to hold a grant 
competition in FY 2014 that would fund a minimum of 48 grants with 
project periods that would begin in FY 2015. This is the same estimated 
total number of new grants the Department would have awarded if it had 
conducted separate competitions in FY 2012, 2013, and 2014.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: The same commenter also expressed the need to provide 
technical assistance and training to existing AIVRS programs and 
interested eligible tribes in the development of AIVRS grant proposals 
and grant management. This commenter was particularly concerned, given 
the fact that RSA's current capacity-building projects that provides 
technical assistance to AIVRS projects and applicants ends on September 
30, 2013.
    Discussion: On November 8, 2012 (77 FR 66959), RSA published a 
request for information related to its Rehabilitation Long-Term 
Training program, Technical Assistance and Continuing Education, the 
National Clearinghouse, and Capacity Building efforts. RSA is 
continuing to analyze the comments we received from that notice. 
Funding priorities to address the need for technical assistance, 
including the technical assistance needs of AIVRS projects, will be 
published at a later time.
    Changes: None.

Waivers and Extensions

    The project periods for the current 32 AIVRS grantees, selected 
through the grant competitions held in FY 2007 and 2008 are scheduled 
to end September 30, 2013. However, section 121(b)(3) of the Act 
provides that the Department has the authority to make an AIVRS grant 
effective for more than 60 months, pursuant to prescribed regulations. 
Therefore, for these 32 AIVRS grantees, the Secretary waives the 
requirements of 34 CFR 75.250 and 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which limit 
project periods to 60 months and restrict project period extensions 
that involve the obligation of additional Federal funds. The Secretary 
also extends the current project period for the 32 AIVRS grantees 
funded in FY 2007 and 2008 through September 30, 2014. Finally, the 
Department will not announce a new AIVRS competition in FY 2013 or make 
new awards in FY 2013.
    This action allows the 32 AIVRS grantees to request continuation 
funding in FY 2013. Decisions regarding annual continuation awards will 
be based on the program narratives, budgets, budget narratives, and 
program performance reports submitted by these 32 AIVRS grantees and on 
the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253. Any activities to be carried out 
during the year of continuation awards must be consistent with, or be a 
logical extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of each 
grantee's application as approved following the FY 2007 and 2008 AIVRS 
competitions. The FY 2007 and 2008 AIVRS NIAs will continue to govern 
the grantees' projects during the extension year. These current AIVRS 
grantees may request continuation awards in FY 2013 for project periods 
ending September 30, 2014.

Waiver of Delayed Effective Date

    The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires that a substantive 
rule must be published at least 30 days before its effective date, 
except as otherwise provided for good cause (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). The 
Secretary has determined that a delayed effective date is unnecessary 
and contrary to the public interest. It is unnecessary because we 
received only three public comments on this action, all of which 
supported our proposal and we have not made any substantive changes to 
the proposal. It is contrary to public interest because we would not be 
able to make timely continuation grants to the 32 affected entities 
with the delay. Therefore, the Secretary waives the APA's delayed 
effective date provision for good cause.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that this final extension of the project 
period and waiver will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The only entities that will be 
affected are the current grantees and any other potential applicants.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The final waivers and extensions of project periods do not contain 
any information collection requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order 
12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR Part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the 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. 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: September 12, 2013.
Sue Swenson,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services, delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties 
of the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2013-22626 Filed 9-16-13; 8:45 am]
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