[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 110 (Thursday, June 7, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26445-26452]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-12291]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Gaining Early Awareness and 
Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (State Grants)

AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Education is issuing a notice inviting 
applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Gaining 
Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) 
State Grants, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 
84.334S.

DATES: Applications Available: June 7, 2018.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 13, 2018.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 11, 2018.

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 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at 
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karmon Simms-Coates, U.S. Department 
of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, room 278-54, Washington, DC 
20202-6450. Telephone: (202) 453-7917. Email: [email protected].
    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:

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The GEAR UP program is a discretionary grant 
program that encourages eligible entities to provide support, and 
maintain a commitment to eligible low-income students, including 
students with disabilities, to assist the students in obtaining a 
secondary school diploma (or its recognized equivalent) and to prepare 
for and succeed in postsecondary education. Under the GEAR UP program, 
the Department awards grants to two types of entities: (1) States and 
(2) eligible partnerships.
    In this notice, the Department invites applications for State 
grants only. We will invite applications for partnership grants in 
another notice published in the Federal Register. Required services 
under the GEAR UP program are specified in sections 404D(a) of the 
Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (20 U.S.C. 1070a-24(a)), 
and permissible services under the GEAR UP Program are specified in 
section 404D(b) and (c) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-24(b) and (c)). For 
State grantees, activities must include providing financial aid 
information for postsecondary education, encouraging enrollment in 
rigorous and challenging coursework in order to reduce the need for 
remediation at the postsecondary level, implementing activities to 
improve the number of participating students who obtain a secondary 
school diploma and who complete applications for and enroll in a 
program of postsecondary education, and provision of scholarships as 
specified in section 404E of the HEA. Activities may also include 
mentoring, tutoring, supporting dual or concurrent enrollment programs 
that support participating students in science, technology, 
engineering, or mathematics (STEM), academic and career counseling, 
financial and economic literacy education, and exposure to college 
campuses.

Background:

    On March 2, 2018, the Secretary published in the Federal Register 
the Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary 
Grant Programs (83 FR 9096) (Supplemental Priorities). In order to 
advance many of these priorities, this notice contains an absolute 
priority that encompasses several of the supplemental priorities. 
Because the absolute priority includes many categories from which an 
applicant may choose, and because projects occur over a period of many 
years, we believe applicants have ample opportunity to address these 
priorities in their projects.
    Priorities: This notice contains one absolute priority and one 
competitive preference priority. The absolute priority has several 
categories. The absolute priority is from the Supplemental Priorities. 
This notice also contains one competitive preference priority. In 
accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii) and 34 CFR 75.105(b)(iv), the 
competitive preference priority is from section 404A(b)(3) of the HEA 
(20 U.S.C. 1070a-21(b)(3)) and the GEAR UP Program regulations (34 CFR 
694.19).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2018, 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

[[Page 26446]]

applications that meet this priority. Applicants must address at least 
one priority area in at least three of the following four categories. 
Addressing additional activities or addressing all four categories will 
not increase an applicant's score, but applicants may choose to do so.
    The four categories under this priority are:

Category 1: Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths To Obtaining 
Knowledge and Skills

    Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following 
priority areas:
    (a) Developing or implementing pathways to recognized postsecondary 
credentials (as defined in section 3(52) of the Workforce Innovation 
and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA)) focused on career and technical 
skills that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as 
defined in section 3(23) of WIOA). Students may obtain such credentials 
through a wide variety of education providers, such as: IHEs eligible 
for Federal student financial aid programs, nontraditional education 
providers (e.g., apprenticeship programs or computer coding boot 
camps), and providers of self-guided learning;
    (b) Providing work-based learning experiences (such as internships, 
apprenticeships, and fellowships) that align with in-demand industry 
sectors or occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of WIOA);
    (c) Creating or expanding innovative paths to a recognized 
postsecondary credential or obtainment of job-ready skills that align 
with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as defined in section 
3(23) of WIOA), such as through career pathways (as defined in section 
3(7) of WIOA). Such credentials may be offered to students through a 
wide variety of education providers, such as providers eligible for 
Federal student financial aid programs, nontraditional education 
providers, and providers of self-guided learning; or
    (d) Creating or expanding opportunities for students to obtain 
recognized postsecondary credentials in science, technology, 
engineering, mathematics, or computer science (as defined in this 
notice).

Category 2: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) 
Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science

    Projects designed to improve student achievement or other 
educational outcomes in one or more of the following areas: Science, 
technology, engineering, math, or computer science (as defined in this 
notice). These projects may address one or more of the following 
priority areas:
    (a) Supporting student mastery of key prerequisites (e.g., Algebra 
I) to ensure success in all STEM fields, including computer science (as 
defined in this notice); exposing children or students to building-
block skills (such as critical thinking and problem-solving, gained 
through hands-on, inquiry-based learning); or supporting the 
development of proficiency in the use of computer applications 
necessary to transition from a user of technologies, particularly 
computer technologies, to a developer of them;
    (b) Increasing access to STEM coursework, including computer 
science (as defined in this notice), and hands-on learning 
opportunities, such as through expanded course offerings, dual-
enrollment, high-quality online coursework, or other innovative 
delivery mechanisms;
    (c) Creating or expanding partnerships between schools, LEAs, State 
educational agencies, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, or IHEs 
to give students access to internships, apprenticeships, or other work-
based learning experiences in STEM fields, including computer science 
(as defined in this notice);
    (d) Other evidence-based (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1 and in this 
notice) and innovative approaches to expanding access to high-quality 
STEM education, including computer science (as defined in this notice); 
or
    (e) Utilizing technology for educational purposes in communities 
served by rural local educational agencies (as defined in this notice) 
or other areas identified as lacking sufficient access to such tools 
and resources.

Category 3: Protecting Freedom of Speech and Encouraging Respectful 
Interactions in a Safe Educational Environment, or Fostering Knowledge 
and Promoting the Development of Skills That Prepare Students To Be 
Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens

    Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following 
priority areas:
    (a) Protecting free speech in order to allow for the discussion of 
diverse ideas or viewpoints; or
    (b) Fostering knowledge of the common rights and responsibilities 
of American citizenship and civic participation, such as through civics 
education consistent with section 203(12) of WIOA.

Category 4: Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills 
That Prepare Students To Be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive 
Individuals and Citizens.

    Projects that are designed to address supporting instruction in 
personal financial literacy, knowledge of markets and economics, 
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.
    Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2018, and any subsequent 
year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications 
from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference 
priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award up to an additional 
two points, depending on how well the application meets this priority.
    This priority is:
    We give priority to an eligible applicant for a State GEAR UP grant 
that has: (a) Carried out a successful State GEAR UP grant prior to 
August 14, 2008, determined on the basis of data (including outcome 
data) submitted by the applicant as part of its annual and final 
performance reports from prior GEAR UP State grants administered by the 
applicant and the applicant's history of compliance with applicable 
statutory and regulatory requirements; and (b) a prior, demonstrated 
commitment to early intervention leading to college access through 
collaboration and replication of successful strategies.
    Definitions: These definitions are from the Supplemental Priorities 
and 34 CFR 77.1(c).
    Computer Science means the study of computers and algorithmic 
processes and includes the study of computing principles and theories, 
computational thinking, computer hardware, software design, coding, 
analytics, and computer applications.
    Computer science often includes computer programming or coding as a 
tool to create software, including applications, games, websites, and 
tools to manage or manipulate data; or development and management of 
computer hardware and the other electronics related to sharing, 
securing, and using digital information.
    In addition to coding, the expanding field of computer science 
emphasizes computational thinking and interdisciplinary problem-solving 
to equip students with the skills and abilities necessary to apply 
computation in our digital world.
    Computer science does not include using a computer for everyday 
activities,

[[Page 26447]]

such as browsing the internet; use of tools like word processing, 
spreadsheets, or presentation software; or using computers in the study 
and exploration of unrelated subjects.
    Demonstrates a rationale means a key project component included in 
the project's logic model is informed by research or evaluation 
findings that suggest the project component is likely to improve 
relevant outcomes.
    Evidence-based means the proposed project component is supported by 
one or more of strong evidence, moderate evidence, promising evidence, 
or evidence that demonstrates a rationale.
    Experimental study means a study that is designed to compare 
outcomes between two groups of individuals (such as students) that are 
otherwise equivalent except for their assignment to either a treatment 
group receiving a project component or a control group that does not. 
Randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity design studies, 
and single-case design studies are the specific types of experimental 
studies that, depending on their design and implementation (e.g., 
sample attrition in randomized controlled trials and regression 
discontinuity design studies), can meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) 
standards without reservations as described in the WWC Handbook:
    (i) A randomized controlled trial employs random assignment of, for 
example, students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to receive the 
project component being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to 
receive the project component (the control group).
    (ii) A regression discontinuity design study assigns the project 
component being evaluated using a measured variable (e.g., assigning 
students reading below a cutoff score to tutoring or developmental 
education classes) and controls for that variable in the analysis of 
outcomes.
    (iii) A single-case design study uses observations of a single case 
(e.g., a student eligible for a behavioral intervention) over time in 
the absence and presence of a controlled treatment manipulation to 
determine whether the outcome is systematically related to the 
treatment.
    Logic model (also referred to as a theory of action) means a 
framework that identifies key project components of the proposed 
project (i.e., the active ``ingredients'' that are hypothesized to be 
critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the 
theoretical and operational relationships among the key project 
components and relevant outcomes.
    Moderate evidence means that there is evidence of effectiveness of 
a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample 
that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive that 
component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``strong evidence base'' or ``moderate 
evidence base'' for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``positive effect'' or 
``potentially positive effect'' on a relevant outcome based on a 
``medium to large'' extent of evidence, with no reporting of a 
``negative effect'' or ``potentially negative effect'' on a relevant 
outcome; or
    (iii) A single experimental study or quasi-experimental design 
study reviewed and reported by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the 
WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by the Department using version 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, and that--
    (A) Meets WWC standards with or without reservations;
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;
    (C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative 
effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a 
corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook; and
    (D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, 
county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at 
least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies 
of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs 
(iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this 
requirement.
    Project component means an activity, strategy, intervention, 
process, product, practice, or policy included in a project. Evidence 
may pertain to an individual project component or to a combination of 
project components (e.g., training teachers on instructional practices 
for English learners and follow-on coaching for these teachers).
    Promising evidence means that there is evidence of the 
effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant 
outcome, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by WWC reporting a ``strong evidence 
base'' or ``moderate evidence base'' for the corresponding practice 
guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC reporting a 
``positive effect'' or ``potentially positive effect'' on a relevant 
outcome with no reporting of a ``negative effect'' or ``potentially 
negative effect'' on a relevant outcome; or
    (iii) A single study assessed by the Department, as appropriate, 
that--
    (A) Is an experimental study, a quasi-experimental design study, or 
a well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with 
statistical controls for selection bias (e.g., a study using regression 
methods to account for differences between a treatment group and a 
comparison group); and
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome.
    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that 
attempts to approximate an experimental study by identifying a 
comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important 
respects. This type of study, depending on design and implementation 
(e.g., establishment of baseline equivalence of the groups being 
compared), can meet WWC standards with reservations, but cannot meet 
WWC standards without reservations, as described in the WWC Handbook.
    Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) or other outcome(s) 
the key project component is designed to improve, consistent with the 
specific goals of the program.
    Rural local educational agency means a local educational agency 
that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) 
program or the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program authorized 
under Title V, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
1965, as amended. Eligible applicants may determine whether a 
particular district is eligible for these programs by referring to 
information on the Department's website at www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/reap.html.
    Strong evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness 
of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample 
that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive 
that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``strong evidence base'' for the 
corresponding practice guide recommendation;

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    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``positive effect'' on a 
relevant outcome based on a ``medium to large'' extent of evidence, 
with no reporting of a ``negative effect'' or ``potentially negative 
effect'' on a relevant outcome; or
    (iii) A single experimental study reviewed and reported by the WWC 
using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by 
the Department using version 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, 
and that--
    (A) Meets WWC standards without reservations;
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;
    (C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative 
effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a 
corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook; and
    (D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, 
county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at 
least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies 
of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs 
(iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this 
requirement.
    What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (WWC Handbook) means the 
standards and procedures set forth in the WWC Procedures and Standards 
Handbook, Version 3.0 or Version 2.1 (incorporated by reference, see 34 
CFR 77.2). Study findings eligible for review under WWC standards can 
meet WWC standards without reservations, meet WWC standards with 
reservations, or not meet WWC standards. WWC practice guides and 
intervention reports include findings from systematic reviews of 
evidence as described in the Handbook documentation.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1070a-21--1070a-28.
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 
84, 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 694.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2018 provided $350,000,000 for the GEAR UP program for FY 2018, of 
which we intend to use an estimated $129,666,000 for new GEAR UP 
awards. The estimated funding available for the new GEAR UP State 
awards is $54,833,000.
    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: $2,500,000-$3,500,000.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $3,000,000.
    Maximum Award: We will not fund any application for a State grant 
above the maximum award of $3,500,000 for a single budget period of 12 
months. Applications that request more than the maximum amount, except 
in the case of minimal technical or rounding errors, may be penalized. 
Additionally, no funding will be awarded for increases in budget after 
the first 12-month budget period. As described in 34 CFR 694.1, the 
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education may change the maximum 
amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 18.

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

    Project Period: Either 72 months or 84 months.

    Note: An applicant that wishes to seek funding for a seventh 
project year (i.e., for a project period of greater than 72 months), 
in order to provide project services to GEAR UP students through 
their first year of attendance at an IHE, must propose to do so in 
the application provided in response to this notice.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: States as defined by section 103(21) of the 
HEA (20 U.S.C. 1003(21)), which includes in addition to the several 
States of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the 
District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin 
Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the 
Freely Associated States. Per Congressional direction in the 
Explanatory Statement to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 
(Pub. L. 115-141), States may only administer one active State GEAR UP 
grant at a time. Therefore, only States without an active State GEAR UP 
grant, or States that have an active State GEAR UP grant that is 
scheduled to end prior to October 1, 2018, are eligible to receive a 
new State GEAR UP award in this competition.
    2.a. Cost Sharing or Matching: Section 404C(b)(1) of the HEA 
requires grantees under this program to provide from State, local, 
institutional, or private funds, not less than 50 percent of the cost 
of the program (or one dollar of non-Federal funds for every one dollar 
of Federal funds awarded), which may be provided in cash or in-kind. 
The provision also specifies that the match may be accrued over the 
full duration of the grant award period, except that the grantee must 
make substantial progress towards meeting the matching requirement in 
each year of the grant award period. Section 404C(c) of the HEA 
provides that in-kind contributions may include (1) the amount of the 
financial assistance obligated under GEAR UP to students from State, 
local, institutional, or private funds, (2) the amount of tuition, 
fees, room or board waived or reduced for recipients of financial 
assistance under GEAR UP, (3) the amount expended on documented, 
targeted, long-term mentoring and counseling provided by volunteers or 
paid staff of non-school organizations, including businesses, religious 
organizations, community groups, postsecondary educational 
institutions, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and other 
organizations, and (4) equipment and supplies, cash contributions from 
non-Federal sources, transportation expenses, in-kind or discounted 
program services, indirect costs, and facility usage.
    b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement, not 
supplant funding requirements. Under section 404B(e) of the HEA (20 
U.S.C. 1070a-22(e)), grant funds awarded under this program must be 
used to supplement, and not supplant, other Federal, State, and local 
funds that would otherwise be expended to carry out activities assisted 
under this program.
    3. Other: General Application Requirements: All applicants must 
meet the following application requirements in order to be considered 
for funding. The application requirements are from section 404C(a) of 
the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-23(a)).
    In order for an eligible entity to qualify for a grant under the 
GEAR UP program, the eligible entity shall submit

[[Page 26449]]

to the Secretary an application for carrying out a GEAR UP program 
that--
    (a) Describes the activities for which assistance under this 
program is sought, including how the eligible entity will carry out the 
required activities described in section 404D(a) of the HEA;
    (b) Describes, in the case of an eligible entity described in 
section 404A(c)(2) of the HEA that chooses to provide scholarships, or 
an eligible entity described in section 404A(c)(1) of the HEA, how the 
eligible entity will meet the requirements of section 404E of the HEA;
    (c) Describes, in the case of an eligible entity described in 
section 404A(c)(2) of the HEA that requests a reduced match percentage 
under subsection (b)(2), how such reduction will assist the entity to 
provide the scholarships described in subsection (b)(2)(A)(ii);
    (d) Provides assurances that adequate administrative and support 
staff will be responsible for coordinating the activities described in 
section 404D of the HEA;
    (e) Provides assurances that activities assisted under this program 
will not displace an employee or eliminate a position at a school 
assisted under this program, including a partial displacement such as a 
reduction in hours, wages, or employment benefits;
    (f) Describes, in the case of an eligible entity described in 
section 404A(c)(1) of the HEA that chooses to use a cohort approach, or 
an eligible entity described in section 404A(c)(2) of the HEA, how the 
eligible entity will define the cohorts of the students served by the 
eligible entity pursuant to section 404B(d) of the HEA, and how the 
eligible entity will serve the cohorts through grade 12, including--
    (i) How vacancies in the program under this program will be filled; 
and
    (ii) How the eligible entity will serve students attending 
different secondary schools;
    (g) Describes how the eligible entity will coordinate programs 
under this program with other existing Federal, State, or local 
programs to avoid duplication and maximize the number of students 
served;
    (h) Provides such additional assurances as the Secretary determines 
necessary to ensure compliance with the requirements of this program;
    (i) Provides information about the activities that will be carried 
out by the eligible entity to support systemic changes from which 
future cohorts of students will benefit; and
    (j) Describes the sources of matching funds that will enable the 
eligible entity to meet the matching requirement described in 
subsection (b).
    4. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award 
subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities 
described in its application.
    5. Other: Under Section 404E(b)(1) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070a-
25)(b)(1)), a State must use not less than 25 percent and not more than 
50 percent of the grant funds for activities targeted at the school and 
LEA level as described in section 404D (20 U.S.C. 1070a-24) (excluding 
the provision of funds for postsecondary scholarships required by 
section 404D(a)(4) and with the remainder of grant funds spent on 
postsecondary scholarships to eligible GEAR UP students as described in 
section 404E). However, section 404E(b)(2) of the HEA permits the 
Secretary to allow a State to use more than 50 percent of grant funds 
received under this program for activities targeted at the LEA level if 
the State demonstrates in its grant application that it has another 
means of providing the students with the financial assistance described 
in HEA section 404E.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: For information on how to 
submit an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for 
Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, 
published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and 
available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg.FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.
    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. Content and Form of Application Submission: You must include 
your complete response to the selection criteria, absolute priorities 
and competitive preference priority in the application narrative. Other 
requirements concerning the content of an application, together with 
the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this 
program.
    5. Recommended Page Limit and Format: The application narrative is 
where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers 
use to assess your application. There is no page limit for the 
application narrative; however, we recommend that you present your 
information clearly and concisely.

    Note: Applications that do not follow the formatting 
recommendations will not be penalized.

    We recommend the following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins.
     Double-space all text in the application narrative and 
single-space titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and 
captions.
     Use a 12 point font.
     Use an easily readable font such as Times New Roman, 
Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 75.210.
    a. Need for the project (15 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (i) The magnitude or severity of the problem to be addressed by the 
proposed project; and
    (ii) 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. Quality of project design (15 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the project design.
    (2) In determining the quality of project design, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be 
achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable;
    (ii) The extent to which the project design reflects up-to-date 
research and the replication of effective practices; and
    (iii) The extent to which the project supports systemic changes 
from which future cohorts of students will benefit.
    (3) The extent to which the proposed project demonstrates a 
rationale (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c) and in this Notice).
    c. Quality of project services (15 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be 
provided by the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of project services provided by the

[[Page 26450]]

proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency 
of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible 
project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally 
been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, 
age, or disability.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the project services are likely to provide 
comprehensive mentoring, outreach, and supportive services to students, 
including the following activities: Information regarding financial aid 
for postsecondary education to participating students, encouraging 
student enrollment in rigorous and challenging curricula and coursework 
in order to reduce the need for remedial coursework at the 
postsecondary level, and improving the number of participating students 
who obtain a secondary school diploma and complete applications for and 
enroll in a program of postsecondary education; and
    (ii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the 
proposed project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for 
maximizing the effectiveness of project services.
    d. Quality of project personnel (10 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will 
carry out the proposed project.
    (2) 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.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the project director or principal investigator; and
    (ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and 
experience, of key personnel.
    e. Quality of the management plan (10 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for 
the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the management plan for the 
proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks;
    (ii) The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and 
continuous improvement in the operation of the proposed project;
    (iii) The extent to which the time commitments of the project 
director and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate 
to meet the objectives of the proposed project; and
    (iv) How the applicant will ensure that a diversity of perspectives 
are brought to bear in the operation of the proposed project, including 
those of parents, teachers, the business community, a variety of 
disciplinary and professional fields, recipients or beneficiaries of 
services, or others, as appropriate.
    f. Quality of the project evaluation (20 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the project evaluation, the 
Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, 
feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the 
proposed project;
    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use 
of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the 
intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and 
qualitative data to the extent possible;
    (iii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward 
achieving intended outcomes;
    (iv) The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about 
effective strategies suitable for replication or testing in other 
settings; and
    (v) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well-
implemented, produce promising evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)) 
about the project's effectiveness.
    g. Adequacy of resources (15 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the 
proposed project.
    (2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies and other resources from the applicant organization or the 
lead applicant organization;
    (ii) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in 
the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project;
    (iii) 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; and
    (iv) The potential for continued support of the project after 
Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated 
commitment of appropriate entities to such support.
    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 of Education 
(34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23) as well as all 
applicable requirements of all other Federal laws, executive orders, 
regulations, and policies governing this program.
    For this competition, a panel of non-Federal reviewers will review 
each application in accordance with the selection criteria in 34 CFR 
75.217(d)(3), as required by 20 U.S.C. 1070-a23(d). The individual 
scores of the reviewers will be added and the sum divided by the number 
of reviewers to determine the peer review score received in the review 
process.
    If there are insufficient funds for all applications with the same 
total scores, to the extent practicable the Secretary will consider the 
distribution of grant awards based on the geographic distribution of 
such grant awards and the distribution between urban and rural 
applicants for the GEAR UP program consistent with 20 U.S.C. 1070a-
22(a)(3).
    3. Risk Assessment and Special Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 
200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department 
conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 
3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in 
appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the 
applicant or grantee is not

[[Page 26451]]

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 
$150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your 
integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal 
awards--that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant--before we make 
an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that 
is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as 
the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
(FAPIIS)), accessible through 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 will 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. For 
additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer 
to 2 CFR 3474.20(c).
    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.
    (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee 
with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In 
this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.
    5. Performance Measures: The objectives of the GEAR UP program are 
(1) to increase the academic performance and preparation for 
postsecondary education of participating students; (2) to increase the 
rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary 
education of participating students; and (3) to increase educational 
expectations for participating students and increase student and family 
knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and 
financing.
    The effectiveness of this program depends on the rate at which 
program participants complete high school and enroll in and complete a 
postsecondary education. Under the Government Performance and Results 
Act of 1993 (GPRA), we developed the following performance measures to 
track progress toward achieving the program's goals:
    1. The percentage of GEAR UP students who pass Pre-Algebra by the 
end of 8th grade.
    2. The percentage of GEAR UP students who pass Algebra 1 by the end 
of 9th grade.
    3. The percentage of GEAR UP students who take two years of 
mathematics beyond Algebra 1 by 12th grade.
    4. The percentage of GEAR UP students who are on track for 
graduation at the end of each grade.
    5. The percentage of GEAR UP students who are on track to apply for 
college as measured by completion of the SAT or ACT by the end of 11th 
grade.
    6. The percentage of GEAR UP students who graduate from high 
school.
    7. The percentage of GEAR UP students who complete the Free 
Application for Federal Student Aid.
    8. The percentage of GEAR UP students and former GEAR UP students 
who are enrolled at an IHE.
    9. The percentage of GEAR UP students who place into college-level 
math and English without need for remediation.
    10. The percentage of current GEAR UP students and former GEAR UP 
students who are on track to graduate from an IHE one year after 
enrolling in an IHE.
    In addition, to assess the efficiency of the program, we track the 
average cost, in Federal funds, of achieving a successful outcome, 
where success is defined as enrollment in a program of undergraduate 
instruction at an IHE of GEAR UP students immediately after high school 
graduation. These performance measures constitute GEAR UP's indicators 
of the success of the program. Accordingly, we request that applicants 
include these performance measures in conceptualizing the design, 
implementation, and evaluation of their proposed projects.
    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.

[[Page 26452]]

    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) as well as all applicable 
requirements, and policies governing this program.

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 
one of the program contact persons 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 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 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: June 4, 2018.
Frank T. Brogan,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Delegated the duties of the 
Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy 
Development, Delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of 
Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2018-12291 Filed 6-6-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P