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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily                        <Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly 

[Federal Register: October 24, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 206)]
[Notices]               
[Page 63668-63672]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr24oc00-114]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3454]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Proposals; 
Fulbright Student Program

NOTICE: Request for Proposals.

SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Programs of the United States 
Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 
announces an open competition for one or more assistance award(s). 
Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions 
described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to 
provide administrative and program services for the Fulbright Student 
Program in Fiscal Year 2002. Pursuant to its grants guidelines 
established cooperatively with the Congress, ``The Bureau seeks to 
promote competition and balance in its discretionary grant-making and 
strives to avoid exclusivity.'' The Bureau is competing the 
administrative functions that support the Fulbright Student Program for 
the first time in the fifty-five year history of the Program. Deadline 
for receipt of proposals is February 1, 2001. The cooperative 
agreement(s) will begin o/a October 1, 2001, pending appropriation of 
funds.

Program Information

    Overview: The Fulbright Program was created by the U.S. Congress at 
the end of World War II to exchange U.S. and foreign students, scholars 
and teachers, providing them with the opportunity to experience 
firsthand the political, economic and cultural institutions and 
societies in each other's countries. In the intervening years, the 
Fulbright Program has evolved into the premier educational exchange 
program sponsored by the people of the United States through their 
federal government, and thus an important element in the conduct of 
U.S. foreign affairs. The Fulbright Program, which now extends to 
approximately 140 foreign countries and involves 5,000 participants 
overall every year, has helped to form and inform tens of thousands of 
the world's leaders in every academic and professional field. The 
student portion of the Fulbright Program will engage approximately 875 
U.S. and 2,700 foreign students in FY 2002.
    The hallmark of the Fulbright Program is binationalism. The United 
States and foreign governments, educational and other public and 
private institutions are all partners in this exchange. In many 
countries of the world, financial contributions from governments or 
public/private sources match or exceed those of the United States. 
Because of its binational nature, the profile of the Fulbright Program 
worldwide reflects a range of objectives and interests.
    The Fulbright Program's grant-making authority is contained in the 
Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-
256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of 
the Act is ``to enable the Government of the United States to increase 
mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the 
people of other countries * * *; to strengthen the ties which unite us 
with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural 
interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United 
States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of 
friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States 
and the other countries of the world.'' The Fulbright Program is funded 
through annual Congressional appropriations to the Department of State 
and receives significant financial support from partner governments and 
private donors worldwide.

Fulbright Student Program

    For more than fifty-five years, the Fulbright Student Program has 
offered grants to college and university graduates as well as to 
creative artists to study and conduct research abroad and in the United 
States. In the creative and performing arts, applicants must have 
completed four years of professional study and/or experience. Tens of 
thousands of U.S. and foreign students have participated in the program 
since its inception. In FY 2002, the Fulbright Student Program will 
send abroad approximately 875 U.S. students and artists to study and 
conduct research and will bring to this country approximately 1,500 new 
foreign students for similar activities. Additionally, in FY 2002, the 
grants to 1,200 foreign students from prior years will be renewed. 
Applicants for this award(s) should submit program proposals and budget 
projections for new students only. Prior year grants will be 
administered by the organizations currently administering the program.
    Responsibility for the management of the Fulbright Student Program 
is currently shared among the Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs of the U.S. Department of State in Washington, bilateral 
Fulbright Commissions in 51 countries and public affairs sections of 
U.S. embassies overseas, and cooperating private sector agencies in the 
United States. Overall policy guidelines for all Fulbright programs are 
determined by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign 
Scholarship Board (FSB).
    Because the Fulbright Student Program is both global and binational 
in nature, its administration is programmatically and administratively 
complex. It must accommodate a variety of circumstances in every 
geographic region of the world and be responsive to and supportive of 
many different constituencies in the United States and abroad, each 
with its own sets of goals and concerns. The integrity of the Program 
requires that it maintain the highest and most consistent standards of 
academic and professional quality in the selection of candidates and 
implementation of projects. While the Program is active in some 140 
countries, it is important that it maintain a single worldwide 
identity.
    Under the FSB's auspices, U.S. citizens are awarded grants each 
year, through a merit-based, competitive process, to study and 
undertake research at universities or research institutions abroad. 
Grant opportunities for U.S. students are determined overseas by 
binational Fulbright

[[Page 63669]]

Commissions and U.S. embassies in coordination with the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington.
    Similarly, foreign students receive grants each year for study and 
individual research in the U.S. Grantees for this program are nominated 
through open, merit-based competitions in each participating country, 
conducted by a binational Fulbright Commission or, in the absence of a 
Commission, by U.S. embassies.

Eligibility Guidelines

    Public and private non-profit organizations with at least four 
years of experience in conducting international exchange programs and 
meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may 
apply to provide administrative and program services for the Fulbright 
Student Program in Fiscal Year 2002.

Options

    Organizations or consortia of organizations may compete to 
administer the entire world-wide Fulbright Student Program, comprising 
both the U.S. and foreign student components.
    Alternatively, single organizations or consortia of organizations 
may compete to administer the U.S. student program and/or the foreign 
student program based on the following guidelines:

For the U.S. Student Fulbright Program, the Competition Is Open To

--single organizations or consortia of organizations wishing to 
administer the program worldwide.

For the Foreign Student Fulbright Program, the Competition Is Open 
To

--single organizations or consortia of organizations wishing to 
administer the program worldwide or;
--single organizations wishing to administer the foreign student 
program for one or more regions of the world. For the purpose of this 
competition, regions are defined as follows:

--Western Hemisphere [Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada];
--Sub-Saharan Africa;
--Europe, [West, Central and East Europe including Greece, Turkey and 
Cyprus] ;
--North Africa and the Middle East;
--South Asia;
--Far East and Pacific.

    Organizations may submit proposals to administer the worldwide U.S. 
student program and the foreign student program in one or more regions. 
The Bureau will not accept proposals to administer the Foreign Student 
Fulbright Program in a single country or group of countries other than 
those in the defined regions. A complete list of countries and country 
programs in each region is provided in the Project Objectives, Goals 
and Implementation (POGI) package.
    At the present time, the Bureau does not administer a Foreign 
Student Fulbright Program for the Newly Independent States.
    Consortia wishing to administer the worldwide Fulbright Student 
Program (U.S. and foreign), the U.S. student program or the worldwide 
foreign student program should designate one organization to be the 
recipient of the cooperative agreement award. Applications proposing 
administration of the Program by a consortium should provide a detailed 
description of arrangements for cooperative work among the partners and 
between the partners and the U.S. and overseas academic communities, 
bilateral commissions and other entities responsible for the Fulbright 
Program.
    The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase 
proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and 
availability of funds. In addition, it reserves the right to accept 
proposals in whole or in part and make an award or awards in accordance 
with what serves the best interest of the Fulbright Student Program. 
Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation 
requirements.

Application Guidelines

    The Bureau will work closely with the recipient(s) of the 
cooperative agreement award(s) and will maintain a regular dialogue on 
administrative issues and questions as they arise over the duration of 
the award. Contingent upon satisfactory performance based on annual 
reviews, the Bureau intends to renew the award(s) each year for a 
period of not less than four additional years. The Bureau reserves the 
right to renew the award(s) beyond that period.
    Depending on the Bureau's final decision on who will receive the 
award(s), the recipient(s) of the cooperative agreement award(s) will 
be singly or jointly responsible, under Bureau supervision, for the 
following activities beginning October 1, 2001.

For U.S. Students

    Program Planning and Management: The award recipient(s) will be 
responsible for recruitment of U.S. students; tracking and monitoring 
of grantees; maintenance of a data base on grantees; administration of 
a central fund used to augment the number of graduating seniors and 
graduate students taking part in the program; preparation of 
statistical reports on distribution of grants by region, degree 
objective and source of funding. Proposals should offer strategies for 
recruitment of U.S. students and plans to enhance the visibility of the 
program and may include other innovative activities.
    Publicity and Applications: The recipient(s) of the cooperative 
agreement award will be responsible for preparation and distribution of 
an ``awards booklet'' announcing grant opportunities, application 
packets and general program announcements, an annual directory of 
student grantees and flyers to publicize the program in the U.S. 
Proposals should address written and electronic communication, 
professional networking and other means, which will be used to enhance 
recruitment efforts. Suggested procedures should take into account the 
Bureau's plan to implement interactive electronic applications to the 
fullest possible extent. The award recipient(s) will be responsible for 
establishing and maintaining a website for the U.S. student program 
with appropriate links to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs' website and websites of binational Fulbright commissions 
overseas. Publicity and outreach efforts should include emphasis on 
recruitment of those groups currently under represented in the 
Fulbright Program, including people with disabilities and racial and 
ethnic minorities.
    Screening and Selection Process: The recipient(s) of the 
cooperative agreement award will provide application forms and accept 
completed applications, both written and electronic, from U.S. program 
applicants; provide appropriate notification to applicants of their 
status on an on-going basis; pre-screen for eligibility all U.S. 
applicants; convene review committees composed of area and subject 
experts to screen U.S. applications to determine which among them will 
be recommended to U.S. embassies and Fulbright Commissions overseas and 
to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
    Post-Nomination Services: The award recipient(s) will prepare 
letters for the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board 
informing successful candidates of their selection; prepare letters for 
all candidates not selected or in alternate status; prepare grant award 
packages for candidates going to countries where the program is 
administered by U.S. embassies and to certain commission countries; 
respond to queries from grantees; prepare Congressional

[[Page 63670]]

notification letters for all U.S. candidates awarded grants; assist 
with pre-departure orientation for grantees going to China, Africa, the 
NIS, Southern Europe and the Baltics and other countries as required; 
maintain data on participants; prepare special reports at the request 
of the Bureau; review medical forms and identify health problems; 
electronically enroll some grantees in Bureau-provided health 
insurance; monitor grantees and provide grantee reports and analysis of 
these reports to the Bureau; prepare recognition certificates for all 
grantees; and assist with emergencies.
    Fiscal Management: The award recipient(s) will manage payments of 
grantee stipends; provide quarterly reports on actual and projected 
expenditures; provide statistical, insurance, and other as hoc periodic 
reports; and monitor and audit internal functions and systems in 
accordance with U.S. Government and Bureau guidelines.

For Foreign Students

    Program Planning and Management: The award recipient(s) will be 
responsible for placement of foreign students at U.S. institutions 
(note that some students are self-placed); development of U.S. 
university support in the form of tuition waivers or waivers of other 
academic fees; reviewing and making recommendations on grantee 
allowances; maintaining data base on grantee information, providing 
estimated costs for grants including tuition, meals and expenses, 
testing, pre-academic programs, cultural allowances and return travel; 
and preparation of special reports on the composition of the foreign 
student applicant pool. Proposals should offer strategies for placement 
and plans to enhance the visibility of the foreign student program and 
may include other innovative activities. Organizations or consortia 
should describe overseas capacities to assist U.S. embassies and 
Fulbright Commission with publicity, recruitment and selection of 
candidates for their foreign student program. These organizations or 
consortia should also address their regional, exchange or other kinds 
of expertise which would contribute to administration of the program.
    Selection: The award recipient(s) will be responsible for 
preparation and distribution of application materials and selection 
guidelines to U.S. embassies and Fulbright commissions; receipt and 
review of applications; distributing testing materials and arranging 
special testing as necessary; and preparation of grantee handbook and 
orientation material.
    English Language and Pre-Academic Training: The award recipient(s) 
will be responsible for designing criteria and projecting costs for 
programs of English language upgrading and discipline-specific 
preparation for selected Fulbright students as required for their 
academic program of study; evaluating credentials, placement and 
supervision of students in these English language and pre-academic 
programs; and evaluating and monitoring programs.
    Placement: The award recipient(s) will maintain and develop 
resources to ensure the best placement of students; maintain contact 
with U.S. universities and knowledge of universities' current 
capacities; specializations and admission requirements; evaluate 
applications to determine to which U.S. universities they should be 
submitted; submit applications to an adequate number of institutions to 
ensure appropriate placement; secure cost-sharing; receive application 
admissions and rejections, analyze data and forward recommendations to 
embassies/commissions; and confirm placement at U.S. institutions for 
self-placed grantees.
    Supervision and Support: The award recipient(s) will be responsible 
for preparation of grant packages for grantees from non-commission and 
some commission countries; review of medical forms; electronically 
enrolling some grantees in Bureau-provided health insurance; monitoring 
and preparation of grantee reports; verification, monitoring and 
maintaining students' correct visa status; verifying grantee enrollment 
in approved academic programs and monitoring performance; reviewing 
requests for renewal and extension of grants; and assisting with 
emergency situations.
    Enrichment Activities: Each year, a series of enrichment seminars 
is held for foreign Fulbright students across the U.S. It is the goal 
of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to include all first-
year foreign Fulbright students in one of these seminars. The goal of 
these seminars is to provide participating foreign students with an in-
depth understanding of American institutions, society and culture. 
Organizations bidding to administer the foreign student program in two 
or more regions should demonstrate the capacity to organize and manage 
at least six substantive three-day regional seminars annually.
    Fiscal Management: The award recipient(s) will manage grantee 
stipend payments, including tax withholding for foreign grantees from 
non-commission and certain commission countries; provide quarterly 
reports on actual and projected expenditures; provide statistical, 
insurance and other ad hoc periodic reports; and monitor and audit 
internal functions and systems in accordance with U.S. Government and 
Bureau guidelines.

Budget Guidelines

    A comprehensive line item administrative budget must be submitted 
with the proposal. It is anticipated that funding for the cooperative 
agreement award(s) which include program administration for all new 
Fulbright students will be approximately $7.5 million. In addition, a 
program budget totaling approximately $40 million for the global 
Fulbright Student Program will be transferred to the recipient(s) of 
the award in quarterly installments. Organizations/consortia submitting 
proposals to administer the worldwide U.S. student program and/or the 
foreign student program should submit budgets to support new students 
only. The current cooperative agreement awardees will continue to 
monitor and provide support for FY 2001 and earlier grantees.
    Proposals must project a unit cost per U.S. and foreign student for 
each world region, provide a budget total by world region and document 
the percentage of time and cost per position for each staff member 
working on the Fulbright Student Program. Further budget guidance is 
contained in the Project Objective, Goals and Implementation (POGI) 
document.
    Organizations competing for all or part of the Fulbright foreign 
student program should refer to the POGI for projected student 
caseloads for each geographic area.

Announcement Title and Number

    All communications with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, U.S. Department of State concerning this RFP should refer to 
the announcement's title and reference number ECA/A/E-02-01.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Dr. Ellen S. Berelson, Office of 
Academic Exchange Programs, ECA/A/E/AF, Room 232, Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, 301 4th 
Street, SW., SA-44, Washington, DC 20547, phone: (202) 619-5376, fax: 
(202) 619-6137; E-mail: eberelson@pd.state.gov to request a 
Solicitation Package, containing more detailed information. The package 
will include all required application forms, standard guidelines for 
preparing a proposal, including

[[Page 63671]]

specific criteria for preparation of the proposal budget.
    All inquiries about the Request for Proposal or any aspect of the 
Fulbright Student Program should be submitted in writing to Dr. 
Berelson. Interested applicants should read the complete Federal 
Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals.
    Any questions or requests for information that applicants wish to 
make to overseas Fulbright Commissions or Public Affairs Sections at 
U.S. embassies also should be submitted in writing to Dr. Berelson for 
transmission to those overseas offices.

To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

    The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's 
website at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/rfps. Please read all 
information before downloading.

Deadline for Proposals

    All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State by 5 p.m. Washington, 
D.C. time on February 1, 2001. Faxed document will not be accepted. 
Documents postmarked with the due date but received on a later date 
will not be accepted. Each applicant must ensure that the proposals are 
received by the above deadline.
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and 15 copies of the application should be sent 
to:

U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Reference: ECA/A/E-01-02, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, 
Room 536, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

    Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary'' and 
``Proposal Narrative'' sections of the proposal on a 3.5" diskette, 
formatted for DOS. These documents must be provided in ASCII text (DOS) 
format with a maximum line length of 65 characters. The Bureau may 
transmit these files electronically to American embassies for their 
review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to receive field 
comments for the Bureau's grant review process.

Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines

    Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must 
maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and 
representative of the diversity of American political, social, and 
cultural life. ``Diversity'' should be interpreted in the broadest 
sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to 
ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic 
status and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to 
adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program 
administration and in program content including recruitment and 
placement of students and selection of grantees for enrichment 
activities. Please refer to the review criteria under the ``Support for 
Diversity'' section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity 
into the total proposal.
    Public Law 104-319 provides that ``in carrying out programs of 
educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not 
fully enjoy freedom and democracy, `the Bureau' shall take appropriate 
steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to 
human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.'' Public Law 106-
113 requires that governments of the countries described above do not 
have inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should 
reflect advancement of these goals in their proposal contents, to the 
full extent deemed feasible.
    Applicants should provide a diversity plan indicating how their 
proposal will serve to increase the number of U.S. Fulbright student 
grantees from under represented communities, as listed above. In 
addition, the plan should include ways the applicant will build 
diversity into administrative and programmatic aspects of the program--
in the composition of screening/review committee members, in foreign 
student grantee placement, through orientation, enrichment and 
enhancement programs for U.S. and foreign Fulbright students, and in 
developing and implementing website and other online resources. The 
applicant may wish to designate a ``diversity coordinator'' among the 
proposed program staff.

Review Process

    The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will 
review them first for technical eligibility. Proposals must conform to 
Bureau requirements and guidelines outlined in the Solicitation 
Package. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully 
adhere to the guidelines established herein and in the solicitation 
package. Eligible proposals will undergo further advisory professional 
review at the Department of State which may include the use of advisory 
external consultants. Proposals may be reviewed by the Office of the 
Legal Advisor or by other Department elements. Final funding decisions 
are at the discretion of the Assistant Secretary of State for 
Educational and Cultural Affairs. All programs and activities are 
subject to the availability of funds. Final technical authority for 
assistance awards resides with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs grants division.

Review Criteria

    Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed 
according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank-
ordered.
    1. Quality: Proposals should display an understanding of and 
respect for the goals and distinguished traditions of the Fulbright 
Program, as reflected in the requirements and priorities of this RFP. 
Proposals should demonstrate a commitment to excellence and creativity 
in the implementation and management of the program, including the 
recruitment of students.
    2. Program Planning: Proposals should respond to the planning 
requirements outlined in the RFP. Planning should demonstrate 
substantive rigor. A detailed agenda and work plan, including a time 
line, should demonstrate feasibility and the applicant's logistical 
capacity to implement the Program.
    3. Ability to Achieve Program Objectives: Proposals should 
demonstrate clearly how the applicant will fulfill the Program's 
objectives and implement plans, while demonstrating innovation and a 
commitment to academic excellence. Proposals should demonstrate a 
capacity for flexibility in the management of the Program.
    4. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve Program goals. 
Applicants should demonstrate established links to institutions of 
higher education in the U.S. and knowledge of the overseas educational 
environment, particularly an awareness of conditions in societies and 
educational institutions outside the United States as they apply to 
academic exchange programs. Applicants should demonstrate prior 
experience or the capacity to negotiate significant cost savings for 
foreign students from American institutions of higher education. 
Applicants should also demonstrate their capacity to provide an 
information management/database system that meets Program requirements, 
is compatible with the Bureau's systems and will advance the Fulbright 
Student Program's plan for implementing electronic applications and 
data storage.
    5. Institutional Performance: Proposals should demonstrate an 
institutional record of managing

[[Page 63672]]

successful exchange programs including: significant experience in 
developing and administering international exchange programs, sound 
fiscal management, and full compliance with all reporting requirements 
for past Bureau cooperative agreement awards as determined by the 
Bureau's Grants Division. In its review of proposals, the Bureau will 
consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated 
potential of new applicants.
    6. Cost-effectiveness: Overhead and administrative components 
including salaries should be kept as low as possible while adequate and 
appropriate to provide the required services. Proposals should document 
plans to realize cost-savings and other efficiencies through use of 
technology, administrative streamlining and other management 
techniques.
    7. Cost-sharing: Proposals should demonstrate maximum cost-sharing. 
Preference will be given to proposals which demonstrate innovative 
approaches to leveraging of funds, fund-raising and other sharing of 
costs.
    8. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate the 
applicant's awareness and understanding of diversity and a commitment 
to its achievement through individual grant awards and institutional 
participation and in other ways in both administrative and programmatic 
aspects of the Fulbright program.
    9. Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the 
success of the Program. The Bureau recommends that proposals include a 
draft survey questionnaire or other techniques plus description of a 
methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives.

Notice

    The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may 
not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information 
provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be 
binding. Issuance of the RFP does not constitute an award commitment on 
the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to accept 
proposals in whole or in part and make an award or awards in accordance 
with what best serves the interests of the global Fulbright Student 
Program. The Bureau also reserves the right to reduce, revise, or 
increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program 
and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic 
reporting and evaluation requirements. Programs must comply with J-1 
visa regulations. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further 
information.

Notification

    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal Department of State 
procedures.

    Dated: October 18, 2000.
William B. Bader,
Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 00-27292 Filed 10-23-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-U



			


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