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[Federal Register: December 14, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 241)]
[Page 78246-78249]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

[Public Notice 3508]

 Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: College and University Affiliations Program With Serbia

SUMMARY: The Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for an 
assistance award program to support the reform of higher education in 
the Republic of Serbia, within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. 
Accredited, post-secondary educational institutions meeting the 
provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit 
proposals to pursue institutional or departmental objectives through 
international partnerships with counterpart institutions in Serbia. 
These objectives should support the overall goals of the Program: to 
assist the process of democratization in Serbia by facilitating the 
development of comprehensive plans for educational reform; and to 
strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation among U.S. and Serbian 
educational institutions on themes of common interest to the United 
States and to the participating colleges and universities, specified 
below. To achieve these objectives, an applicant and its partner(s) may 
propose approaches including teaching, scholarship, and outreach to 
professionals and other members of the communities served by the 
participating institutions. Eligible fields are economics, political 
science, social sciences, communications, journalism, and law.

Program Information

    Underlying the specific institutional objectives of the project 
funded by this program should be the goals of encouraging the growth of 
freedom and democracy in Serbia through a deepened understanding of 
fundamental issues and practical applications in the development of 
civil society, economic stability and prosperity, or the free flow of 
information. Innovative strategies to address these underlying concerns 
in the pursuit of clearly defined institutional objectives are 
encouraged. Outreach from academic institutions to larger communities 
of citizens and practitioners to extend understanding about these 
issues is also encouraged.
    Funds available under this year's program are restricted to the 
support of linkages with institutions in Serbia. Please consult with 
the program office regarding future opportunities for linkages 
elsewhere in Yugoslavia.
    In addition, the Bureau supports institutional linkages in higher 
education with partners from the New Independent States of the former 
Soviet Union through the NIS College and University Partnerships 
Program (NISCUPP) and the NIS Community College Partnerships Program 
(NISCCPP). A Request for Grant Proposals for NISCUPP was announced on 
July 27, 2000 with a deadline of January 19, 2001. Community Colleges 
wishing to pursue partnership projects with counterpart institutions in 
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan may apply 
under the Request for Grant Proposals for the NISCCPP program, which 
was announced on November 9, 2000 with a deadline of February 23, 2001. 
A Request for Grant Proposals for an assistance award to support 
instruction and faculty training in Business Management, 
Entrepreneurship, and Public Administration at the University of 
Pristina, Kosovo, is currently open, with a deadline of March 14, 2001. 
The Bureau's support for institutional linkages in higher education is 
also provided through the College and University Affiliations Program 
for other world regions, including Europe. The annual Request for Grant 
Proposals for FY2002 is expected to be published in the spring of 2001. 
Applicants interested in any of these additional programs should 
contact the Bureau's Humphrey Fellowships and Institutional Linkages 
Branch at (202) 619-5289.

Applicant Objectives

    In the College and University Affiliations Program with Serbia, 
partner institutions may pursue specific institutional goals with 
support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through 
exchanges of teachers and administrators for any appropriate 
combination of teaching, consultation, research, and outreach, for 
periods ranging from one week (for planning visits) to an academic 
    Both the U.S. and foreign participating institutions should benefit 
from the partnership, although the nature and scope of those benefits 
may differ. It is especially important that proposals outline well-
reasoned strategies leading to specific, demonstrable changes at the 
department or institution in Serbia. For example, proposals may 
describe the parameters and possible content of new courses, new 
research or teaching capacities or methodologies, new or revised 
curricula or programs, or other changes anticipated as a result of the 
project. Proposals to pursue a limited number of related thematic 
objectives at each institution are preferred to proposals addressing a 
large number of unrelated objectives.
    Proposals must focus on curriculum, faculty, and staff development 
at the Serbian partner institution(s) in one or more of the eligible 
disciplines. Administrative reform at the Serbian partner institution 
should also be a project component. Projects should involve the 
development of new academic programs or the building and/or 
restructuring of an existing program or programs, and should promote 
higher education's role in the transition to market economies and open 
democratic systems. Whenever feasible, the participating institutions 
should also make their resources, as well as the results of their 
collaborative work, available to the government, NGOs, and business 
    To provide adequate time to meet institutional project objectives, 
the Program awards grants for periods of approximately three years. The 
strategy for achieving project goals may include visits in either or 
both directions, but no single formula is anticipated for the duration, 
sequence, or number of these visits. However, visits of one semester or 
more for participants from each of the institutional partners are 
strongly encouraged. Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. 
Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further information.
    Although strong budgetary and programmatic emphasis may be given to 
visits in one direction over another, the benefits of these visits to 
the sending as well as the receiving sides should be clearly explained 
in terms of their

[[Page 78247]]

contributions to the departmental or institutional objectives that the 
project is designed to achieve. Exchange visits for the purpose of 
attending conferences are not encouraged except in combination with 
other grant activities and in support of specific educational 
objectives at one or more of the participating institutions.
    In addition to demonstrating the capacity of each participating 
institution to contribute to its partner(s), proposals should also 
explain how this cooperation would enable each of the institutions to 
address its own needs. Accordingly, applicants are encouraged to 
describe the needs as well as the capabilities of each participating 
department as well as the broader social and educational needs which 
the partner institutions attempt to serve.
    Effective proposals will explain the anticipated cooperation in 
ways that demonstrate that the institutions proposed for participation 
in the partnership clearly understand one another and are committed to 
support one another in project implementation. If the proposed 
partnership would occur within the context of a previous or on-going 
project, the proposal should explain how the request for Bureau funding 
would build upon the pre-existing relationship or complement previous 
and concurrent projects, which must be listed and described in an 
appendix with details about the amounts and sources of external 
    Proposals should outline a methodology for project evaluation. The 
evaluation plan should include an updated assessment of the current 
status of each participating department's and institution's needs at 
the time of program inception; ongoing formative evaluation to allow 
for prompt corrective action; and, at the conclusion of the project, 
summative evaluation of the degree to which the project's objectives 
have been achieved together with observations about the project's 
influence within the participating institutions and their surrounding 
communities or societies. The final evaluation should also include 
recommendations about how to build upon project achievements, both with 
and without the Bureau's support. Evaluative observations by external 
consultants with appropriate subject or regional expertise are 
especially encouraged. Proposal budgets should reflect evaluation 
    Proposals must be submitted by the U.S. institutional partner and 
must include a letter of commitment from the foreign partner(s). Faxed 
letters are acceptable. The letters should be signed by persons 
authorized to commit institutional resources to the project. U.S. and 
foreign partner institutions are encouraged to consult about the 
proposed project with the Bureau's program officer in Washington, DC.


    The commitment of all partner institutions to the proposed project 
should be reflected in the cost sharing which they offer in the context 
of their respective institutional capacities. Although the 
contributions offered by U.S. and foreign institutions with relatively 
few resources may be less than those offered by other applicants, all 
participating institutions are expected to identify costs to 
contribute. These costs may include the estimated costs of in-kind 
contributions for which funds are not exchanged (e.g., subsidized 
housing or homestays). Consistent with the ``Review Criteria'' for this 
competition listed elsewhere in this document and with specific 
reference to ``Cost-Sharing'' and ``Institutional Commitment to 
Cooperation,'' proposed cost-sharing will be considered an important 
indicator of each participating institution's interest in the project 
and of the institution's potential to benefit from it.
    The Bureau's support may be used to defray the costs of the 
exchange visits as well as the costs (up to a maximum of 20 percent of 
the total grant) of their administration at any partner institution, 
including administrative salaries and direct administrative costs but 
excluding indirect costs. Although grants will be issued to the lead 
U.S. college or university, the administrative costs of the project at 
all partner institutions, including the foreign partner(s), should be 
included in the budget.
    The proposal may include a request for funding to reinforce the 
activities of exchange participants through the establishment and 
maintenance of Internet and/or electronic mail communication facilities 
as well as through interactive technology or non-technology-based 
distance-learning programs. However, projects focusing primarily on 
technology or physical infrastructure development are not encouraged. 
Proposals that include Internet, electronic mail, and other interactive 
technologies should discuss how the foreign partner institution would 
support the costs of such technologies after the project ends. 
Applicants may propose other project activities not specifically 
anticipated in this solicitation if the activities reinforce exchange 
activities and their impact.
    Bureau policy stipulates that awards to organizations with less 
than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are 
limited to $60,000. The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant not to 
exceed $228,750. Budgets and budget notes should carefully justify the 
amounts requested.
    Projects must conform with the Bureau's requirements and guidelines 
outlined in the solicitation package for this RFGP, which can be 
obtained by following the instructions given in the section below 
entitled ``For Further Information''. The Project Objectives, Goals, 
and Implementation (hereafter, POGI) and the Proposal Submission 
Instructions (hereafter, PSI), which contain additional guidelines, are 
included in the Solicitation Package. Proposals that do not follow RFGP 
requirements and the guidelines appearing in the POGI and PSI may be 
excluded from consideration due to technical ineligibility.

Eligible Fields

    The College and University Partnership--Serbia Program is limited 
to the following academic fields: (1) Economic, political, social 
sciences; (2) journalism/communications; and (3) law.

U.S. Institution and Participant Eligibility

    In the United States, participation in the program is open to 
accredited two-and four-year colleges and universities, including 
graduate schools. Applications from community colleges, minority-
serving institutions, undergraduate liberal arts colleges, research 
universities, and combinations of these types of institutions are 
eligible. Applications from consortia or other combinations of U.S. 
colleges and universities are eligible. If the lead U.S. institution is 
responsible for submitting an application on behalf of a consortium, 
the application must document the lead institution's authority to 
represent the consortium. With the exception of outside evaluators on 
contract with the U.S. institution, participants representing the U.S. 
institution(s) who are traveling under Bureau grant funds should be 
faculty or staff from the participating institution(s) and must be U.S. 

Foreign Institution and Participant Eligibility

    In Serbia, participation is open to recognized institutions of 
post-secondary education, including pedagogical institutes and 
universities, technical institutes and universities,

[[Page 78248]]

and vocational training schools. Secondary foreign partners may include 
non-profit service or professional organizations. Participants 
representing the foreign institutions must be faculty or staff of the 
primary or secondary partner institution, and be citizens, nationals, 
or permanent residents of the country of the foreign partner, and be 
qualified to hold a valid passport and U.S. J-1 visa.


    A proposal may be deemed technically ineligible if:
    (1) It does not fully adhere to the guidelines established herein 
and in the Solicitation Package;
    (2) It is not received by the deadline;
    (3) It is not submitted by the U.S. partner;
    (4) One of the partner institutions is ineligible;
    (5) The academic discipline(s) is/are not listed as eligible in the 
RFGP, herein;
    (6) The amount requested of the Bureau exceeds $228,750 for the 
three-year project.
    Please refer to program-specific guidelines (POGI) in the 
Solicitation Package for further details.

Announcement Title and Number

    All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should 
reference the above title and number ECA/A/S/U-01-15.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Humphrey Fellowships and 
Institutional Linkages Branch, Office of Global Educational Programs, 
Bureau of Educational And Cultural Affairs, ECA/A/S/U, Room 349, SA-44; 
U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, 
phone: (202) 619-4097, fax: (202) 401-1433, email: to request a Solicitation Package. The 
Solicitation Package contains detailed award criteria, required 
application forms, specific budget instructions, and standard 
guidelines for proposal preparation. Please specify Bureau Program 
Officer Michelle Johnson on all inquiries and correspondence.

To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

    The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's 
website at: Please read all 
information before downloading.
    Interested applicants should read the complete Federal Register 
announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the 
RFGP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition 
in any way with applicants until the Bureau proposal review process has 
been completed.

Deadline for Proposals

    All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, DC time on February 5, 2001. 
Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents postmarked 
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 
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and 10 copies of the application should be sent 
to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/S/U-01-15, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 
534, 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 will 
transmit these files electronically to the relevant State Department 
officers for review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to get 
comments for the Bureau's grants review process.
    Approximate program dates: Grants should begin on or about March 
30, 2001.
    Duration: Approximately March 30, 2001-March 30, 2004.

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. 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 
the governments of the countries described above do not have 
inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should 
reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the 
full extent deemed feasible.

Review Process

    Proposals are reviewed for adherence to legal and budgetary 
requirements by Bureau offices responsible for these functions. For 
program content, cost-effectiveness, and other criteria spelled out in 
the RFGP, the review is conducted by an advisory, assistance award-
review panel composed of Bureau and Department officers. Additional 
officers, including geographic area personnel, also review proposals 
for feasibility as well as potential for short- and long-term impact. 
Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of 
State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final 
technical authority for assistance awards resides with a Bureau Grants 

Review Criteria

    State Department officers in Washington, D.C. and overseas will use 
the criteria below to reach funding recommendations and decisions. 
Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed 
according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank 
ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:

1. Quality of the Program Idea and Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

    Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and 
resourcefulness. Proposals should demonstrate an in-depth understanding 
of the region and the challenges facing Serbian educators and should 
describe how the proposed project will contribute toward higher 
education reform in Serbia.

2. Program Planning

    Proposals should include creative, realistic, and feasible program 
plans and a detailed schedule, covering all program and support 
activities. Agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and 
guidelines described above and should consist of goals that are 

[[Page 78249]]

3. Support of Diversity

    Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's 
policy on diversity by explaining how issues of diversity relate to 
project objectives and how these issues will be addressed during 
project implementation. Achievable and relevant features should be 
cited in both program administration (selection of participants, 
program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation 
and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-
up activities).

4. Institutional Capacity

    Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate 
and appropriate to achieve the program or project's goals. A proposal 
should demonstrate a detailed understanding of university conditions in 
Serbia. Proposals should demonstrate a promise of long-term impact, as 
reflected in a plan for follow on activities.

5. Institution's Record/Ability

    Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful 
exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full 
compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as 
determined by Bureau grants management and contracts staff. The Bureau 
will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the 
demonstrated potential of new applicants.

6. Follow-On Activities

    Proposals should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity 
(without Bureau support) ensuring that Bureau supported programs are 
not isolated events.

7. Project Evaluation

    Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, 
both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft 
survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a 
methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives is 
recommended. Successful applicants will be expected to submit 
intermediate reports after each project component is concluded or 
quarterly, whichever is less frequent.

8. Cost-Effectiveness

    Administrative and program costs should be reasonable and 
appropriate with cost sharing provided as a reflection of commitment to 
the pursuit of project objectives. Administrative costs should be kept 
to a minimum. Cost sharing, including contributions from the applicant 
or other sources should be included in the budget.

Grant Making Authority

    Overall grant making authority for this program 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 funding authority for the 
program above is provided through the Support for East European 
Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989.


    The terms and conditions published in this RFGP 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 RFGP does not constitute an award commitment 
on the part of the Government. The Bureau 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.


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

    Dated: December 4, 2000.
William B. Bader,
Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 00-31744 Filed 12-13-00; 8:45 am]