[Federal Register: September 13, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 178)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 3768]
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Request for Grant
Proposals: NIS Community College Partnerships Program (NISCCPP)
SUMMARY: The Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Department of State announces
an open competition for the NIS Community College Partnerships Program.
Accredited educational institutions offering the two-year Associate's
degree and meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR
1.501(c) may apply to pursue institutional or departmental objectives
in partnership with foreign counterpart institutions with support from
the NIS Community College Partnerships Program. These objectives should
support the overall goals of the Program: to support the transition of
the New Independent States to democratic systems based on market
economies, and to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation
between the United States and the New Independent States on subjects of
enduring common interest to the participating countries and
institutions. The means for achieving these objectives may include
teaching, scholarship, and outreach to professionals and other members
of the communities served by the participating institutions.
The NIS Community College Partnerships Program supports
institutional linkages in higher education with partners from the New
Independent States of the former Soviet Union with funding available
through the FREEDOM Support Act. The Bureau also anticipates issuing a
separate and additional Request for Grant Proposals for the NIS College
and University Partnerships Program which may include eligible fields
and partner countries in addition to those listed in this RFGP.
Eligible community colleges may apply for grants under either or both
of these two competitions.
The Bureau also supports institutional linkages in higher education
with partners worldwide through the Educational Partnerships Program
(formerly College and University Affiliations Program); the Educational
Partnerships Program Request for Grant Proposals was announced
separately and has a deadline of January 11, 2002. Applicants
interested in the Bureau's Educational Partnerships Program should
contact the Bureau's Humphrey
Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch at (202) 619-5289. Other
RFGPs for educational partnerships may also be published in Fiscal Year
Program Objectives and Eligible Fields
This RFGP for the NIS Community College Partnerships Program does
not prescribe specific project objectives, but establishes the
parameters within which applicants are invited to propose projects.
Institutional objectives should be consistent with the Program's goals
of supporting the transition of the New Independent States to
democratic systems based on market economies and of equipping the
participating institutions with a stronger ability to address, through
teaching, research, or outreach, critical issues in the fields eligible
in FY 2002:
Business, accounting and trade; Journalism and media studies; and
education, continuing education, and educational administration.
Institutional Objectives for Applicants
While the benefits of the project to each of the participating
institutions may differ significantly in nature and scope based on
their respective needs and resource bases, proposals should outline
well-reasoned strategies that are designed to meet specific objectives
for each participating U.S. and foreign department or institution as a
For example, proposals may outline the parameters and possible
content of new courses, new research or teaching specializations or
methodologies, new or revised curricula, new programs for educational
outreach, or other changes specifically 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 that do not benefit all
institutional partners are not eligible for funding from this Program.
Proposals should focus clearly on strategies to promote curriculum,
faculty, and staff development, as well as administrative reform, at
the NIS partner institution(s) in one or more of the eligible
disciplines. Projects may result in the development of a new academic
program or the restructuring of an existing program, and should equip
institutions of higher education to contribute to the transitions in
the New Independent States to market economies and open democratic
systems. Plans to enable participants to extend the benefits of the
project to larger audiences through outreach to government, NGO, and
business representatives are especially encouraged.
In addition to demonstrating how each participating institution can
assist its partner(s) to meet institutional goals, proposals should
also explain how this cooperation will enable each institution to
address its own needs. Accordingly, applicants are encouraged to
describe the needs and deficiencies as well as the capabilities and
strengths of each participating department and institution, and how
each institution will contribute to and benefit from the achievement of
project objectives. Proposals that realistically assess institutional
capacities will be better able to outline compelling objectives that
address institutional needs and justify a request for support. To be
competitive, proposals should demonstrate that the participating
institutions understand one another and are committed to mutual support
and cooperation in project implementation.
If the proposed partnership would occur within the context of a
previous or ongoing project, the proposal should explain how the
request for Bureau funding would build upon the pre-existing
relationship or complement previous and concurrent projects. Previous
projects should be described, with details about the amounts and
sources of support and the results of previous cooperative efforts.
Institutions receiving partnership grant awards will be expected to
submit periodic reports on the results of program activities. Proposals
should outline and budget for a methodology for project evaluation. The
evaluation plan should include an assessment of the current status of
each participating department's and institution's needs at the time of
program inception with specific reference to project objectives;
formative evaluation to allow for mid-course revisions in the
implementation strategy; 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
continuing potential to influence the participating institutions and
their surrounding communities or societies. The final evaluation should
also include recommendations about how to build upon project
achievements. Evaluative observations by external consultants with
appropriate subject and regional expertise are especially encouraged.
Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire
program. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns
reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may
provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase,
location, or activity to provide clarification.
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 applicants with greater
resources, all participating institutions should identify appropriate
cost-sharing. These costs may include estimated in-kind contributions.
Consistent with the review criteria listed elsewhere in this RFGP 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 potential to benefit from it.
A U.S. college must submit the proposal and must be prepared to
serve as grant recipient with responsibility for project coordination.
Proposals must include letters of commitment from all institutional
partners. Each letter must be signed by an official who is authorized
to commit institutional resources to the project.
The Bureau's support may be used to assist with the costs of the
exchange visits as well as the costs (up to a maximum of 25 percent of
the total grant) of the administration of the project at any partner
institution. However, governmental institutions except universities may
not charge administrative costs to the grant. Administrative costs
include administrative salaries and direct administrative costs such as
rent, telephones, and postage. Indirect costs are not eligible for
Bureau support under this competition. Although each grant will be
awarded to a single U.S. institutional partner, adequate provision in
the proposal for the administrative costs of the project at all non-
governmental partner institutions, including the foreign partner(s), is
encouraged. More information on partner institution eligibility in this
competition is found in this RFGP under the headings ``U.S. Partner and
Participant Eligibility'' and ``Foreign Partner and Participant
Salary support for administrative activity may be included within
the 25 percent maximum.
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 facilities
as well as through interactive technology or non-technology-based
distance-learning programs. However, the establishment and maintenance
of these facilities at governmental organizations in the U.S. or at
foreign governmental organizations other than universities is not
eligible for funding. Projects focusing primarily on technology or
physical infrastructure development are not encouraged, and the amount
that may be requested for educational and technical materials should
not exceed 25 percent of the Bureau's funding for the project.
Proposals that include Internet, electronic mail, and other interactive
technologies in countries where these technologies are not easily
maintained or financed should discuss how the foreign partner
institution will cover their costs after the project ends. Applicants
may propose other project activities not specifically mentioned in this
solicitation if the activities reinforce the impact of the project.
The maximum award in the FY 2002 competition will be $200,000. The
program awards grants for approximately three years. Awards may be
extended on a no-cost basis beyond the initial grant period by mutual
agreement if progress toward project goals is satisfactory. Requests
for amounts smaller than the maximum are eligible. Budgets and budget
notes should carefully justify the amounts requested. Grants awarded to
organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting
international exchange programs will be limited to $60,000.
Grants are subject to the availability of funds for FY 2002. The
amount of funding available for proposals to the NIS Community College
Partnerships Program in FY 2002 has not yet been determined. In FY
2001, ten proposals were received under this competition. Of this
number, approximately two proposals are anticipated to be funded.
U.S. Institution And Participant Eligibility
The lead institution and grant recipient in the project must be an
accredited U.S. community college. The lead U.S. organization in a
consortium or other combination of cooperating institutions is
responsible for submitting the application. Each application must
document the lead organization's authority to represent all U.S.
cooperating partners. Secondary U.S. partners may include governmental
or non-governmental organizations as well as non-profit service and
With the exception of translators and outside consultants reporting
on the status of project objectives, participation is limited to
teachers, staff, and administrators from the participating U.S.
institution(s). All participants who are funded by the Bureau under the
program budget and represent the U.S. institution must be U.S.
Foreign Institution and Participant Eligibility
In other countries, participation as a primary partner is open to
recognized degree granting institutions of post-secondary education.
Applicants are encouraged to identify partners which share community
colleges' mission of serving the local community. Secondary partners
may include independent research institutes, relevant governmental
organizations, and private non-profit organizations with project-
related educational objectives. Except for translators and outside
consultants reporting on the status of project objectives,
participation is limited to teachers, administrators, researchers, or
advanced students from the participating foreign institution(s). Any
advanced student participant must either have teaching responsibilities
or be preparing for such responsibilities. Foreign participants must be
citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the country of the
foreign partner, and must be both qualified to receive U.S. J-1 visas
and willing to travel to the U.S. under the provisions of a J-1 visa
during the exchange visits funded by this Program. If participants are
not identified in the proposal, the proposal narrative should outline
the procedure through which individuals will be selected to participate
in exchange activities. The U.S. partner should participate actively in
the selection of foreign participants whether they are identified in
the proposal or selected during the course of project implementation.
All participants should be selected because of their demonstrable
qualifications to contribute to overall project goals.
Foreign Country And Location Eligibility
Foreign partners from the following countries are eligible:
Partnerships including a secondary foreign partner from a non-NIS
country are eligible; however, with the exception noted below under the
heading ``Central European Partners'', the Bureau will not cover
overseas non-NIS partner institution costs.
Central European Partners
The Bureau encourages proposals which build upon established
collaboration between U.S. institutions and their partners in Central
and Eastern Europe in order to support faculty and curriculum
development in the NIS and to promote regional cooperation. Funds may
be budgeted for the exchange of faculty between NIS institutions and
institutions of higher learning in Central and Eastern Europe
(applicants planning to submit proposals for trilateral partnerships
with a partner from Central and Eastern Europe are encouraged to
contact the program office).
A proposal may be deemed technically ineligible if:
(1) It does not fully adhere to the guidelines established in this
document 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 foreign country or geographic location is ineligible;
(6) The amount requested from the Bureau exceeds $200,000.
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 cited above is provided through the Freedom for Russia and
Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1992
(Freedom Support Act).
Projects must conform with the Bureau's requirements and guidelines
outlined in the solicitation package for this RFGP. The Project
Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (hereafter, POGI) and the
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.
Announcement Title and Number
All communications with the Bureau concerning this announcement
should refer to the NIS Community College Partnerships Program and
reference number ECA/A/S/U-02-08.
Deadline for Proposals
All copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, DC time on Friday, January 25,
2002. Faxed documents will not be accepted (although faxed letters of
commitment from non-U.S. institutional partners may be submitted as
part of the original proposal), nor will documents postmarked on
Friday, January 25, 2002 but received on a later date.
Approximate Grant Duration
Grants should begin on or about September 1, 2002 and last
approximately three years. Please note that this date represents the
approximate date that successful applicants will be informed. The
program office understands that due to the short notice, it may not be
feasible to schedule activities beyond brief planning visits during the
For Further Information
To request a solicitation package, contact the Humphrey Fellowships
and Institutional Linkages Branch (NIS Community College Partnerships
Program); Office of Global Educational Programs; Bureau of Educational
and Cultural Affairs; ECA/A/S/U, Room 349; U.S. Department of State;
SA-44, 301 Fourth Street, SW.; Washington, DC 20547; phone: (202) 619-
5289, fax: (202) 401-1433. The solicitation package includes more
detailed award criteria, all application forms, and guidelines for
preparing proposals, including specific criteria for preparation of the
proposal budget. Applicants desiring more information may contact one
of the following program officers: Jonathan Cebra (telephone: (202)
205-8379, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) on all inquiries and
correspondence regarding partnerships with institutions in Ukraine and
Moldova; Alanna Bailey (telephone: (202) 205-8266, e-mail:
email@example.com) on all inquiries and correspondence regarding
partnerships with institutions in Uzbekistan or Armenia.
To Download a Solicitation Package via Internet
The entire Solicitation Package, consisting of the RFGP, POGI, and
PSI, may be downloaded from the Bureau's website at: http://
exchanges.state.gov/education/rfgps. Please read all information before
Prospective applicants should read the complete Request for Grant
Proposals as published in the Federal Register and available on the
Bureau's website before addressing inquiries to the NIS Community
College Partnerships Program staff or submitting their proposals. Once
the RFGP deadline has passed, Department staff may not discuss this
competition in any way with applicants until the Bureau proposal review
process has been completed.
Applicants must follow all instructions given in the Solicitation
Package. The original and 10 copies of the complete application should
be sent by the project's lead U.S. college to:
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534
301 4th Street, SW.
Washington, DC 20547
Applicants must also submit the ``Proposal Title Sheet,''
``Executive Summary,'' ``Proposal Narrative'' and ``Calendar of
Activities'' sections of the proposal as e-mail attachments in
Microsoft Word (preferred) or as ASCII text files to the following e-
mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the e-mail message subject
line, include the following: ECA/A/S/U-02-08 and the country or
countries of the foreign partner(s) together with the names of the U.S.
and foreign partner institutions. To reduce the time needed to obtain
advisory comments from the Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies
overseas the Bureau will transmit these files electronically to these
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 of 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.
The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will
review them for technical eligibility. Proposals may be deemed
ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein
and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be
evaluated by independent external reviewers. These reviewers, who will
be professional, scholarly, or educational experts with appropriate
regional and thematic knowledge, will provide recommendations and
assessments for consideration by the Bureau. The Bureau will consider
for funding only those proposals which are recommended for funding by
the independent external reviewers.
Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Advisor
or by other offices of the U.S. Department of State. In addition, U.S.
Embassy officers may provide advisory comment. Funding decisions will
be made at the discretion of the Department of State's Acting Assistant
Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical
authority for assistance awards (grants or cooperative agreements) will
reside with the Bureau's grants officer.
All reviewers will use the criteria below to reach funding
recommendations and decisions. Technically eligible applications will
be reviewed competitively according to these criteria, which are not
rank-ordered or weighted.
(1) Broad and Enduring Significance of Institutional Objectives:
Project objectives should have significant and ongoing results for the
participating institutions and for their surrounding societies or
communities by providing a deepened understanding of critical issues in
one or more of the eligible fields. Project objectives should relate
clearly to institutional and societal needs, including the transition
of the New Independent States to democratic systems based on market
(2) Creativity and Feasibility of Strategy to Achieve Project
Objectives: Strategies to achieve project objectives should be feasible
and realistic within the projected budget and timeframe. These
strategies should utilize and reinforce exchange activities creatively
to ensure an efficient use of program resources.
(3) Institutional Commitment to Cooperation: Proposals should
demonstrate significant understanding by each institution of its own
needs and capacities and of the needs and capacities of its proposed
partner(s), together with a strong commitment by the partner
institutions, during and after the period of grant activity, to
cooperate with one another in the mutual pursuit of institutional
(4) Project Evaluation: Proposals should outline a methodology for
determining the degree to which a project meets its objectives, both
while the project is underway and at its conclusion. The final project
evaluation should include an external component and should provide
observations about the project's influence within the participating
institutions as well as their surrounding communities or societies.
(5) Cost-effectiveness: Administrative and program costs should be
reasonable and appropriate with cost-sharing provided by all
participating institutions within the context of their respective
capacities. We view cost-sharing as a reflection of institutional
commitment to the project. Although indirect costs are eligible for
inclusion as cost-sharing by the applicant, contributions should not be
limited to indirect costs.
(6) Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive
support of the Bureau's policy on diversity by explaining how issues of
diversity are included in project objectives for all institutional
partners. Issues resulting from differences of race, ethnicity, gender,
religion, geography, socio-economic status, or physical challenge
should be addressed during project implementation. In addition, project
participants and administrators should reflect the diversity within the
societies which they represent (see the section of this document on
``Diversity, Freedom, and Democracy Guidelines''). Proposals should
also discuss how the various institutional partners approach diversity
issues in their respective communities or societies.
The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding and may
not be modified by any State Department representative. Explanatory
information provided by the Department of State 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: August 30, 2001.
Helena Kane Finn,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural, Affairs,
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 01-22765 Filed 9-12-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P
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