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

[Federal Register: September 13, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 178)]
[Notices]               
[Page 47712-47716]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13se01-94]                         
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
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.

Program Overview

    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

[[Page 47713]]

Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch at (202) 619-5289. Other 
RFGPs for educational partnerships may also be published in Fiscal Year 
2002.

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 
whole.
    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.

Budget Guidelines

    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 
Eligibility.''
    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

[[Page 47714]]

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 
professional organizations.
    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. 
citizens.

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:
    Armenia;
    Moldova;
    Ukraine;
    Uzbekistan.
    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).

Ineligibility

    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.

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 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 
Proposal Submission

[[Page 47715]]

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 
first semester.

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: jcebra@pd.state.gov) on all inquiries and 
correspondence regarding partnerships with institutions in Ukraine and 
Moldova; Alanna Bailey (telephone: (202) 205-8266, e-mail: 
abailey@pd.state.gov) 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 
downloading.
    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.

Submissions

    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
SA-44
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Ref: ECA/A/S/U-02-08
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: partnerships@pd.state.gov. 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 
offices.

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.

Review Process

    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.

Review Criteria

    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.

[[Page 47716]]

    (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 
economies.
    (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 
objectives.
    (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.

Notice

    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.

Notification

    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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