[Federal Register: October 4, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 193)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 3792]
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant
Proposals: the FREEDOM Support Act/Future Leaders Exchange (FSA/FLEX)
Program: Host Family and School Placement
NOTICE: Request for Grant Proposals.
SUMMARY: The Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the placement
component of the FREEDOM Support Act/Future Leaders Exchange (FSA/FLEX)
program. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the
provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit
proposals to recruit and select host families and schools for high
school students between the ages of 15 and 17 from the New Independent
States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. In addition to identifying
schools and screening, selecting, and orienting families, organizations
will be responsible for: orienting students at the local level;
providing support services for students; arranging enhancement
reinforce program goals; monitoring students during their stay in the
U.S.; providing re-entry training; and assessing student performance
and progress. The award of grants and the number of students who will
participate is subject to the availability of funding in fiscal year
Background: Academic year 2002/2003 will be the tenth year of the
FSA/FLEX program, which now includes over 10,000 alumni. This inbound,
academic year component of the NIS Secondary School Initiative was
originally authorized under the FREEDOM Support Act of 1992 and is
funded by annual allocations from the Foreign Operations and State
Department appropriations. The goals of the program are to promote
mutual understanding and foster a relationship between the people of
the NIS and the U.S.; to assist the successor generation of the NIS in
developing the qualities it will need to lead in the transformation of
those countries in the 21st century; and to promote democratic values
and civic responsibility by giving NIS youth the opportunity to live in
American society and participate in focused activities for an academic
To place approximately 1,200 pre-selected high school
students from the NIS in qualified, well-motivated host families.
To place students in schools that have been accredited by
the respective state departments of education.
To expose program participants to American culture and
democracy through homestay experiences and enhancement activities that
will enable them to attain a broad view of the society and culture of
To encourage FSA/FLEX program participants to share their
culture, lifestyle and traditions with U.S. citizens.
Through participation in the FLEX program, students should:
1. Acquire an understanding of important elements of a civil
society. This includes concepts such as volunteerism, the idea that
American citizens can and do act at the grassroots level to deal with
societal problems, and an awareness of and respect for the rule of law.
2. Acquire an understanding of a free market economy and private
enterprise. This includes awareness of privatization and an
appreciation of the role of the entrepreneur in economic growth.
3. Develop an appreciation for American culture and an
understanding of the diversity of American society.
4. Interact with Americans and generate enduring ties.
5. Teach Americans about the cultures of their home countries.
6. Gain leadership capacity that will enable them to initiate and
support activities in their home countries that focus on development
and community service in their role as FLEX alumni.
Other Components: Two organizations operating as a consortium have
been awarded grants to perform the following functions: recruitment and
selection of students; targeting recruitment for students with
disabilities; assistance in documentation and preparation of IAP-66
forms; preparation of cross-cultural materials; pre-departure
orientation; international travel from home to host community and
return; facilitation of ongoing communication between the natural
parents and placement organization, as needed; maintenance of a student
database and provision of data to the U.S. Department of State; and
ongoing follow-up with alumni after their return to the NIS.
Additionally, a separate grant will be awarded to conduct a one-week
mid-year civic education program in Washington, D.C., for a select
number of students who successfully compete for the Washington program.
Most of the students with disabilities, as well as a select number of
additional students who are identified as needing English language
enhancement before entering their host communities, will attend a
Language and Cultural Enhancement (LCE) program in July 2002, which
will be conducted under a grant awarded exclusively for that purpose.
The announcements of the competitions for these grants will be
Organizations chosen under this competition are responsible for the
(1) Recruitment, screening, selection, and NIS/FLEX-specific
orientation of host families;
(2) Enrollment in an accredited school;
(3) Local orientation for participants;
(4) Placement of a small number of students with disabilities;
(5) Ensuring that all students identified for the pre-academic-year
LCE program have their permanent year-long placement by the time they
arrive at the LCE program in July;
(6) Specialized training of local staff and volunteers to work with
FLEX students from the NIS;
(7) Preparation and dissemination of materials to students
pertaining to the respective placement organization;
(8) Dispersal of program-specific information, such as alumni
activity reports and School Administrator handbooks, to respective
persons involved with the program (e.g., host families, school
administrators, local coordinators);
(9) Program-related enhancement activities;
(11) Communication with the organizations conducting other program
components, when appropriate;
(12) Evaluation of the students' performance;
(13) Quarterly evaluation of the organization's success in
achieving program goals;
(14) NIS-specific re-entry training to prepare students for
readjustment to their home environments.
Applicants may request a grant for the placement of at least 40
students. There is no ceiling on the number of students who may be
placed by one organization. It is anticipated that approximately 10-15
grants will be awarded for this component of the FLEX program.
Placements may be in any region in the U.S. Strong preference will be
given to organizations that choose to place participants in clusters of
at least three students. An option for clustering may include
clustering a minimum of 60% of an organization's FLEX students and
dispersing the remainder. Justification for choosing this option must
be provided. Applicants must demonstrate that training of local staff
ensures their competence in providing NIS-specific orientation
programs, appropriate enhancement activities, and quality supervision
and counseling of students from the NIS. Please refer to the
Solicitation Package, available on request from the address listed
below, for details on essential program elements, permissible costs,
and criteria used to select students.
Grants should begin at the point that the complete applications on
selected finalists are delivered to the placement organizations, no
later than March 2002.
Most participants arrive in their host communities during the month
of August and remain for 10 or 11 months until their departure during
the period mid-May to late June 2003.
Administration of the program must be in compliance with reporting
and withholding regulations for federal, state, and local taxes as
applicable. Recipient organizations should demonstrate tax regulation
adherence in the proposal narrative and budget.
Applicants should submit the health and accident insurance plans
they intend to use for students on this program. If use of a private
plan is proposed, the State Department will compare that plan with the
Bureau plan and make a determination of which will be applicable.
Participants will travel on J-1 visas issued by the State
Department using a government program number. Organizations must comply
with J-1 visa regulations in carrying out their responsibilities under
the FLEX program.
Please refer to Solicitation Package for further information.
Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years
of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be
limited to $60,000.
Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire
program. Per capita costs should not exceed $5,300. 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. Allowable costs for the program include the following:
(1) A monthly stipend and a one-time incidentals allowance for
participants, as established by the Department of State;
(2) Costs associated with student enhancement activities and
(3) Health and accident insurance.
Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget
guidelines and formatting instructions.
Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with the Bureau
concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Office of Youth Programs, ECA/PE/
C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, S.W.,
Washington, DC 20547, tel. (202) 619-6299, and fax (202) 619-5311, e-
mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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 of Education
and Cultural Affairs Program Officer Anna Mussman on all other
inquiries and correspondence.
Please 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 with applicants
until the proposal review process has been completed.
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/RFGPs. Please read all
information before downloading.
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 Monday, November
19, 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. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that the
proposals are received by the above deadline. Applicants must follow
all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and 8 copies
of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44,
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C/PY-02-30,
Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20547.
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.
The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will
review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed
ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein
and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be
reviewed by the program office, as well as the State Department's
Coordinator's Office and Public Diplomacy section at the U.S. embassy
overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to
panels of Bureau officers for advisory review. Proposals may also be
reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department
elements. 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 (grants or
cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.
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: Proposals should exhibit
originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's
2. Program planning: Detailed agenda and relevant work plan should
demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity. Agenda
and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described
3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be
reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly
demonstrate how the organization will meet the program's objectives and
4. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen
long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of
information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual
5. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive
support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant
features should be cited in both program administration (selection of
participants, host families, schools, program venue and program
evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions,
program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities).
6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or
7. Organizations's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an
institutional record of successful exchange programs, including
responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting
and J-1 Visa requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by
Bureau Grant Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of
prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
8. 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. Submission of a sample FLEX-specific draft survey
questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to
use to link outcomes to original project objectives are highly
recommended. Successful applicants will be expected to submit quarterly
reports, which should be included as an inherent component of the work
9. Cost-effectiveness/cost sharing: The overhead and administrative
components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be
kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and
appropriate. Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other
private sector support as well as institutional direct funding
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 legislation pertaining to the
Department of State and FREEDOM Support Act appropriations.
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: September 26, 2001.
Helena Kane Finn,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs,
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 01-24746 Filed 10-3-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P
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