[Federal Register: April 11, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 70)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 3974]
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant
Proposals: Burma Refugee Scholarship Program
SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the
Burma Refugee Scholarship Program (BRSP). Public and private non-profit
organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code
section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to develop a scholarship
program for approximately five Burmese students and professionals
living in India as refugees. The BRSP scholarship recipients will
receive undergraduate, graduate, or specialized training in a variety
of fields at U.S. educational institutions for up to a three-year
Overview: In 1990, at the request of Congress, the Bureau
established the Burma Refugee Scholarship Program. Public Law 101-246
directed the Bureau to provide grants to Burmese students and
professionals who fled Burmese repression after 1988 and are now living
The goal of the BRSP is to support democratic development in Burma
by helping to educate potential leaders who could assist with Burma's
future transition to a democratic government. The program ensures that
selected Burmese, who are one day expected to assume leadership roles
in their country, have an opportunity to pursue higher education in the
U.S. and to obtain firsthand knowledge of American democratic
institutions. It is the Bureau's intent to provide grantees with
programs of the highest quality that meet the students' academic and
personal needs and to further the Bureau's mission to promote mutual
understanding. At the present time, the BRSP grantees do not return to
Burma following their grants, but are given Significant Public Benefit
Parole (asylum) in the U.S.
Guidelines: Program administration activities should cover the time
period from approximately August 31, 2002--December 31, 2005. The
projected grantee caseload is expected to be approximately five new
students, who would ideally begin U.S.
English language training in late summer/ early fall 2003. BRSP
scholarships are offered for up to two years of specialized training or
academic study at the undergraduate or graduate level, with the
provision of up to one year of pre-academic English language training.
Students with undergraduate degrees who are bridging to a master's
program would also be eligible.
The successful applicant organization will have responsibility for
program administration, which includes the recruitment and selection of
eligible Burmese candidates living in India, the placement of students
at an appropriate U.S. academic institution, and the supervision of
students' academic programs and personal adjustment to the United
Administration in the Region: The organization must work closely
with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S.
Embassy in India to coordinate appropriate documentation for BRSP
grantees' entry into the United States.
Applicant proposals should include a plan to provide for publicity,
recruitment, and selection in India. The organization will be
responsible for administering the program through its own resources and
subcontractors, as required. The organization must also provide
relocation or transition assistance to the students in the U.S. at the
time their studies are terminated.
Requirements and Implementation: The proposal should respond to and
describe the following major requirements:
--Planning and monitoring the entire exchange program including
--publicizing the program to appropriate audiences in India using
such methods as media, alumni networks, local educational institutions,
--distributing, answering inquiries about, and receiving
applications. (This may require the assistance of volunteers or paid
staff in the region and/or special mailing arrangements);
--selecting and notifying participants;
--planning relevant travel;
--placing at U.S. universities;
--providing on-going advising and student services;
--conducting cross cultural counseling;
--planning cultural and community enrichment activities about the U.S.;
--organizing internships and professional development;
--providing evaluation and alumni activities; and
--providing careful fiscal management.
To the extent possible, the applicant should designate a contact
person in India who would provide assistance with dissemination and
submission of applications.
Length of Program: The proposed length of the Burmese refugee
scholarships is up to three years--up to one year of intensive English-
language training followed by up to two years of academic training. The
duration of the scholarship grant should not exceed three years.
Students must understand this policy in advance. Where there are
compelling circumstances, at the discretion of the project director and
the Bureau's program officer, students may receive a limited extension
to complete their degrees. Summer periods should be used for a mix of
academic, professional, and cultural enrichment activities.
Pre-academic and English-Language Training: Applicants must
describe plans for pre-academic preparation and English-language
training, and for administering TOEFL or other test(s) as required by
applicant institutions. It is assumed that most participants in this
scholarship program will need up to one year of English-language
instruction. Several levels of intensive English-language courses, from
beginning to advanced, should be made available. The Bureau recommends
that participants be tested immediately after the initial orientation
to determine which level of English-language courses is appropriate.
Students who need additional instruction beyond the first year will be
required to take the additional instruction at their placement
Recruitment: The recruitment material and scholarship publicity
should provide all relevant information to potential applicants.
The key conditions, benefits, and terms of the program--what is,
and what is not covered under the grant--should be fully described to
candidates and nominees before they accept an award and travel to the
U.S. The description of study opportunities should be basic and include
essential information for applicants who are unfamiliar with the U.S.
educational system, and the policy on dependents should be described.
Stipends: Please address the question of participant stipend levels
in the narrative, including what expenses the stipend is intended to
cover and the estimated monthly cost of housing provided to students.
The current stipend level is $1025 per month.
Fields of Study: Eligibility fields for the FY-02 program should
respond to critical development needs in Burma, promote mutual
understanding and potential linkages with the U.S., and attract
academically qualified students who are likely to become future leaders
in Burma. The program announcement might include a statement such as:
``Eligible fields of study are drawn from the standard university
curriculum, with priority given to agriculture, business
administration, community/public health, economics, education,
environmental studies, journalism, legal studies, natural resources
management, political science, and public administration. If a subject
area is proposed that is not among these priority fields, candidates
should give special attention to explaining how this course of study
would support the goals of the program.'' The final list of eligible
fields and the text of the announcement must be reviewed and approved
by the Office of Academic Programs, in consultation with the Bureau's
East Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau (EAP/PD), prior to program
Selection Criteria: The Burma Refugee Scholarship Program is
targeted toward Burmese students and professionals who reside outside
Burma. The proposal should outline the selection criteria and selection
process for the program. A corresponding statement of the selection
criteria should be included in the program announcement for potential
applicants. The leadership elements and the expectation that students
will be active alumni following the conclusion of the program should be
emphasized. Applicants should work closely with the Bureau in
developing the selection criteria.
Timeline: The proposal should include a projected timeline, from
the first recruitment announcement to student arrival and placement in
the U.S., which takes into consideration the logistical and
communications obstacles in the region. These include immigration
requirements, travel arrangements, obtaining student records, and other
time-consuming activities. The timeline should include dates of key
events, such as ``candidates notified,'' ``pre-arrival materials
U.S. Educational System, American Culture, and Institutions: It is
essential that prior to arrival, as well as during orientation,
applicants and participants be informed of the general nature,
philosophy, and goals of U.S. higher education, particularly with
regard to the broad scope of a liberal arts bachelor's degree program.
Applicants and participants should clearly understand that they will be
required to take courses in a variety of academic fields and should be
briefed about the specifics of this grant. Students should receive
guidance from the academic advisor to assist them in choosing
To support the mutual understanding goal of the exchange, the
Bureau is particularly interested in opportunities for academic and
enrichment experiences related to U.S. institutions, society, and
culture. It is recommended that the applicant stipulate that students
take one or more courses in a U.S. Studies field, such as American
history, literature, or government. The Bureau welcomes other creative
ideas for exposing students to American institutions, such as
discussion groups on U.S. issues, visits to political campaign offices
and polling places, attendance at school board or city council
meetings, exposure to American religious institutions, and civic-
related volunteer work. Student attendance at museums, concerts, plays,
cultural events featuring American content should be encouraged and
facilitated whenever possible. The awardee will be requested to keep
the Bureau informed of the progress of this portion of the program
throughout the year.
Program Activities: Applicants should describe plans for:
Orientation, including pre-departure orientation; goals and approaches
for the academic portion of the program, including any special
activities such as internships or academic enrichment; cultural and
community projects; evaluation and follow-up; and alumni-tracking. For
example, volunteer work, student presentations to the local community,
and matching of students with a local host family might be among the
enrichment activities proposed. Internships should be designed to
provide a close match with a student's field of academic or
professional interest. Applicants must demonstrate that they can
provide support systems (such as tutoring, counseling, host family,
mentor or buddy system, consultation with student advisor and project
director) to the students during the program.
Pre-arrival Information: Applicants should provide a sample of the
pre-arrival information. Information should be complete and detailed.
Key points concerning academic requirements, academic departments and
available courses, housing, what to pack, personal budgeting
considerations, policies on dependents, and other critical issues
should be included in the material. The material should be designed to
serve as a useful post-arrival reference as well, supplemented with
GPRA--Outcomes and Results: Applicants must include a statement of
goals and expected outcomes for the program, including how results
would be measured, as necessitated by Government Performance and
Results Act (GPRA). Outcomes might include, but are not limited to, the
following areas: developing a cadre of Burmese leaders with first-hand
experience in the U.S., advancement of development goals for Burma,
conflict resolution and building viable non-governmental institutions
in Burma, or expansion of professional relationships between
individuals and institutions in the U.S. and Burma. Project goals and
planning should be linked to USG objectives. For example, if it is a
goal to produce or influence leaders in Burma, potential leadership
qualities should be among the selection criteria for applicants.
Measurements might include: alumni achievements and activities, the
quality and quantity of institutional linkages established as a result
of the program, and degree of positive change in participant and/or
public attitudes as a result of the program.
The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant of up to $300,000 to
support program and administrative costs required to implement this
program. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of
cost sharing and funding from private sources in support of this
program. Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four
years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will
be limited to $60,000. Proposals whose administrative costs are 20% or
less of the total requested from ECA will be deemed more competitive.
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 in order to provide clarification.
Allowable costs for the program include the following:
A. Program Costs
(1). One-way economy fare international travel from their overseas
(2). Domestic travel;
(3). Tuition, room and board, stipends, incidental expenses,
maintenance for university vacation periods;
(4). Educational materials;
(5). Cost of standardized test fees;
(6). Per diem for orientation, professional, academic, and cultural
B. Administrative Costs
(1). Staff salaries and benefits;
(2). Staff travel;
(3). Communications (including telephone, fax, postage, etc.);
(4). Office supplies;
(5). Other direct costs.
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 Burma Refugee Scholarship
Program and number ECA/A/E/EAP-02-BRSP.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Mary Hanlon, Office of Academic
Exchange Programs, ECA/A/E/EAP, Room 208, United States Department of
State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, phone: (202) 619-
5406, fax: (202) 401-1728, email: email@example.com 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 Program
Officer Mary Hanlon on all 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 May 23, 2002.
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 proposal is received by the above
deadline. Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation
Package. The original and seven (7) copies of the application should be
sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/E/EAP-02-BRSP, 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.
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 appropriate Public
Diplomacy Section overseas. Eligible proposals will be subject to
compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and
forwarded to Bureau grant panels 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
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 institution 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, 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. 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 Grant
Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior
recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
8. 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.
9. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate
the project'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 used 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.
10. Cost-effectiveness: 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 whose administrative costs are 20% or less of the total
requested from ECA will be deemed more competitive.
11. Cost-sharing: 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.
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: April 4, 2002.
Rick A. Ruth,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-8833 Filed 4-10-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P
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