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[Federal Register: April 18, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 75)]
[Page 19298-19302]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 3993]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: FREEDOM Support Educational Partnerships Program (Formerly 
NIS College and University Partnerships Program and NIS Community 
College Partnerships Program)

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 FREEDOM Support Educational Partnerships 
Program. Accredited, post-secondary educational institutions meeting 
the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 
501(c)(3) may apply to pursue institutional or departmental objectives 
in partnership with foreign counterpart institutions with support from 
the FREEDOM Support Educational Partnerships Program. These objectives 
should support the overall goals of the Program: to support democratic 
systems and market economies in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and 
Uzbekistan, and to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation 
between these countries and United 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 FREEDOM Support Educational Partnerships Program, formerly 
known as the NIS College and University Partnerships Program and as the 
NIS Community College Partnerships Program, supports institutional 
linkages in higher education with partners in eligible countries with 
funding available through the FREEDOM Support Act. In each of the three 
prior years, the Bureau issued a separate solicitation for community 
colleges. This year, in an effort to streamline the administration of 
grants, both programs are combined in this RFGP.
    The Bureau also supports institutional linkages in higher education 
with partners worldwide through the Fulbright Educational Partnerships 
Program. Pending availability of FY 2003 funding, it is anticipated 
that a separate Request for Grant Proposals for the Fulbright 
Educational Partnerships Program will appear on the State Department 
Web site at
    Other RFGPs for educational partnerships may also be published this 
fiscal year.

Project Objectives

    This RFGP does not prescribe specific project objectives, but 
establishes the parameters within which applicants are invited to 
propose projects. Proposals should explain how project activities will 
enable participants to achieve specific institutional changes. 
Institutional objectives should be consistent with the Program's goal 
of supporting democratic systems based on market economies in the 
eligible countries. 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. Proposals to pursue a limited number of related 
thematic objectives at each institution are generally preferred to 
proposals addressing a large number of unrelated objectives.
    For example, proposals may outline the parameters and possible 
content of new courses; new research or teaching specializations or 
methodologies; new

[[Page 19299]]

or revised curricula; new programs for outreach to educators, 
professional groups, or the general public. Proposals should explain 
clearly their strategies to promote curriculum, faculty, and staff 
development, as well as administrative reform, at the foreign partner 
institution(s). 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 
democracy and open markets in the foreign partner country. Plans to 
enable participants to extend the benefits of the project to larger 
audiences through outreach to foreign government, NGO, and business 
representatives are especially encouraged. Proposals should also 
outline benefits that would accrue to the U.S. institutional 
    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.


    A U.S. college or university must submit the proposal and must be 
prepared to serve as the grant recipient with responsibility for 
project coordination. Proposals must include letters of commitment from 
all institutional partners including the institution submitting the 
proposal. Each letter must be signed by an official who is authorized 
to commit institutional resources to the project.
    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. 
Proposed cost-sharing will be considered an important indicator of each 
participating institution's interest in the project and potential to 
benefit from it.
    The Bureau's support may be used to assist with the costs of the 
exchange visits as well as the costs of the administration of the 
project by the U.S. grantee institution. U.S. administrative costs that 
may be covered by the Bureau include administrative salaries, faculty 
replacement costs, and direct administrative costs but not indirect 
costs. In addition to the U.S. administrative costs, the cost of 
administering the project at the foreign partner organization(s) is 
eligible for the Bureau's support and may be listed within the program 
budget. 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 partner institutions, 
including the foreign partner(s), is strongly encouraged especially if 
a foreign partner has relatively few resources. More information on 
partner institution eligibility in this competition is found in this 
RFGP under the headings ``U.S. Institution and Participant 
Eligibility'' and ``Foreign Institution and Participant Eligibility.''
    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. Funding may not be used for the establishment or 
maintenance of these facilities at governmental organizations in the 
U.S. or at foreign governmental organizations other than universities. 
Projects focusing primarily on technology or physical infrastructure 
development are not eligible for consideration under this competition. 
The funding requested for educational and technical materials in 
support of project activities should not exceed 25 percent of the 
Bureau's funding for the project. Proposals with distance learning 
components should describe pertinent course delivery methods, 
audiences, and technical requirements. 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.
    See the associated document entitled ``Project Objectives, Goals, 
and Implementation'' (POGI) for additional information on the funding 
the Bureau may provide and on restrictions and maximum amounts that 
apply to certain budget categories.
    Applicants may propose other project activities not specifically 
mentioned in this solicitation if the activities reinforce the impact 
of the project.
    Pending the availability of FY 2003 funds, the maximum award in the 
FY 2003 competition will be $300,000. 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.

Foreign Country and Location Eligibility

    Foreign partners from the following countries are eligible:

[[Page 19300]]

--Russia: Proposals for partnerships with institutions located in 
Moscow or St. Petersburg should clearly indicate how those partnerships 
would have an impact on other regions. Proposals which designate a 
partner institution in the Russian Far East and in Tomsk are especially 
--Tajikistan: In consideration of the current State Department warning 
advising U.S. citizens to defer travel to Tajikistan, proposals should 
not include travel to Tajikistan by U.S. participants for at least the 
first year of the project. In the event a grant is awarded, the grantee 
should consult with the program office regarding possible travel by 
U.S. participants.
--Ukraine: Proposals which designate partner institutions outside Kiev 
are encouraged;

    Partnerships including a secondary foreign partner in a country not 
included in the above list are eligible; however, with the exception 
noted below under the heading ``Central European Partners,'' the Bureau 
will not cover overseas partner costs of partners that are not from the 
eligible countries listed in this section.
    Central European Partners: The Bureau encourages proposals that 
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 eligible countries and to promote 
regional cooperation. Funds may be budgeted for the exchange of faculty 
between foreign partner 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).

Eligible Fields

    The following fields are eligible:

--The social, political, and economic sciences;
--Business, accounting and trade;
--Journalism and media studies;
--Public administration and public policy analysis;
--Library science;
--Education, continuing education, and educational administration. 
Projects in educational administration may address institutional 
administrative reform within one of the eligible fields above, may 
attempt to modernize university governance, or may support the creation 
of a degree or certificate program in educational administration.

U.S. Institution and Participant Eligibility

    The lead institution and grant recipient in the project must be an 
accredited U.S. college or university. Applications from community 
colleges, institutions serving significant minority populations, 
undergraduate liberal arts colleges, comprehensive universities, 
research universities, and combinations of these types of institutions 
are eligible. 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 at 
the federal, state, or local levels as well as non-profit service, 
community and professional organizations.
    With the exception of translators and outside evaluators, 
participation is limited to teachers, advanced graduate students, and 
administrators from the participating U.S. institution(s). All 
participants who are funded by the Bureau under the program budget and 
who represent the U.S. institution must be U.S. citizens. Advanced 
graduate students at the U.S. institution(s) are eligible for support 
from the project as visiting instructors at a reign partner 

Foreign Institution and Participant Eligibility

    In eligible countries, participation as a primary partner is open 
to recognized degree granting institutions of post-secondary education. 
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 have teaching 
responsibilities or be preparing for such responsibilities. Foreign 
participants 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. Foreign participants may 
not be U.S. citizens.


    A proposal will be deemed technically ineligible for consideration 
    (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.


    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. Proposals that do 
not follow RFGP requirements and the guidelines appearing in the POGI 
and PSI will be excluded from consideration due to technical 

Announcement Title and Number

    All communications with the Bureau concerning this announcement 
should refer to the FREEDOM Support Educational Partnerships Program 
and reference number ECA/A/S/U-03-04.

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, December 6, 
2002. Faxed documents will not be accepted (although faxed letters of 
commitment from non-U.S. institutional partners

[[Page 19301]]

may be submitted as part of the original proposal), nor will documents 
postmarked on Friday, December 6, 2002 but received on a later date.

Approximate Grant Duration

    Pending the availability of funds, grant activities should begin on 
or about September 1, 2003 and should be planned to extend for 
approximately three years.

To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

    Projects must conform with the Bureau's requirements and guidelines 
outlined in the Solicitation Package for this RFGP. 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. The Solicitation Package includes 
the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (hereafter, POGI) and 
the Proposal Submission Instructions (hereafter, PSI). The entire 
Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's Web site at: Please read all information 
before downloading.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, contact the 
Humphrey Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch (FREEDOM Support 
Educational 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. 
Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to communicate about 
their proposals with one of the following regional program officers: 
Alanna Bailey (telephone: (202) 205-8266, e-mail: 
on all inquiries and correspondence regarding partnerships in the 
Central Asia or Caucasus regions; Jonathan Cebra (telephone: (202) 205-
8379, e-mail: on all inquiries and correspondence 
regarding partnerships with institutions in Ukraine; Marie Grant 
(telephone: (202) 619-5313, e-mail: on inquiries 
and correspondence regarding partnerships in Moldova; Michelle Johnson 
(telephone: (202) 205-8434, e-mail: on all 
inquiries and correspondence regarding partnerships with institutions 
in Russia.
    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 hard copies of the complete application 
package should be sent by the project's lead U.S. college or university 
to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref: ECA/A/S/U-03-04, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 
301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
    No later than one week after the deadline for receipt of the grant 
proposal, applicants must also submit the ``Proposal Title Page,'' 
``Executive Summary,'' and ``Proposal Narrative,'' sections of the 
proposal as e-mail attachments in Microsoft Word (preferred), 
WordPerfect, or as ASCII text files to the following e-mail address: In the e-mail message subject line, include 
the following: ECA/A/S/U-03-04 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 for Diversity'' section for specific 
suggestions on incorporating diversity into the total proposal. Public 
Law 104-319 provides that ``in carrying out programs of educational and 
cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom 
and democracy,'' the Bureau ``shall take appropriate steps to provide 
opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and 
democracy leaders of such countries.'' Public Law 106-113 requires that 
the governments of the countries described above do not have 
inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should 
reflect advancement of these goals in their program contents, to the 
full extent deemed feasible.

Review Process

    The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will 
review them for technical eligibility. 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 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. 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) 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.
    (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.
    (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

[[Page 19302]]

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.


    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: April 11, 2002.
Patricia S. Harrison,
Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of 
[FR Doc. 02-9506 Filed 4-17-02; 8:45 am]