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[Federal Register: June 27, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 124)]
[Page 43377-43379]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 4055]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (MCAC) Regional 
Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) Program

SUMMARY: The Educational Information and Resources Branch (ECA/A/S/A) 
of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces an 
open competition for the Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean 
(MCAC) Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) Program. Public 
and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described 
in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may submit 
proposals. The REAC organization facilitates the provision of expertise 
and information through the regional coordinator to educational 
advisers in the region in consultation with U.S. Embassies and ECA. The 
REAC program works to support educational information centers in the 
region and to assist in their professional development. These 
activities include the sharing of information and materials with the 
region's advising centers, communicating trends in U.S. education and 
regional exchange, disseminating information on the latest developments 
in technology and providing direct guidance through site visits, 
internships, training and workshops in Mexico, Central America and the 
Caribbean. The region contains 46 advising centers in the U.S. 
Department of State-affiliated network. These centers provide 
comprehensive and unbiased information to interested students, 
scholars, and other individuals about study opportunities in the U.S.

Program Information


    The Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) organization 
will be responsible for providing on-site technical assistance and 
training to centers in the Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean 
Region (MCAC) and for coordinating the establishment of any new 
advising centers, as directed by individual embassies in consultation 
with the Branch. The REAC will support all U.S. Department of State-
affiliated centers located in the following countries and locations: 
Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, 
Nicaragua, Panama, Guyana, Suriname, Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, 
Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican 
Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, St. 
Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and 
Tobago. The MCAC REAC organization should work impartially with all 
non-governmental organizations, binational centers (such as the 
Instituto Guatemalteco-Americano or Centro Cultural Costarricense-
Norteamericano), Public Affairs Sections located in U.S. embassies and 
consulates overseas, universities, libraries, etc. involved in 
educational advising to enable advisers to provide accurate and timely 
information on U.S. higher educational opportunities. The REAC must 
work closely with the Branch and Public Affairs Sections throughout the 
region to help establish priorities for educational advising. 
Responsibilities for organization for the MCAC REAC will include:

[[Page 43378]]

    1. Making site visits to advising centers to provide training and 
conduct needs assessment;
    2. Providing information and guidance in response to specific 
questions related to educational advising, as requested by advising 
    3. Production of a newsletter, electronic bulletin board or other 
methods of sharing information among centers, and oversight of regional 
listserv REAC-MCAC;
    4. Organization and oversight of internship training programs for 
beginning and intermediate advisers to be held in one of the larger, 
well-staffed, well-trained advising centers, as necessary;
    5. Conducting in-country and sub-regional workshops as needed, as 
determined in consultation with Branch and Public Affairs Sections;
    6. Consultations with Embassies and the Branch on the direction and 
priorities of educational advising;
    7. Evaluation and Follow-up
    Qualifications required for the coordinator position within the 
REAC organization include all of the following:
    1. Fluent Spanish language ability;
    2. Knowledge of educational advising programs and centers;
    3. Experience living and traveling in the region, and a 
demonstrated willingness and ability to undertake an ambitious travel 
    4. Knowledge of the system of higher education in the U.S., 
including such issues as accreditation, distance learning, the 
admissions process, standardized testing, and financial aid;
    5. Organizational skills needed to administer both the internship 
programs and conferences;
    6. Excellent time management skills, communication skills, and 
computer/internet/listserv skills;
    7. Experience in public speaking and in professional training 
    8. U.S. Citizenship.
    The coordinator should plan a rigorous travel schedule at the 
beginning of his or her tenure in consultation with the Branch and with 
advising centers/embassies to be visited, in order to conduct site 
visits consistent with Branch and Public Affairs Section priorities. 
The proposal should contain a tentative travel plan and should clearly 
delineate the ability of the organization to make reliable travel 
arrangements under adverse conditions as well as the willingness and 
ability of the REAC to undertake a rigorous itinerary.
    The proposal should describe all members of the REAC organization's 
proposed program staff, clearly demonstrating appropriate expertise. 
Provisions which the organization will take to maintain communication 
between the coordinator, the advising centers, and ECA/A/S/A should be 
clearly described.


    Pending awarding of funds, the period of this grant is October 1, 
2002 to September 30, 2003.
    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal ECA procedures.
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to 
Solicitation Package for further information.

Budget Guuidelines

    Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire 
program, not to exceed $56,000. 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 Bureau 
encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost-sharing and 
funding from private sources in support of its programs.
    Allowable costs for the program include the following:
    (1) Salary and benefits
    (2) Budget for REAC travel and per diem
    (3) Costs for training materials
    (4) Costs for training events
    (5) Office supplies and expenses
    (6) Indirect 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 above title and number ECA/A/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Educational Information and 
Resources Branch, ECA/A/S/A, room 349 U.S. Department of State, 301 4th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone (202) 619-5434, fax (202) 
401-1433, 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 Program 
Officer Sharen Sheehan 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 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 Thursday, August 
1, 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 proposals are received by 
the above deadline.
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and 6 copies of the application should be sent 
to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/S/A-03-02, 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. The Bureau will 
transmit these files electronically to the Public Affairs section at 
the U.S. Embassy for its review, with the goal of reducing the time it 
takes to get embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review process.

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

[[Page 43379]]

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 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 Public Diplomacy section 
overseas, where appropriate. 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 grants resides with the 
Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

    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. 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 
    2. 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 
    3. 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).
    4. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or 
project's goals.
    5. 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.
    6. 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. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus 
description of a methodology to use 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.
    7. Cost-effectiveness: The overhead and administrative components 
of the proposal should be kept as low as possible. All other items 
should be necessary and appropriate.
    8. 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: June 25, 2002.
Rick A. Ruth,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-16156 Filed 6-26-02; 8:45 am]