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[Federal Register: November 15, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 221)]
[Page 69293-69295]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 4206]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals (RFGPs): 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 Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 
501(c)(3) may submit proposals to recruit and select host families and 
schools for high school students between the ages of 15 and 17 from 
countries of the former Soviet Union, thereafter referred to as 
Eurasia. 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 activities and leadership opportunities 
that 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 2003.

Program Information


    Background: Academic year 2003/2004 will be the eleventh year of 
the FSA/FLEX program, which now includes over 11,000 alumni. This 
inbound, academic year component 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 Eurasia and the U.S.; to assist the 
successor generation of Eurasian countries in developing the qualities 
it will need to lead in their aspirations for transformation in the 
21st century; and to promote democratic values and civic responsibility 
by giving Eurasian youth the opportunity to live in American society 
and participate in focused activities for an academic year.
    [sbull] To place approximately 1,400 pre-selected high school 
students from Eurasian countries in qualified, well-motivated host 
    [sbull] To place students in schools that have been accredited by 
the respective state departments of education.
    [sbull] 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 
the U.S.
    [sbull] To encourage FSA/FLEX program participants to share their 
culture, lifestyle and traditions with U.S. citizens.
    [sbull] To provide Eurasian students with leadership opportunities 
that will foster skills they can take back with them and use in their 
home countries.
    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: One organization has been awarded a grant to 
perform the following functions: Recruitment and selection of students; 
targeting recruitment for students with disabilities; assistance in 
documentation and preparation of DS-2019 visa forms; preparation of 
cross-cultural materials; predeparture 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 Eurasia. 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 2003, which will be conducted under a separate grant 
awarded exclusively for that purpose.
    Guidelines: Organizations chosen under this competition are 
responsible for the following:
    (1) Recruitment, screening, selection, and Eurasia/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 preacademic-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 Eurasia;
    (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 and leadership activities;
    (10) Troubleshooting;
    (11) Communication with the organizations conducting other program 
components, when appropriate;
    (12) Evaluation of the students' performance;
    (13) Quarterly evaluation of the organiation's success in achieving 
program goals;

[[Page 69294]]

    (14) Eurasia-specific re-entry training to prepare students for 
readjustment to their home environments.
    Applicants must 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. Applicants must demonstrate that training of 
local staff ensures their competence in providing Eurasia-specific 
orientation programs, appropriate enhancement activities, and quality 
supervision and counseling of students from Eurasian countries. 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.
    We anticipate grants beginning no later than April, 2003, subject 
to the availability of funds.
    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 2004.
    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.
    Budget Guidelines: 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 $5,450.
    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/

C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20547, tel. (202) 619-6299, and fax (202) 619-5311, e-
mail 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 Web site 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 December 19, 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. 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-03-24, 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. Pub. L. 
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.'' Pub. L. 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.

Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa

    Participants will travel on J-1 visas issued by the State 
Department using a government program number.
    The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs is placing renewed 
emphasis on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J 
visa) Programs and adherence by grantees and sponsors to all 
regulations governing the J visa. Therefore, proposals should 
demonstrate the applicant's capacity to meet all requirements governing 
the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR 
6Z, including the oversight of Responsible Officers, screening and 
selection of program participants, provision of pre-arrival information 
and orientation to participants, monitoring of participants, proper 
maintenance and security of forms, record-keeping, reporting and other 
requirements. A copy of the complete regulations governing the 
administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is available at:

    Or from:

United States Department of State, Department Office of Exchange 
Coordination and Designation, ECA/EC/ECD--SA-44, Room 734, 301 4th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

[[Page 69295]]

Telephone: (202) 401-9810. FAX: (202) 401-9809.

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 State Department's 
Office for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia (EUR/ACE) 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.

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. 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 
plan. Strategies should utilize and reinforce exchange activities 
creatively to ensure an efficient use of program resources.
    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 
linkages. Proposals should include creative ways to involve students in 
their U.S. communities.
    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 (orientations, program meetings, 
resource materials and follow-up activities).
    6. Organization's record/institutional capacity: Proposed personnel 
and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to 
achieve the program or project's goals. 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.
    7. 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. The final project evaluation should provide qualitative 
and quantitative data about the project's influence on the participants 
as well as their surrounding communities. Successful applicants will be 
expected to submit quarterly reports, which should be included as an 
inherent component of the work plan.
    8. 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, Pub. L. 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: November 7, 2002.
Patricia S. Harrison,
Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of 
[FR Doc. 02-29198 Filed 11-14-02; 8:45 am]