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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: March 20, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 54)]
[Notices]               
[Page 13753-13755]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr20mr03-102]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 4318]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; South Pacific 
Scholarship Program

ACTION: Request for proposals.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Programs of the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the South 
Pacific Scholarship 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 organize and carry 
out an academic exchange program for students from the sovereign 
nations of the South Pacific. The grantee will be responsible for all 
aspects of the program, including publicity and recruitment of 
applicants; merit-based competitive selection; placement of students at 
an accredited U.S. academic institution; student travel to the U.S.; 
orientation; up to four years of U.S. degree study at the bachelor's or 
master's level; enrichment programming; advising, monitoring and 
support; pre-return activities; evaluation; and follow-up. The duration 
of the grant will be up to five years, beginning in summer 2003. The FY 
2003 funding level is approximately $500,000.

Program Information

    Overview: The South Pacific Scholarship Program was established by 
the United States Congress to provide opportunities for U.S. study to 
students from South Pacific nations in fields important for the 
region's future development. Public Law 103-236 enacted on April 30, 
1994 authorized academic scholarships to qualified students from the 
sovereign nations of the South Pacific region to pursue undergraduate 
and postgraduate study at institutions of higher education in the 
United States.
    This program supports increased mutual understanding between the 
people of the U.S. and those of the South Pacific Islands. Students 
from the following nations are eligible to apply for these 
scholarships: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, 
Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Requirements and Implementation

    The requirements for administration of this program are outlined in 
further detail in this document and in the Program Objectives, Goals 
and Implementation (POGI) document. The proposal should respond to each 
item in the POGI.
    Fields of study under the program are based on recommendations from 
Department of State regional bureau representatives and U.S. embassies 
abroad and have included public administration, journalism, education, 
environmental studies, agriculture, political science, business and 
other fields. The grantee should arrange for the students' enrollment 
at accredited U.S. institutions of higher education where a full 
liberal arts curriculum (including social sciences, humanities and 
sciences) is available. Students selected for these scholarships enroll 
in four year undergraduate degree programs, or in master's degree 
programs. The latter have generally involved one year of preparatory 
U.S. study followed by up to two years of formal master's degree study. 
This grant award will cover the entire program in the U.S. for the 
students selected. Students are expected to return home following the 
completion of their U.S. programs.

Program Components

    1. Planning, implementation and monitoring of entire exchange 
program, based on guidance from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs. The proposal must demonstrate an understanding of the South 
Pacific region and culture and close attention to the needs of students 
coming to the U.S. from the region.
    2. Publicity, recruitment and application process for the program. 
The proposal should indicate specifically what methods will be used to 
carry out this process for the South Pacific Islands. Recruitment 
should particularly emphasize outreach beyond capital cities. Bureau 
sponsorship should be clearly indicated in all materials.
    3. Merit-based selection of principals and alternates. The proposal 
should explain how the recruitment, application and selection processes 
will ensure that all qualified individuals are encouraged to apply and 
that candidates are selected solely on the basis of merit. A pool of 
qualified alternates should be established that may be drawn on in 
subsequent years, should an additional place in the program become 
available.
    4. Placement and enrollment of students at an accredited U.S. 
college/university appropriate to their academic and future 
professional goals. Students may be placed together at the same 
institution or at different institutions that offer programs that 
correspond to their academic and professional goals. The proposal 
should explain how identification with the South Pacific Scholarship 
program will be established and maintained among students.
    5. Pre-arrival information for students, assistance with the visa 
application process, travel to the U.S., arrival.
    6. Orientation and settling in at U.S. institution. The proposal 
should indicate how the applicant will prepare the students for their 
exchange experience.
    7. Provision of stipends and coverage of other appropriate living/
study/enrichment expenses for participants throughout their program. 
Provision of tax withholding and health insurance.
    8. On-going monitoring, academic advising, and general support for 
students throughout the program. The proposal should indicate what 
support services will be provided.
    9. Management of cross-cultural issues, special situations and 
emergencies.
    10. Opportunities for transfers and exchanges to other U.S. 
universities during the program to diversify the students' experience 
and fulfill academic goals.
    11. Obtaining of tuition waivers, reduced fees, and other forms of 
cost-sharing.
    12. Cultural/community enrichment for students about U.S. society 
and culture.
    13. Internships and professional development.
    14. Pre-return and reentry activities.
    15. Evaluation and follow-on including alumni activities.
    16. Fiscal Management of any sub-contractors.
    17. Compliance with J-1 visa requirements regarding health 
insurance for participants.

Guidelines

    The amount of the grant award in FY 2003 is expected to be 
approximately $500,000. The award will be made in Summer 2003. The 
grantee should begin planning immediately for recruitment at that time. 
Participants are expected to begin their U.S. study programs between 
January 2004 and Fall 2004. Proposal budgets should include all costs 
for students to complete the entire program of degree study in the U.S. 
The proposal should indicate the number of students who will be 
supported for degree

[[Page 13754]]

programs with this funding. At this level of funds, applicants are 
encouraged to budget for at least four students for degree study. The 
grant will remain open for approximately five years.
    If performance under this grant is satisfactory, the award may be 
renewed each year for approximately two additional years at the 
Bureau's discretion, assuming that the program continues to receive 
federal funding.
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the 
Solicitation Package for further information.

Budget Guidelines

    The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant of approximately $500,000 
under this competition. Bureau grant guidelines require that 
organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting 
international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. 
Therefore, organizations that cannot demonstrate at least four years' 
experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to 
apply under this competition.
    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 to provide clarification.
    Allowable costs for the program may include the following:
    (1) Publicity, recruitment, selection, placement and communication 
with applicants and participants.
    (2) Travel for student participants between home and program 
location.
    (3) Tuition and fees, stipends for living costs, book allowances, 
and other necessary maintenance costs and expenses for the students.
    (4) Advising and monitoring of students; academic and cultural 
support and enrichment activities. This is expected to include some 
U.S. travel for enrichment purposes. Purchase of individual computers 
is permitted; please see the POGI for further details.
    (5) Pre-return activities and evaluation.
    (6) Staff and administrative expenses to carry out the program 
activities. Administrative and overhead costs should be as low as 
possible.
    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-
SP-03-01.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marianne Craven, Managing Director of 
Academic Programs, ECA/A, Room 202, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 
301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, tel. (202) 619-6409, fax. 
(202) 205-2452, e-mail: mcraven@pd.state.gov 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 direct all other inquiries 
and correspondence to Marianne Craven.
    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 
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 Friday, May 2, 2003. 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 10 copies of the application should be sent 
to: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A-SP-03-01, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 
SA-44, 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 this goal in 
their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.

Adherence to all Regulations Governing the J Visa

    The Bureau of Educational 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 and Alternate 
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.
    The Grantee will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to 
participants in this program. A copy of the complete regulations 
governing the administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is 
available at http://exchanges.state.gov or from: United States 

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

[[Page 13755]]

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 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 program goals 
and mission. The proposal should demonstrate understanding of the South 
Pacific nations and of the needs of students from the region as related 
to the program goals.
    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 
above. Each component of the program should be addressed.
    3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be 
reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should explain how 
objectives will be met through specific activities to be carried out in 
the U.S. and in the South Pacific.
    4. Multiplier effect/impact: Programs should strengthen long-term 
mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of information and 
establishment of long-term institutional and individual linkages. 
Anticipated results of the program in the South Pacific region as well 
as in the U.S. should be addressed.
    5. Diversity in the South Pacific Scholarship Program:
    Proposals should demonstrate substantive support for the Bureau's 
policy on diversity. To the full extent possible, scholarship 
recipients for this program should be representative of diversity in 
the following categories: Country of origin/residence within the South 
Pacific; gender; ethnic community of origin within countries, where 
relevant; urban and rural regions (with emphasis on outreach beyond 
capital cities); and proposed fields of study within the general 
parameters outlined in this solicitation. The proposal should explain 
what efforts will be undertaken to achieve these goals. The U.S. study 
and enrichment programs should also incorporate and demonstrate the 
diversity of the American people, regions and culture.
    6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program 
goals. The proposal should explain how the grantee organization will 
meet the requirements of students on this specific program. The 
proposal should describe the applicant's knowledge of, or prior 
experience with, students from the South Pacific nations, and/or other 
developing countries.
    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: The proposal should provide a plan for 
continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that 
Bureau-supported programs are not isolated events.
    9. Project Evaluation: The proposal 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 a description of a methodology that will link outcomes to original 
project objectives is recommended. The grantee will be expected to 
submit regular written reports (approximately three times each year.)
    10. Cost-effectiveness and cost-sharing: The overhead and 
administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and 
honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. Proposals should maximize 
cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as 
institutional direct funding contributions. Budget estimates should be 
as accurate as possible over the full period of the grant.
    11. Value to U.S.-Partner Country Relations: Proposed programs 
should receive positive assessments by U.S. Department of State's 
geographic area desk of potential impact and significance in the 
partner countries.

Authority

    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.

Notice

    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.

Notification

    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.

    Dated: March 13, 2003.
Patricia S. Harrison,
Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of 
State.
[FR Doc. 03-6730 Filed 3-19-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P




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