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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 6530]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: EducationUSA Advising Coordination and Support Program

Announcement Type:New Cooperative Agreement Funding.

Opportunity Number:ECA/A/S/A-10-03.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number:00.000.

Key Dates:Program Start Date: October 1, 2009 (pending the availability of funds).

Application Deadline:April 24, 2009.

Executive Summary:The Educational Information and Resources Branch in the Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces an open competition for up to five assistance awards to administer components of the Office's EducationUSA Advising Coordination and Support Program in Fiscal Year 2010. Public and private non-profit organizations or consortia of eligible organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to cooperate with the Bureau in the administration of the EducationUSA Advising Coordination and Support Program as noted below.

To facilitate effective communication between ECA's Educational Information and Resources Branch (ECA/A/S/A) and the organizations cooperating on this program, award recipients must have a Washington, DC presence. Applicants who do not currently have a Washington, DC presence must include in their proposals a detailed plan for establishing such a presence by October 1, 2009. The costs related to establishing such a presence must be borne by the award recipient. No such costs may be included in the budget submission in this proposal. The award recipient must have e-mail capability, access to Internet resources, and the ability to exchange data electronically with all partners involved in the EducationUSA Advising Coordination and Support Program.

The goal of this program is to increase student mobility between the United States and other countries by providing support to EducationUSA, the network of overseas educational advising centers affiliated with the Department of State. EducationUSA centers operate in a wide variety of institutional settings around the world, including binational Fulbright Commissions, Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies, independent binational centers, foreign universities, and the overseas offices of U.S. non-government organizations. The support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for these centers varies by center and region, and ranges from support for educational resources and the professional development of advising staffs to, in a limited number of locations, direct support for office operations. In addition, all EducationUSA centers receive specialized, highly tailored advice from Bureau-supported regional and country educational advising coordinators who currently are based in fourteen locations in every world region.

EducationUSA centers are catalysts for the enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities of students and scholars sponsored by the U.S. government and by other sponsors as well as students and scholars seeking U.S. study opportunities independently. The advising staffs at EducationUSA centers provide comprehensive, balanced advice about the complex range of higher educational opportunities in the United States to international students, parents, scholars, and foreign government officials. EducationUSA centers also assist U.S. institutions of higher education in their overseas outreach efforts. In addition, the EducationUSA network encourages study abroad by Americans and the development of study abroad opportunities by U.S. universities. The use of the EducationUSA logo is critical to the identity of the network. More information on the network and a current EducationUSA center list is located athttp://www.educationusa.state.gov.

Applicant organizations may submit proposals for the following components of the EducationUSA Advising Coordination and Support Program:

Component A: Regional and Country EducationUSA Advising Coordination

One recipient organization will provide programmatic oversight, maintain channels of communication, organize professional development opportunities and provide logistical support and human resources services to regional and country advising coordinators as follows:

* Regional Educational Advising Coordinators (REACs) based in Sub-Saharan Africa (two locations), Europe and Eurasia (two or more locations), East Asia and the Pacific (three locations including China, North Asia and Southeast Asia), North Africa and the Middle East, South and Central Asia (two or more locations, including India), and the Western Hemisphere (three locations, including Mexico, Brazil, and a country on the Pacific coast of South America). Applicant organizations may propose specific locations within the countries and regions specified above.

* Country Coordinators based in Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russia, and Vietnam. Applicant organizations may propose specific locations within these countries.

The recipient organization will support the EducationUSA advising effort through coordinated outreach and marketing to international student audiences, on-going communication of substantive advice about educational issues to EducationUSA centers, and the innovative use of technology. The marketing effort should be coordinated by a full-time marketing coordinator whose responsibilities should include the coordination of updated online materials in key languages such as Persian, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese. Other languages may be included based on consultation with ECA/A/S/A. The recipient organization will also ensure that the coordinators prepare and provide to the Bureau, U.S. embassies and Fulbright commissions annual assessments of current issues faced by EducationUSA advising centers with specific reference to regional trends in student mobility. Coordinators should also provide, for review and approval by ECA/A/S/A, periodic recommendations of reference materials, equipment, and professional development opportunities to meet the needs of EducationUSA centers and their advising staffs in the coordinators' countries or regions of responsibility. Additional information about Component A is provided in the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI).

Component B: EducationUSA Center Advising Support

One or more recipient organizations will provide operational support to EducationUSA advising centers in the following regions:

(1) Eurasia/Central Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine).

(2) Middle East/North Africa (Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank, and Yemen).

(3) East Asia (China, Mongolia, Vietnam).

(4) Western Hemisphere (Guatemala, Mexico).

Although educational advising centers belonging to the EducationUSA network in countries and regions not listed above may not receive direct operational support from the Bureau under Component B of this program, all EducationUSA advising centers worldwide will be eligible for support from the Bureau for professional development, reference materials, equipment, outreach efforts, and coordinator support through Component A and other mechanisms.

In addition, support for EducationUSA centers in Eurasia/Central Asia and the Middle East/North Africa includes administrative and program support for a program of Opportunity Scholarships. This program provides support to well qualified international students of limitedfinancial means to cover the up-front costs of applying for admission and financial aid, as well as the costs of visas and international travel. Proposals should address how the organization will engage educational advisers in the identification of candidates and how the administrative efforts in the affected advising centers will give priority to this initiative.

Proposals for the Middle East/North Africa may include requests for support for online outreach to Iranians in English and Persian.

Additional information about Component B, including a list of countries in which EducationUSA Centers are currently eligible to participate in the Opportunity scholarships program, is provided in the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI).

I. Funding Opportunity Description

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.

Purpose:To facilitate and increase the flow of international students to the U.S. in an effort to deepen and expand understanding of U.S. society, culture, and values in other countries, and to expand the understanding of foreign cultures and societies by Americans through the increased participation of U.S. students in academically sound study abroad programs in a widening range of international locations, especially in non-traditional study abroad destinations. The work of EducationUSA centers is critical to the Bureau's pursuit of these objectives.

Additional Guidelines

Applicant organizations must submit separate proposals with budgets and narratives outlining a comprehensive strategy for the administration and implementation of each program component for which they are applying:

Component A:Regional and Country EducationUSA Advising Coordination;

Component B:EducationUSA Center Advising Support (in one or more of four specified regions--Eurasia/Central Asia, Middle East/North Africa, East Asia, and the Western Hemisphere).

Organizations may apply for either or both components of the program and for one or more regions under Component B. Organizations submitting proposals under Component B for more than one region should submit one proposal for each region proposed. Each proposal submitted for this competition should reflect a vision that includes innovative ideas and recommendations.

The narrative portion of the proposal for each program component should not exceed 20 pages. Proposals may utilize appendices to illustrate elements of the narrative. Applicants must also provide a separate administrative and program budget for each program component. Where possible, proposals for more than one component or for more than one region under Component B should reflect economies of scale and demonstrate administrative efficiencies.

Please refer to the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) for further information.

II. Award Information

Type of Award:Cooperative Agreement(s). In a cooperative agreement, the Bureau is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine monitoring. ECA/A/S/A activities and responsibilities for this program are to:

* Participate in staff selection, review staffing requirements, travel plans, budgets, and policy guidance and direction;

* Maintain direct role in monitoring coordinators' relationships with advisers, Public Affairs Sections, ECA offices, U.S. universities and other organizations;

* Assist, where necessary and possible, with requirements for coordinator access to U.S. embassies. Where possible, arrange for APO or pouch privileges for coordinators to facilitate receipt of educational materials;

* Consult coordinators on the development of annual regional strategic plans; approve travel plans, adviser travel grants, professional development, workshops, venues, agendas; consult regarding substantive advising issues;

* Assist with meetings of regional and country coordinators;

* Meet with coordinators on other occasions as necessary;

* Work with Public Affairs sections at U.S. embassies and consulates to oversee and evaluate the quality of advising services and to identify appropriate center locations;

* Review for approval requests for funding for reference materials, workshops, and outreach.

The amount that will be available for this program in FY2010 resources cannot be determined until FY2010 funds are appropriated. However, for planning purposes applicant organizations may submit budgets in this competition in the amounts noted below.

Fiscal Year Funds: FY2010

Approximate Total Funding: Approximately $7,900,000, pending availability of FY2010 funds.

Component A:Regional and Country EducationUSA Advising Coordination--approximately $4,300,000.

Component B:EducationUSA Advising Support:

a. Eurasia/Central Asia--approximately $1,700,000.

b. Middle East/North Africa--approximately $800,000.

c. East Asia--up to approximately $1,000,000.

d. Western Hemisphere--approximately $100,000.

Approximate Number of Awards:At least two, not more than five.

Approximate Average Award:Not Applicable.

Floor of Award Range:approximately $100,000.

Ceiling of Award Range:approximately $4,300,000.

Anticipated Award Date:Pending availability of funds, October 1, 2009.

Additional Information:Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew cooperative agreements issued in response to this solicitation for up to two additional fiscal years, before openly competing the programs again.

III. Eligibility Information

III.1. Eligible applicants:Applications may be submitted by public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching Funds:There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that theapplicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, (Revised), Subpart C.23--Cost Sharing and Matching. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, ECA's contribution will be reduced in like proportion.

III.3. Other Eligibility Requirements:(a.) Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates making between two and five awards, in amounts over $60,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

IV. Application and Submission Information
Dated: February 10, 2009. C. Miller Crouch, Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.