[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 189 (Thursday, September 30, 1999)]
[Pages 52822-52824]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-25333]



NIS Educational Advising Centers; Notice; Request for Proposals

SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Programs/Advising, Teaching, and 
Specialized Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs of the United States Information Agency announces an open 
competition to operate educational advising centers in the NIS, 
including: Erevan, Armenia; Baku, Azerbaijan; Minsk, Belarus; Tbilisi, 
Georgia; Almaty, Kazakstan; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Chisinau, Moldova; 
Moscow, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, and Vladivostok, Russia; Dushanbe, 
Tajikistan; Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; Kyiv, Ukraine; and Tashkent, 
Uzbekistan. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the 
provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501C may submit 
proposals for administering advising centers in the NIS. The 
educational advising centers would be part of USIA's worldwide network 
of over 450 affiliated centers. These centers provide comprehensive and 
unbiased information to interested students, scholars, and other 
individuals about study opportunities in the U.S.
    For applicants' information, on October 1, 1999, the Bureau will 
become part of the United States Department of State without affecting 
the content of this announcement or the nature of the program 
described. At that time, the Advising, Teaching, and Specialized 
Programs Division will be renamed the Office of Global Educational 

Program Information


    The advising centers in the NIS should provide access to 
comprehensive and unbiased information about study opportunities in the 
U.S. Services provided by the centers must include group and/or 
individual advising informational sessions. The advising centers should 
provide accurate information and advising on the following topics: all 
U.S. colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions; 
accreditation; the application process to a U.S. university; majors and 
fields of study; testing requirements; life in the U.S.; scholarship 
programs and financial aid; and pre-departure orientation. Advising 
centers should also provide information on grant opportunities 
sponsored by the USG and other institutions and organizations. Advisers 
will be eligible for training opportunities sponsored by the Bureau, 
which will also provide a limited selection of reference books and 
materials to the center.


    The period of this grant is January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000.
    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to 
Solicitation Package for further information.

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 each advising 
center in their proposal. Applicants may submit a proposal for one, 
several, or all of the advising centers listed. Awards may not exceed 
the following amounts for each educational advising center:

Erevan, Armenia--$21,000
Baku, Azerbaijan--$12,000
Minsk, Belarus--$15,000
Tbilisi, Georgia--$11,000
Almaty, Kazakstan--$12,000
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan--$12,000
Chisinau, Moldova--$6,000
Moscow, Russia--$169,000
Novosibirsk, Russia--$17,000
St. Petersburg, Russia--$21,000
Vladivostok, Russia--$18,000
Dushanbe, Tajikistan--$7,000
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan--$8,000
Kyiv, Ukraine--$33,000
Tashkent, Uzbekistan--$18,000.

    All administrative and indirect costs must be included in the 
maximum award amount for each center. There must be a summary budget as 
well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets.
    Allowable costs for the program include the following:
    (1) Salaries and benefits.
    (2) Office supplies and expenses, including rent, communications, 
postage and shipping.
    (3) Outreach and publicity costs.
    (4) Indirect costs.
    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines and formatting instructions.
    Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with USIA 
concerning this RFP should reference the above title and number E/ASA-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Education Information and Services 
Branch--ECA/ASA, (formerly known as the Advising and Student Services 
Branch--E/ASA), Room 349, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, 
SW., Washington, DC 20547, phone: (202) 619-4731, email: 
[email protected] 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 RFP 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 
http://e.usia.gov/education/rfps. Please read all information before 
    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 Monday, November 8, 1999. 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.

[[Page 52823]]

Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: 
E/ASA-00-07, Program Management Staff, ECA/EX/PM, Room 336, 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 public diplomacy sections at 
U.S. Embassies overseas for their review, with the goal of reducing the 
time it takes to get Embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review 

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. Proposals should reflect 
advancement of this goal in their program contents, to the full extent 
deemed feasible.

Year 2000 Compliance Requirement (Y2K Requirement)

    The Year 2000 (Y2K) issue is a broad operational and accounting 
problem that could potentially prohibit organizations from processing 
information in accordance with Federal management and program specific 
requirements including data exchange with the Bureau. The inability to 
process information in accordance with Federal requirements could 
result in grantees being required to return funds that have not been 
accounted for properly.
    The Bureau therefore requires all organizations use Y2K complaint 
systems including hardware, software, and firmware. Systems must 
accurately process data and dates (calculating, comparing and 
sequencing) both before and after the beginning of the year 2000 and 
correctly adjust for leap years.
    Additional information addressing the Y2K issue may be found at the 
General Services Administration's Office of Information Technology 
website at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov.

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 U.S. Department of 
State's Office of the Senior Coordinator for the Newly Independent 
States and the public affairs sections overseas, where appropriate. 
Eligible proposals will be forwarded to panels of Bureau officers for 
advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by other Bureau 
elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of 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 Agency'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 institution will meet the program's objectives and 
    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 
    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 and program 
    6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or 
project's goals.
    7. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an 
institutional record of successful programs in international education, 
including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all 
reporting requirements for past USIA grants as determined by the 
Bureau's Office of Contracts. The Bureau will consider the past 
performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new 
    8. 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 quarterly.
    9. 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.
    10. Cost-sharing: Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through 
other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding 
    11. Value to U.S.-Partner Country Relations: Proposed projects 
should receive positive assessments by Bureau's geographic area 
officers and overseas officers of program need, potential impact, and 
significance in the partner countries.


    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

[[Page 52824]]

the world.'' The funding authority for the program above is provided 
through the Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and 
Open Markets Support Act of 1993 (Freedom Support Act).


    The terms and conditions published in this RFP 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 RFP 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 Department of State 

    Dated: September 21, 1999.
William P. Kiehl,
Acting Deputy Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
[FR Doc. 99-25333 Filed 9-29-99; 8:45 am]