[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 27 (Friday, February 8, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2839-2843]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-01700]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; High School Equivalency Program

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of 
Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Education is issuing a notice inviting 
applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the High School Equivalency 
Program (HEP), Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 
84.141A.

DATES: 
    Applications Available: February 8, 2019.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 9, 2019.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 10, 2019.
    Pre-Application Webinar Information: The Department will hold a 
pre-application workshop via webinar for prospective applicants on 
February 20, 2019, 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

ADDRESSES: For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an 
application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to 
Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the 
Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at 
www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Carr, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 3E321, Washington, DC 20202. 
Telephone: (202) 260-2067. Email: steven.carr@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The HEP is designed to assist eligible persons 
to obtain the equivalent of a secondary school diploma and subsequently 
to gain improved employment, enter into military service, or be placed 
in an institution of higher education (IHE) or other postsecondary 
education or training.
    Priorities: This competition includes two competitive preference 
priorities. Competitive Preference Priority 1 is from the Secretary's 
Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant 
Programs (Supplemental Priorities) published in the Federal Register on 
March 2, 2018 (83 FR 9096). In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), 
Competitive Preference Priority 2 is from section 418A of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (20 U.S.C. 1070d-2(e)).
    Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2019 and any subsequent 
year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications 
from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference 
priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award an additional 3 
points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1, 
and we award up to an additional 15 points to an application, depending 
on how well the application meets Competitive Preference Priority 2.
    These priorities are:
    Competitive Preference Priority 1--Fostering Flexible and 
Affordable Paths to Obtaining Knowledge and Skills. (0 or 3 points)

[[Page 2840]]

    Projects that are designed to address the following priority area 
will be considered for additional points under Competitive Preference 
Priority 1:
    Improving collaboration between education providers and employers 
to ensure student learning objectives are aligned with the skills or 
knowledge required for employment in in-demand industry sectors or 
occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of the Workforce Innovation 
and Opportunity Act of 2014).
    Competitive Preference Priority 2--Consideration of Prior 
Experience. (0 to 15 points)
    Projects that are expiring (current HEP grantees in their fifth 
year) will be considered for additional points under Competitive 
Preference Priority 2. In accordance with section 418A(e) of the HEA, 
the Department will award up to 15 points for this priority. The 
Secretary will consider the applicant's prior experience in 
implementing its expiring HEP project, based on performance report 
information to include, but not limited to, the percentage of HEP 
participants exiting the program having received a High School 
Equivalency (HSE) diploma and the percentage of HSE diploma recipients 
who enter postsecondary education or training programs, upgraded 
employment, or the military.

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 1070d-2.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 
97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to 
Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 
2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department 
in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 
200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 206. (e) 
The definitions in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 
as amended (ESEA), of ``migratory agricultural worker'' (section 
1309(2)), ``migratory child'' (section 1309(3)), and ``migratory 
fisher'' (section 1309(4)). (f) The National Farmworker Jobs Program 
(NFJP) definitions in 20 CFR 685.110 and eligibility regulations in 20 
CFR 685.320. (g) The Supplemental Priorities.

    Note:  The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.


    Note:  The ESEA definitions and NFJP definitions and eligibility 
regulations apply to individuals seeking to qualify for HEP based on 
past participation in the Migrant Education Program or NFJP.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: $6,431,000.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from 
the list of unfunded applications from this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $180,000-$475,000.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $459,000.
    Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $475,000 for a 
single budget period of 12 months. Under 34 CFR 75.104(b) the Secretary 
may reject without consideration or evaluation any application that 
proposes a project funding level that exceeds the stated maximum award 
amount.
    Minimum Award: The Department will not make an award for less than 
the amount of $180,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. Under 
section 418A of the HEA, the Secretary is prohibited from making an 
award for less than the stated award amount. Therefore, we will reject 
any application that proposes a HEP award that is less than the stated 
minimum award amount.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 14.

    Note:  The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 
notice.

    Project Period: Up to 60 months (five 12-month budget periods). 
Except under extraordinary circumstances, the Secretary shall award 
grants for a five-year period. Applicants under this competition are 
required to provide detailed budget information for each year of the 
proposed project and for the total grant, and we may reject any 
application that does not do so as reflected on the applicant's ED 524 
form, Table A, submitted as a part of the application.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: An IHE or a private nonprofit organization 
may apply for a grant to operate a HEP project. If a private nonprofit 
organization other than an IHE applies for a HEP grant, that agency 
must plan the project in cooperation with an IHE and must propose to 
operate some aspects of the project with the facilities of that IHE.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost 
sharing or matching. However, consistent with 34 CFR 75.700, which 
requires an applicant to comply with its approved application, an 
applicant that proposes non-Federal matching funds and is awarded a 
grant must provide those funds for each year that the funds are 
proposed.
    3. Subgrantees: Under 34 CFR 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee under this 
competition may award subgrants--to directly carry out project 
activities described in its application--to the following types of 
entities: IHEs and nonprofit organizations. The grantee may award 
subgrants to entities it has identified in an approved application or 
that it selects through a competition under procedures established by 
the grantee.
    4. Other: Projects funded under this competition must budget for a 
three-day Office of Migrant Education annual meeting for HEP Directors 
in the Washington, DC area during each year of the project period.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to 
follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of 
Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal 
Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at 
www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf, which 
contain information on how to submit an application.
    2. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of 
projects that may be proposed in applications for HEP, your application 
may include business information that you consider proprietary. In 34 
CFR 5.11 we define ``business information'' and describe the process we 
use in determining whether any of that information is proprietary and, 
thus, protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of 
Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended).
    Because we plan to make successful applications available to the 
public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business 
information.
    Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your 
application any information that you believe is exempt from disclosure 
under Exemption 4. In the appropriate Appendix section of your 
application, under ``Other Attachments Form,'' please list the page 
number or numbers on which we can find this information.

[[Page 2841]]

For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).
    3. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. 
Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under 
Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this 
competition.
    4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    5. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, 
the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to 
evaluate your application. We recommend that you (1) limit the 
application narrative to no more than 25 pages and (2) use the 
following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in 
charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial.
    The recommended page limit does not apply to the cover sheet; the 
budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the 
assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, 
the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the recommended 
page limit does apply to all of the application narrative.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are as follows:
    (a) Need for project (up to 20 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (i) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or 
the activities to be carried out by the proposed project. (up to 10 
points)
    (ii) The extent to which the proposed project will focus on serving 
or otherwise addressing the needs of disadvantaged individuals. (up to 
10 points)
    (b) Quality of the project design (up to 28 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the 
proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers one or more of the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be 
achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable. 
(up to 7 points)
    (ii) The extent to which the design of the proposed project is 
appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target 
population or other identified needs. (up to 7 points)
    (iii) The extent to which the proposed project will establish 
linkages with other appropriate agencies and organizations providing 
services to the target population. (up to 7 points)
    (iv) The extent to which the proposed project demonstrates a 
rationale (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)). (up to 7 points)
    (c) Quality of project services (up to 12 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be 
provided by the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by 
the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and 
sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for 
eligible project participants who are members of groups that have 
traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factor:
    (i) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed 
project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or 
beneficiaries of those services. (up to 12 points)
    (d) Quality of project personnel (Up to 10 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will 
carry out the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary 
considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for 
employment from persons who are members of groups that have 
traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the project director or principal investigator. (up to 7 points)
    (ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and 
experience, of key project personnel. (up to 3 points)
    (e) Adequacy of resources (up to 10 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the 
proposed project.
    (2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the 
lead applicant organization. (up to 3 points)
    (ii) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in 
the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project. 
(up to 3 points)
    (iii) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to 
the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed 
project. (up to 4 points)
    (f) Quality of the project evaluation (up to 20 points).
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, 
feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the 
proposed project. (up to 10 points)
    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward 
achieving intended outcomes. (up to 5 points)
    (iii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce promising evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)) 
about the project's effectiveness. (up to 5 points)
    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants 
that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, 
the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past 
performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as 
the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and 
compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider 
whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or 
submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs

[[Page 2842]]

or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the 
Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    Additional factors we consider in selecting an application for an 
award are in section 418A of the HEA. In accordance with section 418A, 
the Secretary makes HEP awards based on the number, quality, and 
promise of the applications. Additionally, the Secretary will consider 
the need to provide an equitable geographic distribution of HEP awards.
    3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 
200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department 
conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 
3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in 
appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the 
applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of 
unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system 
that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not 
fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not 
responsible.
    4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this 
competition to receive an award that over the course of the project 
period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently 
$250,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your 
integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal 
awards--that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant--before we make 
an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that 
is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as 
the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
(FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may 
review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal 
agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.
    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active 
grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the 
Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity 
information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal 
funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to 
access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, 
also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you 
are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to 
openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in 
part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of 
modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those 
modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent 
that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or 
other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. 
Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant 
funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. 
This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your 
application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional 
information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 
3474.20.
    4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual 
performance report that provides the most current performance and 
financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 
CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance 
reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, 
please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    5. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and 
Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department developed the following 
performance measures to evaluate the overall effectiveness of HEP: (1) 
The percentage of HEP participants exiting the program having received 
a HSE diploma (GPRA 1), and (2) the percentage of HSE diploma 
recipients who enter postsecondary education or training programs, 
upgraded employment, or the military (GPRA 2).
    Applicants must propose annual targets for these measures in their 
applications. The national target for GPRA 1 for FY 2019 is that 69 
percent of HEP participants exit the program having received an HSE 
credential. The national target for GPRA 2 for FY 2019 is that 80 
percent of HEP HSE diploma recipients will enter postsecondary 
education or training programs, upgraded employment, or the military. 
The national targets for subsequent years may be adjusted based on 
additional baseline data. The panel readers will score related 
selection criteria on the basis of how well an applicant addresses 
these GPRA measures. Therefore, applicants will want to consider how to 
demonstrate a sound capacity to provide reliable data on the GPRA 
measures, including the project's annual performance targets for 
addressing the GPRA performance measures, as is required by the Office 
of Management and Budget approved annual performance report that is 
included in the application package. All grantees will be required to 
submit, as part of their annual performance report, information with 
respect to these GPRA performance measures.
    6. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 
75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee 
has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of 
the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is 
consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the 
Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the 
performance targets in the grantee's approved application.
    In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers 
whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in 
its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil 
rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities 
receiving Federal financial assistance

[[Page 2843]]

from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to 
the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may 
access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of 
Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this 
document, as well as all other documents of this Department published 
in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: February 5, 2019.
Frank Brogan,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2019-01700 Filed 2-7-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P