[Federal Register: March 5, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 43)]
[Page 13381-13383]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 13381]]


Part II

Department of Education


Electronic Grant Initiatives; Notice

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Electronic Grant Initiatives

AGENCY: Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice announcing the development and implementation of a
system to administer grants via the Internet.


SUMMARY: The Chief Financial Officer announces the U.S. Department of
Education Electronic Grant Initiatives (e-Grants) and requests comments
on the effectiveness of this system. We intend to use your comments to
assist us in improving our services and helping potential applicants
and grantees to benefit from electronic commerce (e-commerce).

ADDRESSES: Address all comments and suggestions regarding e-Grants to
Rebecca Harding-Spitzgo, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland
Avenue, SW., room 4E310, Washington, DC 20202-4300. If you prefer to
send your comments through the Internet, use the following address:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Blanca Rosa Rodriguez, Director,
Grants Policy and Oversight Staff, U.S. Department of Education, 400
Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3652, ROB-3, Washington, DC 20202-4248.
Telephone: (202) 260-0172; fax: (202) 205-0667; or via Internet:
Blanca_Rodriguez@ed.gov or Rebecca Harding-Spitzgo, Project Manager
(GAPS), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room
4E310, Washington, DC 20202-4300. Telephone: (202) 205-0707; fax: (202)
205-0729; or via Internet: Rebecca--Harding@ed.gov.
     If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
     Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer
diskette) on request to either contact person listed under FOR FURTHER


New Initiatives in Electronic Grant-Making at the U.S. Department
of Education

     The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998, (Pub. L.
105-277) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement
Act of 1999, (Pub. L. 106-107) encourage us to undertake initiatives to
improve our grant process. Enhancing the ability of individuals and
entities to conduct business with us electronically is a major part of
our response to these Acts. E-commerce--for example, conducting
transactions via Internet--is playing a vital role in achieving our
mission. This notice presents an overview of the Department's present
and proposed activities.
     We are taking steps to adopt the Internet as our chief means of
conducting transactions in order to improve services to our customers
and to simplify and expedite our business processes.
     We are also working with other Federal departments and agencies to
develop the Federal Commons, which will be a shared location on the
Internet for information about Federal financial assistance. The goal
of this initiative is to create a single point of entry on the Internet
to make it easier for prospective applicants to locate information
about, and apply for, grants under all Federal programs. In the future,
applicants who access the Federal Commons can search for available
funding opportunities throughout the Federal Government, complete
standard application forms, and submit grant applications online. You
may obtain more information about the Federal Commons at: http://

Accomplishments to Date

     During fiscal year (FY) 2000, under our Grant Administration and
Payment System (GAPS), we conducted a pilot project using an Internet-
based software program for submitting applications. The project
involved eight grant competitions. Applicants had the opportunity to
submit their grant applications to us online through the e-Application
Web site.
     A survey after the pilot project indicated that participants were
positive about their experiences using e-Application. In fact, 90
percent of the participating applicants found our system easy to use,
and most said that they would use the system in future competitions. To
help applicants get used to applying for grants electronically, we have
established a demonstration and training area on the e-Grants Web site.
     We have also developed e-Reports, a new electronic enhancement to
GAPS. Using e-Reports grantees will be able to submit their annual
grant performance reports to us via the Internet. The system will also
notify each grantee of the deadline for its annual grant performance
report. Additional features of the system will include applicant
registration, e-mail confirmations, and printing capabilities.
     In addition, we are developing e-Reader, another electronic
enhancement to GAPS, to support the review of grant applications. With
e-Reader, an ED discretionary grant program can use the Internet to
transmit applications electronically to reviewers at various locations,
enable reviewers to evaluate and score applications on a Web-based
form; and collect the reviewers' scores and comments. One of the many
benefits of e-Reader is that it will give program officials a cost-
effective way to facilitate and monitor the application review process
from their offices in the Washington, DC area.

ED's Plans for the Future

     For FY 2001 we plan to--
      Provide applicants the option of submitting their
applications electronically in up to 50 percent of our new grant
competitions, including several formula programs;
      Increase the number of ED programs using e-Reports,
allowing grantees in these programs to submit their annual grant
performance reports electronically; and
      Complete the development of e-Reader and apply it in eight
to ten grant competitions that use the electronic grant application
review process.
     Beyond FY 2001 we plan to expand and promote the use of electronic
procedures for the submission and review of applications and the filing
of reports under all of our grant programs. Our goal over time is to
encourage applicants and grantees to make e-commerce their preferred
method of doing business. We will do this by communication and outreach
efforts to the public.
     We plan to do the following to make applicants and grantees aware
of our Electronic Grant Initiatives and familiar with our electronic
business process:
      Continue to host public workshops on our electronic grant
initiatives at various national conferences and meetings of project
      Make the system more convenient for users by increasing
the hours it is available;
      Provide ongoing support to applicants who need assistance
using the system;
      Inform the public about changes and improvements to our
Electronic Grant Initiatives; and
      Work toward further integration of our electronic
applications system with the Governmentwide system known as the Federal
     Information concerning the availability of e-Application will be

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contained in specific program announcements and application packages,
grant forecasts, and specific areas of our Web site. In addition,
program offices will make grantees aware of electronic reporting
options as they become available.
     Please be aware that electronic application and reporting will be
voluntary. Paper-based application and reporting options will still be
available to applicants and grantees who do not have the capability to
do business electronically. We will give every application, whether
paper or electronic, the same consideration in the review process.

Invitation To Comment

     We are determined to help make the transition to e-commerce as
smooth as possible for our customers. As we develop e-commerce
capabilities, we ask you for your support and welcome your suggestions
regarding our plans for electronic grantmaking. We invite you, as
potential applicants and grantees, to use the electronic methods
described and to provide feedback about your experiences. We also
invite you to comment now on the plans outlined in this notice. Please
send your comments to the address in the ADDRESSES section of this
     To obtain additional information about e-GRANTS or to participate
in e-GRANTS pilot projects, see the portal page at: http://e-

Electronic Access to This Document

     You may view this document, as well as all other Department of
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at either of the
following sites:


     To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available
free at either of the previous sites. If you have questions about using
PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-
888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1530.

     Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://

     Dated: February 27, 2001.
Mark Carney,
Deputy Chief Financial Officer.
[FR Doc. 01-5253 Filed 3-2-01; 8:45 am]