FR Doc 03-15707
[Federal Register: June 20, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 119)]
[Page 37055-37059]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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Part III

Department of Education


Community Technology Centers Program; Notices

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[CFDA No.: 84.341]

Community Technology Centers Program

AGENCY: Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of 

ACTION: Notice of final priority, program requirements, and selection 
criteria for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 for novice applicants.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education 
establishes a final priority, selection criteria, and program 
requirements under the Community Technology Centers (CTC) program for 
novice applicants. The Assistant Secretary will use this priority, 
selection criteria, and program requirements for the FY 2003 novice 
applicant competition.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority, selection criteria, and program 
requirements are effective June 20, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions pertaining to 
the application, need further assistance, or need to speak with someone 
in the CTC program, you may contact Gisela Harkin, Office of Vocational 
and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, 
SW., Mary E. Switzer Building, Room 4324, Washington, DC 20202 
7100,Telephone: (202) 205-4238 or via e-mail: 
Please type ``CTC Notice Correspondence'' as the subject line of your 
electronic message.
    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 the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. A notice 
inviting applications under this competition is published elsewhere 
in this issue of the Federal Register. The notice inviting 
applications specifies the deadline date by which applications for 
an award must be received or hand-delivered to the Department if a 
waiver to the electronic submission requirement is granted.



    As authorized by Title V, Part D, Subpart 11, Section 5511-13 of 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended 
by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, the purpose of the CTC 
Program is to assist eligible applicants to create or expand community 
technology centers that will provide disadvantaged residents of 
economically distressed urban and rural communities with access to 
information technology and related training. Eligible applicants shall 
be an institution of higher education, a State Education Agency, a 
Local Educational Agency, an entity (such as a foundation, museum, 
library, for-profit business, public or private nonprofit, or 
community-based organization, including faith-based organizations), or 
consortia thereof, that also meet the definition of a ``novice 
applicant,'' as that term is defined in 34 CFR 75.225(a)(1) (see the 
following section of this notice on Novice Applicants for more 
information on this requirement). In addition, eligible applicants 
shall have the capacity to significantly expand access to computers and 
related services for disadvantaged residents of economically distressed 
urban and rural communities who would otherwise be denied such access.
    The CTC program novice applicant competition gives absolute 
priority to those applicants who will focus on improving the academic 
achievement of low-achieving secondary school students while continuing 
to provide a community technology center for all members of their 
community. Thus, grant recipients must meet this priority as they use 
grant funds to create or expand community technology centers that 
expand access to information technology and related training for 
disadvantaged residents of distressed urban or rural communities and to 
evaluate the effectiveness of their projects. Funds may be used to 
provide services and activities that use technology to improve academic 
achievement, such as academic enrichment activities for children and 
youth, career development, adult education, and English language 
instruction for individuals with limited English proficiency. Other 
authorized activities include, among other things, support for 
personnel, equipment, networking capabilities, and other infrastructure 
costs. No funds may be used for construction.
    Improving the academic achievement of our nation's secondary school 
students has become an urgent need. Current National Assessment of 
Educational Progress (NAEP) data indicate that, despite some slow and 
steady progress in secondary student achievement over the past few 
decades, many of our nation's secondary students are still not 
attaining the academic skills and knowledge required for graduation, 
postsecondary education, or careers. This is particularly true among 
students who are entering secondary school, with two in ten scoring 
below basic levels in reading, over three in ten scoring below basic 
levels in math, and four in ten scoring below basic levels in science. 
Moreover, as students move through secondary school, their academic 
progress wanes. Except in the area of science, students actually make 
greater academic gains between grades four and eight than between 
grades eight and 12.
    To support the goal of the NCLB that all students attain 
proficiency in challenging State academic achievement standards, the 
Assistant Secretary establishes a priority, selection criteria, and 
program requirements for the CTC program that will focus program 
resources on providing effective supplemental instruction to low-
achieving students who are entering or enrolled in grades nine through 
12 at high-poverty, low-performing secondary schools.

Novice Applicants

    The Department encourages the participation of novice applicants in 
the Community Technology Centers program. Therefore, the Secretary has 
determined, under 34 CFR 75.225(c)(1), to give special consideration to 
novice applicants. As a result, up to 25 percent of available program 
funds will be reserved for grants to novice entities submitting high-
quality applications.
    This notice establishes a priority, selection criteria, and program 
requirements for the novice applicant competition of the FY 2003 CTC 
program. Notices inviting applications and establishing priorities, 
selection criteria, and program requirements for the general CTC 
competition--for which both novice and non-novice applicants may 
apply--previously have been published in the Federal Register on June 
3, 2003 (FR 33318-33323).
    An applicant is considered a ``novice applicant'' if it meets the 
following definition taken from 34 CFR 75.225(a)(1):
    The applicant must--

    (i) Have never received a grant or a subgrant under the Community 
Technology Centers program;
    (ii) Have never been a member of a group application, submitted in 
accordance with 34 CFR 75.127-75.129, that received a grant under the 
Community Technology Centers program; and
    (iii) Have not had an active discretionary grant from the Federal 
government in the five (5) years before

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the deadline date for applications in this competition.

(34 CFR 75.225(a)(2) and (b) further interpret this definition in cases 
of group applications in this competition and specify that a grant is 
``active'' until the end of the grant's project or funding period, 
including any extensions of those periods that extend the grantee's 
authority to obligate funds).

Application Procedures

    The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 (Public Law 
105-277) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement 
Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107) encourage us to undertake initiatives 
to improve our grant processes. Enhancing the ability of individuals 
and entities to conduct business with us electronically is a major part 
of our response to these Acts. Therefore, the Department is 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 processes.
    The Department is requiring that applications for the FY 2003 
Community Technology Centers program competition be submitted 
electronically using e-APPLICATION through the U.S. Department of 
Education's e-GRANTS system. The e-GRANTS system is accessible through 
its portal page at
    Applicants who are unable to submit an application through the e-
GRANTS systems may apply for a waiver to the electronic submission 
requirement. To apply for a waiver, applicants must explain the 
reason(s) that prevent(s) them from using the Internet to submit their 
applications. The reason(s) must be outlined in a letter addressed to: 
Gisela Harkin, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and 
Adult Education, 330 ``C'' Street, SW., Washington, DC, 20202-7100. 
Please mark your envelope ``CTC competition waiver request.'' The 
letter requesting the waiver is to be submitted no later than two (2) 
weeks before the deadline for transmittal of applications; last minute 
requests will not be considered.
    Any application that receives a waiver to the electronic submission 
requirement will be given the same consideration in the review process 
as an electronic application.

Pilot Project for Electronic Submission of Applications

    In FY 2003, the U.S. Department of Education is continuing to 
expand its pilot project of electronic submission of applications to 
include additional formula programs and additional discretionary grant 
competitions. The Community Technology Centers (CTC) program (CFDA 
84.341) is one of the programs included in the pilot project. If you 
are an applicant under the CTC Program, you must submit your 
application to us in electronic format or receive a waiver.
    The pilot project involves the use of the Electronic Grant 
Application System (e-APPLICATION, formerly e-GAPS) portion of the 
Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS). We shall continue to 
evaluate its success and solicit suggestions for improvement.
    Please note the following:

--Do not wait until the deadline date for the transmittal of 
applications to submit your application electronically. If you wait 
until the deadline date to submit your application electronically and 
you are unable to access the e-APPLICATION system, you must contact the 
Help Desk by 4:30 P.M. EST on the deadline date.
--Keep in mind that e-APPLICATIONS is not operational 24 hours a day, 7 
days a week. Click on ``Hours of Web Site Operation'' for specific 
hours of access during the week.
--You will have access to the e-APPLICATION Help Desk for technical 
support: 1 (888) 336-8930 (TTY: 1 (866) 697-2696, local (202) 401-
8363). The Help Desk hours of operation are limited to 8 A.M.-6 P.M. 
EST Monday through Friday.

    You must submit all documents electronically, including the 
Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED424), Budget 
Information--Non-Construction Programs (ED524), and assurances, 
certifications, and appendices, as appropriate.

--After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an 
acknowledgement, which will include a PR/Award number (an identifying 
number unique to your application).
--Within three (3) working days after submitting your electronic 
application, fax a signed copy of the Application for Federal Education 
Assistance (ED424) to the Application Control Center after following 
these steps:

    (1) Print the ED424 from the e-Application system.
    (2) The institution's Authorizing Representative must sign this 
    (3) Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner of the 
hard copy signature page of the ED424.
    (4) Fax the signed ED424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 

--The Department may request that you give us original signatures on 
all other forms at a later date. Closing Date Extension in Case of 
System Unavailability

    If you are prevented from submitting your application on the 
closing date because the e-APPLICATION system is unavailable, we will 
grant you an extension of one (1) business day in order to transmit 
your application electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery.
    For us to grant this extension:

    (1) You must be a registered user of e-APPLICATION and have 
initiated an e-APPLICATION for this competition; and
    (2) (A) The e-APPLICATION system must be unavailable for 60 minutes 
or more between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 3:30 P.M. EST, on the 
deadline date; or
    (B) The e-APPLICATION system must be unavailable for any period of 
time during the last hours of operation (that is, for any period of 
time between 3:30 and 4:30 P.M. EST) on the deadline date. The 
Department must acknowledge and confirm these periods of unavailability 
before granting you an extension. To request this extension, you must 
contact the e-Grants Help Desk at 1 (888) 336-8930.
    You may access the electronic grant application for CFDA No. 84.341 

Page limit: The application narrative (Part VI of the application) is 
where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers 
use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part VI to the 
equivalent of no more than 25 pages, using the following standards:

    [sbull] A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'' on one side only, with 1'' 
margins on the top, bottom, and both sides.
    [sbull] 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.
    [sbull] Use a font that is either 12-point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

    In addition, you must limit Part VII (budget narrative) to four (4) 
pages and Part X (Appendices) to 15 pages, using the aforementioned 
standards. We will reject your application if:

    [sbull] You apply these standards and exceed the page limit; or
    [sbull] You apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the 
page limit.

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Waiver of Rulemaking

    It is the Secretary's practice, in accordance with the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), to offer interested 
parties the opportunity to comment on proposed rules that are not taken 
directly from statute. Ordinarily, this practice would have applied to 
the priority and requirements of this notice. However, section 
437(d)(2) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) exempts from 
this requirement rules that would cause extreme hardship to the 
intended beneficiaries of the program that would be affected by those 
rules. In accordance with section 437(d)(2) of GEPA, the Secretary has 
decided to forgo public comment with respect to the rules in this grant 
competition in order to ensure timely and high-quality awards. The 
rules established in this notice apply only to the FY 2003 grant 

Discussion of Priority

    When inviting applications, we designate an absolute priority. 
Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the 
priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).

Absolute Priority

    Each application must be submitted by an eligible novice applicant 
(see Supplementary Information for definition of ``novice applicant''). 
In addition, each proposed project must provide supplemental 
instruction in reading or language arts and mathematics to low-
achieving secondary school (grades 9-12) students in high-poverty, low-
performing secondary schools. Further, each applicant must demonstrate 
how their project's proposed academic approach is aligned with the 
secondary school curricula of the schools in which the students to be 
served by the grant are entering or enrolled. Finally, proposed 
projects must include an evaluation component that demonstrates in 
measurable ways how their program has improved the academic achievement 
in reading or language arts and mathematics of students receiving their 

Scoring of Applications

    Applications received under this notice will be screened for 
eligibility and scored according to the criteria that follow in this 
notice. Each application under this competition must meet the 
definition of a novice applicant and satisfy the Absolute Priority in 
order to be eligible for funding. An application that does not meet the 
definition of a novice applicant and does not satisfy the Absolute 
Priority will not be considered for funding.

Selection Criteria

    The following selection criteria will be used to evaluate 
applications submitted for grants. Please note:
    (1) The maximum score is 100 points.
    (2) The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in 
    (a) Need for the Project (10 points):
    In evaluating the need for the proposed project, we consider the 
extent to which the proposed project will:
    (1) Serve students from low-income families;
    (2) Serve students entering or enrolled in secondary schools that 
are among the secondary schools in the State that have the highest 
numbers or percentages of students who have not achieved proficiency on 
the State academic assessments required by Title I of ESEA, or who have 
academic skills in reading or language arts, or mathematics, that are 
significantly below grade level;
    (3) Serve students who have the greatest need for supplementary 
instruction, as indicated by their scores on State or local 
standardized assessments in reading or language arts, or mathematics, 
or some other local measure of performance in reading or language arts, 
or mathematics; and
    (4) Create or expand access to information technology and related 
training for disadvantaged residents of distressed urban or rural 
    (b) Quality of the Project Design (35 points):
    In evaluating the quality of the proposed project, we consider the 
extent to which the proposed project will:
    (1) Provide instructional services that will be of sufficient size, 
scope, and intensity to improve the academic performance of 
participating students;
    (2) Incorporate strategies that have proven effective for improving 
the academic performance of low-achieving students;
    (3) Implement strategies in recruiting and retaining students that 
are likely to prove effective;
    (4) Provide instruction that is aligned with the secondary school 
curricula of the schools in which the students to be served by the 
grant are entering or enrolled; and
    (5) Provide high-quality, sustained, and intensive professional 
development for personnel who provide instruction to students.
    (c) Quality of the Management Plan (15 points):
    In evaluating the quality of the management plan, we consider the 
extent to which the proposed project:
    (1) Outlines specific, measurable goals, objectives, and outcomes 
to be achieved by the proposed project;
    (2) Assigns responsibility for the accomplishment of project tasks 
to specific project personnel, and provides timelines for the 
accomplishment of project tasks;
    (3) Requires appropriate and adequate time commitments of the 
project director and other key personnel to achieve the objectives of 
the proposed project; and
    (4) Includes key project personnel, including the project director 
and other staff, with appropriate qualifications and relevant training 
and experience.
    (d) Adequacy of Resources (20 points):
    In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, 
we consider the following factors:
    (1) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies, and other resources, from the applicant;
    (2) The extent to which a preponderance of project resources will 
be used for activities designed to improve the academic performance of 
low-achieving students in reading and/or mathematics;
    (3) The extent to which the budget is adequate and costs are 
reasonable in relation to the objectives and design of the proposed 
project; and
    (4) The potential for continued support of the project after 
Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated 
commitment of appropriate entities to such support.
    (e) Quality of the Evaluation (20 points):
    In determining the quality of the evaluation, we consider the 
extent to which the proposed project:
    (1) Includes a plan that utilizes evaluation methods that are 
feasible and appropriate to the goals and outcomes of the project;
    (2) Will regularly examine the progress and outcomes of 
participating students on a range of appropriate performance measures;
    (3) Will use an independent, external evaluator with the necessary 
background and technical expertise to assess the performance of the 
project; and
    (4) Effectively demonstrates that the applicant has adopted a 
rigorous evaluation design.

Program Requirements

    Project Period: 12 months.
    Range of Awards: $300,000-$500,000. Applicants who request more 
than $500,000 will be ineligible for funding.
    Estimated Number of Awards: The Secretary anticipates making

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approximately 20-30 awards under this competition.
    Matching Requirement: Pursuant to Section 5512(c) of ESEA, as 
amended by NCLB, Federal funds may not pay for more than 50 percent of 
total project costs. In order to apply for and receive a grant award 
under this competition, each applicant must furnish from nonfederal 
sources at last 50 percent of its total project costs. Applicants may 
satisfy this requirement in cash or in kind, fairly evaluated, 
including services.

Reporting Requirements

    In accordance with Education Department General Administrative 
Regulations (EDGAR) cited elsewhere in this notice, grantees are 
required to submit to the Secretary a final performance report that:
    (1) Summarizes project progress with respect to the specific, 
measurable goals, objectives, and outcomes proposed in the management 
    (2) Summarizes project impact with respect to the achievement of 
    (3) Identifies barriers to progress as well as solutions; and
    (4) Provides information about the project's success in identifying 
funding to sustain its operations after the cessation of the grant.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR Part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
Order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
Federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 85, 86, 97, 98 and 99.

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 the following site:
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. 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:

(CFDA No. 84.341) Community Technology Centers Program.

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 7263-7263b.

    Dated: June 17, 2003.
Carol D'Amico,
Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education.
[FR Doc. 03-15707 Filed 6-19-03; 8:45 am]