[Federal Register: September 8, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 172)]
[Notices]               
[Page 46117-46119]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr08se09-53]       

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education--European 
Union-United States Atlantis Program; Program for North American 
Mobility in Higher Education Program; United States-Brazil Higher 
Education Consortia Program; United States-Russia Program: Improving 
Research and Educational Activities in Higher Education

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers: 84.116J (European 
Union (EU)-United States (U.S.) Atlantis Program), 84.116N (Program for 
North American Mobility in Higher Education), 84.116M (U.S.-Brazil 
Higher Education Consortia Program), 84.116S (U.S.-Russia Program: 
Improving Research and Educational Activities in Higher Education).
AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education proposes 
one absolute priority for each of the four special focus competitions 
conducted by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education 
(FIPSE): the EU-U.S. Atlantis Program, the Program for North American 
Mobility in Higher Education, the U.S.-Brazil Higher Education 
Consortia Program, and the U.S.-Russia Program: Improving Research and 
Educational Activities in Higher Education.
    The Assistant Secretary may use these priorities for competitions 
in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and in later years. We take this action to 
focus Federal financial assistance on an identified need in the area of 
postsecondary education. We intend these absolute priorities to improve 
postsecondary education opportunities by supporting the formation of 
international educational consortia and encouraging cooperation in the 
coordination of curricula, the

[[Page 46118]]

exchange of students, and the opening of educational opportunities 
between the U.S. and the countries involved in these programs.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before October 8, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Sarah Beaton, U.S. 
Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., room 6154, Washington, DC 
20006-8544.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: comments@ed.gov. You must include the following information in 
the subject line of your electronic message: ``Absolute Priorities for 
Special Focus International Competitions, FIPSE.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Beaton. Telephone: (202) 502-
7621 or by e-mail: Sarah.Beaton@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priorities, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific proposed priority that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed 
priorities. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce 
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the 
effective and efficient administration of the programs.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in room 6154, 1990 K Street, NW., 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Washington, 
DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Fund for the Improvement of 
Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) program is to support reforms, 
innovations, and significant improvements of postsecondary education 
that respond to problems of national significance and serve as national 
models. Under the FIPSE program, the Secretary makes grants for special 
projects concerning areas of national need.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1138-1138d.

Proposed Priorities

    Background: FIPSE is authorized under title VII, part B, sections 
741 through 745 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), 
20 U.S.C. 1138-1138d. Specifically, section 744 of the HEA authorizes 
the Secretary to make grants to institutions of higher education or 
consortia of such institutions with other public agencies and nonprofit 
organizations for innovative projects concerning areas of national need 
identified by the Secretary. Currently, these special projects include 
four international consortia programs: the EU-U.S. Atlantis Program 
(CFDA 84.116J), the Program for North American Mobility in Higher 
Education (CFDA 84.116N), the U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia 
Program (CFDA 84.116M), and the U.S.-Russia Program: Improving Research 
and Educational Activities in Higher Education (CFDA 84.116S). Each of 
these programs, which are co-funded by the Department, through FIPSE, 
and its respective international government partners, supports 
multilateral, multi-institutional collaboration. In each program, the 
Department works solely with an agency from the other involved nation 
or international group to administer the program and choose grantees. 
The EU-U.S. Atlantis Program operates cooperatively with the European 
Commission, the Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education 
operates cooperatively with Human Resources and Social Development 
Canada and the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico; the U.S.-
Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program operates cooperatively with 
the Coordination of Improvement of Personnel of Superior Level (CAPES), 
Brazilian Ministry of Education; and the U.S.-Russia Program: Improving 
Research and Educational Activities in Higher Education operates 
cooperatively with the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
    Currently, the Secretary implements the EU-U.S. Atlantis Program, 
the Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education Program, 
the U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program, and the U.S.-Russia 
Program: Improving Research and Educational Activities in Higher 
Education through the use of invitational priorities announced in 
notices inviting applications that are published in the Federal 
Register. We do not give an application that meets an invitational 
priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications. 
The Department seeks to establish absolute priorities for these 
programs because, in accordance with the international agreements 
establishing these programs, we intend to use the priorities to limit 
eligibility for funding under these programs to only those U.S. 
colleges and universities that partner with foreign colleges and 
universities in the countries involved in the four programs. As 
absolute priorities, the criteria contained in them would function as 
eligibility requirements. Only those entities meeting the eligibility 
requirements in the priority would be eligible for funding under these 
priorities.
    The following proposed absolute priorities support the formation of 
international educational consortia and encourage cooperation in the 
coordination of curricula; the exchange of students, if pertinent to 
grant activities; and the opening of educational opportunities between 
the U.S. and the respective countries involved in each of the programs. 
Therefore, only applications proposing projects addressing the absolute 
priority will be reviewed and considered for award; applications that 
do not address the absolute priority will be disqualified.

Proposed Absolute Priority 1--EU-U.S. Atlantis Program (84.116J)

    This priority supports the formation of educational consortia 
between the EU and U.S. institutions. To meet this priority, the 
applicant must propose a project that encourages cooperation in the 
coordination of curricula; the exchange of students, if pertinent to 
grant activities; and the opening of educational opportunities between 
the U.S. and countries in the EU. In order to be eligible for an award 
under this priority, the applicant in the U.S. must be a U.S. 
institution and the applicant in the EU must be an EU institution.
    EU institutions participating in any consortium proposal under this 
priority may apply to the Directorate-General for Education and Culture 
(DG EAC), European Commission for funding under a separate but parallel 
EU competition.

[[Page 46119]]

Proposed Absolute Priority 2--Program for North American Mobility in 
Higher Education (84.116N)

    This priority supports the formation of educational consortia of 
U.S., Canadian, and Mexican institutions. To meet this priority, the 
applicant must propose a project that supports cooperation in the 
coordination of curricula; the exchange of students, if pertinent to 
grant activities; and the opening of educational opportunities among 
the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. In order to be eligible for an award 
under this priority, the applicant in the U.S. must be a U.S. 
institution, the applicant in Mexico must be a Mexican institution, and 
the applicant in Canada must be a Canadian institution. Canadian and 
Mexican institutions participating in any consortium proposal under 
this priority may apply, respectively, to Human Resources and Social 
Development Canada (HRSDC) or the Mexican Secretariat for Public 
Education (SEP), for funding under separate but parallel Canadian and 
Mexican competitions.

Proposed Absolute Priority 3--U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia 
Program (84.116M)

    This priority supports the formation of educational consortia of 
U.S. and Brazilian institutions. To meet this priority, the applicant 
must propose a project that supports cooperation in the coordination of 
curricula; the exchange of students, if pertinent to grant activities; 
and the opening of educational opportunities between the U.S. and 
Brazil. In order to be eligible for an award under this priority, the 
applicant in the U.S. must be a U.S. institution and the applicant in 
Brazil must be a Brazilian institution. Brazilian institutions 
participating in any consortium proposal under this priority may apply 
to the Coordination of Improvement of Personnel of Superior Level 
(CAPES), Brazilian Ministry of Education, for funding under a separate 
but parallel Brazilian competition.

Proposed Absolute Priority 4--U.S.-Russian Program: Improving Research 
and Educational Activities in Higher Education (84.116S)

    This priority supports the formation of educational consortia of 
U.S. and Russian institutions to encourage mutual socio-cultural-
linguistic cooperation; the coordination of joint development of 
curricular, educational materials; and the exchange of students. In 
order to be eligible for an award under this priority, the applicant in 
the U.S. must be a U.S. institution and the applicant in Russia must be 
a Russian institution. Russian institutions participating in any 
consortium proposal under this priority may apply to the Russian 
Ministry of Education and Science for funding under a separate but 
parallel Russian competition.

Types of Priorities:

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Final Priorities

    We will announce the final priorities in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priorities after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this proposed regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering these programs effectively 
and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priorities justify the costs.
    We have determined, also, that this proposed regulatory action does 
not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    Intergovernmental Review: These programs are 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.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for these programs.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    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: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.
    Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated 
authority to Daniel T. Madzelan, Director, Forecasting and Policy 
Analysis for the Office of Postsecondary Education, to perform the 
functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary 
Education.

    Dated: September 2, 2009.
Daniel T. Madzelan,
Director, Forecasting and Policy Analysis.
[FR Doc. E9-21608 Filed 9-4-09; 8:45 am]

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