FR Doc E9-28994[Federal Register: December 4, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 232)]
[Notices]               
[Page 63740-63743]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr04de09-65]                           

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Emergency Management for Higher Education Grant Program

AGENCY: Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities and requirements.

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    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.184T.

SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools 
proposes priorities and requirements for the Emergency Management for 
Higher Education (EMHE) grant program. The Assistant Deputy Secretary 
may use one or more of these priorities and requirements for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and later years. Congress 
appropriated initial funding for the EMHE grant competition in FY 2008 
following the tragic shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and 
State University in 2007. That and other past emergencies, such as the 
events of September 11, 2001, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the 
tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University, reinforce the need for 
colleges and universities to prepare for the full range of emergency 
events that may affect their campus communities. The EMHE grant program 
provides funds to institutions of higher education (IHEs) to establish 
or enhance an emergency management planning process that integrates the 
various components and departments of each IHE; focuses on reviewing, 
strengthening, and institutionalizing all-hazards emergency management 
plans; fosters partnerships with local and State community partners; 
supports vulnerability assessments; encourages training and drilling on 
the emergency management plan across the campus community; and requires 
IHEs to develop a written plan for preventing violence on campus by 
assessing and addressing the mental health needs of students, faculty, 
and staff who may be at risk of causing campus violence by harming 
themselves or others.
    The Assistant Deputy Secretary intends to use these proposed 
priorities and requirements to provide Federal financial assistance to 
IHEs to develop, or review or improve, and fully integrate, their 
campus-based all-hazards emergency management planning efforts. We 
intend to grant awards under these proposed priorities and requirements 
to increase the capacity of IHEs to prevent/mitigate, prepare for, 
respond to, and recover from the full range of emergency events.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before January 4, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Tara Hill, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 10088, PCP, 
Washington, DC 20202-6450.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: tara.hill@ed.gov. You must include the term ``FY 2010 EMHE NPP 
Comments'' in the subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tara Hill. Telephone: (202) 245-7860 
or by e-mail: tara.hill@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 and requirements, we urge you 
to identify clearly the specific proposed priority or requirement 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 and requirements. 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 program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in room 10088, 550 12th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 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: EMHE grants support efforts by IHEs to develop, 
or review and improve, and fully integrate, campus-based all-hazards 
emergency management planning efforts within the framework of the four 
phases of emergency management (Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, 
Response, and Recovery).

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7131.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 299.

Proposed Priorities

    This notice contains two proposed priorities.

Proposed Priority 1--IHE Projects Designed to Develop, or Review and 
Improve, and Fully Integrate Campus-Based All-Hazards Emergency 
Management Planning Efforts

    Background: In the report language accompanying the 2008 Department 
of Education Appropriations Act, Congress indicated that funding 
recommended for school emergency preparedness activities be used for 
new grant awards

[[Page 63741]]

to institutions of higher education to develop and implement emergency 
management plans for preventing campus violence (including assessing 
and addressing the mental health needs of students) and for responding 
to threats and incidents of violence or natural disaster in a manner 
that ensures the safety of the campus community. Accordingly, the EMHE 
grant program was first administered in FY 2008 based on a priority 
similar to proposed priority 1 in this notice. A subsequent cohort of 
EMHE grants was awarded from the FY 2008 EMHE grant competition slate 
using FY 2009 EMHE funds. Our experience with EMHE grantees from these 
two cohorts is that developing all-hazards emergency management plans 
based on the four phases of emergency management (prevention-
mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery) is a critical activity 
for campuses across the Nation. We propose this priority at this time 
to enable additional campuses to focus on reviewing, developing, and 
strengthening their emergency management efforts.
    Proposed Priority: Under this proposed priority, we support IHE 
projects designed to develop, or review and improve, and fully 
integrate campus-based all-hazards emergency management planning 
efforts. A program funded under this proposed priority must use the 
framework of the four phases of emergency management (Prevention-
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery) to:
    (1) Develop, or review and improve, and fully integrate a campus-
wide all-hazards emergency management plan that takes into account 
threats that may be unique to the campus;
    (2) Train campus staff, faculty, and students in emergency 
management procedures;
    (3) Coordinate with local and State government emergency management 
efforts;
    (4) Ensure coordination of planning and communication across all 
relevant components, offices, and departments of the campus;
    (5) Develop a written plan with emergency protocols that include 
the medical, mental health, communication, mobility, and emergency 
needs of persons with disabilities, as well as for those individuals 
with temporary special needs or other unique needs (including those 
arising from language barriers or cultural differences);
    (6) Develop or update a written plan that prepares the campus for 
infectious disease outbreaks with both short-term implications for 
planning (e.g., outbreaks caused by methicillin-resistant 
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or food-borne illnesses) and long-term 
implications for planning (e.g., pandemic influenza); and
    (7) Develop or enhance a written plan for preventing violence on 
campus by assessing and addressing the mental health needs of students, 
staff, and faculty who may be at risk of causing violence by harming 
themselves or others.

Proposed Priority 2--Priority for Applicants that Have Not Previously 
Received a Grant under the EMHE Program (CFDA 84.184T)

    Background: Ensuring that IHEs are attempting to prevent or 
mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency 
situations that may arise from multiple hazards, including natural and 
man-made, is an issue of national importance. Since FY 2008, 43 
projects have received funding under the EMHE grant program. These 
projects represent a very small number of the colleges and universities 
in the United States today. To address the emergency management 
planning needs of IHEs that have not previously received funding under 
this program, we propose a priority for IHEs that have not yet received 
a grant under this program.
    By establishing this priority, we hope to ensure that EMHE grant 
funds have a positive impact on a larger number of college students, 
faculty, and staff, and that the funds are made available to assist 
campuses that have not previously received services under an EMHE 
grant.
    Proposed Priority: Under this proposed priority we give priority to 
applications from IHEs that have not previously received a grant under 
this program (CFDA 84.184T). An applicant that has received services 
under this program directly, or as a partner in a consortium 
application under this program, would not meet this priority. Under a 
consortium application, all members of the IHE consortium would have to 
meet this criterion to meet this proposed priority.
    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)).

Proposed Requirements

    Background: The EMHE program is intended to support colleges and 
universities seeking to develop, or review and improve, and fully 
integrate their campus-based all-hazards emergency management planning 
efforts. College campuses often consist of many distinct departments 
and offices serving such a significant number of students, staff, and 
faculty; they can often resemble small cities. For a campus to prevent 
or mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from any emergency, 
an IHE needs to ensure that all of the diverse and relevant components 
of its campus or campuses are coordinated, communicating with one 
another, training together, and using an integrated all-hazards 
emergency management plan. It is essential that the written IHE 
emergency management plan take into account any unique hazards, 
vulnerabilities, or threats that may face the campus.
    Further, our experience has shown that for an IHE to be prepared to 
respond effectively to an emergency, its planning efforts must be 
closely coordinated with local government and with local and State 
emergency management planning efforts. Ensuring that key first 
responders in the community, under the jurisdiction of the local 
government, have met and trained with key campus responders is critical 
to a successful response effort. Therefore, IHEs must establish and 
maintain partnerships with other key community partners within the 
locality and State in which the IHE is based. Particularly as our 
Nation faces the H1N1 pandemic, it is apparent that close communication 
with local and State public health partners is essential to timely 
response and service provision.
    In addition, as recent events on college campuses have shown, 
identifying community-based mental health providers and maintaining 
ongoing relationships with those agencies is essential for IHE students 
and staff who may need additional

[[Page 63742]]

mental health assistance if a major event were to occur. While many 
IHEs have access to general health and mental health services on their 
own campuses, in the event of a large-scale emergency, history shows 
that almost all IHEs will still need assistance from off-campus 
support.
    Finally, our experience has shown that in many cases, college 
campuses are expected to serve as points of distribution (PODS) for 
medical supplies and services, or as shelter or evacuation locations, 
for the community in the case of major disasters. However, we recognize 
that not all IHEs have had the opportunity to develop these 
relationships with each of the key external community partners or 
agencies.
    IHE emergency management plans should be based on the most current 
emergency management practices as established by the National Incident 
Management System (NIMS). In accordance with Homeland Security 
Presidential Directive/HSPD-5, the NIMS provides a consistent approach 
for Federal, State, and local governments to work effectively and 
efficiently together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover 
from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. 
Ensuring that public agencies at all levels of government, including 
IHEs, are implementing common emergency management principles, 
terminology, and organizational processes is critical to an effective 
and efficient response to an emergency.
    Proposed Requirements: The Assistant Deputy Secretary proposes the 
following requirements for this program. We may apply one or more of 
these requirements in any year in which this program is in effect.
    Partner Agreements: To be considered for a grant award, an 
applicant must include in its application two partner agreements. One 
partner agreement must detail coordination with, and participation of, 
a representative of the appropriate level of local or State government 
for the locality in which the IHE to be served by the project is 
located (for example, the mayor, city manager, or county executive). 
The second partner agreement must detail coordination with, and 
participation of, a representative from a local or State emergency 
management coordinating body (for example, the head of the local 
emergency planning council that would be involved in coordinating a 
large-scale emergency response effort in the campus community). Both 
agreements must include the name of the partner organization, an 
indication of whether the partner represents the local or State 
government or the local or State emergency management coordinating 
body, and a description of the respective partner as well as a 
description of the partner's roles and responsibilities in supporting 
the EMHE grant and in strengthening emergency management planning 
efforts for the IHE. Each partner agreement must also include a 
description of the roles and responsibilities of the IHE in grant 
implementation and partner coordination. A signature from an authorized 
representative of the IHE and each of the two required partners 
acknowledging the relationship and the agreements must be included in 
the application. If either or both of the two required partners is not 
present in an applicant's community, or cannot feasibly participate, 
the agreements must explain the absence of each missing partner.
    Applications that fail to include either of the two required 
partner agreement forms, including information on partners' roles and 
responsibilities (or an explanation documenting that partner's absence 
in the community), will not be considered for funding.
    Each consortium applicant (an applicant submitting on behalf of 
multiple IHEs) and any applicant applying on behalf of multiple 
campuses (including one or more satellite or extension campuses within 
its own institution or its consortium of IHEs) must submit a complete 
set of partner agreements with appropriate signatures from the 
authorized representative and the two required partners noted earlier 
for each campus proposed to be receiving services under its EMHE 
project.
    Although this program requires partnerships with other parties, 
administrative direction and fiscal control for the project must remain 
with the IHE.
    Completed Memoranda of Agreements: All IHEs supported by the EMHE 
program must use the grant period to create, or review and update, and 
sign, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with each of the following four 
partners: local or State emergency management coordinating body, local 
government, primary off-campus public health provider, and primary off-
campus mental health services provider. Each applicant under the EMHE 
program must include an assurance with its application that the IHE 
will establish these MOAs during the project period. MOAs must be 
completed for each campus to be served by the EMHE project. Completed 
MOAs will be requested at the end of the project period with the Final 
Report submission.
    Coordination with State or Local Homeland Security Plan: All 
emergency management plans created or enhanced using funding under this 
program must be coordinated with the Homeland Security Plan of the 
State or locality in which the IHE is located. To ensure that emergency 
services are coordinated, and to avoid duplication of effort within 
States and localities, an applicant must include in its application an 
assurance that the IHE will coordinate with, and follow, the 
requirements of its State or local Homeland Security Plan for emergency 
services and initiatives.
    Implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS): 
Each applicant must agree to implement its grant in a manner consistent 
with the implementation of the NIMS in its community. An applicant must 
include in its application an assurance that it has met, or will 
complete, all current NIMS requirements by the end of the grant period.
    Implementation of the NIMS is a dynamic process that will continue 
to evolve over time. In order to receive Federal preparedness funding 
under the EMHE program, each IHE must cooperate with the efforts of its 
community to meet the minimum NIMS requirements established for each 
fiscal year. Because DHS' determination of NIMS requirements may change 
from year to year, an applicant must refer to the most recent list of 
NIMS requirements published by DHS when submitting its application. In 
any notice inviting applications, the Department will provide 
applicants with information necessary to access the most recent DHS 
list of NIMS requirements.

    Note: The responsibilities and procedures of any campus-based 
security office or law enforcement agency and the elements of the 
campus emergency management plan must be considered in conjunction 
with the local community's emergency operations plan (EOP) and the 
capacity and responsibility of local fire and rescue departments, 
emergency medical service providers, crisis center/hotlines, and law 
enforcement agencies that may be called to assist the IHE in a 
large-scale disaster. IHEs' participation in the NIMS preparedness 
program of the local government is essential in ensuring that first-
responder services are delivered in a timely and effective manner. 
Additional information about NIMS and NIMS implementation is 
available at 
http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/ImplementationGuidanceStakeholders.shtm 
and http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/index.shtm.

    IHEs that have previously received Federal preparedness funding and 
are,

[[Page 63743]]

therefore, already NIMS-compliant should indicate that in the assurance 
form.
    Eligibility: To be considered for an award under this competition, 
an applicant must be considered an IHE. An IHE, for the purposes of 
this competition, is defined as: an educational institution in any 
State that--
    (1) Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of 
graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the 
recognized equivalent of such a certificate or persons who meet the 
requirements of section 484(d)(3) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 
as amended;
    (2) Is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of 
education beyond secondary education;
    (3) Provides an educational program for which the institution 
awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a 2-year program 
that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree or awards a 
degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional 
degree program, subject to review and approval by the Secretary;
    (4) Is a public or other nonprofit institution; and
    (5) Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or 
association or, if not so accredited, is an institution that has been 
granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association that 
has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of 
preaccreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is 
satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation 
standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.
    Final Priorities and Requirements: We will announce the final 
priorities and requirements in a notice in the Federal Register. We 
will determine the final priorities and requirements 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 and 
requirements, 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 this program 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 and requirements 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.
    Discussion of Costs and Benefits: The potential costs associated 
with the proposed priorities and requirements are minimal while the 
potential benefits are significant.
    Grantees may anticipate costs in developing and/or disseminating 
written emergency management plans, implementing the NIMS requirements, 
and conducting training and drills of the improved emergency management 
plans. Grantees may also anticipate costs in achieving increased cross-
campus collaboration and partnering with local and State community 
partners. Finally, grantees will experience costs when traveling to 
required grant administration training events sponsored by the 
Department. However, these costs may be included in the grant budget 
and, therefore, will have little or no financial impact on the 
applicant.
    The benefit of the proposed priorities and requirements is that 
grantees will develop a comprehensive, all-hazards, campus-based, NIMS-
compliant emergency management plan based on the four phases of 
emergency management. Training provided for staff and students will 
increase the IHE's overall preparedness efforts. Developing written 
plans for assessing and addressing the mental health needs of students 
and staff who may be at risk of causing harm to themselves or others on 
campus could help to prevent future tragedies on campuses. In addition, 
by having written plans designed to address infectious diseases with 
both short- and long-term impacts for the campus and the community, 
IHEs may be able to mitigate the adverse effects of these hazards, 
which in turn could result in significant savings in health care and 
other financial costs for the community. In summary, completing a 
comprehensive emergency management planning effort in advance of an 
emergency will allow IHEs to prepare to respond and recover from any 
type of emergency that may occur. An ultimate goal of the EMHE program 
is to decrease the resulting costs to IHEs in terms of lost resources, 
facilities, time, and causalities that may result from an actual 
emergency.
    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.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    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.

    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.


    Dated: December 1, 2009.
Kevin Jennings,
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
[FR Doc. E9-28994 Filed 12-3-09; 8:45 am]

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