I have an idea for a North American Mobility project. Where do I start?
We recommend the following three steps. First, check out the FIPSE Web site at www.ed.gov/FIPSE. This Web site has a lot of information about program priorities and upcoming grant competitions. FIPSE has short abstracts of all program projects under "Awards" on the program Web sites. In addition, FIPSE maintains a searchable database that can be found under "Search Database" on the FIPSE homepage. See what FIPSE has funded in your area. How is your project different and innovative? Second, read the North American Mobility guidelines that are provided at the Web site listed in the Federal Register announcement inviting applications for new awards. After a grant competition closes an archived copy of the application package is posted on the program Web site under "Applicant Info." Third, call a program officer to discuss your idea. Names of FIPSE international staff and phone numbers may be found under the "Contacts" link on the program Web site.
Do we have to submit a proposal for the North American Mobility program to each of the three national funding agencies?
Yes, you do submit the same proposal narrative to the three separate funding agencies. You must do this to be considered for funding. The only differences between the Mexican, Canadian, and American submissions are the title pages, the budget forms, and the assurance forms. The main proposal narrative listing the goals and project activities must be the same.
What are the number of required institutions in a consortium?
Your proposed consortium must involve at least two active partner higher education or training institutions from each of the three countries involved. You may also add third and subsequent partners from other education and training institutions or other relevant organizations (e.g., businesses, non-governmental organizations, publishers, government departments, chambers of commerce, research institutes, etc.). Please note, however, that funding is intended only for academic institutions in each consortium. If your idea does not fit this configuration, you may wish to look into applying to FIPSE's Comprehensive Program for funding.
What makes a successful North American project?
A successful project is one that integrates a North American approach to a professional or academic curriculum in such a way that it benefits students at all institutions involved. It is one that has a high level of commitment from all of the institutions and makes a good effort at integrating the program into the regular offerings at each of the institutions in the consortia. This is best done around a curricular component that builds upon the strengths of all the partner institutions. A common mistake that is made by faculty is to create an idea that they believe is of great educational value and significance. Think carefully about what students need in their program of study. Can students easily integrate the proposed grant focus into their college curriculum? A successful project needs strong leadership from the project directors in each country and a high level of participation from the partner institutions. Successful projects are put a lot of energy in student recruitment early on in the project and have a strong plan for language learning built into the consortia, usually through participation of their foreign language programs. Many of our best projects make use of the web and other electronic media (two-way video) for project management, curricular development, and curricular delivery.
How important is language learning? What do you mean by having a strategy for language learning?
Language learning is a very important component of this program. Students in this program should have the opportunity to learn in all three North American languages - English, French and Spanish. We have found that the most successful projects build language learning into the program from the beginning. You can best do this by working closely with the foreign language department to ensure that student language competencies are adequate. Some of our projects have developed content-specific language programs (Spanish for engineering) that train students to function in their specific topic areas. Language assessments prior to and subsequent to study abroad are required.
What are the student stipends to be used for?
The purpose of the student stipends is to offset the cost incurred by students traveling abroad. Stipends can be used for costs that are related to international study (transportation, food and lodging for example). Student stipend money is not intended for travel or study within the United States or to cover tuition payments. Check the guidelines and budget instructions for the stipend amounts.
What is the purpose of the first year?
We have found that projects that have a history of working together have a better chance of success than those who are new to each other. Because of the complexities of these consortia agreements (six institutions spanning three countries), formal agreements help the project director manage his or her way around a number of potential administrative obstacles. At the time of the first annual report you will be required to submit to the three funding authorities signed copies of formal agreements signed by all partner institutions with respect to: (a) academic credit transfer and recognition; and (b) student tuition and fees.
Please note that the first year of the project does not reduce the need for you to develop and present clear and detailed plans of action and signed support letters from all of your partner institutions at the time of application. The application must be completely and fully developed, including a section that describes plans to address the issues identified above.
What happens if we do not complete all of the requirements during the first year?
Funding for the subsequent three years is contingent upon satisfactory achievements during the preparatory first year. Those consortia that are unable to make significant progress towards meeting these requirements will be considered to be less likely to be successful projects. For this reason, projects that do not satisfactorily meet these preparatory requirements by the end of the first year will not be extended government support beyond that point.
How detailed a budget do we have to submit with the U.S. proposal?
Read the budget instructions very carefully. Each type of funded project receives the same budget. The instructions specify the amounts for each line item of the budget. You must submit a budget using the categories on the budget summary form. In addition to this budget form, you must provide an additional narrative explanation of the budget. FIPSE International grants do not require cost sharing or matching. This is not part of the budget.
How much indirect costs should we charge on this grant?
FIPSE's international grants are considered training grants. Consequently we allow eight percent on allowable line items. Student stipends do not include indirect costs. For more information see the budget instructions. The eight percent rate is applicable to the lead institution and the U.S. partners as well.
When should we begin sending students abroad?
You should begin planning for student mobility the moment you draft the proposal. Student recruitment takes time, as do the arrangements for study abroad and visas. The first year should be spent in preparation for this. The earliest you may begin to send students is upon completion of a signed memorandum. In order to give yourself time to set up curriculum exchange agreements, it might be a good idea to plan to send slightly more students in years three and four. However, you should plan to get students engaged in the program as soon as possible. This means that student recruitment and language learning should begin as soon as you get the grant.
Should partnerships with other institutions be completely new for this project, or can we build upon existing ones?
You may create new partnerships or build on existing international or domestic linkages. Projects, however, must be new; you should not simply duplicate or extend existing activities. Make sure that you indicate the added value of choosing each of the partners involved. It is important that you clearly indicate each partner's contribution to the joint project in addition to the description of the project director at each institution. You should also include descriptions of all project staff. It is the practice of the funding agencies not to fund persons in more than one project at a time. Institutions should complete one project before applying for another grant.
Are the institutions and organizations in this program subject to the regulations in human subjects?
No, in accordance with the Department of Education's regulations at 34 C.F.R. 97.101(b)(1) and (2), FIPSE grantees are exempt from the regulations that govern the involvement of human subjects because the projects involve activities, including evaluation, that are defined as "(1) Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as: (i) research on regular and special education instructional strategies; or (ii) research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods. (2) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior." Institutional applicants should ensure, however, that they comply with any institutional requirements for projects involving human subjects.
What if I have other questions?
Contact us! Refer to the listing of staff addresses and phone numbers.