Fulbright-Hays--Group Projects Abroad Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the purpose of the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) program?
  2. Who is eligible to apply?
  3. What kinds of projects can be funded under the GPA program?
  4. Who is eligible to participate in the project?
  5. Are there restrictions on participation for individuals who have received previous Fulbright awards?
  6. Are there other restrictions on who can join a GPA project group?
  7. What is the average length of an award?
  8. What date should an applicant list as the proposed start date for the project?
  9. Does the GPA program have priorities?
  10. What kinds of expenses can be charged to a GPA grant?
  11. Is there a matching requirement?
  12. Are indirect costs allowed to be charged to a GPA grant?
  13. Do the provisions of the "Fly America Act" apply to this program?
  14. Is there a page limitation on the application?
  15. Are appendices allowed?
  16. What techniques are helpful in preparing an application narrative and other important information for the program?
  17. Am I required to submit my application electronically?
  18. If an applicant experiences technical difficulties or has questions regarding the Grants.gov system, whom does he/she contact for assistance?
  19. If an applicant has programmatic questions, whom should he/she contact?
  20. How will applicants be selected to receive grants?
  21. When will applicants be notified of their status?
  22. What is an average size award?
  23. How many grant awards are provided each year?
  24. Are host family stays common in the short-term group programs?
  25. For GPA short-term projects, can the position of Project Director be shared by two-three eligible participants? Does this person have to be PhD?
  26. How does the U.S. staff support themselves abroad? How can the grant pay for key personnel if no U.S.-based salaries/fringe can be paid for with GPA funds?
  27. What level of language proficiency is required by the project participants?
  28. Can we view samples of previously funded successful projects?
  29. Is it possible to visit more than one country?
  30. Can some participants go for four weeks and others for six to eight?
  31. For GPA advanced overseas intensive language training projects, what are the guidelines for determining whether a language program is intensive?
  32. What is the grant cycle for the GPA program?

1. What is the purpose of the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) program?

The GPA program is a discretionary grant program designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States by providing training opportunities for faculty, teachers, and upperclassmen and/or graduate students in foreign countries outside of Western Europe and where the United States has diplomatic representation. Awards are made under the program to conduct overseas group projects in research, training, curriculum development, and advanced foreign language study.

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2. Who is eligible to apply?

Institutions of higher education, state departments of education, private nonprofit educational organizations, and consortia of institutions, departments, and organizations are eligible to apply.

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3. What kinds of projects can be funded under the GPA program?

There are four kinds of GPA projects. Three are short-term projects: (1) short-term seminar; (2) curriculum development team; and (3) group research or study. The fourth type, advanced overseas intensive language training project, is a longer-term grant for four years. Please refer to the Project Type Descriptions for details on the features of each project type.

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4. Who is eligible to participate in the project?

An individual is eligible to participate in a GPA project, if she/he is:

  • A citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States; and
  • Currently employed full-time in a United States school system, institution of higher education, local education agency or state education agency (not applicable to students);

And, at least one of the following:

  • A teacher in an elementary or secondary school (please see note below);
  • A faculty member who teaches modern foreign languages or area studies;
  • An experienced education administrator responsible for planning, conducting, or supervising programs in modern foreign languages or area studies at the elementary, secondary, or postsecondary levels;
  • A graduate student or junior or senior in an institution of higher education, who is a prospective teacher in the areas of social sciences, humanities and foreign languages. The student should meet the provisions set by his or her local and state education agencies; or
  • For the Advanced Overseas Intensive Language Training project, the participating student, other than those planning a teaching career, should be planning to apply his or her language skills and knowledge of countries vital to the United States' national security in fields outside of teaching, including government, the professions, or international development.

(Note: All GPA participants must be educators or students who fulfill the criteria above and the selection criteria set by their respective projects and are currently teaching and/or studying in the fields of humanities, social sciences, foreign languages, and/or area studies. Area studies is defined as a program of comprehensive study of the aspects of a society or societies including the study of their geography, history, culture, economy, politics, international relations, or languages. Project participants may also be working in interdisciplinary areas such as business, health, social work, math, science, counseling, engineering, the environment, and technology. If an educator or student is working in a variety of subject areas, s/he must spend the majority of his/her time working with eligible subjects.)

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5. Are there restrictions on participation for individuals who have received previous Fulbright awards?

Yes. Individuals may be awarded a total of four lifetime short-term Fulbright awards (two months or less). Short-term awards would include Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad, Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad, etc.

Short-term award recipients become eligible every two years. For example, a Seminars Abroad 2006 participant could receive a Group Projects Abroad 2008 award and vice versa. A Seminars Abroad 2004 participant could receive a Seminars Abroad 2006 award, etc.

Individuals who are not currently employed and/or studying full-time are not eligible. In addition, individuals who do not meet the GPA program's eligibility criteria listed above are not eligible, unless they are students.

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6. Are there other restrictions on who can join a GPA project group?

Yes. Spouses, other family members, and friends, who have not been selected to participate in a GPA project according to the selection criteria stated in the approved application, are not permitted to join the group at any point during the program.

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7. What is the average length of an award?

Applicants may apply for a maximum grant performance period up to eighteen months in duration for short-term projects and four years for advanced overseas intensive language training projects.

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8. What date should an applicant list as the proposed start date for the project?

The program office suggests using March 1 of the fiscal competition year as the proposed start date for both the GPA short-term and advanced overseas intensive language training projects.

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9. Does the GPA program have priorities?

Yes. The program has an absolute priority which states that projects must focus on one or more of the following geographic regions of the world: Africa; East Asia; South Asia; Southeast Asia and the Pacific; the Western Hemisphere (Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean); East Central Europe and Eurasia; and the Near East.

The program also periodically has invitational and competitive preference priorities. Please check the current fiscal year's Federal Register notice and application package for details.

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10. What kinds of expenses can be charged to a GPA grant?

The grant does not provide funds for project-related expenses within the United States. Grant funds may be used only for the following: a maintenance stipend based on fifty percent of the amount established by the U.S. Department of State; round-trip international travel; a local travel allowance for necessary project-related travel within the host country; purchase of project-related artifacts, books, and other teaching materials in the country of study; rent for instructional facilities in the country of study; clerical and professional services performed by resident instructional personnel in the country of study; and other expenses in the country of study deemed necessary for the project's success and approved in advance by the U.S. Department of Education.

Please note that the GPA program will not provide funds for:

  • U.S.-based salaries and fringe benefits; and
  • U.S.-based activities such as pre-departure orientations and post-travel follow-up.

The applicant may regard the above and other unallowable costs as part of the applicant matching contribution.

For advanced overseas intensive language training projects, the GPA grant may pay for costs associated with pre- and post-foreign language assessment in the host country.

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11. Is there a matching requirement?

No, there is no formal matching requirement for the GPA program. However, the United States Department of Education encourages cost sharing by the project participants and their affiliated institutions, school districts, or organizations to cover the expenses within the United States, and to make up the difference between the grant and the costs of the activities abroad. Applicants are invited to provide cost share through in-kind or cash contributions.

For the GPA short-term projects, a minimum of 16 hours of pre-departure orientation activities should be included in the project design. However, please note that as a United States-based activity, related costs will not be paid for using GPA grant funds.

Follow up activities in the United States, including outreach, curriculum development, and dissemination activities should also be included in the project design, but will not be paid for with GPA grant funds.

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12. Are indirect costs allowed to be charged to a GPA grant?

No. Indirect costs are not allowed to be charged to a GPA grant.

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13. Do the provisions of the "Fly America Act" apply to this program?

Yes, all travel must comply with the Fly America Act. International travel budget estimates ought to be based on jet economy high season rates on U.S. Flag carriers where available.

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14. Is there a page limitation on the application?

Yes. Applicants are limited to a 40-page narrative. In addition, applicants will be asked to submit a one-page abstract, table of contents, line-item budget, and appendices.

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15. Are appendices allowed?

Yes. However, an applicant must be mindful to submit only what is requested and what would be considered supporting documentation of the narrative. For GPA short-term projects, this may include: (1) a detailed preliminary pre-departure orientation and overseas program itinerary; (2) curriculum vitas of key personnel; (3) letters of support; (4) examples of evaluation materials; and (5) other supporting documents, if necessary.

For GPA foreign language projects, this may include: (1) curriculum vitas of key personnel; (2) position descriptions; (3) project timeline chart; (4) letters of support; (5) class schedule with details; (6) pre-departure schedule of activities; (7) follow-up activities; (8) examples of evaluation tools; (9) details concerning pre-and post foreign language assessment; and (10) other supporting documents, if necessary.

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16. What techniques are helpful in preparing an application narrative and other important information for the program?
  • Start early.
  • Contact the GPA program officer.
  • Review GPA legislation, rules and regulations, and policy thoroughly.
  • Review the Federal Register Notice and Application Package thoroughly.
  • Review abstracts and application narratives of funded projects.
  • Contact funded grantees for information and assistance.
  • Review promising practices for GPA projects. Visit the program office to review funded projects.
  • Form an internal task force and management team with appropriate grant, international, and project-related experience.
  • Identify your institution’s/department’s/program’s need and wants.
  • Provide clear, measurable goals, objectives, and outcomes.
  • Provide a detailed plan of operation and evaluation.
  • Prepare a specific and detailed budget.
  • Request letters of support, both from domestic and overseas partners.
  • Identify your academic host country coordinator and establish strong linkages.
  • Address each part of the selection criteria thoroughly and in the order presented.
  • Present a persuasive description of how the pieces fit together and complement each other.
  • Don’t make readers have to search for information.
  • Write in plain English and use correct grammar.
  • Avoid specific professional jargon/acronyms.
  • Register with Grants.gov early.
  • DO NOT wait until the last minute to submit your electronic application.
  • If your application is not funded, consult the reviewer’s comments and consider reapplying.
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17. Am I required to submit my application electronically?

Yes. You must submit your application through the Grants.gov system. Please note that if you are a first-time user of this system, the registration process may take several days to complete.

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18. If an applicant experiences technical difficulties or has questions regarding the Grants.gov system, whom does he/she contact for assistance?

Contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or support@grants.gov. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except for federal holidays). GPA program officers are not able to answer technical questions about the Grants.gov system.

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19. If an applicant has programmatic questions, whom should he/she contact?

An applicant should contact a GPA program officer:

For questions regarding the GPA Advanced Overseas Intensive Language Training Projects: Michelle Guilfoil at michelle.guilfoil@ed.gov.

For questions regarding the GPA Short-Term Projects: Loveen Bains at loveen.bains@ed.gov.

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20. How will applicants be selected to receive grants?

Grantees will be selected through a rigorous peer review process. A three- to five-member panel of non-federal evaluators reviews each application. Each reviewer will prepare a written evaluation of the application and assign points for each selection criterion published in the Federal Register.

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21. When will applicants be notified of their status?

Notifications will typically take place in early to late spring of the following year via e-mail and postal mail. All applicants (successful and unsuccessful) will receive copies of evaluators' scores and comments for reference purposes.

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22. What is an average size award?

The average new award is $90,000 for short-term projects (competed annually) and $158,000 for advanced overseas intensive language training projects (competed every four years). However, the maximum award can be up to $125,000 annually for short-term project awards and $375,000 for advanced overseas intensive language training projects annually.

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23. How many grant awards are provided each year?

The program is estimated to award 23 short-term projects and 20 foreign language projects for FY 2012.

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24. Are host family stays common in the short-term group programs?

It is not uncommon for GPA projects to propose host family visits and/or stays. The program encourages this both as an experiential learning experience as well as for potential cost saving measures, where appropriate.

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25. For GPA short-term projects, can the position of Project Director be shared by two-three eligible participants? Does this person have to be PhD?

GPA funds will provide for travel costs for two individuals from the United States (bilingual scholar, curriculum specialist, project director, or other appropriate key personnel). Those leading the groups should have academic training, field experience in the host country, administrative experience, language experience, and curriculum experience. These characteristics may be in one person or spread out over multiple individuals including those in the host country. Although it is preferred, this person does not have to have a PhD as long as s/he has the appropriate experience and expertise.

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26. How does the U.S. staff support themselves abroad? How can the grant pay for key personnel if no U.S.-based salaries/fringe can be paid for with GPA funds?

The GPA grant is meant to pay for many, but not all of the project expenses, including those considered to be U.S.-based such as salary and fringe, stipends and honoraria for U.S. key personnel.

These costs should be covered through other sources such as in kind contributions or costshare from the applicant and/or partner institutions.

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27. What level of language proficiency is required by the project participants?

There is no language proficiency requirement for GPA short-term project participants. However, if it is a foreign language training project or language training is an important component of the project, these considerations should be addressed in the GPA application narrative as appropriate.

For GPA advanced overseas intensive language training project participants, they must have the equivalent of two years of training in the language to be studied in order to be eligible for the program.

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28. Can we view samples of previously funded successful projects?

Yes, on the GPA Program Web site, under Resources, there is a link titled Successful Grant Application Narratives. There are also multiple other resources available there including sample pre-departure orientation agendas and host country itineraries (for GPA short-term projects) as well as application workshop materials (for GPA foreign language projects).

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29. Is it possible to visit more than one country?

For GPA short-term projects, yes, it is possible for projects to visit more than one country if it is applicable to the scope of the project. Applicants should thoroughly justify in the application narrative why it is necessary and appropriate for the project to visit more than one country and address issues concerning potential higher travel costs.

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30. Can some participants go for four weeks and others for six to eight?

For GPA sort-term projects, all project participants should be in the country(ies) of study for a minimum of four weeks. It is possible that justification may be made for some participants to stay for a longer period of time, depending upon project activities and scope. These issues should be thoroughly addressed in the application narrative.

Participants on GPA foreign language training projects should remain in the program for the standard period of training, whether a summer, semester, academic or full year.

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31. For GPA advanced overseas intensive language training projects, what are the guidelines for determining whether a language program is intensive?

Language programs should be a minimum of six weeks study in the host country, but can be for much longer including a semester, trimester, academic year or full year. GPA requires a minimum of 120 contact hours, or in-classroom instruction, at the advanced level. The period of study should be consecutive.

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32. What is the grant cycle for the GPA program?

GPA short term projects compete annually for grants with performance periods of 18 months. GPA advanced foreign language projects compete every four years for grants with four performance periods of 12 months each.

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Last Modified: 08/15/2011