National Resource Centers Program

   Current Section
 Office of Postsecondary Education Home
Frequently Asked Questions

Application Content | Priorities | Page Limits | FLAS | Funding/Budget | Post-Award | Submitting Applications | Application Processing | Evaluating Applications

NOTE: These FAQS apply to both the National Resource Centers and the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships Programs.

Application Content

  1. Our center has received NRC and FLAS grants in the past.  Is it appropriate to refer to this in our application?
    Yes to demonstrate programmatic strength/growth.  However, the International Education Programs Service (IEPS) strongly suggests that you refrain from referring to your proposal as an application for "renewal" of your grant.  In selecting applications for funding, no preference is given to applicants who have received NRC and FLAS grants in the past.

  2. What techniques does the U.S. Department of Education (US/ED) consider helpful for presenting the application narrative and other important information?
    In presenting the application narrative (your responses to the selection criteria), we encourage you to follow the order of the selection criteria as listed on the Technical Review Form on pages (insert pages) in the application booklet.  Additional useful techniques include: using cross-references in the budget and appendices; providing an acronyms list; and using tables and graphs to present information effectively.

  3. Can an institution apply for funding for both an undergraduate National Resource Center and a FLAS fellowship program?
    Yes.  The applicant should keep in mind  that meritorious undergraduate students are now eligible to receive FLAS awards.  This means that applicants must describe in the portion of their application that addresses the FLAS program which students they intend to offer their allotted FLAS awards to (undergraduate, graduate, or both), and a description of the competitive application process that will be used to select the fellows.  The applicant must also ensure that they incorporate the approved eligibility requirements into their FLAS competition.

  4. What guidance does US/ED provide regarding the Impact and Evaluation criterion?
    Please refer to the Guidance on Evaluation.

  5. Should we describe in the application our center's "outreach" to institutions and people in other countries?
    Yes, but not in response to the "Outreach Activities" selection criterion, which asks readers to evaluate the regional and national impact of an applicant's domestic activities.  To the extent that your center engages in projects that facilitate overseas study and research or professional development opportunities for U.S.-based students and educators, these activities might be relevant in addressing other selection criteria.


Priorities: (Described in EDGAR §75.105(c))

  1. What is the absolute priority for the FY 2010-13 competition?
    There is one absolute priority for NRCs in this competition.

    Absolute Priority:  Projects that include teacher training activities on the language, languages, area studies, or thematic focus of the center.
    The National Resource Centers (NRC) program has one "absolute priority".  All NRC applicants must address this priority in their applications.  This does not suggest that applicants devote a separate section of their application to Teacher Training initiatives or activities.  All that is required is that reviewers are able to discern what training activities for educators the applicant will conduct during the funding cycle.  These sort of activities are frequently explained in the outreach section, but references to teacher training activities can be placed in the other sections of the narrative, budget, and/or timeline.

    There is no absolute priority for the FY 2010-13 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program competition.

  2. Our center engages in outreach activities.  Does that mean that we have fulfilled the Absolute Priority for National Resource Centers?
    Not necessarily.  "Outreach activities" include many projects that are not teacher training.  To meet the absolute priority, applicants must include information that demonstrates the existence, development, and  expansion of effective teacher training activities.  Collaboration with Schools of Education, and Local and State Education Agencies are good means by which to address this requirement.

  3. What are Competitive and Invitational Priorities?
    If an application addresses and meets the competitive preference priorities, additional points are awarded to the application.  An application that meets the invitational priorities does not receive a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.  Please refer to the Closing Date Notice in the Federal Register for published priorities.

  4. May more than one center at an institution submit applications for the NRC/FLAS competition?
    Yes.  It is allowable for more than one center at an institution to submit applications.  Each center’s application is reviewed independently based on the applicable selection criteria.


Application Content, Page limits

  1. Are institutions applying for both National Resource Centers and FLAS Fellowship funding permitted a longer page limit than institutions applying for a grant under only one program?
    No. Narrative page limits are 45 double-spaced, single-sided pages for single institution applications and 55 double-spaced pages for consortia applications, regardless of whether they are for undergraduate or comprehensive NRC funding or FLAS fellowships or both.  Please see the Closing Date Notice.

  2. Are consortia with more than two members permitted a longer page limit than two-member consortia?
    No.  All consortia must comply with the 55 double-spaced page narrative limit.

  3. Do the budget forms and appendices count against the page limit?
    No.  Please refer to the Closing Date Notice and to Section C (page 2c) for specific guidance.


Application Content, FLAS

  1. Are undergraduate students eligible to receive FLAS fellowships?
    Yes.  Changes made to Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 allows for FLAS awards to be given to meritorious undergraduate students who are studying a Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL) – which is defined here as any language other than English, Spanish, German, or French – and who are at the intermediate or advanced level of that study.


  1. How much money should we request for an NRC grant?
    IEPS suggests that applicants limit requests to the estimated range announced in the Federal Register notice.

  2. What information does US/ED consider when selecting applications for funding?
    US/ED considers:  (1) the information in each application, (2) the readers’ scores and comments resulting from the peer review of the applications, and (3) any other information relevant to a criterion, priority, or other requirement that applies to the selection of applications for new grants.

  3. How will decisions about continuation funding be made?
    Grantees are required to submit annual performance reports on time to the International Resource Information System (IRIS) that describe the projects' accomplishments, GPRA data, and budgetary status.  These reports assist IEPS staff in determining continuation funding.  Although estimated funding levels for all four years of the grant are established at the time of the initial grant award notification, the amount of funding received in Years 2, 3 and 4 of the grant can increase or decrease depending on:  (1) the on-time  submission of all required reports, (2) evidence in the reports that you have made substantial progress toward meeting original grant objectives, (3) program officers' review and analysis of report data, (4) information from site visits, such as programmatic or fiscal findings, (5) the Congressional appropriation of funds for the programs, and (6) A-133 audit information that IEPS might receive regarding a specific grant.

    Successful applicants will receive instructions for submitting electronic performance reports through IRIS soon after their grants have been awarded.  To view the NRC and FLAS reporting screens, please visit the IRIS web site at:


Post-Award Issue (This question relates to EDGAR §75.118 and §75.253.)

  1. Is there a matching requirement for the NRC or FLAS program?
    No.  There is no matching requirement for either of the programs.  Demonstrations of institutional commitment, however, will strengthen an application.  Applicants are not required to fill-out Section B of the ED 524 form but if they do, and cite institutional commitment, then the grantee and host institution will be held to that commitment for however long the applicant indicated it will be given.  Institutional commitment must also be addressed in the narrative portion of the grant application.

  2. Are we allowed to include project evaluation costs in our NRC budget request and is there any limitation on the amount?
    Including project evaluation costs in the NRC budget is appropriate and allowable.  Applications should request an amount that is reasonable and justifiable in terms of the overall project scope and total budget request.

Application Submission

  1. How many copies of an application should we submit?
    Applicants are required to submit an original application and two copies.  The original application stays in the program office and the copies are read by the peer review panel.  Because each application is evaluated by three reviewers, the program office would appreciate receiving a total of one original plus three copies.

  2. Is an exception ever made for an application postmarked after the closing-date?
    No, never.


Application Processing  (These procedures are described in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) §75.215-236.)

  1. What happens to my application after I have sent it to the US/ED Application Control Center?
    Your application is delivered to the Application Control Center (ACC), the unit authorized to receive grant applications.  ACC confirms receipt of an original application and copies and assigns each an identifying number (PR/Award number, e.g., P015A0--- P015B060---), and sends the applications to the program office, where applications are screened for eligibility.  Applications that are eligible are then assigned to expert reviewers for the external "peer review" process.

    Separate panels of experts will be arranged for world areas or thematically based applications.  The panels of experts read and score each eligible application.  IEPS then makes funding recommendations to US/ED officials based on reviewers’ scores and comments.  Once recommendations are approved, grant award notifications (GANs) are issued, if funding is available.

  2. What happens to my application if US/ED finds it to be ineligible?
    It is not evaluated.  Section 75.216 of EDGAR prohibits US/ED from evaluating an application if it does not meet the program eligibility criteria or does not otherwise comply with application requirements.  If ineligible, a copy of the application is returned to the applicant with a letter explaining why it was not evaluated.


Application Evaluation

  1. Who evaluates the applications submitted for the competition?
    Each application is evaluated by panels of reviewers, which include experts,from outside US/ED who represent a variety of disciplines.  The experts are required to use the program statute and regulations, the program selection criteria, and any priorities and other requirements that have been published in the Federal Register as guidance in reviewing the applications.  The review panels provide written comments and scores to support their evaluations  about the quality, significance, and impact of the proposed project.  Those comments are shared with the applicants.

  2. What criteria do the reviewers use to evaluate an application?
    Reviewers score each application using the selection criteria published in the Federal Register as part of the program regulations.  Reviewers use the Technical Review Form that is included at the end of this application to record their comments and scores each selection criterion.  Reviewers are instructed to use only the published criteria and to base their evaluation strictly on information provided in the application.

  3. How long does it take US/ED to complete the review process?
    Most review processes take about six to eight months from the announcement date through the issuance of the signed Grant Award Notification (GAN).



Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 01/18/2011