Magnet Schools Assistance

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FY2010 General Questions Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: This program's frequently asked questions (FAQs) below is for historical information only. FAQs will be updated when a new competition is announced.


Archived Information


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  1. Where can I call to find or request a D-U-N-S number?
  2. When is the application due?
  3. How do I submit an application?
  4. When is the e-Grants Web site available?
  5. Why were the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) regulations amended for the 2010 grant competition?
  6. What has changed in the regulations?
  7. Why has the definition of minority group isolation been removed?
  8. How will minority group isolation be defined now?
  9. Does the Department plan to replace the definition of "minority group isolation" in the future?
  10. Has the process for the Department's review of applications been changed?
  11. What was the purpose of limiting the student enrollment at a magnet or feeder school to the district-wide average and how will that purpose be met without use of that standard?
  12. Does the Department plan to replace the district-wide measure with another standard in the future?
  13. Will districts be able to reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation between different minority groups?
  14. In providing data to the Department on voluntary desegregation plans, will districts be permitted to continue to use the minority and non-minority classification?
  15. Is it possible for white students to be treated as a minority for the purpose of reducing minority group isolation?
  16. How will these changes affect districts with court-ordered and other required desegregation plans?
  17. How have the student enrollment forms in the application package been changed to reflect removal of the definition of "minority group isolation"?

1. Where can I call to find or request a D-U-N-S number?

Applicants should first check with their business office or accounting department. If your organization does not have a D-U-N-S Number, you can obtain the number by calling 1-800-333-0505 or by completing a D-U-N-S Number Request Form. The form can be obtained via the Internet at the following URL: http://www.dnb.com/US/duns_update/.

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2. When is the application due?

The application is due on May 3, 2010 at 4:30:00 p.m. Washington D.C. time. Applications for grants under the Magnet Schools Assistance Program--CFDA Number 84.165A must be submitted electronically using e-Application, accessible through the Department’s e-Grants Web site at: http://e-grants.ed.gov.

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3. How do I submit an application?

Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) available through the Department's e-Grants system accessible through the e-Grants portal page at: http://e-grants.ed.gov. You may not e-mail an electronic copy to us.

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4. When is the e-Grants Web site available?

The regular hours of operation of the e-Grants Web site are 6:00 a.m. Monday until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday; and 6:00 a.m. Thursday until midnight Saturday, Washington, DC time. Please note that the system is unavailable on Sundays, and between 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 6:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Washington, DC time, for maintenance. Any modifications to these hours are posted on the e-Grants Web site.

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5. Why were the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) regulations amended for the 2010 grant competition?

The MSAP regulations were amended to provide greater flexibility to school districts designing MSAP programs for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 grant competition. These changes remove provisions in the regulations that required districts to use binary racial classifications, and prohibit the creation of magnet schools that result in minority group enrollments in magnet or feeder schools exceeding the district-wide average of minority group students. This new flexibility is necessary to permit school districts interested in receiving funds under this program to determine how best to meet program requirements while also taking into account relevant Supreme Court case law that was issued since the last competition was held in the program, including the Court’s decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No 1 et al., 551 U.S. 701 (2007) (Parents Involved).

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6. What has changed in the regulations?

The MSAP regulations have been changed in two ways. We have removed provisions that (1) require districts to use binary racial classifications and (2) prohibit the creation of magnet schools that result in minority group enrollments in magnet or feeder schools exceeding the district-wide average of minority group students.

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7. Why has the definition of minority group isolation been removed?

The regulations in 34 C.F.R. § 280.4(b) previously defined the term minority group isolation, in reference to a school, to mean "a condition in which minority group children constitute more than 50 percent of the enrollment of the school." We removed this definition because it required the use of only two racial classifications of students -- "minority group" and "nonminority group" students -- which was found to be "problematic" in the decision in the Parents Involved case. We have not redefined the term minority group isolation in these interim final regulations.

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8. How will minority group isolation be defined now?

In the absence of a definition of minority group isolation, the Department will determine on a case-by-case basis whether a district's voluntary plan meets the statutory purpose of reducing, eliminating or preventing minority group isolation in its magnet or feeder schools, considering the unique circumstances in each district and school. For example, the Department may consider whether there is a substantial proportion of students from any minority group enrolled in a school, looking at the student enrollment numbers of the district and the targeted schools disaggregated by race.

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9. Does the Department plan to replace the definition of "minority group isolation" in the future?

The Department is considering publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the future that might include a new definition of "minority group isolation," based upon the comments received on the interim final regulations, and the experience of reviewing voluntary plans submitted with applications for the FY 2010 competition on a case-by-case basis.

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10. Has the process for the Department's review of applications been changed?

No. As in the past, following the peer review of applications, the most competitive applications will be reviewed to determine, as required by the MSAP statute, whether each application will meet its assurances of nondiscrimination, and has an eligible desegregation plan, i.e., either a required plan such as a court-ordered plan or a voluntary plan that is adequate under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). The Department's goal is to work with all districts in the funding range to ensure that voluntary plans are adequate under Title VI based on the specific factual circumstances in each district, and that required plans are consistent with the pertinent court order or other mandatory desegregation requirement.

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11. What was the purpose of limiting the student enrollment at a magnet or feeder school to the district-wide average and how will that purpose be met without use of that standard?

Under the prior regulations, the district-wide average was used as part of the standard for evaluating whether a voluntary desegregation plan was adequate under Title VI, to ensure that the establishment of magnet schools under the MSAP did not significantly increase minority group isolation in other project schools. Such a significant increase of minority group isolation in other project schools continues to be an important concern under the MSAP. Therefore, in the absence of this standard, the Department will determine on a case-by-case basis whether the voluntary plans are adequate under Title VI and whether the proposed magnet schools will reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation within the period of the grant award, for the purposes of sections 280.2(b) and 280.20(g). This will include an examination of the factual basis for any proposed increases in minority enrollment at district schools rather than using the absolute district-wide percentage limitation found in the current regulations. For example, the Department may consider whether a plan to reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation at a magnet school or a feeder school would significantly increase minority group isolation at any magnet or feeder school in the project at the grade level(s) served by the magnet school. In cases in which a school district is subject to a desegregation order that prohibits magnet or feeder schools from exceeding the district-wide average of minority group students, the district would, of course, continue to be bound by that order.

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12. Does the Department plan to replace the district-wide measure with another standard in the future?

The Department is considering publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the future that may include a new standard to replace the district-wide measure based upon the comments received on the interim final regulations, and its experience in reviewing applications for the FY 2010 competition on a case-by-case basis.

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13. Will districts be able to reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation between different minority groups?

For example, will districts be permitted to reduce minority group isolation of Hispanic or Latino students in a proposed magnet school by proposing to increase the enrollment of African American or Black students in the magnet school?

Yes. This approach is consistent with the MSAP statute, which explains at 20 U.S.C. 7231(4)(C) that Congress believes "it is in the best interests of the United States to continue to desegregate and diversify schools by supporting magnet schools, recognizing that segregation exists between minority and nonminority students as well as among students of different minority groups."

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14. In providing data to the Department on voluntary desegregation plans, will districts be permitted to continue to use the minority and non-minority classification?

No. Districts will be required to provide student enrollment data disaggregated by race in the project schools and in the district. However, in some instances, it may be permissible for a district to use a binary classification if supported by the racial and ethnic demographics in the district. For example, if there are only African American and white students in the district, it obviously will be permissible for the district to use a binary classification of African American and white.

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15. Is it possible for white students to be treated as a minority for the purpose of reducing minority group isolation?

No. The definition of minority in the MSAP regulations in 34 CFR 280.4(b) has not been changed. White students are not included in this definition.

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16. How will these changes affect districts with court-ordered and other required desegregation plans?

While the changes in the regulations apply to all MSAP applicants, we do note that the Department reviews applications from districts with court-ordered and other required desegregation plans differently from districts with voluntary plans. This is because required plans are designed to remedy past discrimination. Such plans govern any use of race by the applicant, and the Department's review of the applicant's plan focuses on determining that the court has agreed that activities proposed in the project are consistent with the applicable court order.

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17. How have the student enrollment forms in the application package been changed to reflect removal of the definition of "minority group isolation"?

The forms have been changed to remove the requirement that applicants report racial and ethnic data using the minority and non-minority racial and ethnic classifications. The existing MSAP student enrollment data forms, approved under control number OMB-1855-0011, require districts to report current and projected racial and ethnic student enrollment data using the binary classifications of minority and non-minority. In order to conform to the change in the regulations that removes the definition of minority group isolation, the data will now be reported disaggregated by individual race and ethnicity.

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Last Modified: 05/17/2010