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Minorities and Retirement Security Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Who is eligible to apply for this grant?
  2. Who is considered a fellow for the MRS program?
  3. Can the funding be used to provide assistantships for graduate students?
  4. Can the funding be used to buy out teaching time for faculty advising students? Or can grant funds be used to pay the Training Director assigned by the Institution?
  5. Can this grant cover release time for junior faculty who may want to develop their own research in the topical areas outlined in the grant opportunity, while working with the student graduate researcher team?
  6. Can a full-time faculty member working on a doctorate qualify?
  7. Can an undergraduate student with interests in pursuing graduate work (MBA) in the topical areas outlined in the grant qualify?
  8. What are the budget restrictions and/or guidelines?
  9. Is there a cost-sharing requirement?
  10. What is the authorized indirect cost rate?
  11. Can an institution apply more than once for this grant program?
  12. What determines whether performance goals have been met?
  13. What criteria will be used to rate the MRS applications?
  14. When will the grant funds be awarded?
  15. What is the maximum number of fellows allows to participant in the program?
  16. Can applicants submit budgets that separate direct costs from indirect costs?
  17. Who should the Letter of Support for the institution’s program be addressed to?
  18. Can applicants create their own program name for the grant or is Minorities & Retirement Security Program required when referencing the grant?
  19. What is the difference between financial literacy and financial decision-making?
  20. Can an institution apply for multiple years of funding?

1. Who is eligible to apply for this grant?

Current U.S. Department of Education grantees that fall into one of the following categories are eligible:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities Master’s Program Grantees (HBCU-Masters)
  • Historically Black Graduate Institution Program Grantees (HBGIs)
  • Predominantly Black Graduate Institutions Program Grantees (PBI-Masters)
  • Promoting Postsecondary Opportunities for Hispanic American Program Grantees (PPOHA)
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2. Who is considered a fellow for the MRS program?

Either graduate students who are enrolled in a master's degree program (up to two years) or enrolled doctoral students (up to four years), at one of the eligible institutions.

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3. Can the funding be used to provide assistantships for graduate students?

Yes, for masters and doctoral students.

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4. Can the funding be used to buy out teaching time for faculty advising students? Or can grant funds be used to pay the Training Director assigned by the Institution?

Yes, however please be mindful that the funding is primarily for the research fellows and proposals that include excessive funding for the Training Director or other faculty members may be scored lower.

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5. Can this grant cover release time for junior faculty who may want to develop their own research in the topical areas outlined in the grant opportunity, while working with the student graduate researcher team?

No. Available grant funds are to be used as stipends to either graduate students who are enrolled in a master's degree program (up to two years) or enrolled doctoral students up to four years.

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6. Can a full-time faculty member working on a doctorate qualify?

No. Full-time faculty pursuing a doctorate, do not qualify as fellows for this program.

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7. Can an undergraduate student with interests in pursuing graduate work (MBA) in the topical areas outlined in the grant qualify?

No. Fellows must be students enrolled in a master’s degree or doctoral program.

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8. What are the budget restrictions and/or guidelines?

There are no specific budget restrictions, however proposals will be evaluated on best value.

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9. Is there a cost-sharing requirement?

No. There is no cost-sharing requirement.

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10. What is the authorized indirect cost rate?

ED policy limits indirect cost reimbursement on a training grant to the recipient's actual indirect costs, as determined by its negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, or eight percent of a modified total direct cost base, whichever amount is less. For the purposes of this competition, a modified total direct cost base is defined as total direct costs less stipends, tuition and related fees, and capital expenditures of $5,000.00 or more.

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11. Can an institution apply more than once for this grant program?

Yes. An institution may submit as many applications as they desire, however each successful institution will only receive one MRS Program award in any given fiscal year. Therefore, it is highly recommended that institutions coordinate their efforts across and/or within academic units.

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12. What determines whether performance goals have been met?

Selected grant recipients are required to submit an annual progress report and a final report as a condition of the award. The report will document the extent to which project goals and objectives are met.

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13. What criteria will be used to rate the MRS applications?
  • Significance (5 points)
  • Quality of Project Design (20 points)
  • Quality of Project Services (20 Points)
  • Quality of Project Personnel (15 Points)
  • Adequacy of Resources (10 Points)
  • Quality of the Management Plan (10 Points)
  • Project Evaluation (20 Points)

Refer to the Selection Criteria, pages 64-69 of the Application and Instructions, which can be downloaded at www.grants.gov.

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14. When will the grant funds be awarded?

Grants will be awarded in the summer of 2013, however applicants may start to 'draw down' funds beginning October 1, 2013.

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15. What is the maximum number of fellows allows to participant in the program?

There are no maximum numbers of fellows allowed to participate however funding limitations will effectively limit the number of fellows to some functional level. Proposals will be evaluated on whether the institution has outlined a fellowship plan that will lead to a quality experience for the fellow and superior products for the government.

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16. Can applicants submit budgets that separate direct costs from indirect costs?

Yes, you may.

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17. Who should the Letter of Support for the institution’s program be addressed to?

Letters of support should be addressed to Secretary Duncan, U.S. Department of Education.

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18. Can applicants create their own program name for the grant or is Minorities & Retirement Security Program required when referencing the grant?

Applicants can create their own program names; however the proposal should clearly specify that it is offered for the Minorities and Retirement Security Program. If the proposal is accepted, products should clearly identify the work is performed under the Minorities and Retirement Security Program.

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19. What is the difference between financial literacy and financial decision-making?

Financial literacy is the ability to: (1) understand financial choices; (2) plan for the future; (3) spend wisely; and (4) manage the challenges associated with life events that involve money (job loss, retirement planning and establishing college savings for children). ¹

Financial decision making involves how education, earnings, resources, expenses and consumption influences behavior and ultimately, how behavior affects overall well-being for individuals and families. ²

¹ GAO report number GAO-09-638T
² Developed from the Financial Literacy Education Commission 2012 Research Priorities and Research Questions

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20. Can an institution apply for multiple years of funding?

Yes, you may submit a proposal for multiple years of funding. However, if a multi-year proposal is approved, funding isn’t guaranteed for future years. In addition, for multiple-year awards to be approved, we strongly recommend that the applicant submit, as part of their proposal, plans to demonstrate tangible yearly progress toward the final product.

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Last Modified: 03/25/2013