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Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Does the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program offer direct student financial assistance?
  2. Can an institution submit more than one application for a PPOHA grant?
  3. What are the purposes of the PPOHA Program?
  4. How do you determine "low-income" students for PPOHA?
  5. What are some of the allowable activities under PPOHA? Can PPOHA funds be used at the undergraduate level?
  6. Can an undergraduate program apply for a PPOHA grant award?
  7. What is a Grant Award Notification (GAN) and who receives it?
  8. What is the role of the HSI Division program officer?
  9. When MUST you communicate with your HSI Division program officer?
  10. How often should you communicate with your HSI Division program officer?
  11. How do we determine if a particular cost is allowable?
  12. What is the duration of the average grant?
  13. Is there a cost matching requirement? If so, are in-kind contributions acceptable as part of the grantee’s match?
  14. What are the requirements for auditing and/or evaluation of funded projects?

1. Does the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program offer direct student financial assistance?

The legislation for the PPOHA grant program does include scholarships, assistantships, fellowships and other financial assistance for Hispanic and low-income postbaccalaureate students. Grantees may use up to 20 percent of their total PPOHA grant for scholarships, assistantships, fellowships and other financial assistance, including travel expenses for graduate students at professional conferences and to conduct research.

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2. Can an institution submit more than one application for a PPOHA grant?

The Notice of Final Requirements (NFR) published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2010, states that an eligible institution may submit only one application per year under the PPOHA Program. So if there are several departments planning to apply, the institution needs to decide which application will be submitted in a given year.

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3. What are the purposes of the PPOHA Program?

The purposes of the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program are:

  1. to expand postbaccalaureate educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of, Hispanic students; and
  2. to expand the postbaccalaureate academic offerings and enhance the program quality in the institutions of higher education that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students and helping large numbers of Hispanic and low-income students complete postsecondary degrees.

Please keep in mind that the PPOHA Program does not discriminate and must be open to Hispanic and low-income students.

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4. How do you determine "low-income" students for PPOHA?

To determine which students are low-income, check with your Student Financial Aid Office because all graduate students applying for financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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5. What are some of the allowable activities under PPOHA? Can PPOHA funds be used at the undergraduate level?

Funding is reserved for students, academic offerings and programs at the graduate level. Some of the allowable activities under PPOHA include:

  1. Purchase, rental, or lease of scientific or laboratory equipment for educational purposes, including instructional and research purposes.
  2. Construction, maintenance, renovation, and improvement of classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and other instructional facilities, including purchase or rental of telecommunications technology equipment or services.
  3. Purchase of library books, periodicals, technical and other scientific journals, microfilm, microfiche, and other educational materials, including telecommunications program materials.
  4. Support for low-income postbaccalaureate students including outreach, academic support services, mentoring, scholarships, fellowships, and other financial assistance to permit the enrollment of such students in postbaccalaureate certificate and postbaccalaureate degree granting programs.
  5. Support of faculty exchanges, faculty development, faculty research, curriculum development, and academic instruction.
  6. Creating or improving facilities for Internet or other distance education technologies, including purchase or rental of telecommunications technology equipment or services.
  7. Collaboration with other institutions of higher education to expand postbaccalaureate certificate and postbaccalaureate degree offerings.
  8. Other activities proposed in the application submitted pursuant to section 514 that:
    1. contribute to carrying out the purposes of this part; and
    2. are approved by the Secretary as part of the review and acceptance of such application.
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6. Can an undergraduate program apply for a PPOHA grant award?

In addition to the other requirements necessary to meet HSI (Hispanic-serving Institutions) eligibility, institutions applying for a PPOHA grant award, must already offer a postbaccalaureate degree or certificate.

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7. What is a Grant Award Notification (GAN) and who receives it?

The GAN is the official document that states the terms, conditions, and funding amount of the grant award. It also contains programmatic and fiscal data, as well as the names and contact information of the respective program officers. For multi-year awards (such as the NRC and FLAS programs), the GAN includes information on the anticipated funding levels for each subsequent budget period. The included attachments provide guidelines and additional terms and conditions regarding administrative procedures.

The grantee will receive two copies of the GAN: one copy is sent to the Certifying Official, i.e., the authorized representative on the Application for Federal Education Assistance Form (SF 424); the second is sent to the project director.

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8. What is the role of the HSI Division program officer?

The primary role of HSI Division program officers is to provide technical assistance relating to programmatic and fiscal management of the federally funded grant to ensure that project goals and objectives identified in the original grant application are met successfully. Program officer responsibilities include: reviewing performance reports; external evaluation reports; monitoring projects to assess compliance; and responding to requests such as travel approvals, administrative actions, and staff changes. External outreach and project monitoring are achieved through site visits that provide the opportunity to interact with administrators, staff, and students.

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9. When MUST you communicate with your HSI Division program officer?

Contact should be made immediately if you:

  • Want to make a change in scope;
  • Want to make a significant budget adjustment (more than 10% of budget or over $100,000);
  • Want to contract-out any of the project activities described in the application;
  • Need to change the project director (and key personnel) listed on the grant.

Grantees should communicate promptly with the HSI Division whenever significant issues arise in connection with project activities and staff.

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10. How often should you communicate with your HSI Division program officer?

Please communicate with your program officer regularly and in a timely manner. It can be beneficial for new grantees to speak with your program officer and often to help address start-up questions, problems, and concerns.

Please do not hesitate to email or call your program officer. Regular communication throughout the duration of the grant helps build a greater understanding between the HSI Division and the activities happening on campus. If you are in Washington, D.C., please feel free to make an appointment to visit our office. For easy reference, always include the grant award number when communicating with your program officer.

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11. How do we determine if a particular cost is allowable?

Please see program regulations 34 CFR 606 and OMB Circular A-21. If you still have questions, contact your program officer.

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12. What is the duration of the average grant?

The grant is awarded for a period of five years. The first year is awarded via a competitive process. Four additional years are provided as non-competitive continuation grants.

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13. Is there a cost matching requirement? If so, are in-kind contributions acceptable as part of the grantee’s match?

If a grantee institution plans to fund an endowment as part of the approved grant activities, dollar-for-dollar match is required for each federal dollar used for that purpose. No other cost matching is required.

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14. What are the requirements for auditing and/or evaluation of funded projects?

A grantee institution is required to undertake an institutional audit as directed under OMB Circular A-133. An annual project evaluation is also required.

The GAN is the official document that states the terms, conditions, and funding amount of the grant award. It also contains programmatic and fiscal data, as well as the names and contact information of the respective program officers. For multi-year awards (such as the NRC and FLAS programs), the GAN includes information on the anticipated funding levels for each subsequent budget period. The included attachments provide guidelines and additional terms and conditions regarding administrative procedures.

The grantee will receive two copies of the GAN: one copy is sent to the Certifying Official, i.e., the authorized representative on the Application for Federal Education Assistance Form (SF 424); the second is sent to the project director.

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Last Modified: 12/18/2013