Star Schools Program

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  1. Are there any definitions and/or examples of "technology-based research centers" and "other high-technology entities" as described in the Federal Register notice that would help in determining eligibility when considering partnerships?
  2. Is there a difference between cost sharing and matching commitments under the Star Schools Program?
  3. Are applicants required to address both absolute priorities in their application or only one? Would a higher score be possible if both are addressed?
  4. What are the restrictions identified under "Indirect Costs" that refer to "supplement, not supplant" requirements?
  5. Are there restrictions on administrative costs, such as a five percent cap?
  6. Can an LEA or university apply for a Star Schools grant?
  7. Must Absolute Priority 2 address both educational gaming and simulations?
  8. Must Absolute Priority 1 address both reading and mathematics achievement?
  9. Must Absolute Priority 2 address both literacy skills and mathematics?
  10. Is the reference to "Annual Yearly Progress (AYP)" in Absolute Priority 1 correct?
  11. Is a school defined as having a "high concentration of low-income children" if it meets the criterion of ESEA Title 1 Part A?
  12. How are matching funds defined?
  13. Can other federal funding be used as matching funds?
  14. Is the funding amount for one year or five years?
  15. How is the restricted indirect cost rate computed?
  16. What restricted indirect cost rate should applicants use?

1. Are there any definitions and/or examples of "technology-based research centers" and "other high-technology entities" as described in the Federal Register notice that would help in determining eligibility when considering partnerships?

The Secretary establishes an absolute priority (Absolute Priority 2) for applications that develop partnerships with technology-based research centers, entertainment companies, or other high-technology entities to produce and deliver educational gaming and simulations applications to improve mathematics and reading literacy. Since no definitions or examples have been provided, the applicant should include a sufficient rationale and justification for their selection of partners for the purposes of their proposed project.

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2. Is there a difference between cost sharing and matching commitments under the Star Schools Program?

Cost Sharing or Matching: The Star Schools program requires a matching commitment. Applicants must provide no less than 25% of the funding for the grant in the first two years; no less than 40% in the third and fourth years; and no less than 50 % of the funding in the fifth year. The Secretary may reduce or waive this matching requirement if the applicant can document a financial hardship. For the purposes of this program, cost sharing is considered a matching requirement, however, applicants must ensure that they calculate the appropriate cost share based on the total funds required for the grant.

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3. Are applicants required to address both absolute priorities in their application or only one? Would a higher score be possible if both are addressed?

Applicants must address at least one of the absolute priorities, however, additional points will not be earned by addressing both of the absolute priorities.

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4. What are the restrictions identified under "Indirect Costs" that refer to "supplement, not supplant" requirements?

Grants under this program are not intended to replace or support existing operations. New or expanded activities should be proposed under this program. Furthermore, grants may recover indirect costs only on the basis of a restricted indirect cost rate. Applicants, which do not already have a restricted indirect cost rate, are urged to contact the ED Indirect Cost Group (202- 377-3833) for guidance about obtaining such a rate to use on the Budget Information form (ED Form 524) included with the application package.

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5. Are there restrictions on administrative costs, such as a five percent cap?

The Star Schools Program does not place a limit on administrative costs. However, projects may recover indirect costs only on the basis of a restricted indirect cost rate, according to the requirements found at 34 CFR 75.563 and 34 CFR 76.564--569.

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6. Can an LEA or university apply for a Star Schools grant?

Yes, as long as they include in their partnership at least two of the other categories of eligible entities listed on page 11203 of the Federal Register Notice and are organized on a Statewide or multistate basis.

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7. Must Absolute Priority 2 address both educational gaming and simulations?

Since the language in Absolute Priority 2 states that "educational gaming and simulations applications" are to be employed in improving math and reading literacy, it must be both.

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8. Must Absolute Priority 1 address both reading and mathematics achievement?

As stated in Absolute Priority 1, both must be addressed when submitting an application for a Star Schools grant award that responds to this priority.

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9. Must Absolute Priority 2 address both literacy skills and mathematics?

As stated in Absolute Priority 2, both must be addressed when submitting an application for a Star Schools grant award that responds to this priority.

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10. Is the reference to "Annual Yearly Progress (AYP)" in Absolute Priority 1 correct?

It should read, "Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)" of students attending schools in urban and rural communities.

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11. Is a school defined as having a "high concentration of low-income children" if it meets the criterion of ESEA Title 1 Part A?

At least one of the LEAs in the partnership formed to meet the statutory eligibility requirements of the Star Schools Program must serve a significant number of Title I eligible schools. The statute and closing date notice do not define the term, so applicants should provide relevant demographic information.

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12. How are matching funds defined?

The Department's regulations on matching funds can be found in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR 74.23.

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13. Can other federal funding be used as matching funds?

The Star Schools statute, at Section 5473(e), specifies the level of the Federal share of costs for Star School projects during the course of those projects. Since the Federal share is specified, the remaining amount must come from non-Federal sources.

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14. Is the funding amount for one year or five years?

A total of $14.4 million is available for the first year of awards to be funded in FY 2005. We expect, contingent upon the level of funding appropriated, to make continuation awards for years two through five.

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15. How is the restricted indirect cost rate computed?

Section 76.569 of EDGAR states that the maximum amount of indirect costs under a grant is determined by the following formula:

Indirect costs=(Restricted indirect cost rate) x (Total direct costs of the grant minus capital outlays, subgrants, and other distorting or unallowable items as specified in the grantee's indirect cost rate agreement)

Furthermore, if a grantee uses a restricted indirect cost rate, the grantee must exclude the general management and fixed costs covered by that rate from the direct costs it charges to the grant.

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16. What restricted indirect cost rate should applicants use?

Local Education Agencies: In most cases, Local Education Agencies (LEA's) may use the restricted indirect cost rate as determined by State agencies that have been designated responsibility for establishing indirect cost rates.

Charter Schools: These organizations also fall under the State Education Agency indirect cost rate determination responsibility that the U.S. Department of Education has delegated to States.

Universities, Public Agencies and Corporations: Under 34 CFR 76.564(c)(2), a recipient that is not a State or Local Government may use an 8 percent rate if a restricted rate computation is not less.

If additional guidance is needed concerning what restricted indirect cost rate to use, we urge applicants to contact the ED Indirect Cost Group on (202) 377-3833.

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Last Modified: 06/19/2012