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Talent Search Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the purpose of the Talent Search Program?
  2. Who is eligible for a grant?
  3. What kinds of activities can be supported with grant funds?
  4. How often are Talent Search competitions generally held?
  5. What is the duration of the average grant?
  6. What is the average annual grant amount?
  7. Is there a cost matching requirement? If so, are in-kind contributions acceptable as part of the grantee’s match?
  8. What are the reporting requirements for grantees? What kind of records and data should be maintained or collected in order to complete required reports?
  9. What are the requirements for auditing and/or evaluation of funded projects?
  10. Are there program-wide performance measures?

1. What is the purpose of the Talent Search Program?

The Talent Search program provides grants for projects designed to:

  • Identify qualified youths with potential for education at the postsecondary level and encourage them to complete secondary school and undertake a program of postsecondary education;
  • Publicize the availability of, and facilitate the application for, student financial assistance for persons who seek to pursue postsecondary education; and
  • Encourage persons who have not completed education programs at the secondary or postsecondary level to enter or reenter and complete these programs.
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2. Who is eligible for a grant?

Institutions of higher education, public or private agencies or organizations, including community-based organizations with experience in serving disadvantaged youth, secondary schools, or a combination of the institutions, agencies, and organizations mentioned above are eligible to apply for a Talent Search grant.

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3. What kinds of activities can be supported with grant funds?

A Talent Search project must provide the following services:

  • Connections for participants to high quality academic tutoring services to enable the participants to complete secondary or postsecondary courses;
  • Advice and assistance in secondary school course selection and, if applicable, initial postsecondary course selection;
  • Assistance in preparing for college entrance examinations and completing college admission applications;
  • Information on the full range of Federal student financial aid programs and benefits (including Federal Pell Grant awards and loan forgiveness) and on resources for locating public and private scholarships, and assistance in completing financial aid applications, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  • Guidance on and assistance in secondary school reentry, alternative education programs for secondary school dropouts that lead to the receipt of a regular secondary school diploma, entry into general educational development (GED) programs, or entry into postsecondary education; and
  • Connections for participants to education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of the participants or the participants' parents, including financial planning for postsecondary education.

In addition, a Talent Search project may also provide services, such as:

  • Academic tutoring, which may include instruction in reading, writing, study skills, mathematics, science, and other subjects;
  • Personal and career counseling or activities;
  • Information and activities designed to acquaint youth with the range of career options available to the youth;
  • Exposure to the campuses of institutions of higher education, as well as to cultural events, academic programs, and other sites or activities not usually available to disadvantaged youth;
  • Workshops and counseling for families of participants served;
  • Mentoring programs involving elementary or secondary school teachers or counselors, faculty members at institutions of higher education, students, or any combination of these persons;
  • Programs and activities as described in this section that are specially designed for participants who are limited English proficient, from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individuals with disabilities, homeless children and youths, foster care youth, or other disconnected participants.
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4. How often are Talent Search competitions generally held?

A Talent Search program competition is held every four years.

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5. What is the duration of the average grant?

All Talent Search grants are funded for five-year grant award cycles.

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6. What is the average annual grant amount?

All new Talent Search projects funded in 2011 received a maximum of $230,000 per year to serve a minimum of 500 participants, with a cost per participant not to exceed $460.

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

The Talent Search Program does not require cost sharing or matching.

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8. What are the reporting requirements for grantees? What kind of records and data should be maintained or collected in order to complete required reports?

All Talent Search grantees are required to submit an annual performance report (APR) documenting progress toward meeting their approved project objectives.

For each participant, a grantee must maintain a record of—

  • The basis for the grantee's determination that the participant is eligible to participate in the project;
  • The grantee's needs assessment for the participant;
  • The services that are provided to the participant;
  • The specific educational progress made by the participant as a result of the services; and
  • To the extent practicable, any services the TS participant receives during the project year from another Federal TRIO program or another federally funded program that serves populations similar to those served under the TS program.
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9. What are the requirements for auditing and/or evaluation of funded projects?

Any non-federal entity that expends a total of $500,000 or more in federal funds must have an annual audit that is conducted under the requirements of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133. In addition, a grantee is required to implement the evaluation plan stated in its funded application.

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10. Are there program-wide performance measures?

The success of each Talent Search project is based on whether it provided services to at least the required number of participants each year, and whether it met its annual objectives of having a certain percentage of project participants continue in secondary school, graduate from secondary school with a regular diploma, participate in a rigorous program of study during secondary school, enroll in postsecondary education, and complete postsecondary education.

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Last Modified: 09/07/2011