The Department announces open grant competitions by publishing a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) in the Federal Register.
Each NIA for a competition is unique and includes relevant information regarding:
- Section I: Funding Opportunity Description (e.g., applicable program purpose, competition priorities, and key definitions)
- Section II: Award Information (e.g., estimated number of awards and award size)
- Section III: Eligible Applicants
- Section IV: Application and Submission Information
- Section V: Applicant Review Information (e.g., selection criteria)
- Section VI: Award Administration Information (e.g., performance measures)
Content last reviewed: August 1, 2022
A Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) may include one or more priorities to focus a competition on the activities and objectives consistent with a program's statute. Moreover, an NIA may also include priorities for which the Secretary of Education is particularly interested in receiving applications. There are three types of priorities that can be used in an NIA.
34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)
|Only applications that address the absolute priority in the project design will be considered for funding.|
|Competitive Preference Priority
34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)
|Applications that successfully address some or all of the competitive preference priorities in the project design may receive additional points or preference during the review process.|
34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)
|Applications are encouraged to address invitational priorities in the project design. However, applications that meet the priority do not receive additional points or preference over other applications.|
Secretary's Supplemental Priorities
Periodically, the Secretary of Education publishes supplemental priorities that may be used in discretionary grant programs. Program teams may use the Secretary's supplemental priorities as an absolute, a competitive preference, or an invitational priority in a competition. Read the Secretary's 2021 Supplemental Priorities in the Federal Register.
Evidence is high-quality research and evaluation data used to inform decision-making, created when the appropriate analytic methods are applied to trustworthy data. Department grant competitions are designed for applicants to communicate a clear understanding of a community's local needs, and subsequently address those needs through the use or building of evidence-based interventions.
The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) includes four tiers of evidence defined under 34 CFR Part 77.1(c) that also align with the evidence provisions in section 8101(21) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [PDF, 155KB], as amended:
|The evidence-based practice caused improvement in an important outcome.||Experimental study||At least one statistically significant and positive effect on a relevant outcome; no statistically significant and negative effects on a relevant outcome|
|The evidence-based practice is associated with improvement in an important outcome.||Experimental study or quasi-experimental design study||At least one statistically significant and positive effect on a relevant outcome; no statistically significant and negative effects on a relevant outcome|
|The evidence-based practice is associated with improvement in an important outcome.||Experimental study, quasi-experimental design study, or correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias||At least one statistically significant and positive effect on a relevant outcome|
Demonstrates a Rationale
|The evidence-based practice is research-supported innovations designed to improve an important outcome.||Logic model informed by research or evaluation findings||Not Applicable|
- What Works Clearinghouse (WWC): Established by the Institute of Education Sciences to serve as a central and trusted source of scientific evidence on education programs, products, practices, and policies.
Performance measures are any quantitative indicator, statistic, or metric used to gauge program or project performance.
Applicants should use performance measures that will produce data about the primary desired outcomes of a project. There are two types of performance measures that applicants generally include in their project design:
Program Performance Measures: Section VI of an NIA specifies the program performance measures, established by the Department, for the purposes of reporting under 34 CFR 75.110. Note: performance measures are program-specific and vary by competition.
Project Performance Measures: Applicants are also encouraged to propose one or more project-specific performance measures, baseline data, or performance targets. Applicants are encouraged to consider these measures in conceptualizing the design, implementation, and evaluation of their project.
Selection criteria are the qualitative indicators against which applications are scored. Peer reviewers read and independently score applications against the selection criteria included in Section V of the NIA:
- Selection criteria based on statutory or regulatory laws under 34 CFR 75.209;
- Selection criteria established under 34 CFR 75.210;
- Selection criteria in program-specific regulations; or
- Any combination of criteria from 34 CFR 75.209, 34 CFR 75.210, and program-specific regulations.