FR Doc 03-27376
[Federal Register: October 30, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 210)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 61779-61782]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []
Download: PDF Version


34 CFR Part 75

RIN 1890-AA09

Direct Grant Programs

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to amend regulations governing the

[[Page 61780]]

process for submitting discretionary grant applications by removing 
current provisions requiring specific application formats, thereby 
permitting electronic submission of applications. The revisions will 
also clarify that only applicants submitting paper applications are 
required to submit one original and two copies of their application to 
the Department of Education (Department).

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before December 29, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about these proposed regulations to 
Kevin Taylor, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
room 3652, ROB-3, Washington, DC 20202-4248. If you prefer to send your 
comments through the Internet, use the following address:
    You must include the term ``Electronic Applications'' in the 
subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Taylor. Telephone: (202) 708-8558 or via Internet:
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed 
regulations. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the final regulations, we urge you to identify clearly the 
specific section or sections of the proposed regulations that each of 
your comments addresses and to arrange your comments in the same order 
as the proposed regulations.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about these proposed regulations in room 3652, ROB-3, 7th and 
D Streets, SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 
p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for these proposed regulations. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person 


    The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998, (Pub. L. 
105-227) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement 
Act of 1999, (Pub. L. 106-107) encourage Federal departments and 
agencies to take initiatives to improve their business processes. 
Conducting business over the Internet with applicants and grantees has 
been a major part of the Department's response to these Acts.
    The Department published a notice in the Federal Register on March 
5, 2001 (66 FR 13381-13383), announcing its intention to pilot an 
electronic application submission process. These proposed regulations 
are a follow-up to the Department's successful implementation of the 
pilot system to accept applications electronically via the Internet. 
The proposed regulations would remove the requirement that an 
application be mailed or hand delivered to the Department. The removal 
of this requirement would permit the Department to receive electronic 
applications without using the pilot as authority for electronic 
    Since fiscal year (FY) 2000, the Department has used its Grant 
Administration and Payment System (GAPS) to conduct the pilot project. 
The on-going pilot project involves the use of an Internet-based system 
that allows grant applicants to submit their applications 
electronically. During FY 2000, eight discretionary grant programs were 
included in the pilot. Based on the results of the first year, the 
Department found that completing and submitting an application using 
the Internet was an effective way for applicants to submit their 
applications to the Department. In FY 2001, grant applicants had the 
opportunity to submit their applications electronically to 33 program 
competitions, and this figure increased to 52 program competitions in 
FY 2002. For FY 2003, the Department used its electronic application 
system (e-Application) for over 80 grant competitions.
    The Department has received over 6,800 electronic applications 
since the pilot project began. Online survey responses indicate that 
most applicants were pleased with their experience using the 
Department's Web site to apply for a grant. In fact, 90 percent of 
respondents in FY 2001 and FY 2002 found the system easy to use and 95 
percent said that they would use the system in future grant 
    The Department's electronic application system operates in 
conjunction with the current paper-based process. The Department 
announces in application notices and application packages when a 
particular grant program competition will accept applications 
electronically. Application packages and notices also include 
instructions for applicants that use the electronic application system 
that explain what to do if they are prevented from submitting their 
application by the closing date and time because the electronic 
application system is unavailable.
    In addition to e-Application, the Department is working on a 
collaborative effort with 26 federal agencies to create a central Web 
site for federal funding opportunities. Visitors to the site can search 
for funding opportunities and, beginning in FY 2004, will be able to 
apply for a grant from the site. As the government-wide portal,, is fully implemented, each agency will increase over time 
the number of participating programs that applicants may apply for 
electronically in order to create a Federal-wide electronic grant 
application system.
    The Department is currently using to post information on 
funding opportunities and is preparing to receive applications through 
the portal. These activities are part of an effort to consolidate and 
streamline grantmaking activities across the Federal Government to make 
it easier for the public to find and apply for Federal discretionary 
grants. The proposed regulations would increase the Department's 
flexibility to participate in these new electronic initiatives.
    Under the new regulations, the Secretary could require an applicant 
to submit its application by the closing date and time as specified in 
the application notice for a grant program competition.
    The proposed regulations would also clarify that only applicants 
submitting paper applications must submit one original and two copies 
of their application to the Department. Applicants submitting 
electronic applications would not be subject to Sec.  75.109(a).

Significant Proposed Regulations

Section 75.102 Deadline Date for Applications

    Current Regulations: The regulations in Sec.  75.102 address only 

[[Page 61781]]

that are either sent via mail, or are hand delivered. The regulations 
do not currently reflect the Department's ability to accept electronic 
grant applications.
    Proposed Regulations: Proposed Sec.  75.102(a) and (b) would give 
the Secretary discretion to establish, in the Application Notice for a 
competition, the method for submitting an application to the 
Department. Paragraph (d) would be amended to limit its coverage to 
competitions that require applicants to send their paper applications 
to the Department by the deadline date specified in the application 
    Reasons: The current regulations do not reflect the existing 
electronic application process. These proposed regulations would permit 
the Department to establish the method of applying for a grant in the 
application notice. These methods would include submissions of grant 
applications via an electronic application system designated by the 
Department. These provisions are aligned with the President's ``e-Gov'' 
initiatives for providing electronic services to the public and with 
current government-wide initiatives to enhance the public's access to 
information and to provide ``one-stop shopping'' for grants.

Section 75.109 Changes to Application; Number of Copies

    Current Regulations: Section 75.109(a) currently requires that an 
applicant submit an original and two copies of its application to the 
    Proposed Regulations: Proposed Sec.  75.109(a) would clarify that 
applicants submitting electronic applications would not be required to 
submit more than one application to the Department.
    Reasons: The proposed changes to this section are needed to make 
clear that only applicants submitting paper applications are required 
to send one original and two copies of their application to the 

Executive Order 12866

1. Potential Costs and Benefits

    Under Executive Order 12866, we have assessed the potential costs 
and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with the proposed regulations are 
those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined to be necessary for administering these programs effectively 
and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this regulatory action, we have determined that the 
benefits would justify the costs.
    Summary of potential costs and benefits. These regulations 
establish an option for submitting applications and should not result 
in any additional costs for applicants. Elsewhere in this preamble, 
under the heading Significant Proposed Regulations, we discuss the 
potential costs and benefits of these proposed regulations.

2. Clarity of the Regulations

    Executive Order 12866 and the Presidential memorandum on ``Plain 
Language in Government Writing'' require each agency to write 
regulations that are easy to understand.
    The Secretary invites comments on how to make these proposed 
regulations easier to understand, including answers to questions such 
as the following:
    [sbull] Are the requirements in the proposed regulations clearly 
    [sbull] Do the proposed regulations contain technical terms or 
other wording that interferes with their clarity?
    [sbull] Does the format of the proposed regulations (grouping and 
order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce 
their clarity?
    [sbull] Would the proposed regulations be easier to understand if 
we divided them into more (but shorter) sections? (A ``section'' is 
preceded by the symbol ``Sec.  '' and a numbered heading; for example, 
Sec.  75.102 Deadline date for applications.
    [sbull] Could the description of the proposed regulations in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this preamble be more helpful in 
making the proposed regulations easier to understand? If so, how?
    [sbull] What else could we do to make the proposed regulations 
easier to understand?
    Send any comments that concern how the Department could make these 
proposed regulations easier to understand to the person listed in the 
ADDRESSES section of the preamble.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that these proposed regulations would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
    The small entities that would be affected by these proposed 
regulations are those that are applicants for Department grant 
programs, such as small local educational agencies (LEAs), non-profit 
organizations--including faith-based organizations, Indian tribal 
governments, and certain two- and four-year colleges. However, the 
regulations would not have a significant economic impact on these small 
entities because the regulations only permit additional ways for these 
entities to submit an application.
    The proposed regulations would benefit both small and large 
entities by giving them additional possible options for submission of 
grant applications, including the ability to apply for a grant 
electronically via the Internet. Thus, both would experience a positive 
impact as a result of these proposed regulations.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    These proposed regulations do not contain any information 
collection requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    These proposed regulations affect direct grant programs that are 
subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. 
One of the objectives of the Executive Order is to foster an 
intergovernmental partnership and to strengthen federalism. The 
Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local 
governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial 
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for these programs.

Assessment of Educational Impact

    The Secretary particularly requests comments on whether these 
proposed regulations would require transmission of information that any 
other agency or authority of the United States gathers or makes 

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site:
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at:

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number does not apply.)

[[Page 61782]]

List of Subjects in 34 CFR Part 75

    Administrative practice and procedure, Education Department, Grant 
programs--education, Grant administration, Performance reports, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Unobligated funds.

    Dated: October 24, 2003.
Rod Paige,
Secretary of Education.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Secretary proposes 
to amend part 75 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations as 


    1. The authority citation for Part 75 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 20 U.S.C 1221e-3 and 3474, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 75.102 is amended by revising paragraphs (a) and (b), 
and the introductory text in paragraph (d) to read as follows:

Sec.  75.102  Deadline date for applications.

    (a) The application notice for a program sets a deadline date for 
the transmittal of applications to the Department.
    (b) If an applicant wants a new grant, the applicant must submit an 
application in accordance with the requirements in the application 
* * * * *
    (d) If the Secretary provides that a paper application must be sent 
by the deadline date, an applicant must show one of the following as 
proof of mailing:
* * * * *
    3. Section 75.109 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as 

Sec.  75.109  Changes to application; number of copies.

    (a) Each applicant that submits a paper application shall submit an 
original and two copies to the Department, including any information 
that the applicant supplies voluntarily.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 03-27376 Filed 10-29-03; 8:45 am]