Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program
Application available: April 7, 2016
Deadline to submit application: May 9, 2016
Instructions Package:Information about the 2016 IAL competition, including requirements, the NIA, FAQs, and details concerning how to apply is included in the FY16 IAL Application Instructions Package.
Notice Inviting Applicants: the Notice Inviting Applicants (NIA) for the 2016 Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Discretionary Grant Competition has now been published in the Federal Register. The FY 2014 competition includes new priorities, a requirement, and definitions. Please read the NIA carefully.
Notice of Final Priorities: the Notice of Final Priorities (NFP) for the IAL program identify the final priorities, requirement, and definitions for the IAL program. The NFP includes responses to comments submitted by the public following publication of the Notice of Proposed Priorities (NPP).
Electronic Submission: Applications for grants under the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program, CFDA number 84.215G, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us. Find urgent information concerning how to apply electronically below.
This competition includes one absolute priority and three competitive preference priorities.
- Absolute Priority—High-quality plan for innovative approaches to literacy that include book distribution, childhood literacy activities, or both, and that is supported, at a minimum, by evidence of strong theory (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1 (c)).
- Competitive Preference Priority 1—Technology (5 points);
- Competitive Preference Priority 2—Improving Early Learning Outcomes (5 points); and
- Competitive Preference Priority 3—Serving Rural LEAs (5 points).
We award an additional five points per priority to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priorities 1-3, for a total of 15 possible points.
Applicants are strongly encouraged identify, in the project abstract section of their applications, any competitive preference priority they intend to meet with the application, and to include a brief description of how they are qualified to meet each priority.
Applicant Technical Assistance
The Department will host two (2) technical assistance conference calls/webinar sessions to assist those interested in applying. Further information is available in the Resources page of this Web site.
Applicant Transmittal Instruction
Attention Electronic Applicants:This program requires the electronic submission of applications--specific requirements and instructions can be found in the Federal Register notice. Please note that you must follow the Application Procedures as described in the Federal Register notice announcing the grant competition.
We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described in the Federal Register notice for this competition, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions.
Applications Submitted Electronically
Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at http://www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.
Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in Federal Register notice for this competition, we will not consider your application if it is date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in this application package to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system.
Please note the following:
- You must attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .pdf (Portable Document) format. If you upload a file type other than a .pdf file, or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.
- Grants.gov cannot process an application that includes two or more files that have the same name within a grant submission.
- When attaching files, applicants should limit the size of their file names. Lengthy file names could result in difficulties with opening and processing your application. We recommend your file names be less than 50 characters. The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
- Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this application package.
- If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
According to the instructions found in the Federal Register notice, only those requesting and qualifying for an Exception to the electronic submission requirement may submit an application via mail, commercial carrier or by hand delivery.
Submission of Paper Applications by Mail:
If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:
U.S. Department of Education
Application Control Center
Attention: CFDA Number 84.215G
LBJ Basement Level 1
400 Maryland Avenue, SW.
Washington, DC 20202-4260
You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.
(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.
(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
(1) A private metered postmark.
(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
Note: The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.
Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery:
If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:--
U.S. Department of Education
Application Control Center
Attention: CFDA Number 84.215G
550 12th Street, SW.
Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza
Washington, DC 20202-4260
The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.
Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:
If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department--
(1) You must indicate on the envelope and--if not provided by the Department--in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and
(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.
Submitting Application with Adobe Reader Software
The Department of Education, working with Grants.gov, is currently using Adobe Reader software exclusively and applications submitted to Grants.gov for the Department will be posted using Adobe forms
Please note: The compatible version of Adobe Reader is required for viewing, editing and submitting a complete grant application package for the Department through Grants.gov. Applicants should confirm the compatibility of their Adobe Reader version before downloading the application. To ensure applicants have a version of Adobe Reader on their computer that is compatible with Grants.gov, applicants are encouraged to use the test package provided by Grants.gov that can be accessed at
Important issues to consider:
- If the applicant opened or edited the application package with any software other than the compatible version of Adobe Reader, the application package may contain errors that will be transferred to the new package even if you later download the compatible Adobe Reader version.
- Applicants cannot copy and paste data from a package initially opened or edited with an incompatible version of Adobe Reader and will need to download an entirely new package using the compatible version of Adobe Reader.
- Some applicants using an incompatible version of Adobe Reader may have trouble opening and viewing the application package while others may find they can open, view and complete the application package but may not be able to submit the application package through Grants.gov.
- Grants.gov does not guarantee to support versions of Adobe Reader that are not compatible with Grants.gov.
- Any and all edits made to the Adobe Reader application package must be made with the compatible version of Adobe Reader.
For your convenience, a compatible version of Adobe Reader is available for free download at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/adobe-software-compatibility.html.
We strongly recommend that you review the information on computer and operating system compatibility with Adobe available at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/adobe-software-compatibility.html before downloading, completing or submitting your application.
Applicants are reminded that they should submit their application a day or two in advance of the closing date as detailed in the Federal Register Notice. If you have any questions regarding this matter please email the Grants.gov Contact Center at email@example.com or call 1-800-518-4726.
Grants.gov Submission Procedures and Tips for Applicants
To facilitate your use of Grants.gov, this document includes important submission procedures you need to be aware of to ensure your application is received in a timely manner and accepted by the Department.
ATTENTION – Adobe Forms and PDF Files Required
Applications submitted to Grants.gov for the Department will be posted using Adobe forms. Therefore, applicants will need to download latest compatible version of Adobe reader (Adobe Reader versions 9 through 11 and Adobe Reader DC version 2015.010.20060 or later). (Please note that in early 2016, Grants.gov discovered an issue with the latest major version of Adobe Reader, Adobe Reader DC, and versions of Adobe Reader DC prior to 2015.010.20060 have been deemed incompatible with Grants.gov). Information on computer and operating system compatibility with Adobe and links to download an appropriate version are available on Grants.gov. We strongly recommend that you review these details on www.Grants.gov before completing and submitting your application. In addition, applicants should submit their application a day or two in advance of the closing date as detailed below. Also, applicants are required to upload their attachments in .pdf format only. (See details below under “Attaching Files – Additional Tips.”) If you have any questions regarding this matter please email the Grants.gov Contact Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-518-4726.
- REGISTER EARLY – Grants.gov registration involves many steps including registration on SAM (www.sam.gov) which may take approximately one week to complete, but could take upwards of several weeks to complete, depending upon the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an applicant. You may begin working on your application while completing the registration process, but you cannot submit an application until all of the Registration steps are complete. Please note that once your SAM registration is active, it will take 24-48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov, and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov. For detailed information on the Registration Steps, please go to: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html [Note: Your organization will need to update its SAM registration annually (formerly Central Contractor Registry (CCR)*.]
- SUBMIT EARLY – We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the last day to submit your application. Grants.gov will put a date/time stamp on your application and then process it after it is fully uploaded. The time it takes to upload an application will vary depending on a number of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection, and the time it takes Grants.gov to process the application will vary as well. If Grants.gov rejects your application (see step three below), you will need to resubmit successfully to Grants.gov before 4:30:00 p.m. Washington, DC time on the deadline date.
- VERIFY SUBMISSION IS OK – You will want to verify that Grants.gov received your application submission on time and that it was validated successfully. To see the date/time your application was received, login to Grants.gov and click on the Track My Application link. For a successful submission, the date/time received should be earlier than 4:30:00 p.m. Washington, DC time, on the deadline date, AND the application status should be: Validated, Received by Agency, or Agency Tracking Number Assigned. Once the Department receives your application from Grants.gov, an Agency Tracking Number (PR/award number) will be assigned to your application and will be available for viewing on Grants.gov’s Track My Application link.
Primary information about SAM is available at www.sam.gov . However, to further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, the Department has prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html .
Note: To submit successfully, you must provide the DUNS number on your application that was used when you registered as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) on Grants.gov. This DUNS number is typically the same number used when your organization registered with the SAM (formerly CCR -Central Contractor Registry). If you do not enter the same DUNS number on your application as the DUNS you registered with, Grants.gov will reject your application.
If the date/time received is later than 4:30:00 p.m. Washington, D.C. time, on the deadline date, your application is late. If your application has a status of “Received” it is still awaiting validation by Grants.gov. Once validation is complete, the status will either change to “Validated” or “Rejected with Errors.” If the status is “Rejected with Errors,” your application has not been received successfully. Some of the reasons Grants.gov may reject an application can be found on the Grants.gov site:http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-faqs.html .
For more detailed information on troubleshooting Adobe errors, you can review the Adobe Reader Error Messages document at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/encountering-error-messages.html. If you discover your application is late or has been rejected, please see the instructions below. Note: You will receive a series of confirmations both online and via e-mail about the status of your application. Please do not rely solely on e-mail to confirm whether your application has been received timely and validated successfully.
Submission Problems - What should I do?
If you have problems submitting to Grants.gov before the closing date, please contact Grants.gov Customer Support at 1-800-518-4726 or http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/support.html or access the Grants.gov Self-Service web portal at: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/Welcome.aspx?pt=Grants
If electronic submission is optional and you have problems that you are unable to resolve before the deadline date and time for electronic applications, please follow the transmittal instructions for hard copy applications in the Federal Register notice and get a hard copy application postmarked by midnight on the deadline date.
If electronic submission is required, you must submit an electronic application before 4:30:00 p.m., unless you follow the procedures in the Federal Register notice and qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. (See the Federal Register notice for detailed instructions.)
Helpful Hints When Working with Grants.gov
Please note, once you download an application from Grants.gov, you will be working offline and saving data on your computer. Please be sure to note where you are saving the Grants.gov file on your computer. You will need to logon to Grants.gov to upload and submit the application. You must provide the DUNS number on your application that was used when you registered as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) on Grants.gov.
Please go to http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/support.html for help with Grants.gov.
Dial-Up Internet Connections
When using a dial up connection to upload and submit your application, it can take significantly longer than when you are connected to the Internet with a high-speed connection, e.g. cable modem/DSL/T1. While times will vary depending upon the size of your application, it can take a few minutes to a few hours to complete your grant submission using a dial up connection. If you do not have access to a high-speed connection and electronic submission is required, you may want to consider following the instructions in the Federal Register notice to obtain an exception to the electronic submission requirement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. (See the Federal Register notice for detailed instructions.)
If electronic submission is required and you are concerned about your ability to submit electronically as a non-windows user, please follow instructions in the Federal Register notice to obtain an exception to the electronic submission requirement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.(See the Federal Register notice for detailed instructions.)
Attaching Files – Additional Tips
Please note the following tips related to attaching files to your application, especially the requirement that applicants only include read-only, non-modifiable .PDF files in their application:
- Ensure that you attach .PDF files only for any attachments to your application, and they must be in a read-only, non-modifiable format. PDF files are the only Department approved file type accepted as detailed in the Federal Register application notice. Applicants must submit individual .PDF files only when attaching files to their application. Specifically, the Department will not accept any attachments that contain files within a file, such as PDF Portfolio files, or an interactive or fillable .PDF file. Any attachments uploaded that are not .PDF files or are password protected files will not be read.
- Grants.gov cannot process an application that includes two or more files that have the same name within a grant submission. Therefore, each file uploaded to your application package should have a unique file name.
- When attaching files, applicants should follow the guidelines established by Grants.gov on the size and content of file names. Uploaded files must be less than 50 characters in the file name, contain no spaces, no special characters (example: -, &, *, %, /, #, \) including periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks. Applications submitted that do not comply with the Grants.gov guidelines will be rejected at Grants.gov and not forwarded to the Department.
- Applicants should limit the size of their file attachments. Documents submitted that contain graphics and/or scanned material often greatly increase the size of the file attachments and can result in difficulties opening the files. For reference, the average discretionary grant application package totals 1 to 2 MB. Therefore, you may want to check the total size of your package before submission.
*Please note that the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) was replaced by the System for Award Management (SAM) effective July 30, 2012.