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Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program

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Applicant Information


Application available: June 17, 2014
Deadline to submit application: July 17, 2014
Deadline to request a waiver for electronic submission:July 3, 2014

Current Application

Instructions Package: Information about the 2014 IAL competition, including requirements, the NIA, FAQs, and details concerning how to apply is included in the FY14 IAL Application Instructions Package.

  • FY14 IAL Application Package
    [downloadable files] MS WORD (776K) | PDF (647K)

Notice Inviting Applicants: the Notice Inviting Applicants (NIA) for the 2014 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 Apply site at 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.

Exception to Electronic Submission: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the system because you do not have access to the Internet; or you do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the system; and no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application. For more information on paper submissions, including where to find forms in the request for a waiver is approved, see the Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement section of the NIA. Deadline for Submission of Request for Waiver of Electronic Submission: July 3, 2014


This competition includes one absolute priority and four 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—Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools (5 points);
  • Competitive Preference Priority 2—Technology (5 points);
  • Competitive Preference Priority 3—Improving Early Learning Outcomes (5 points); and
  • Competitive Preference Priority 4—Serving Rural LEAs (5 points).

We will award an additional 5 points to an application that meets either Competitive Preference Priority 1 or 4. We will award an additional 5 points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 2 and an additional 5 points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 3. The maximum number of competitive preference points an application can receive for this competition is 15.

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 three (3) technical assistance conference calls/webinar sessions to assist those interested in applying. Registration is required; further information is available in the Resources page of this Web site.

Applicant Eligibility Form
Applicants submitting electronically must attach the completed Applicant Eligibility Form and corresponding documentation by uploading them as attachments to the application before uploading the application package to Additional information is available on the Eligibility page of this Web site.

Applicant Transmittal Instructions

Important! Please read thoroughly.

To facilitate your use of, 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 of Education. The information below is also available for download here.

Adobe Forms and PDF Files are Required
Applications submitted to for the Department of Education will be posted using Adobe forms. Therefore, applicants will need to download the latest version of Adobe reader (at least Adobe Reader 10.1.14). (Please note that in early 2013, discovered an issue with the newest version of Adobe Reader XI but it was subsequently resolved.)  Information on computer and operating system compatibility with Adobe and links to download the latest version is available on at this link:  compatibility table. We strongly recommend that you review these details on 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 Contact Center at or call 1-800-518-4726.

  • REGISTER EARLY – registration involves many steps including registration on SAM ( 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, and before you can submit an application through  For detailed information on the Registration Steps, please go to:  [Note: Your organization will need to update its SAM registration annually (formerly Central Contractor Registry (CCR).]

Primary information about SAM is available at . However, to further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account the Department of Education has prepared a Tip Sheet which you can find at :

  • SUBMIT EARLY We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the last day to submit your application. 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 to process the application will vary as well.  If rejects your application (see step three below), you will need to resubmit successfully to before 4:30:00 p.m. Washington, DC time on the deadline date. 

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  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, will reject your application.

  • VERIFY SUBMISSION IS OK – You will want to verify that received your application submission on time and that it was validated successfully.  To see the date/time your application was received, login to 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 of Education receives your application from, an Agency Tracking Number (PR/award number) will be assigned to your application and will be available for viewing on’s Track My Application link.

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  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 may reject an application can be found on the site:  For more detailed information on troubleshooting Adobe errors, you can review the Adobe Reader Error Messages document at  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 you do?
If you have problems submitting to before the closing date, please contact Customer Support at 1-800-518-4726 or, or access the Self-Service web portal at:

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
Please note, once you download an application from, you will be working offline and saving data on your computer.  Please be sure to note where you are saving the file on your computer.  You will need to logon to 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

Please go to for help with  For additional tips related to submitting grant applications, please refer to the Submit Application FAQs found on the

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.)

MAC Users
For MAC compatibility information, review the Operating System Platform Compatibility Table at the following link:  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 Education 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.  If you need assistance converting your files to a .pdf format, please refer to the following webpage with links to conversion programs under the heading of additional resources:
  • 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 on the size and content of file names.  Uploaded files must be less than 50 characters, contain no spaces, no special characters (example: -, &, *, %, /, #, \) including periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks.  Applications submitted that do not comply with the guidelines will be rejected at 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.

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Last Modified: 07/22/2014