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National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities

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  1. Can you clarify the legislative language regarding Section 777 (a) (4) (E) on the duties of the National Center?
  2. Can you confirm that the legislative language regarding Section (777 (a) (4)(E)) correctly reflects OPE's understanding of the Center?
  3. Can you clarify the legislative language regarding Section 777 (a)(4)(C) on the duties of the National Center's information collection and dissemination responsibilities -- issue one?
  4. Can you clarify the legislative language regarding Section 777 (a)(4)(C) on the duties of the National Center's information collection and dissemination responsibilities -- issue two?
  5. Regarding the organization of the 40-page narrative, what is the difference between (1) Demonstration of eligibility and (4) Quality of project personnel?
  6. Does the Department recommend an external evaluator for the summative project evaluation?
  7. Can you provide more information about slide #9 on the webinar PowerPoint presentation that indicates an additional three pages allowed for the invitational priority?
  8. Does the Department have any expectation in terms of the amount of travel that might be budgeted for purposes of operating the center, or managing the program?
  9. Is this a new center or an already existing center?
  10. In the Notice Inviting Applications, there is language that talks about transition into college but is there any language on transition out of college?
  11. Is there a limitation on the number of entities that can collaborate?
  12. Does the full spectrum of disability include physical disability?
  13. Do the Abstract and the Key Personnel resumes need to be double spaced?
  14. Can you clarify the Eligibility subsection regarding expertise in the subjects necessary to support students across the broad spectrum of disabilities?
  15. How would we produce reporting data?

1. Can you clarify the legislative language regarding Section 777 (a) (4) (E) on the duties of the National Center?

This question and the following one refer to the following legislative language: Section 777 (a) (4) (E) on the duties of the National Center: "(E) REVIEW AND REPORT.—Not later than three years after the establishment of the National Center, and every two years thereafter, the National Center shall prepare and disseminate a report to the Secretary and the authorizing committees analyzing the condition of postsecondary success for students with disabilities. Such report shall include—
…"(ii) annual enrollment and graduation rates of students with disabilities in institutions of higher education from publicly reported data;…"

We understand the language of (777 (a) (4)(E)) to signal that a new information collection of data from Title IV institutions now reporting to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is not envisioned. Rather, the language directs grant applicants to work with publicly reported (i.e., extant) data on enrollment and graduation rates. Do we understand this correctly?

Yes. The Department does not believe the language in this section calls for a new data collection from the National Center for Education Statistics or some other entity, but rather expects the NCITSPSD to gather information from existing public and private (possibly institutional) sources.

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2. Can you confirm that the legislative language regarding Section (777 (a) (4)(E)) correctly reflects OPE's understanding of the Center?

We understand that (777 (a) (4)(E)) intends for enrollment and graduation reporting to be from "public data" that are at the institution level, rather than public data reported at the national level or sector level (as BPS, Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study; and NSTTAC, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center - are). Additionally, we understand that an example of "extant institutional data" might be those reported to a state longitudinal data system by public postsecondary institutions. Can you confirm that this correctly reflects OPE's understanding of the Center?

Yes. The Department believes the legislative language in question refers to publicly available data with postsecondary institutions as the units of analysis.

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3. Can you clarify the legislative language regarding Section 777 (a)(4)(C) on the duties of the National Center's information collection and dissemination responsibilities -- issue one?

This question and the following one refer to the following legislative language: Section 777 (a)(4)(C) on the duties of the National Center: "(C) INFORMATION COLLECTION AND DISSEMINATION.— The National Center shall be responsible for building, maintaining, and updating a database of disability support services information with respect to institutions of higher education, or for expanding and updating an existing database of disabilities support services information with respect to institutions of higher education. Such database shall be available to the general public through a Web site built to high technical standards of accessibility practicable for the broad spectrum of individuals with disabilities. Such database and Web site shall include available information on—

  1. disability documentation requirements;
  2. support services available;
  3. links to financial aid;
  4. accommodations policies;
  5. accessible instructional materials;
  6. other topics relevant to students with disabilities; and
  7. the information in the report described in subparagraph (E)."

Specifically, what is the audience (or, audiences) and purpose(s) for information collected in section 3(a) through 3(g). Is the primary audience prospective students and their parents? Is this information publicly disseminated to assist them in choosing a postsecondary institution that meets their needs? Are there other audiences and purposes for this information?

Beyond saying that the database and its information "…shall be available to the general public," the legislation is silent as to the specific audiences for the database. The Department looks to applicants, who are experts in this field, to evaluate what has already been done in these areas and where there is sufficient quality, propose to collaborate with those entities and reuse information. Where there has not been work completed, or the work is not of sufficient quality, THE DEPARTMENT looks to applicants to propose to design and develop new information – including deciding on priorities for the appropriate audiences and intended purposes.

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4. Can you clarify the legislative language regarding Section 777 (a)(4)(C) on the duties of the National Center's information collection and dissemination responsibilities -- issue two?

Does OPE anticipate that information with respect to institutional disability practices and support services (Section 777 (a)(4)C)) would be collected from: (a) all 7,400 postsecondary institutions reporting to IPEDS; (b) all degree-granting institutions reporting to IPEDS (4,700 institutions comprising 98 percent of enrollment); or (c) a sample of institutions from a or b?

The Department, again, looks to the expertise of applicants to propose the most complete and practical way feasible to report on disability practices and support services. We do not anticipate an adjustment to IPEDS and do not think the legislative language calls for mandatory data collection from all postsecondary institutions.

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5. Regarding the organization of the 40-page narrative, what is the difference between (1) Demonstration of eligibility and (4) Quality of project personnel?

Is it more appropriate to describe institutional capacity in (1) and individual qualifications in (4)?

In the selection criteria, criterion (a) Demonstration of Eligibility refers to institutional capacity and experience, while criterion (d) Quality of project personnel refers to the qualifications (including relevant training and experience) of the project director/principal investigator and other key personnel, consultants or subcontractors.

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6. Does the Department recommend an external evaluator for the summative project evaluation?

The Department leaves decisions such as this to the expertise of the applicants. We do remind applicants that the Department expects the award to be for a cooperative agreement, calling for substantial involvement of the Department beyond the parameters of the usual grant.

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7. Can you provide more information about slide #9 on the webinar PowerPoint presentation that indicates an additional three pages allowed for the invitational priority?

We see slide #9 on the webinar PowerPoint presentation that indicates an additional three pages are allowed for the invitational priority. Prior to the webinar, we were assuming that any discussion of collaborating with the named invitational priority entities (NSTTAC, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, etc.) would have been part of the allotted 40-page narrative. However, because of the allowance of an additional three pages, we are just wondering what this implies, other than additional space to simply describe the nature of collaboration with these entities?

No other implication is to be inferred. We had to allow space for applicants to respond; five pages seemed too many, one page too few.

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8. Does the Department have any expectation in terms of the amount of travel that might be budgeted for purposes of operating the center, or managing the program?

Travel Budget. The RFP (request for proposal) is clear on a set aside of $2000 for an initial meeting in Washington, D.C. for the project direction and one other person. Given the funding amount over four years and the duties of the center under this grant, funding is limited in general; with that said, does the Department have any expectation in terms of the amount of travel that might be budgeted for purposes of operating the center, or managing the program?

No. The Department has no expectations on additional travel until the award is made. OPE requires applicants to be experts in this field and therefore, peers will review proposals, we will select a grantee, study what they want to do, think about travel (among many other issues) and prepare a cooperative agreement that the Department and the grantee will work from. At that point we might have some expectations, based on how the grantee conceived the program and what our reviewers said, along with the legislative and regulatory requirements; but we can’t tell now what those will be.

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9. Is this a new center or an already existing center?

Either. The Department has no preference and only holds to the language in the grant announcement that the center will cover a broad spectrum of disabilities.

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10. In the Notice Inviting Applications, there is language that talks about transition into college but is there any language on transition out of college?

No. However, please refer to the invitational priority. Important work has already been done around transition to college and transition to work by these three entities (and others not named here). The Department suggests that applicants collaborate with these entities on work that is already produced and concentrates its resources on work still to be done in postsecondary education.

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11. Is there a limitation on the number of entities that can collaborate?

No. There is no limit on the number of entities that can be included in a collaboration.

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12. Does the full spectrum of disability include physical disability?

Yes. The Department has (in some publications) included a statement that ‘individuals with disabilities’ may include, but are not limited to, Blind or Low Vision, Deaf, or Hard of Hearing, Physical Disability and Intellectual Disability. However, this phrasing should not be construed to limit or exclude any disability on the continuum.

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13. Do the Abstract and the Key Personnel resumes need to be double spaced?

No. The Abstract and Key personnel resumes may be single spaced.

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14. Can you clarify the Eligibility subsection regarding expertise in the subjects necessary to support students across the broad spectrum of disabilities?

In the “Eligibility” subsection there’s this: "4. Demonstrated expertise in the subjects necessary to support students across the broad spectrum of disabilities." Does the term "subjects" refer to academic content areas like math, writing, history, science, etc., or does it relate to disability-specific "subjects" like assistive technology, accessible materials, (or civil rights, accommodations, etc.)? Can you clarify the type of expertise information this requirement is addressing?

This section is not referring to content areas such as Mathematics, etc. Instead, it is referring to disability-specific subjects such as assistive technology, accessible materials, civil rights, and accommodations.

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15. How would we produce reporting data?

OPE believes appropriate reporting is dependent upon the work proposed and leave the problem of reporting to the ingenuity and expertise of the applicants.

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Last Modified: 07/16/2015