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FAQs

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  1. What is the purpose of the SRSA program?
  2. What is the Alternative Fund Use Authority?
  3. Does an eligible LEA have to apply to use the Alternative Fund Use Authority?
  4. How do I find out if my school district is eligible for the SRSA program?
  5. What does it mean to be dually eligible?
  6. How do I find out if my LEA is eligible for the SRSA program?
  7. If my LEA is a dual eligible-LEA (eligible for both the SRSA and RLIS programs), which program should I choose?
  8. If my LEA is a dual eligible-LEA and applies for SRSA, can it later decide to participate in RLIS instead?
  9. Does an eligible LEA have to apply for an SRSA grant in order to receive funding under the program?
  10. If my LEA is no longer eligible for SRSA, but is eligible to receive an FY 2017 award based on the hold harmless provision, does my LEA have to submit an FY 2017 application?
  11. Who should my LEA contact if the data used to determine SRSA eligibility are incorrect?
  12. My LEA was SRSA eligible in prior years. Why does the eligibility spreadsheet for FY 2017 indicate we are not eligible to receive an award this year?
  13. How do I find out the amount of funds my LEA will receive from an SRSA grant?
  14. What is the application process for the SRSA grant?
  15. When will my LEA receive the funds from an SRSA grant?
  16. How may SRSA funds be used to support the programs in my LEA?
  17. Is my LEA guaranteed an SRSA grant award?
  18. How long do I have to obligate the SRSA funds for my LEA?
  19. What does “obligation” of funds mean? When does it occur?
  20. The contact information listed on the GAN is incorrect or out of date. Can it be updated?
  21. How do I access my LEA’s SRSA funds?
  22. Why can’t I log into www.G5.gov to access my LEA’s funds?
  23. When I try to log into G5.gov, I get an error message saying that I need to register my DUNS number and TIN with the SAM. 1) What is a DUNS number? 2) What is a TIN? 3) What is the SAM? 4) And how do I register a DUNS number or TIN?
  24. The SAM says my DUNS number is invalid. How do I fix it?
  25. Who is the SRSA contact person for my LEA? How do I contact the U.S. Department of Education about SRSA?

1. What is the purpose of the SRSA program?

The SRSA program is designed to address the unique needs of small, rural LEAs that frequently lack the personnel and resources needed to compete effectively for federal competitive grants. These LEAs also may receive formula grant allocations under other programs in amounts too small to be effective in meeting their intended purposes. The SRSA program may help rural local educational agencies (LEAs or LEAs) use federal resources more effectively to improve the quality of instruction in order to increase student academic achievement.

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2. What is the Alternative Fund Use Authority?

The Alternative Fund Use Authority allows SRSA-eligible LEAs greater latitude in spending the funds they receive under Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A, to best address the LEAs particular needs. Under the Alternative Fund Use Authority, LEAs will be able to use their Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A, funds to pay for activities under any of the allowable uses for SRSA grant funds.

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3. Does an eligible LEA have to apply to use the Alternative Fund Use Authority?

No. Any LEA that is eligible for an SRSA award may exercise Alternative Fund Use Authority without applying to the U.S. Department of Education. However, before exercising the Alternative Fund Use Authority, an eligible LEA must notify its state educational agency (SEA) of its intent to do so by the deadline established by the SEA.

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4. How do I find out if my school district is eligible for the SRSA program?

Please see the Eligibility page for an explanation of eligibility requirements and the Eligibility Spreadsheets page to find state-by-state lists of specific LEAs that are determined eligible for REAP programs for the current fiscal year.

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5. What does it mean to be dually eligible?

Being dually eligible in the REAP program describes a situation in which an LEA meets the eligibility requirements for both REAP grants: SRSA and the Rural Low-Income Schools (RLIS) grant.

To see how SRSA differs from RLIS, view the SRSA-RLIS Comparison Table

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6. How do I find out if my LEA is eligible for the SRSA program?

A list of LEAs eligible to apply for FY 2017 SRSA grant awards is available at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/reapsrsa/eligibility.html. LEAs should examine the list to determine if they are eligible for either SRSA or RLIS, eligible for both SRSA and RLIS, or no longer eligible for SRSA, but may receive an award according to the hold-harmless provision.

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7. If my LEA is a dual eligible-LEA (eligible for both the SRSA and RLIS programs), which program should I choose?

An LEA should research the requirements and provisions of both the SRSA and the RLIS program to determine which program best meets its needs. While the Department cannot tell an LEA on which program to choose, we have put together a list of factors an LEA should consider when making its decision. This information is available at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/reapsrsa/eligibility.html.

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8. If my LEA is a dual eligible-LEA and applies for SRSA, can it later decide to participate in RLIS instead?

If an LEA applies for SRSA in accordance with the application submission procedures, the LEA cannot later choose to participate in RLIS for the fiscal year which it submitted an SRSA application. However, if the LEA is a dual eligible-LEA again in future years, the LEA may choose to participate in RLIS instead of SRSA.  The LEA will notify the Department of its decision to participate in RLIS by not submitting an SRSA during the application window for the corresponding fiscal year

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9. Does an eligible LEA have to apply for an SRSA grant in order to receive funding under the program?

Yes. Eligible LEAs must submit an application each year to receive an SRSA grant for that year.

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10. If my LEA is no longer eligible for SRSA, but is eligible to receive an FY 2017 award based on the hold harmless provision, does my LEA have to submit an FY 2017 application?

Yes. All LEAs that would like to receive an FY 2017 SRSA grant must submit an application, even if the LEA is only able to receive an award based on the Hold Harmless provision.

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11. Who should my LEA contact if the data used to determine SRSA eligibility are incorrect?

The information used to determine SRSA and RLIS eligibility comes from several sources:

  • State education agencies (SEAs) provide:
    • Average Daily Attendance (ADA) data
    • Program Allocations From Title II-A
    • State Rural Definition data
  • The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) provides:
    • Locale Code data
    • Population Density data (from U.S. Census Bureau)
    • Poverty data

The deadline for making corrections to the FY 2017 eligibility spreadsheet has passed. However, if you believe the data used to determine your LEA’s eligibility is incorrect, please notify the point of contact noted below for clarification:

  • Average Daily Attendance (ADA) data – contact your SEA
  • Program Allocations From Title II-A – contact your SEA
  • State Rural Designation – contact your SEA

For the following data points, please send your inquiries to the State mailbox that corresponds to the State in which your organization operates using the format [statename].OESE@ed.gov (for example, Michigan.OESE@ed.gov).

  • Locale Code data
  • Population Density data
  • Poverty Data

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12. My LEA was SRSA eligible in prior years. Why does the eligibility spreadsheet for FY 2017 indicate we are not eligible to receive an award this year?

It is not uncommon for an LEA to move in and out of SRSA eligibility from year-to-year, especially if the LEA’s average daily attendance numbers are close to the 600-student limit. It is also possible that the locale code assigned to the LEA has changed. If you still have questions about your LEA’s eligibility for FY 2017, please contact your ED program officer.

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13. How do I find out the amount of funds my LEA will receive from an SRSA grant?

The Department intends to post grant award amounts for each eligible LEA in August 2017. Beginning in FY 2018, the Department intends to post estimated award amounts in May of each year. Award amounts are posted to the eligibility spreadsheets for each state. You can estimate your LEA’s FY 2017 grant amount by using the following formula:

  • Start with the number of students in average daily attendance in your LEA for the 2015-16 school year. Subtract 50 from that number (if negative, stop at zero).
  • Multiply the remainder by $100.
  • Add $20,000.
  • If the total is above $60,000, this amount is capped at $60,000.
  • From the amount above, subtract allocations the LEA received in the prior fiscal year by formula under ESEA Title II-A (Improving Teacher Quality).

This amount may be ratably reduced or increased depending upon the amount appropriated for the program and the amounts calculated for other eligible LEAs.

Please note:

1.  This calculation provides an estimate only; there are other variables such as the total program appropriation and formula amounts for other eligible LEAs that will affect the final award amount.

2.  Not all eligible LEAs receive grant funds; the formula calculation may result in an award of $0.

3.  The LEA must have a valid application on file in order to receive grant funds.

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14. What is the application process for the SRSA grant?

Please see the Applicant Information page for information about the SRSA application process.

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15. When will my LEA receive the funds from an SRSA grant?

LEAs will receive an electronic SRSA Grant Award Notifications (GANs) in September 2017.  If your LEA has not received a GAN by October 1 and you believe your LEA should receive an award, please contact your state’s ED program officer.

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16. How may SRSA funds be used to support the programs in my LEA?

Generally, your LEA may use its funds for any activity authorized under the following ESEA programs:

  • Title I-A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Education Agencies)
  • Title II-A (Supporting Effective Instruction)
  • Title III (Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students)
  • Title IV-A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment)
  • Title IV-B (21st Century Community Learning Centers)

For specific questions about the allowable uses of funds you should consult your state’s ED program officer for your state.

Reminder: SRSA funds must supplement and not supplant any other federal, state, or local education funding. See ESEA section 5232.

 

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17. Is my LEA guaranteed an SRSA grant award?

LEAs that meet the SRSA eligibility criteria and submit an application in accordance with the application submission procedures, will most likely receive an SRSA award. Nevertheless, the Department cannot guarantee all LEAs that meet these conditions will receive an SRSA award because the statutory formula sometimes results in an award of $0 (e.g., an LEA that received a particularly large amount of Title II-A funds, such as $60,000 or more, would receive $0 under the formula).

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18. How long do I have to obligate the SRSA funds for my LEA?

The U.S. Department of Education disburses funds to grantees via the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To access your grant funds, you must register your Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and tax identification number (TIN) with the System for Award Management (SAM) database.

The DUNS number is a tracking number issued by Dun & Bradstreet, a private company, to all U.S. Department of Education grantees. You can obtain a DUNS number for free and get other related information about DUNS numbers by going to the Dun & Bradstreet website.

The TIN is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration or by the IRS.

If your DUNS and TIN numbers are not already registered with the SAM, you can easily register them by going to www.sam.gov. Please allow 3-5 business days to complete the registration process. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active. If you need assistance during the registration process, you may contact the SAM's Service Desk at 866-606-8220.

Please note that if the payee DUNS number for your SRSA grant is different from your grantee DUNS number, both numbers must be registered with the SAM.

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19. What does “obligation” of funds mean? When does it occur?

An obligation is an order placed for property and services, contracts and sub-awards made, and similar transactions during a given period that require the grantee to pay a specified amount during the same or a future period.

The timing of an obligation depends on the nature of the specific activity. The chart below details when an obligation occurs for various uses:

If the Obligation is for --

The Obligation is made --

(a) Acquisition of real or personal property

On the date on which the SRA grantee makes a binding written commitment to acquire the property

(b) Personal services performed by an employee of an SRSA LEA

When the services are performed.

(c) Personal services by a contractor who is not an employee of an SRSA LEA

On the date on which the SRSA grantee makes a binding written commitment to obtain the services.

(d) Performance of work other than personal services

On the date on which the SRSA grantee makes a binding written commitment to obtain the work.

(e) Public utility services

When the SRSA grantee receives the services.

(f) Travel

When the travel is taken.

(g) Rental of real or personal property

When the SRSA grantee uses the property.

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20. The contact information listed on the GAN is incorrect or out of date. Can it be updated?

Yes. Please send an e-mail to the ED program officer for your State with the following information pertaining to your LEA:

  • PR Award Number (it looks like S358A _ _ _ _ _ _)
  • LEA Name
  • Contact Person
  • Address Line 1
  • Address Line 2
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code
  • Phone
  • Fax
  • Email

Your program officer will verify the information and provide you with a corrected GAN.

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21. How do I access my LEA’s SRSA funds?

You can access your LEA’s SRSA funds through our grants website, G5 (www.G5.gov). You will need a username and password, and to register a bank account. If you need help with G5, call the G5 technical hotline at 888-336-8930

(Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. EST to 6:00 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday).

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22. Why can’t I log into www.G5.gov to access my LEA’s funds?

There are a few possible reasons:

  • Your password is expired. To reset your password, call the G5 technical hotline at 888-336-8930. (Please note that the program office does not have the ability to reset G5 passwords.)
  • The website is exhausted. When a large number of grantees logs into G5 at once (especially at the end of the calendar year) there are sometimes technical difficulties. We encourage you to draw down funds as you use them throughout the year. That way you are less likely to encounter system overload.
  • The website is undergoing system maintenance. The G5 website usually shuts down for maintenance after sometime after September 30 each year. Again, we strongly encourage grantees to draw down funds throughout the year as you use them, rather than trying to draw down all grant funds all at once.

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23. When I try to log into G5.gov, I get an error message saying that I need to register my DUNS number and TIN with the SAM. 1) What is a DUNS number? 2) What is a TIN? 3) What is the SAM? 4) And how do I register a DUNS number or TIN?

1. The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a tracking number issued by Dun & Bradstreet, a private company, to all U.S. Department of Education grantees. You can obtain a DUNS number for free and get other related information about DUNS numbers by going to the Dun & Bradstreet website.

2. The tax identification number (TIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration or by the IRS.

3. The System for Award Management (SAM) is a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Treasury that tracks DUNS numbers and TINs for federal agencies that provide funding to businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other beneficiaries.

4. If your DUNS and TIN numbers are not already registered in SAM, you can easily register them by following the instructions for registration on www.sam.gov. If you need assistance during the registration process, you may contact the SAM's Service Desk at 866-606-8220.

Note: If the payee DUNS number for your SRSA grant is different from your grantee DUNS number, both numbers must be registered with the SAM.

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24. The SAM says my DUNS number is invalid. How do I fix it?

First, check that you entered your DUNS number correctly. If your DUNS number still does not work, contact Dun & Bradstreet to get a new DUNS number (it is free).

Next, you will need to change the DUNS number on file at the Department of Education. Please follow the instructions below to make a formal request:

Send a signed letter from an authorized official (usually the superintendent) on your LEA’s letterhead to:

      Steve Cooper
      U.S. Department of Education
      Office of the Chief Information Officer
      Potomac Center Plaza, Room 9135
      550 12th Street, SW
      Washington, D.C. 20202

You can mail the letter, fax it to (202) 245-8219, or e-mail a scanned copy to steve.cooper@ed.gov.

 

In the letter, please providing the following:

  • The correct DUNS number that you have verified with Dun & Bradstreet to use for your LEA;
  • That you are registering (or have already registered) that same correct DUNS number with the SAM; and
  • The old, incorrect DUNS number and whether you would like to have any other Department of Education grant awards associated with the old, incorrect DUNS Number (as either the grantee or payee) reassigned to the new, correct DUNS Number.

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25. How do I contact the U.S. Department of Education about Rural Education Achievement Programs?

Please send your inquiries to the State mailbox that corresponds to the State in which your organization operates using the format [statename].OESE@ed.gov (for example, Michigan.OESE@ed.gov). You are also always welcome to use the general State and Grantee Relations email address or phone line at any time for any request.

General Mailbox: SGR@ED.GOV
General Phone: 202-453-5563

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Last Modified: 05/15/2019