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Grants to States for School Emergency Management Grant Program

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  1. Administrative 1: What is the deadline date for this competition?
  2. Administrative 2: May I get an extension of the deadline date?
  3. Administrative 3: Do I have to submit my application electronically?
  4. Administrative 4: How do I register to submit my grant electronically?
  5. Administrative 5: How do I submit my application electronically?
  6. Administrative 6: What information do I enter in box 4 Applicant Identifier, box 5a Federal Entity Identifier, and box 5b Federal Award Identifier on the SF-424 form?
  7. Administrative 7: How should I submit forms with signatures?
  8. Administrative 8: Are there any compatibility restrictions?
  9. Administrative 9: How does the Freedom of Information Act affect my application?
  10. Administrative 10: For my General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) 427 statement is it adequate to state that our organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, etc.?
  11. Administrative 11: Is this program covered by Executive Order 12372?
  12. Administrative 12: What is required from an applicant whose State Single Point of Contact indicates that they are not reviewing applications for this grant competition?
  13. Adminstrative 13: By what date do applicants have to submit their application to their State Single Point of Contact, if participating?
  14. Administrative 14: What steps should the applicant’s Authorized Representative take before signing a grant application?
  15. Administrative 15: What should I include in the “Table of Contents”?
  16. Eligibility 1: Who is eligible to apply?
  17. Eligibility 2: Are State school safety centers eligible to apply?
  18. Priorities 1: What priority must all applicants address to be eligible for funding?
  19. Priorities 2: What is the balance between building capacity at the State level and providing training and technical assistance to LEAs?
  20. Rquirements 1: What Assurances and Certifications are required?
  21. Requirements 2: When must an SEA provide an established point of contact (e.g., person or office) for school emergency management issues and submit that information to the Department?
  22. Requirements 3: Must an SEA assist LEAs in developing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with their community partners?
  23. Requirements 4: What are the Project Performance Measures for this program?
  24. Requirements 5: What is the National Incident Management System (NIMS)?
  25. Program-Specific Questions 1: How do applicants demonstrate intent to collaborate informally or contract with other State-level agencies, departments or organizations to provide ongoing services to LEAs?
  26. Program-Specific Questions 2: Will a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of the State-level partners suffice as a letter of intent?
  27. Program-Specific Questions 3: May applicants coordinate with more than the State-level partners indicated in the NIA for this grant?
  28. Program-Specific Questions 4: Are prevention programs (i.e., bullying prevention, suicide prevention, violence prevention, etc.) allowable under the GSEM grant program?
  29. Program-Specific Questions 5: Are America’s PrepareAthon! activities allowable under this grant?
  30. Selection Criteria 1: How will applications be reviewed?
  31. Selection Criteria 2: Will an applicant receive its scores and reviewer comments after the competitions are completed?
  32. Selection Criteria 3: Will the reviewers be asked to read every part of each application?
  33. Budget 1: Is there a maximum award amount for this competition?
  34. Budget 2: What is an indirect cost?
  35. Budget 3: Does this program use a restricted or unrestricted indirect cost rate?
  36. Budget 4: How do I obtain an unrestricted indirect cost rate?
  37. Budget 5: If an applicant intends to charge indirect costs to the grant, what documentation should it submit with its application?
  38. Budget 6: What guidance is available on developing a budget narrative?
  39. Budget 7: If a grantee fails to propose indirect costs in the budget section of the application, may it charge indirect costs to the grant once awarded?
  40. Budget 8: If, at the time it receives a grant award, a grantee does not have an approved indirect cost agreement, may it still charge indirect costs to the grant?
  41. Budget 9: What are the funding restrictions?
  42. Budget 10: Are applicants required to secure cost sharing or matching funds?
  43. Budget 11: What is the project and budget period for these grants?
  44. Budget 12: What will be the project start date?
  45. Budget 13: Must a grantee wait until the start of the initial budget period to begin incurring costs that grant funds will reimburse?
  46. Budget 14: What should be included in the budget narrative?
  47. Budget 15: Are there certain items that cannot be purchased with GSEM funds?
  48. Additional Questions 1: Who do I contact for more information about this grant competition?

1. Administrative 1: What is the deadline date for this competition?

The competition deadline for the Grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) for School Emergency Management program is September 4, 2018.  

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2. Administrative 2: May I get an extension of the deadline date?

Waivers for individual applications failing to meet the deadline will not be granted, regardless of the circumstances. Under very extraordinary circumstances the U.S. Department of Education (Department) may change the closing date for a grant competition. When this occurs, the Department announces such a change in a notice published in the Federal Register.

If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described in the notice inviting applications (NIA).

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3. Administrative 3: Do I have to submit my application electronically?

Yes. Unless you qualify for an exception in accordance with the instructions found in Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf, and in this application package, you must submit your application electronically.

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4. Administrative 4: How do I register to submit my grant electronically?

If you are a new user, you will need to register to use Grants.gov. Read the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

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5. Administrative 5: How do I submit my application electronically?

Transmit your application by the deadline date and time. When submitting your application electronically, you must use Grants.gov at: www.grants.gov. Unless you qualify for an exception in accordance with the instructions found in Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf, and in this application package, you must submit your application electronically.

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6. Administrative 6: What information do I enter in box 4 Applicant Identifier, box 5a Federal Entity Identifier, and box 5b Federal Award Identifier on the SF-424 form?

These boxes are not applicable for this competition. Please leave boxes 4, 5a, and 5b blank. You may input “NA” in each box, but be sure not to include a slash (i.e., “N/A”); the system will not allow you to input special characters.

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7. Administrative 7: How should I submit forms with signatures?

We strongly encourage you to scan and upload signed versions of the forms, in a Portable Document Format (PDF format), to the Other Attachments Form section of the application package on Grants.gov or you may fax the signed forms to the Department. These documents may be faxed to the attention of Hamed Negron-Perez at 202-453-6742 and must be received within three days of your application submission.

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8. Administrative 8: Are there any compatibility restrictions?

You must submit your application in a PDF format in order for your application to submit successfully to the Department. If you submit your application in any other format, we will not be able to access your document. 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

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9. Administrative 9: How does the Freedom of Information Act affect my application?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. All U.S. Government agencies are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them, except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions listed in the FOIA. All applications submitted for funding consideration under this grant competition are subject to the FOIA. The Department’s Freedom of Information website is available at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/foiatoc.html.

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10. Administrative 10: For my General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) 427 statement is it adequate to state that our organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, etc.?

No. An organization’s non-discrimination statement is not sufficient to meet the GEPA requirements. A GEPA statement should outline an entity’s potential barriers and solutions to equal access, specific to the proposed project.

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11. Administrative 11: Is this program covered by Executive Order 12372?

Yes. This means applicants must submit a copy of their application to their State Single Point of Contact for review and upload the transmittal letter in the Other Attachments Form section in Grants.gov (refer to page 64). On the application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), you must check box (a) in item 19 and provide the date on which you made your application available for review. Note that the Department is prohibited from making an award to an entity that has not provided an opportunity for its State to review the application. The only exceptions to this requirement are applicants from States that have chosen not to participate or have indicated they do not wish to review applications from this competition. In either of these cases, applicants should check box (b). Do not check box (c) since this grant program is covered by Executive Order 12372. For more information about this requirement, see the Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs section in this application package.

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12. Administrative 12: What is required from an applicant whose State Single Point of Contact indicates that they are not reviewing applications for this grant competition?

Applicants should include a copy of such a response from the State Single Point of Contact in their application package submitted to the Department and check the appropriate line on the SF 424 form.

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13. Adminstrative 13: By what date do applicants have to submit their application to their State Single Point of Contact, if participating?

Applicants must submit their application to the State Single Point of Contact by the deadline date for transmitting their application to the Department.

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14. Administrative 14: What steps should the applicant’s Authorized Representative take before signing a grant application?

The standard form that serves as a cover sheet for grant applications includes a certification statement that accompanies the authorized representative’s signature. That certification indicates that the information provided in the grant application is true and complete to the best of the authorized representative’s knowledge, and that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or claims may subject the authorized representative to administrative, civil, or criminal penalties. As a result, an authorized representative should carefully review a grant application before signing in order to be sure that all of the information contained in the application package is correct. Additionally, an authorized representative should be sure that the application describes a project that has the organization’s support and reflects an approach that the organization is committed to implementing.

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15. Administrative 15: What should I include in the “Table of Contents”?

The Table of Contents shows where and how the important sections of your proposal are organized and should not exceed one double spaced page. The application package shows the “Table of Contents” falling within the “Project Narrative,” but the “Table of Contents” should be comprehensive, covering all application content.

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16. Eligibility 1: Who is eligible to apply?

This grant competition limits eligibility to State educational agencies (SEAs). Eligible applicants include SEAs in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Eligible applicants may collaborate informally or contract with other agencies to provide services to LEAs, including agencies such as:

  • A State school safety center;
  • The State emergency management agency; and
  • The State homeland security department.

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17. Eligibility 2: Are State school safety centers eligible to apply?

No. Only SEAs (as defined) are eligible applicants. However, as stated in the NIA for this grant program, eligible applicants may collaborate informally or contract with other agencies to provide services to local educational agencies (LEAs), including agencies such as a State school safety center, the State Emergency Management Agency, or the State Homeland Security Department.

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18. Priorities 1: What priority must all applicants address to be eligible for funding?

Projects that expand the capacity of SEAs to provide training and technical assistance to LEAs.

Projects to increase the long-term internal capacity of SEAs to provide training and technical assistance to LEAs for the development and implementation of high-quality school EOPs.

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19. Priorities 2: What is the balance between building capacity at the State level and providing training and technical assistance to LEAs?

The goal of this grant program is for SEAs to be equipped to assist their LEAs in ensuring schools have high-quality emergency operating plans and are prepared to implement them. Depending on the SEA’s current capacity, this grant can support that goal through a balance of two approaches: (1) expand SEA capacity to provide training and technical assistance to LEAs; and (2) provide training and technical assistance to LEAs resulting in the development and implementation of high-quality school emergency management plans. Those States that currently have limited internal capacity must first expand their internal capacity and then use the remaining grant funds to provide training and technical assistance to as many LEAs as possible. Those States that demonstrate current internal capacity (e.g., subject matter experts on staff and comprehensive up-to-date resources), will be expected to focus their grants on providing training and technical assistance to as many LEAs as possible.

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20. Rquirements 1: What Assurances and Certifications are required?

Be certain to complete all required assurances and certifications in Grants.gov, and include all required information in the appropriate place on each form.  The assurances and certifications required for this application are:

  • Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF 424B Form)
  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF LLL Form)
  • Certification Regarding Lobbying (ED 80-0013 Form)
  • General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) Requirements – Section 427

For those SEAs that plan to collaborate informally or contract with other State-level agencies, departments, or organizations, signed letters of intent from each State-level entity are required along with the application.

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21. Requirements 2: When must an SEA provide an established point of contact (e.g., person or office) for school emergency management issues and submit that information to the Department?

SEAs must provide an established point of contact (e.g., person or office) for school emergency management issues and submit that information to the Department no later than the project start date. This program requirement can be found on page 6 in the NIA.

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22. Requirements 3: Must an SEA assist LEAs in developing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with their community partners?

GSEM applicants must provide a training and technical assistance strategy that includes assisting LEAs in developing or enhancing LEA MOUs with their community partners as part of a high-quality EOP. This program requirement can be found on page 6 in the NIA.

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23. Requirements 4: What are the Project Performance Measures for this program?

The Department has established the following performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the GSEM program:

  • The number of training events provided by the GSEM program to assist LEAs in the development and implementation of high-quality school EOPs.
  • The extent to which the GSEM program expands the capacity of the SEAs to provide training and technical assistance to LEAs for the development and implementation of high-quality school EOPs

For specific requirements on grantee reporting, please go to the Department’s Performance Report Form 524B at http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

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24. Requirements 5: What is the National Incident Management System (NIMS)?

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) identifies concepts and principles that answer how to manage emergencies from preparedness to recovery regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity. NIMS provides a consistent, nationwide approach and vocabulary for multiple agencies or jurisdictions to work together to build, sustain and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve a secure and resilient nation. Consistent implementation of NIMS provides a solid foundation across jurisdictions and disciplines to ensure effective and integrated preparedness, planning and response

Applicants are required to provide training and technical assistance to LEAs on the implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Information about current NIMS requirements may be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system.

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25. Program-Specific Questions 1: How do applicants demonstrate intent to collaborate informally or contract with other State-level agencies, departments or organizations to provide ongoing services to LEAs?

Applicants that intend to collaborate informally or contract with other State-level entities should consult with them during the development of their application to obtain signed letters of intent to clearly state each entity’s specific role and responsibility in carrying out the grant activities and to ensure that efforts are coordinated, sustainable beyond the period of federal funding, and to avoid duplication of effort.

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26. Program-Specific Questions 2: Will a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of the State-level partners suffice as a letter of intent?

No. Eligible applicants may collaborate informally or contract with other State-level agencies, departments or organizations to provide services to LEAs, but the signed letter of intent must clearly state each partner’s specific role and responsibility in carrying out the grant activities. The agreement must be written specifically for the proposed GSEM project and should identify specific responsibilities in connection to the proposed project. A separate MOU from a previously established relationship will not meet the requirements.

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27. Program-Specific Questions 3: May applicants coordinate with more than the State-level partners indicated in the NIA for this grant?

Yes. The Department has indicated sample allowable State-level partners in the NIA. Eligible applicants may collaborate informally or contract with other agencies to provide services to LEAs, including agencies such as:

  • A State school safety center;
  • The State Emergency Management Agency; and
  • The State Homeland Security Department.

Additional State-level partners are allowable to help with implementation of this grant (i.e., public health or transportation departments, etc.).

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28. Program-Specific Questions 4: Are prevention programs (i.e., bullying prevention, suicide prevention, violence prevention, etc.) allowable under the GSEM grant program?

No. Prevention programs are beyond the scope of this grant competition. While we recognize the importance of a comprehensive approach to violence prevention, those activities are not directly related to development of an effective emergency operations plan. Requests for funds to implement a prevention program will not be allowed.

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29. Program-Specific Questions 5: Are America’s PrepareAthon! activities allowable under this grant?

Yes. Preparedness activities in line with America’s PrepareAthon (www.ready.gov/prepare) are allowable under this grant, to the extent that they serve the purpose of building capacity of SEAs to assist LEAs in the development and implementation of high-quality EOPS.

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30. Selection Criteria 1: How will applications be reviewed?

The Department will first screen applications to determine which applications should be forwarded to reviewers based on the adequacy of the applications’ response to the absolute priority, and their eligibility.

The Department intends to use non-federal reviewers from various backgrounds and professions with relevant expertise. These reviewers will use their professional judgment to evaluate and score each application based on the selection criteria.

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31. Selection Criteria 2: Will an applicant receive its scores and reviewer comments after the competitions are completed?

Yes. Both funded and unfunded applicants will receive a copy of the technical review form completed by the peer reviewers. Individual reviewer names are deleted from the forms to preserve confidentiality.

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32. Selection Criteria 3: Will the reviewers be asked to read every part of each application?

Yes. Reviewers will be asked to read every part of the application (including the budget narrative, budget forms, and project narrative, among others); however, reviewers will not read any pages of the project narrative that exceed the page limit. For this reason and to facilitate the review, the Department encourages applicants to carefully follow the directions in the application package. Applicants should pay particular attention to the flow of the narrative and correctly label all attachments. 

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33. Budget 1: Is there a maximum award amount for this competition?

Yes. We will not fund any budget exceeding the maximum award amount for each eligible applicant as stated in the NIA for this grant.

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34. Budget 2: What is an indirect cost?

An indirect cost is an expense that you incur that is necessary for implementing the grant, but may be difficult to identify directly with your grant. For example, indirect costs may include money spent for heat, light, rent, telephone, security, accounting, and Internet use.

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35. Budget 3: Does this program use a restricted or unrestricted indirect cost rate?

This program uses an unrestricted indirect cost rate.

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36. Budget 4: How do I obtain an unrestricted indirect cost rate?

Your organization may already have a negotiated, unrestricted indirect cost rate with a Federal government agency. If your organization has not negotiated this rate in the past, please contact the Department’s Indirect Cost Group at Indirectcostgroup@ed.gov.

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37. Budget 5: If an applicant intends to charge indirect costs to the grant, what documentation should it submit with its application?

If an applicant has a current indirect cost rate, it should submit a copy of its current indirect cost rate agreement, including its current rate.

If an applicant does not have a current indirect cost rate agreement, applicants should submit a provisional indirect cost rate. Applicants may choose not to submit indirect cost rate information at the time of application; however, in order to charge indirect costs to the grant, this applicant will need to submit an indirect cost rate agreement. The applicant should include any proposed indirect costs in its proposed budget and budget narrative.

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38. Budget 6: What guidance is available on developing a budget narrative?

For guidance on preparing a budget narrative, please see http://www.ed.gov/admins/grants/apply/techassist/resource_pg8.html.

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39. Budget 7: If a grantee fails to propose indirect costs in the budget section of the application, may it charge indirect costs to the grant once awarded?

During the Department’s budget review process, which occurs prior to grant award, the Department reviews each applicant’s requested budget. If the requested budget does not include estimated indirect costs, they will not be included in the budget approved by the Department that forms the basis of the grant award. This means that, after award, a grantee would only have funds with which to charge indirect costs to the grant if the approved direct costs of the grantee’s project for any budget period exceed the grantee's actual direct costs. Where this occurs, the grantee may submit a requested budget revision to the Department program office to use the excess funds budgeted for direct costs to cover its indirect costs.

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40. Budget 8: If, at the time it receives a grant award, a grantee does not have an approved indirect cost agreement, may it still charge indirect costs to the grant?

A grantee that does not have an indirect cost agreement at the time of application may still be able to charge indirect costs until it receives an approved rate, if the Secretary approves the grantee's request to use a temporary rate of ten percent of budgeted direct salaries and wages. However, after the grant award is issued, the grantee must expeditiously take steps to obtain an indirect cost rate. The grantee should inform the Department that it has taken this step and forward to the Department’s program office the indirect cost rate agreement that it eventually obtains.

For additional information about obtaining an approved indirect cost rate or applying for an indirect cost rate, contact the Department’s indirect cost group at IndirectCostGroup@ed.gov.

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41. Budget 9: What are the funding restrictions?

Program funds may be used for costs related to training, technical assistance, and SEA capacity building, in addition to other allowable costs.

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42. Budget 10: Are applicants required to secure cost sharing or matching funds?

No. Applicants are not required to secure cost sharing or matching funds.

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43. Budget 11: What is the project and budget period for these grants?

The project period for this grant is up to 60 months (5 budget periods of 12 months each).

Note: Continuation of each successive grant period is subject to satisfactory performance, submission of an annual report, and availability of funds.

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44. Budget 12: What will be the project start date?

Should you receive a grant, the start date will depend on when funds can be awarded and obligated. September 30, 2018 is the suggested start date; however, the applicant’s proposed start date may be slightly modified by mutual agreement by the Department and the grantee

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45. Budget 13: Must a grantee wait until the start of the initial budget period to begin incurring costs that grant funds will reimburse?

No. GSEM funds are available to reimburse a grantee for pre-award costs that are reasonable, necessary, and otherwise allowable when these costs were incurred within 90 days prior to the beginning of the grant's initial budget period. For instance, a grantee with a budget period start date of October 1 may begin carrying out tasks for the new project as early as July 1, although it cannot draw down any payments until October 1 when the grant is awarded and the initial budget period has begun.

However, until notified of receipt of a grant award, an applicant bears the risk of committing its own funds to these pre-award obligations. If the applicant is not awarded a GSEM grant, the Department will not reimburse the applicant for any costs incurred in anticipation of a possible grant award.

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46. Budget 14: What should be included in the budget narrative?

As explained in the application package, an application should include one budget narrative. This narrative should provide a detailed description of how the applicant plans to use its requested grant funds, and should be of sufficient scope and detail for the Department to determine if the costs are necessary, reasonable, and otherwise allowable, and for the reader to understand how the applicant proposes to use Federal and any non-Federal funds to support the proposed project.

For further guidance on Federal cost principles, an applicant may wish to consult the applicable Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars: OMB Circular A-87 (for SEAs and LEAs) and A-21 (for nonprofit organizations). (To review these Circulars, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars.)

Additionally, the “Budget Narrative” section of the application package provides extensive detail, including examples, on how an applicant might present the assumptions on which the proposed performance-based compensation costs are based.

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47. Budget 15: Are there certain items that cannot be purchased with GSEM funds?

Yes. Generally, grant funds cannot be used to purchase refreshments, breakfast, incentives or prizes, or other prohibited items identified by the Office of Management and Budget’s Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/fedreg/2005/083105_a87.pdf.

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48. Additional Questions 1: Who do I contact for more information about this grant competition?

Any questions pertaining to this grant competition should be directed to Hamed Negron-Perez, U.S. Department of Education, by email hamed.negron-perez@ed.gov or by phone: (202-453-6725). Please note that we anticipate receiving a large volume of inquiries and recommend contacting us via email with any questions. We will do our best to respond to inquiries within 24-48 hours. Please do not wait until the closing date to contact us with questions, as we may not be able to respond prior to competition closing time.

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Last Modified: 08/10/2018