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Frequently Asked Questions regarding the FY12 RFA

  1. What is the deadline for FY12 SLDS applications?
  2. Who is eligible to apply for FY12 SLDS Grants?
  3. What are the priorities of the FY12 SLDS competition?
  4. Can states apply to do work on more than one FY12 SLDS priority?
  5. How should states determine which priority area to apply to?
  6. How long will the FY12 SLDS grants last?
  7. What is the anticipated size of individual grants?
  8. Why are ARRA states not eligible for FY12 SLDS funding?
  9. How many states will receive FY12 SLDS grants?
  10. Must State education agencies demonstrate collaboration with other state agencies?
  11. Is the State education agency the only agency that can use SLDS funds, if awarded?
  12. Can a state apply to receive an RTT-ELC grant and an FY12 SLDS Early Childhood?
  13. Where can I learn more about the RTT-ELC grant competition?
  14. Would a Priority 2 (Early Childhood) or Priority 3 (Postsecondary/Workforce) system have to reside in the K12 data system?
  15. What are new requirements in the FY12 competition?
  16. When and where will FY12 SLDS applications be available?
  17. What information must go into the Budget Narrative (Budget Information Non-Construction Programs (ED 524)—Section C)?
  18. When creating a budget by deliverables, how should costs that apply to more than one deliverable be handled?
  19. What type of assistance is available to states during the competition?
  20. How should letters of support be submitted?
  21. Will application decisions be based, in part, on past performance and use of previous SLDS funds?
  22. Who reviews SLDS applications?
  23. How are multi-state collaborations handled if only one state receives the funding?
  24. Are SLDS grants or cooperative agreements?
  25. NEW! Should states use their restricted or unrestricted cost rate for their indirect cost in an application for SLDS funding?



1. What is the deadline for FY12 SLDS applications?

The FY12 submission deadline is December 15, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The National Center for Education Statistics strongly suggests State education agencies submit their applications at least 2 days prior to the December 15 deadline to address any needed issues. Late submissions will NOT be accepted. Technical issues experienced on the applicant’s side are not an acceptable reason for submitting a late application.

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2. Who is eligible to apply for FY12 SLDS Grants?

State educational agencies of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are included, however, for this competition only, applications will not be considered from the 20 State educational agencies that received SLDS ARRA grants in May 2010.

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3. What are the priorities of the FY12 SLDS competition?

The three priorities for this competition are:

  1. To design, develop, and implement a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 (K12) data system;
  2. To develop and link early childhood data with the State’s K12 data system; or
  3. To develop and link postsecondary and/or workforce data with the State’s K12 data system.

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4. Can states apply to do work on more than one FY12 SLDS priority?

No. Eligible State educational agencies may submit applications to address only one of the three priorities. Applications that address more than one priority will not be considered responsive to this Request for Applications and will not be considered.

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5. How should states determine which priority area to apply to?

The goal of the program is to provide assistance for all states and territories to have fully-functional P–20W longitudinal data systems that can address the policy needs, as defined by the state or territory. Therefore, the state or territory needs to understand which system (early childhood, K12, postsecondary, or workforce) is most in need with respect to infrastructure and usability.

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6. How long will the FY12 SLDS grants last?

FY12 grants will be awarded for a period of 3 years.

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7. What is the anticipated size of individual grants?

Individual grants are estimated to range from $1 million to $5 million for the three year grant period. The Institute of Education Sciences will award grants of no more than $5 million for Priority 1 and grants of no more than $4 million for Priorities 2 and 3. Individual grant size will depend on the deliverables the State proposes.

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8. Why are ARRA states not eligible for FY12 SLDS funding?

ARRA SLDS grants were two to three times the size of previous SLDS grants and because most of the 20 grantees also received earlier SLDS grants, the 20 ARRA grantees will not be considered for grants under this competition. Their ARRA SLDS grants will still be underway when the grants pursuant to this competition are awarded.

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9. How many states will receive FY12 SLDS grants?

The number of grants award in FY12 will depend on the qualityand scope of work proposed by applicants. Because this program is acompetitive grant program, only applicants that score above the cutoff score for high quality applications will receive SLDS funding.

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10. Must State education agencies demonstrate collaboration with other state agencies?

Yes. A State educational agency must propose to work jointly and collaboratively with the other State agencies whose participation is necessary and essential to addressing the priority to which the SEA is applying. For example, if a State submits an application for Priority 3 (postsecondary and/or workforce data), the agency or agencies responsible for postsecondary and/or workforce data would be expected to provide project direction and assist in the coordination of the grant. State education agencies may share grant funds with partner agencies (e.g. early childhood, postsecondary, workforce, etc.) to support partner agencies’ work contributing to the SLDS.

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11. Is the State education agency the only agency that can use SLDS funds, if awarded?

No. While State education agencies are the fiscal agents for SLDS funds, State education agencies may share grant funds with partner agencies (e.g. early childhood, postsecondary, workforce, etc.) to support partner agencies’ work contributing to the SLDS.

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12. Can a state apply to receive an RTT-ELC grant and an FY12 SLDS Early Childhood?

Yes. The two competitions are totally independent and results of one will not affect the other. States can apply to both competitions and they can receive funding for both competitions, if their applications are judged to be of merit by the separate review committees.

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13. Where can I learn more about the RTT-ELC grant competition?

Please email questions about the RTT-ELC grant or visit this link.

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14. Would a Priority 2 (Early Childhood) or Priority 3 (Postsecondary/Workforce) system have to reside in the K12 data system?

No. States can build a separate data systems for early childhood or postsecondary/workforce data that link to the State’s K12 data system.

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15. What are new requirements in the FY12 competition?

In addition to addressing topics like governance, institutional support, sustainability in applications, States must also elaborate on their current and future plans for data use, including tools for education stakeholders, training and PD for system users, research policies and reports.

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16. When and where will FY12 SLDS applications be available?

Application forms and instructions for the electronic submission of applications will be available for this program no later than September 26, 2011, at the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). Applicants should refer to this site for information about the electronic submission procedures to be followed and the required software.

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17. What information must go into the Budget Narrative (Budget Information Non-Construction Programs (ED 524)—Section C)?

States must provide an itemized budget breakdown by deliverable, year, and budget category that will allow reviewers to judge if reasonable costs have been attributed to the project. The total for each deliverable must match the total that states are requesting. Please refer to the templates on the SLDS webpage for a sample of this section.

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18. When creating a budget by deliverables, how should costs that apply to more than one deliverable be handled?

Costs, such as staffing or equipment, that will be utilized to support multiple project deliverables can be treated in one of two ways in the budget: 1) it can be dividing among the relevant deliverables, or b) it can be assigned entirely to one deliverable with an explanation of how that resource will also be utilized to support other deliverables in the Budget Narrative.

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19. What type of assistance is available to states during the competition?

The SLDS team will host several webinars on the FY12 SLDS RFA (see this link for a webinar schedule), provide sample templates of the major application sections for states to reference, offer one-on-one technical assistance phone calls to discuss reviewer comments on past SLDS applications, and continue to provide technical assistance resources on topics like project management and governance that are necessary to a strong SLDS application.

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20. How should letters of support be submitted?

All letters of support should be sent to the SEA and then submitted with the application. Letters of support that are sent directly to NCES or to other divisions of The U.S. Department of Education will not be considered as part of the application package.

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21. Will application decisions be based, in part, on past performance and use of previous SLDS funds?

Yes. States’ performance and use of funds under previous Federal awards, including SLDS grants, will be considering in making award decisions.

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22. Who reviews SLDS applications?

Peer reviewers, who are not NCES or U.S. Department of Education staff, are selected by the Institute of Education Sciences to evaluate and rate all complete and responsive SLDS applications. The SLDS project team does not evaluate and rate applications.

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23. How are multi-state collaborations handled if only one state receives the funding?

If only one state receives funding for specific deliverable that includes multi-state collaboration, NCES will work with the grantee to ensure the original intention of the grant is fulfilled regarding those deliverables. This is done on a case by case basis.

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24. Are SLDS grants or cooperative agreements?

SLDS grants are cooperative agreements, which are a special type of grant. Cooperative agreements allow NCES to have ongoing relationships with grantees that encourage knowledge sharing and convening among grantees, and allow for easier distribution of technical assistance and other resources and services to grantees. Grantees must fulfill certain duties as part of cooperative agreements, such as participation in technical assistance webinars and site visits, and travel to the national SLDS, for instance. All such requirements are outlined in the Cooperative Agreement sent to awardees.

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25. NEW! Should states use their restricted or unrestricted cost rate for their indirect cost in an application for SLDS funding?

The cost rate that states should use for indirect costs for SLDS funding is the restricted cost rate, as opposed to the unrestricted cost rate.  See EDGAR section 76.563 on Restricted Indirect Cost Rate for more information on this.

 

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