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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the FY15 RFA
- What is the deadline for FY15 SLDS applications?
- Who is eligible to apply for FY15 SLDS Grants?
- How is this grant round different than previous grant grounds?
- What are the priorities of the FY15 SLDS competition?
- Can States apply to do work on more than one FY15 SLDS priority?
- What is the estimated range of awards?
- How much money in total is available for four year grant round?
- Will any priority area be weighted more heavily in the review process?
- How long will the FY15 SLDS grants last?
- What is the anticipated size of individual grants?
- How many States will receive FY15 SLDS grants?
- Must State education agencies collaborate with other State agencies?
- Is the State education agency the only agency that can use SLDS funds, if awarded?
- When and where will FY15 SLDS applications be available?
- What is the IRB requirement for the FY15 competition?
- What information must go into the Budget Narrative (Budget Information Non-Construction Programs (ED 524)—Section C)?
- When creating a budget by deliverables, how should costs that apply to more than one deliverable be handled?
- What type of assistance is available to States during the competition?
- What is the letter of intent?
- How and when should letters of intent be submitted?
- How should letters of support be submitted?
- Will application decisions be based, in part, on past performance and use of previous SLDS funds?
- Who reviews SLDS applications?
- How are multi-State collaborations handled if only one State receives the funding?
- What is a cooperative agreement?
- Should States use their restricted or unrestricted cost rate for their indirect cost in an application for SLDS funding?
- May States submit more than one application?
- How long should each section of the State’s application submission be?
- Can a State be (partially) funded for one priority area although two were applied for in the application?
- For the States that receive FY15 funding, when would the first annual report be due?
- If a State’s research partner has an indirect cost rate agreement in place with the U.S. Department of Education, does that indirect cost rate necessarily carry over into this work?
- Where do I go for help if I am having technical difficulties with the application?
The FY15 submission deadline is June 10, 2015 at 4:30:00 p.m., EDT. We strongly suggest State education agencies submit their applications at least 2 days prior to the June 10th 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.
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 eligible.
The focus of this grant round is on data use. Previous grant rounds have focused more heavily on data linkages and infrastructure development. While States may propose use cases that require some data linkages and/or infrastructure work, the use case must be the primary outcome of the SLDS FY15-funded work.
The six priority data use areas for this competition are:
- Financial Equity and Return on Investment
- Educator Talent Management
- Early Learning
- College and Career
- Evaluation and Research
- Instructional Support
These priorities are described in the Request for Applications, which can be found in the application package on Grants.gov, as well as on the Grant Information and Funding Opportunities pages. Grants will not be made available to support ongoing maintenance of data systems.
Yes. State education agencies may apply for up to two priority areas.
The estimated Range of awards is $1,000,000 to $7,000,000; up to $3,500,000 per priority.
$27,000,000 is available for the first year of the grant round, and we expect at least level funding for the remaining 3 years of the grant round, for a total of about $100,000,000.
No. All priority areas are equal in the review process.
FY15 grants will be awarded for a period of 4 years.
Individual grants are estimated to range from $1 million to $7 million for the four-year grant period. IES will award grants of no more than $3.5 million per priority.
The number of grants awarded in FY15 will depend on the quality and scope of work proposed by applicants.
No; while collaboration with other State agencies is encouraged due to the nature of the SLDS initiative, the extent to which collaboration is necessary depends on the data use you propose to support and where these data are housed in your State. For example, an SEA that proposes a data use project under the Early Learning priority that involves data housed within the State's Health and Human Services agency would need to collaborate with that agency and any other relevant stakeholders in order to achieve its objectives. Similarly, a data use project under the College and Career priority will most likely require collaboration with institution(s) of higher education within the State.
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.
Application forms and instructions for the electronic submission of applications are available now, at the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). Applicants should refer to Grants.gov for information about the electronic submission procedures to be followed and the required software.
The Department has determined that the use of individual level data within an SLDS requires ongoing monitoring. For this reason, SLDS grants are not considered exempt from regulations governing the protection of human subjects in research (34 C.F.R. Part 97). On page 5 of the application package, in the U.S. Department of Education Supplemental Information for the SF-424, you will be asked under question 3.b. whether or not all of the research activities proposed in your application are designated to be exempt from the regulations. Please mark this item as "no" and provide the assurance number, if your institution already has an Assurance of Compliance on file. If your Institutional Review Board already has reviewed and approved your application, you should provide Certification of this approval and a copy of the Non-exempt Research on Human Subjects Narrative with your application, specifically the Supplemental Information form (SF-424). If approval by an Institutional Review Board is pending, please indicate provide an estimate of when the Approval will be completed within the narrative. If the project has not yet been submitted to an Institutional Review Board for approval please indicate this. The U.S. Department of Education does not require that applicants have an Assurance of Compliance or certification of Institutional Review Board approval at the time you submit your application. However, if your application is recommended/selected for funding, the designated U.S. Department of Education official will request that your institution apply for an Assurance of Compliance and obtain and send the certification of the Institutional Review Board approval to the Department within 30 days after the formal request. Please see RFA for more information.
16. 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.
17. 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 divided among the relevant deliverables; or 2) 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.
The SLDS team will host two webinars on the FY15 SLDS RFA, provide sample templates of the major application sections for States to reference on the SLDS website, and continue to provide technical assistance resources on topics like project management and governance that are necessary to a strong SLDS application. Successful applications from previous grant rounds are available on the Grantee States section of the SLDS website.
We strongly encourage potential applicants to submit a letter of intent, indicating the Priority or Priorities under which the State education agency intends to apply for funding. Letters of Intent are optional, non-binding, and not used in the peer review of a subsequent application. We use the Letter of Intent to identify the expertise needed for the scientific peer-review panels and to secure a sufficient number of reviewers to handle the anticipated number of applications. We also use the Letter of Intent to help Program Officers contact and provide technical assistance to applicants. Eligible entities that do not provide this notification may still apply for funding.
We would like all letter of intent to be submitted on or before April 13, 2015. Letters of intent should be submitted using the following link: https://iesreview.ed.gov/. Select the Letter of Intent form for the program under which you plan to submit your application. The online submission form contains fields for each of the content areas listed below. Use these fields to provide the requested information. The project description should be single-spaced and should not exceed one page (about 3,500 characters).
- Descriptive title
- Data Use Priority or Priorities that you will address
- Brief description of the proposed project
- Name, SEA office, address, telephone number and email address of proposed Project Director.
- Name of any key collaborators, including, for example, State agencies, LEAs, institutions of higher education, or research organizations.
All letters of support should be sent to the SEA and then submitted with the application package. Letters of support that are sent directly to the Department will not be considered as part of the application package.
22. 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, may be considered in making award decisions.
A Peer Review Panel will review SLDS applications. This panel is comprised of technical experts who have substantive and methodological expertise appropriate to the design, development, implementation, and utilization of statewide, longitudinal data systems.
If only one State receives funding for specific deliverable that includes multi-State collaboration, we 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.
SLDS grants are cooperative agreements, which are a special type of grant. Cooperative agreements allow us 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.
26. Should States use their restricted or unrestricted cost rate for their indirect cost in an application for SLDS funding?
The Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002 requires that funds made available under the SLDS grant program be used to supplement, and not supplant, other State or local funds used for developing or using State data systems. 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.
No. States may submit only one application. If a State is applying for funds under two priority areas, both priority areas should be included in one application.
|1. Application for Federal Education Assistance (SF 424)||N/A|
|2. Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424||N/A|
|3. Budget Information Non-Construction Programs (ED 524) — Sections A and B||N/A|
|4. Budget Information Non-Construction Programs (ED 524) — Section C||No page limit|
|5. Project Abstract||1 page|
|6. Project Narrative||40 pages|
|7. Budget Narrative (Justification)||No page limit|
|8. Appendix A — Optional Attachments||15 pages|
|9. Appendix B — Current Status of State’s Longitudinal Data System||6 pages|
|10. Appendix C — Letters of Support, MOUs, and Relevant State Legislation or Executive Orders||No page limit|
|11. Appendix D — Résumés of Key Personnel||3 pages for each résumé|
|12. Appendix E — Acronym List||No page limit|
Please note: States that propose participation in a multi-State collaboration are permitted an extra 5 pages which should include a description of the joint activities and functioning of the collaboration. Additionally, the 40-page limit for the Project Narrative section applies whether the State submits an application for one OR two priorities.
29. Can a State be (partially) funded for one priority area although two were applied for in the application?
No. The applications will be reviewed holistically. If a State submits an application for two priority areas and the application is funded, both priority areas will be funded.
It is expected that the first annual report would be due in June 2016.
31. If a State’s research partner has an indirect cost rate agreement in place with the U.S. Department of Education, does that indirect cost rate necessarily carry over into this work?
No. The State’s research partner would be entering into a relationship with the State Education Agency (SEA) and, as a result, would need to work with the SEA to reach a mutually acceptable level of compensation.
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