Distance Education Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The purpose of Distance Education Grants for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas is to strengthen the capacity of Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas to carry out resident instruction, curriculum, and teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences through distance education technology.

Grant funds must be used for allowable costs necessary to conduct approved fundamental and applied research, extension and education objectives to address food and agricultural sciences.The use of grant funds to plan, acquire, or construct a building or facility is not allowed under this program.

With prior approval, and in accordance with the cost principles set forth in OMB Circular No.

A-21, some grant funds may be used for minor alterations, renovations, or repairs deemed necessary to retrofit existing teaching or research spaces in order to carry out a funded project.

However, requests to use grant funds for such purposes must demonstrate that the alterations, renovations, or repairs are essential to achieving the major purpose of the project.

Grant funds may not be used for endowment investing.

Section 7132 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, amended the National Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C.

3310(a)), limiting indirect costs to 22 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each award.

Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 22 percent of total Federal funds awarded.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Individual land-grant colleges and universities, and other institutions that have secured land-grant status through Federal legislation, and which are located in Insular Areas are automatically eligible for awards under the DEG grants program, either as direct applicants or as parties to a consortium agreement.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individual land-grant colleges and universities, and other institutions that have secured land-grant status through Federal legislation, and which are located in Insular Areas are automatically eligible for awards under the DEG grants program, either as direct applicants or as parties to a consortium agreement.

Credentials/Documentation

No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program.

Award Procedures

Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 1613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors:
(a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities;
(b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields;
(c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs;
(d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations;
(e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and
(f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.
Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

7 U.S.C. 3362.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 120 to 180 days.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The term of competitive project grants and/or cooperative agreements under this program may not exceed five (5) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA s Current Research Information System (CRIS).

This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No.

0524-0042, "NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS)." CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects.

A final "Financial Status Report" (SF-269) or "Federal Financial Report" (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Division, Office of Grants and Financial Management at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA s Current Research Information System (CRIS).

This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No.

0524-0042, "NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS)." CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects.

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

Performance monitoring is not applicable.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133 and implemented in 7 CFR 3052. This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.

Records

In accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations (2 CFR 215, Subpart C, Section 215.53, (OMB Circular A-110)) grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least 3 years. Records must be retained beyond the 3-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1500-0-1-352.

Obigations

(Project Grants) FY 09 $0; FY 10 $720,000; FY 11 $720,000 - Reflect $720,000 as Actual for FY "10 ($750K less 4% Admin ($30K) = $720K, which is Actual.

Reflect $720,000 as estimate for FY "11 (since we are operating under Continuing Resolution (CR).

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Division of Community and Education 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, STOP 2250, Washington , District of Columbia 20250-2250 Phone: (202) 690-0402 and 401-2855 Fax: (202) 720-3398.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Within guidelines established for the program as described in the RFAs.



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