OSP FO# 11-136

AGENCY: Department of Education (DOEd)/Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)

PROGRAM: Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)

OBJECTIVES: This program provides support for academic and related support services that eligible low-income students, including students with disabilities, need to enable them to obtain a secondary school diploma and to prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education. The aim of this program is to play a critical role in the Department of Education’s effort to improve the quality of secondary schools so that more students are well prepared for college and careers. In order to align GEAR UP with its overarching reform strategies for school improvement, the Department is announcing two competitive preference priorities for this competition as well as proposing one invitational priority.

Competitive Preference Priority 1—Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools: This priority requires projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:
·         improving student achievement in persistently lowest-achieving schools;
·         increasing graduation rates and college enrollment rates for students in persistently lowest-achieving schools;
·         providing services to students enrolled in persistently lowest-achieving schools.

Competitive Preference Priority 2—Enabling More Data-Based Decision-Making: This priority requires projects that are designed to collect (or obtain), analyze, and use high-quality and timely data, including data on program participant outcomes, in accordance with privacy requirements, in one or more of the following priority areas:
·         improving instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes in elementary or secondary schools;
·         improving postsecondary student outcomes relating to enrollment, persistence, and completion and leading to career success;
·         providing reliable and comprehensive information on the implementation of Department of Education programs, and participant outcomes in these programs, by using data from State longitudinal data systems or by obtaining data from reliable third-party sources.

Invitational Priority—Financial Access and College Savings Accounts: This priority invites applications that propose, as part of their strategy for ensuring secondary school completion and postsecondary education enrollment of participating students, financial and economic literacy activities that include:
·         creation or enhancement of partnerships with financial institutions and/or other stakeholders that would (1) provide students with safe and affordable deposit accounts at Federally-insured banks or credit unions or other safe, affordable, and appropriate financial services, and (2) evaluate the success of these partnerships in meeting this objective; and
·         creation of financial or other incentives to increase savings by GEAR UP students and families of participating GEAR UP students.

Please see the program announcement below for additional information.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: Eligible Applicants: A partnership consisting of (a) one or more local educational agencies, and (b) one or more degree granting institutions of higher education. Partnerships may also contain not less than two other community organizations or entities, such as businesses, professional organizations, State agencies, institutions or agencies sponsoring programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), or other public or private agencies or organizations.

Internal BU Deadline: June 27, 2011
Agency Deadline: July 14, 2011

FUNDING INFORMATION: The Department expects to make approximately 88 Grants at an estimated average size of $1,161,489 for a project period of up to 84 months. Cost-sharing is required under this program at a level not less than 50 percent of the total cost of the project over seven years. By regulation, a partnership may propose a non-Federal contribution of less than 50 percent, but not less than 30 percent of the total cost of the project, if the partnership includes three or fewer IHEs as members and meets the high-need criteria in 34 CFR 694.7(b)(2).

Pariece Wilkins
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
U.S. Department of Education
1990 K Street, NW., Room 7025
Washington, DC 20006–8524
Telephone: (202) 219–7104
Fax: (202) 219–7074
E-mail: pariece.wilkins@ed.gov
Web: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/gearup/index.html

INTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS: An internal deadline has been established to coordinate institutional cost-sharing commitments for this program. Principal Investigators (PIs) interested in submitting a proposal should forward a memorandum to their Associate Dean by Monday, June 27, 2011. In the memorandum, (1) briefly describe the proposed project, (2) list key participating faculty, (3) itemize all cost-sharing commitments being requested from the University, within the context of a fully developed project budget, and (4) cite any program features which should make it particularly competitive for Department of Education funding. The memorandum should be countersigned by the relevant department chair/center director to indicate endorsement of the project. After the Dean’s assessment, if a commitment of Provost funds is required, the memorandum will be forwarded to OSP-CRC Director Joan Kirkendall for review and then to the Provost’s Office for authorization. PIs will then be advised of authorized institutional cost-sharing commitments in time to complete the project budget and process their proposal for final review. PIs are encouraged to consult with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for assistance with the preparation of the project budget.

REMARKS: Applications must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov system. Instructions and forms are available on the Grants.Gov website (http://www.grants.gov). Additional information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP web site at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. Please contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to your school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through the Grants.gov system.

Complete program guidelines and application material (CFDA# 84.334A) may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.