Applications for New Awards; Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP)
Mar 23, 2012 (Education Department Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) --
Strengthening Institutions Program
Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2012.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.031A.
Applications Available: March 23, 2012.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 23, 2012.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 21, 2012.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: The SIP provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs) to help them become self sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.
Priorities: This notice includes one competitive preference priority and three invitational priorities. The competitive preference priority is from the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637).
Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2012 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award up to an additional five points to an application, depending on how well the application meets this priority.
This priority is:
Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for Which There Is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness
Projects that are supported by strong or moderate evidence. A project that is supported by strong evidence (as defined in this notice) will receive more points than a project that is supported by moderate evidence (as defined in this notice).
Note: In scoring this priority, applicants determined to have strong evidence will receive the full five points. Applicants determined to have moderate evidence will receive 2.5 points. The Department will screen applicants' response to this competitive preference priority in accordance with the requirements in this notice and determine which applications have met the evidence standards in the priority.
Invitational Priorities: For FY 2012 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are invitational priorities.
These priorities are:
Invitational Priority 1--Increasing Postsecondary Success
Projects that are designed to address the following priority area:
Increasing the number and proportion of high-need students (as defined in this notice) who persist in and complete college or other postsecondary education and training.
Invitational Priority 2--Technology
Projects that are designed to improve student achievement or faculty effectiveness through the use of high-quality digital tools or materials, which may include preparing faculty to use the technology to improve instruction, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating digital tools or materials.
Invitational Priority 3--Improving Productivity
Projects that are designed to significantly increase efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources while improving student learning or other educational outcomes (i.e., outcome per unit of resource). Such projects may include innovative and sustainable uses of technology, alternative staffing models, competency-based learning, use of open educational resources (as defined in this notice), or other strategies.
Definitions: The following definitions are from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637), and apply to the priorities in this notice:
Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that attempts to approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice). More specifically, it is a design in which project participants are matched with non-participants based on key characteristics that are thought to be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, but are not limited to:
(1) Prior test scores and other measures of academic achievement (preferably, the same measures that the study will use to evaluate outcomes for the two groups);
(2) Demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, English proficiency, ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational attainment, and single- or two-parent family background;
(3) The time period in which the two groups are studied (e.g., the two groups are children entering kindergarten in the same year as opposed to sequential years); and
(4) Methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of reading skills administered in the same way to both groups).
Note: The examples cited in this definition are indications of the types of comparisons applicants could make when designing a carefully matched comparison group study. Applicants might want to consider comparisons that are proper in the higher education context--such as comparing the same entering cohort of students.
Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not to participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project is the average difference in outcomes between the treatment and control groups.
Note: The types of random assignment mentioned above are provided as examples. Applicants might want to consider random assignment that is relevant in the higher education context.
High-need children and high-need student s means children and students at risk of educational failure, such as children and students who are living in poverty, who are English learners, who are far below grade level, or who are not on track to becoming college- or career-ready by graduation, who have left school or college before receiving, respectively, a regular high school diploma or a college degree or certificate, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who are pregnant or parenting teenagers, who have been incarcerated, who are new immigrants, who are migrant, or who have disabilities.
Interrupted time series design means a type of quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) in which the outcome of interest is measured multiple times before and after the treatment for program participants only. If the program had an impact, the outcomes after treatment will have a different slope or level from those before treatment. That is, the series should show an "interruption" of the prior situation at the time when the program was implemented. Adding a comparison group time series, such as schools not participating in the program or schools participating in the program in a different geographic area, substantially increases the reliability of the findings. /1/
FOOTNOTE 1 A single subject or single case design is an adaptation of an interrupted time series design that relies on the comparison of treatment effects on a single subject or group of single subjects. There is little confidence that findings based on this design would be the same for other members of the population. In some single subject designs, treatment reversal or multiple baseline designs are used to increase internal validity. In a treatment reversal design, after a pretreatment or baseline outcome measurement is compared with a post treatment measure, the treatment would then be stopped for a period of time; a second baseline measure of the outcome would be taken, followed by a second application of the treatment or a different treatment. A multiple baseline design addresses concerns about the effects of normal development, timing of the treatment, and amount of the treatment with treatment-reversal designs by using a varying time schedule for introduction of the treatment and/or treatments of different lengths or intensity. END FOOTNOTE
Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence:
(1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) supporting the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation or analysis that limit generalizability;
(2) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that does not demonstrate equivalence between the intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no other major flaws related to internal validity; or
(3) Correlational research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.
Open educational resources (OER) means teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others.
--This is a summary of a Federal Register article originally published on the page number listed below--
Citation: "77 FR 17044"
Federal Register Page Number: "17044"
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