What counts as an in-kind service?
Matching contributions can be in cash or in-kind. In-kind services are contributions for services, travel, or facility usage that benefit the GEAR UP TN project but do not include cash. Examples of in-kind contributions include: donated personnel time, equipment usage, agency space, waived student registration fees.
Does each high school in a Collaborative need to be on the eligibility list?
Yes, each high school that takes part in a GEAR UP TN Collaborative proposal must be on the eligibility list.
Is the cost-per-student an annual cost or is it meant to extend throughout the length of the grant?
The cost-per-student formula provides an annual budgetary guide.
Is the site-coordinator position a full-time position or would they be able to split time on other projects?
The site-coordinator should spend 100% of their time and effort implementing the GEAR UP program.
Can funding be provided for the Project Director?
Yes, GEAR UP TN grant funds can support a portion of the Project Director as long as the percentage of the salary that is covered by the grant aligns with the percent of time and effort that the individual dedicates towards implementing GEAR UP TN.
Is the 7th Grade Cohort the rising 7th Grade class?
Yes, the 7th grade cohort is the rising 7th grade class in the 2012-13 academic year that will be graduating in 2018.
Because the cohort is the rising 7th grade class, does this mean that the grant will only apply to half of the cohort’s 7th grade year?
THEC expects the contracting process to begin immediately after grant recipients are notified of their awards in September 2012. Because of this timeline, direct services to cohort students will begin as soon as the possible in the 2012-13 academic year with an anticipated timeline of fall/winter 2012. THEC anticipates work to begin with Collaborative staff and partners immediately in September, 2012.
Will grant awards be divided equally amongst rural and urban areas?
THEC does not have a quota in place to determine the breakdown of students from rural and urban areas that GEAR UP TN will serve. Instead, THEC will draw on a panel of external readers to review, score, and determine the winning Collaboratives based on the criteria outlined in the Call for Proposals.
May we use the same types of matching funds in multiple years?
A single matching contribution may be counted only one time towards only one federal project. However, the same event that occurs annually may be counted each year as match. For example, if your project holds an annual college fair you may count teachers’ after school volunteer time as match each year of the project since it is a new matching contribution each year.
What is a cohort model?
The cohort or whole-grade level model involves providing services to all students in the participating grade, rather than a selected group of students. GEAR UP TN follows a cohort model, which means that GEAR UP services need to be provided to all members of the class of 2018. In addition to the cohort, GEAR UP TN will also serve seniors at participating schools each year of the grant.
What is the appropriate formula to get the cost per student? Do we budget a cost for both the cohort student and the 12th grade student?
Your proposal budget will include expenditures relating to services to both the senior class and the cohort for each grant year. The Call for Proposal provides a guide of $250 per cohort student to give you an idea of what the size of the subgrants may be. The cost per student is calculated by dividing the total amount of funds that you request by the number of students in the Class of 2018. While you will need to provide services to the senior class each year, you do not need to provide a specific cost-per-student number for the senior class in the budget.
How many people should we budget to attend each conference?
The conferences should be attended by all key personnel for the GEAR UP project. At minimum you should budget for two people, the project director and the site coordinator, to attend.
Can we budget substitute teacher pay for teachers attending college visits?
Yes, you may budget substitute teacher pay for teachers attending college visits.
Who should our fiscal agent signatory be?
The fiscal agent signatory is the individual at the organization who has the authority to make contractual and fiscal obligations on behalf of the fiscal agent. Each fiscal agent will have differing policies regarding who has that level of authority.
Should we include the site coordinator’s qualifications in the proposal?
THEC anticipates providing sample qualifications to those projects that are funded to help in the hiring process of site coordinators. THEC anticipates site coordinators would have, at minimum, a bachelor degree and strongly prefers site coordinators have college access and/or K-12 education experience. Proposals should include the qualifications of any known staff members who will be involved in the project.
Is a partner identification form needed for each partner that we may have?
Yes, a partner identification form is needed for each Collaborative partner, so you will need to submit more than one form in your application.
What information is expected to be included in the Letter of Intent? Is there a page limit or preferred format?
The Letter of Intent must identify the lead applicant for the GEAR UP 2012 grant. Preferably, it will also identify partnerships with other high schools (if applicable) and any other known partners. There is no page limitation or preferred format for the LOI.
Do we need to submit a preliminary budget with the Letter of Intent?
No, you do not need to submit a preliminary budget with the Letter of Intent.
Do we need to include letters of support or MOUs as part of the full proposal?
While not required, it would be beneficial to include letters of support from partnering organizations as part of the full proposal.
May a number of school districts form a Consortium and submit one GEAR UP TN application?
Multiple eligible high schools within a single school district may partner in forming a GEAR UP TN Collaborative. Multiple eligible schools from different school districts, however, cannot form a Collaborative. Each school district would need to submit its own proposal.
Do matching funds go straight to the lead LEA or do they first go to THEC?
Matching funds would go to and be tracked by the LEA or high school. Matching funds would not go to THEC first.
Will you hold a workshop or conference call for districts or schools that want to learn more about GEAR UP TN?
Yes, The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) will hold a conference call to answer questions about the GEAR UP TN program and Call for Proposal on Wednesday, July 11th at 1pm CDT. To access the call, dial 1-888-757-2790 and then input the participant code# 159883 when prompted.
What types of matching funds are allowed?
The following types of matching are authorized specifically by Section 404C(c)(3) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act:
In many cases, a majority of a Collaborative’s match will likely fall under the third category above, “early intervention activities.” Any items that would be allowable under the applicable cost principles if charged directly to the grant may be included toward meeting the grantee’s matching commitment. Please review OMB Circular A-87 “Cost Principals for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments” and 34 CFR Part 80 “Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements with State and Local Governments.” The requirements from these circulars and regulations state costs must be reasonable, allocable, and consistent to quality as an allowable matching cost as well as direct cost. The latest versions of CFR 34 Part 80 and OMB Circular A-87 are located on the web at:
CFR 34 Part 80: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_04/34cfr80_04.html
OMB Circular A-87: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a087_2004
There are some guidelines in regard to what contributions are included in your match:
If funded, GEAR UP TN will provide Collaboratives with a finance manual outlining matching requirements and procedures in greater detail.
May a school submit a proposal where they are the sole applicant and also submit a proposal where they collaborate with another school?
No, an individual school may not submit multiple applications to participate in the GEAR UP TN program. Eligible high schools must determine if it is more beneficial to apply as an individual school or partner with another school or schools in their district.
Are schools with a priority middle school designation able to apply?
Schools that are classified as priority middle schools are not able serve as the lead applicant for the grant unless that school is also classified as a priority high school by the Tennessee Department of Education as of spring 2011 or if the school is also a high school with a fall 2010 or 2011 college-going rate at or below the state average. The project asks applicants to apply in Collaborative with community-wide partners. Middle schools may be included in the Collaborative if the middle school is a feeder middle school to an eligible high school and has over 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch. A list of eligible high schools is available at: http://www.state.tn.us/thec/Divisions/GEARUP/eligiblehs.shtml
We do not have a cohort of students graduating in 2018. Are we still eligible to apply?
Schools that do not currently enroll students scheduled to graduate in 2018 are not eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. GEAR UP TN provides direct services to the entire class of 2018 cohort and members of the senior class at the participating schools.
Are there eligibility requirements for the non-profits that are part of the collaborative? For instance, do they need to have 501(c)3 status?
Subgrant applicants must identify two community-based organizations to include in the applying GEAR UP TN Collaborative. According to 20 USCS § 7801(6), the term “community-based organization” means “a public or private nonprofit organization of demonstrated effectiveness that—
(A) is representative of a community or significant segments of a community; and
(B) provides educational or related services to individuals in the community.”
For the purposes of the GEAR UP TN Call for Proposals, nonprofits are defined as any organization classified as a nonprofit organization per Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, for example 501(c)(3) organizations. Note, however, that while applicants are required to partner with at least two community-based organizations as defined above, there is no limitation prohibiting the inclusion of additional partners who do not meet the definition of a community-based organization.
May a post-secondary institution or a non-profit organization be the lead applicant for the GEAR UP 2012 grant?
No. An eligible high school must serve as the lead applicant. In the case of multiple high schools partnering to form a GEAR UP TN Collaborative, the Local Education Agency (LEA) must submit an application on behalf of the eligible high schools. If necessary for legal and fiscal reasons, an LEA may submit an application on behalf of an eligible high school so long as the eligible high school remains the lead applicant on programmatic matters. While a postsecondary institution or a non-profit organization may not serve as the lead applicant, they may serve as community partners. This grant requires applicants to form a Collaborative that includes at minimum the following partners: Local Board of Education, at least one feeder middle school (participation of all eligible feeder middle schools is strongly encouraged), one postsecondary institution, and two community-based organizations. A list of eligible high schools is available at http://www.state.tn.us/thec/Divisions/GEARUP/eligiblehs.shtml.
What is the difference between the project director and the site coordinator?
The Project Director is someone employed by the LEA and serves as the program’s primary point of contact. This individual is typically someone at the leadership level. The Site Coordinator is the person who is hired by the LEA, with the approval of THEC, to carry out the daily implementation of the program.
Are schools that receive other grants from the Department of Education eligible to apply?
Yes, high schools that receive non-GEAR UP grants are eligible to apply for the GEAR UP TN grant. However, schools that currently receive GEAR UP funding are not eligible to apply for this grant.