32 CFR 206.1 - Major characteristics of the NSEP institutional grants program.
(a) The Institutional Grants Program provides support in the form of grants to U.S. institutions of higher education. During the 1994-95 and 1995-96 academic years, a program of pilot grants is being initiated with an annual competition for grants held during the spring of each year. Grants to institutions will complement NSEP scholarship and fellowship programs. NSEP encourages the development of programs and curricula which:
(1) Improves the quality and infrastructure of international education;
(2) Addresses issues of national capacity; and
(3) Defines innovative approaches to issues not addressed by NSEP scholarship and fellowship programs.
(b) The NSEP Grants Program is designed to address a number of important objectives critical to the United States:
(1) To equip Americans with an understanding of less commonly taught languages and cultures and enable them to become integrally involved in global issues.
(2) To build a critical base of future leaders in the marketplace and in government service who have cultivated international relationships and worked and studied along-side foreign experts.
(3) To develop a cadre of professionals with more than the traditional knowledge of language and culture who can use this ability to help the U.S. make sound decisions and deal effectively with global issues; and
(4) To enhance institutional capacity and increase the number of faculty who can educate U.S. citizens toward achieving these goals.
(c) Grants will be awarded for initial 1- or 2-year periods. Potential follow-on commitments will be based on a rigorous evaluation and assessment process. Between 15 and 25 awards are expected to be made in the first year ranging from approximately $25,000 to $250,000. These are only estimates and do not bind the NSEP to a specific number of grants or to the amount of the grant.
(d) The following key characteristics will be emphasized in the NSEP Institutional Grants Program:
(1) Programmatic in emphasis. The purpose of the grants is to address weaknesses and gaps in programs and curricula. The grants should be used to strengthen the national capacity in international education. While “operational” support for already existing centers and projects may be a component of a grant, NSEP emphasizes commitment of its limited resources to projects that establish and improve educational programs available to students and teachers.
(2) Demand and requirements oriented. Grants are designed to address national needs. These needs must be clearly articulated and defended in a grant proposal. It must be clear that the following questions are addressed:
(i) Who will benefit from the program funded by the grant?
(ii) What need does the program address?
(iii) How will this program augment the capacity of the Federal Government or of the field of education in areas consistent with the objectives of the NSEP? How does it fit the national requirement?
(3) Cooperation and collaboration among institutions is mandated in order to ensure that a wider cross-section of colleges and universities benefit from a program funded under NSEP. NSEP is committed to providing opportunities to the widest cross-section of the higher education population as is feasible. Cooperation can be in the form of formal consortia arrangements or less formal but equally effective agreements among institutions. Both vertical (among different types of institutions) and horizontal (among similar institutions across functional areas) integration are encouraged. Outreach to institutions that do not normally benefit from such programs is also strongly favored.
(4) Complementary to other Federal programs such as Title VI of the Higher Education Act. NSEP is designed to address gaps and shortfalls in Higher Education and to build and expand national capacity. NSEP recognizes that base capacity currently exists in some foreign languages and area studies. It also recognizes that funding shortfalls and other factors have contributed to tremendous gaps and weaknesses. Funding for expansion of the international education infrastructure remains limited. Duplication of effort is not affordable. NSEP encourages new initiatives as well as expansion of existing programs to increase supply in cases where the demand cannot be met and encourages efforts that increase demand.
(5) NSEP encourages proposals that address two categories of issues relating to the mission of NSEP:
(i) Programs in specific foreign languages, countries or areas; and/or
(ii) Programs addressing professional, disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary opportunities involving international education.
(6) NSEP views student funding as portable and hopes that universities will develop ways to move students to programs and to provide credit with these programs. NSEP believes that programs need to be developed that are available to a wider cross-section of students. Thus, they need to be “open” to students from other institutions. Programs might also be “transportable” from one institution to another.
(7) NSEP emphasizes leveraging of funds and cost-sharing in order to maximize the impact of NSEP funding. It encourages institutions to seek other sources of funding to leverage against NSEP funding and to commit institutional resources in support of the program as well. NSEP also emphasizes burden sharing between the institution and the Program. NSEP encourages institutions to demonstrate a commitment to international education and to present a plan for how funding for the proposed program will be achieved over a 3-5 year period so that NSEP can reduce its financial commitment to programs. The funds requested from NSEP should minimize costs allocated to unassigned institutional “overhead.” NSEP institutional grants are assumed to be for training programs. Consequently, university/college indirect costs associated with training programs should be used as a general benchmark for determining appropriate overhead rates.
(8) NSEP encourages creativity and is responsive to the needs of higher education to expand the capacity to provide more opportunities for quality international education. We do not suggest that the guidelines presented in the grant solicitation will cover all problems and issues. Quite to the contrary, we encourage careful consideration of issues confronting international education in the U.S. and thoughtful proposals that address these issues, consistent with the overall mission of the NSEP.