7 CFR 1740.8 - Scoring criteria for the grant competition.
(a) After an application is found to be eligible, it will be scored in three categories: the rurality of the applicant's core coverage area, the average National School Lunch Program eligibility ratio in the applicant's core coverage area, and the critical need for the project.
(i) Scoring in this program is based on a simplified representation of the project's digital coverage area. To find a transmitter's simplified coverage area, go to the FCC TV Query Web site () and access the station Service Contour Map. This map shows coverage at the appropriate field strength in dBμ The core coverage area is the set of counties that are either entirely within the appropriate coverage contour, or are at least seventy-five percent (75%) within the contour. For contours where counties are very large with respect to coverage, as might be the case for some western states and for most translators, there may be only one county within the coverage contour. In such cases, this county is the station's core coverage area. Every transmitter and translator must have a core coverage area consisting of one or more counties.
(ii) In the case of translators, where a coverage contour area does not exist, the applicant shall define a coverage contour area and explain how coverage was estimated. This estimated coverage contour area is subject to acceptance by RUS.
(2) When an application covers more than one transmitter or translator, the core coverage area of the application is the sum of the core coverage areas of all transmitters and translators included in the application.
(c) Rurality is a measure of the degree to which a project benefits rural areas. Up to fifty (50) points are available in this category. Urban areas bisected by the computed contour line are disregarded, since they represent fringe viewers. The Rurality score is computed as follows:
(1) The rural population of a core coverage area must be calculated. The rural population of a county is calculated by subtracting the county's urban population(s) from the total county population. If the core coverage area consists of multiple counties, the rural population is the sum of all included counties' rural populations.
(2) The Rurality score is computed by multiplying the rural population for the core coverage area by one hundred (100), and subtracting fifty (50) from it. If this calculation results in a negative number, the Rurality score is zero. The formula is:
(d) Economic Need will be measured by the ability of the public in an area to support Public Television financially. Up to 25 points are available in this category.
(1) The score for Economic Need is computed from the average of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) eligibility percentages for all school districts within the core coverage area. NSLP eligibility percentage information may be obtained from the state or local agency that administers the program, and the application must include a certification from this organization that the percentages provided are correct. Please note that the score for Economic Need is computed from the eligibility percentage, not the participation percentage. The score is computed by multiplying the average eligibility percentage by 100 (to convert percentage to a whole number), subtracting 25, dividing the quotient by two, and limiting the result to 25 points. A negative result yields a score of zero.
(e) Critical Need will be measured by the urgency and importance of the project to the rural community the applicant serves. Up to 25 points are available in this category. Critical Need evaluates factors not captured in the Rurality and Economic Need scoring categories, such as:
(2) A severe lack of specialized human resources (such as teachers) for which digital educational television will compensate;
(3) Geographic isolation of communities which will be overcome with public television station services;
(4) Non-traditional community needs (such as adult vocational retraining) that may be met only with digital public television station broadcast capabilities;
(5) Historical events that have placed the public television station in severe financial stress; and
(6) The degree to which the project purposes will specifically benefit the rural public.