100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)* on Request for Proposals (RFPs)

 

Topics:

General Information

Innovation Network

Proposal Application

Eligibility

Proposed Partnerships

Program Duration

Program Design

Budget & Cost Considerations

Institutional Capacity

Sustainability Plan

Monitoring & Evaluation

Supporting Documents

Proposal Evaluation

 

*The following questions are those actually asked by applicants from past grant competitions.

 

General Information

·         Where can I find the full RFP?

·         How often do you open rounds of RFPs for the year?

·         Are the grants just for institutions or also for students?

 

Innovation Network

·         Are there any fees in the registration process?

·         Is there deadline for registering our institution in the Innovation Network?

·         How is the application tied to the registration to the Innovation Network?

·         Once our institution registers as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network, are we eligible to receive one of the grants being issued?

·         Our HEI registered in 2013. Do we have to register again?

·         Do we have to be part of Partners of the Americas in order to participate?

 

Proposal Application

·         Can our institution submit multiple proposals?

·         Is there a limit to the number of proposed PIs? Are there parameters on who can serve as a PI? 

 

Eligibility

Institutional Eligibility

·         Are bi-national centers (BNCs) eligible to apply?

·         Does a BNC need to have an established partnership with an in-country HEI in order to submit a proposal?

·         Would 501(c) 3 institutions that run research-based study abroad programs throughout the world and accredited through a university, but are not a subsidiary or branch of the university, be considered a "Higher Education Institution" under this grant opportunity?

·         Are certificate programs from the accredited universities eligible to apply?

·         Are non-profit research organizations that host students and researchers from HEIs eligible to apply?

·         Are organizational members of international education networks eligible to apply in collaboration with a local university?

·         Will being selected in one competition make the institution ineligible for future grants?

 

Country Eligibility

·         Which countries are eligible?  Can countries in other regions apply (e.g. Asia or Africa)?

·         Is there a list of "priority" countries, where the numbers are lowest, that you would like to see included in a proposal?

·         Is there any flexibility in the specified countries listed on the RFPs?

·         Would proposals between Latin American and Caribbean countries be considered eligible?

·         Would mobility proposals between U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico be considered eligible?

 

Proposed Partnerships

 

·         How many proposed partners can we have in a proposal?

·         Does the proposal need to specify the partner institution(s) at the time of application or may it wait to do so until the time a grant is awarded?

·         Is a firm commitment or agreement from the partner institution(s) with which we seek to create or build upon an existing partnership needed at the time we submit the application?

·         Can proposals be presented in association with organizations, municipal governments, or private sector companies dedicated to study abroad?

 

Program Duration

·         What is the duration of the project?

·         Are all activities in the proposed program (including planning, promotion & recruitment, student exchanges, and reporting), required to be fully implemented by the grant period indicated in the RFP?

·         Do the proposed study abroad programs have a minimum/maximum length required?

 

Program Design 

·         Are there any priority academic fields for the proposal?

·         Are programs that are already developed and operating considered or does the grant fund new programs only?

·         Can the grant be used for both undergraduate and graduate students?

·         Can the grant be used for faculty exchanges?

·         Do proposed program have to include bi-directional exchange or can travel be in one direction?

·         Is it a condition that a student from my institution goes abroad at the same time we receive a student?

·         Is there a preferred number or types of students who would engage in the program?

·         Does the program have to be for credit? 

·         Can a project be considered if it’s only community service?

·         Could this grant support an on-line collaboration of a joint course at our university and at our partner university that includes a component of short-term travel abroad by our students in the course to our partner institution and/or short-term travel here by students from our partner? 

·         Is a proposal in which the curriculum is 90% online mediated learning eligible?

·         Does the program have to be based at a university in the partner country(ies) using their courses, or can our university develop its own courses using the partner country(ies) as the field sites? 

·         Can bi-national center (BNC) apply to set up a program to offer internship/volunteering/short-term cultural exchange opportunities for U.S. students? 

 

Budget & Cost Considerations 

·         Does the budget have to take into consideration the total grant amount of USD $25,000?

·         Can the grant be used for multiple programs or solely focus on developing one single program?

·         Are there any restrictions related to who or where grant funds are expended?

·         Is there a limit to how much of the funding may be used for travel grants, scholarships, or partial-funding mechanisms? 

·         Should program costs be compiled into one lump sum or should it show how they break out?

·         What does "indirect rate" mean?

·         Can indirect costs be requested as part of the grant?

·         How much of the proposed funds can be expended on administrative aspects of the program?

·         Can funds be used to support faculty professional development to increase regional expertise or language fluency?

·         Does the budget have to include cost share?

·         Is it allowable to have all of the cost-sharing provided by the applicant organization, or does the partner institution also need to provide cost-sharing?

·         Can you explain a little more about this sentence, "HEIs that demonstrate cost-sharing that would not happen without the grant will be considered favorably", this means, it would be okay if we can compromise funding only in the case we receive the grant?

·         Can institutions use income paid by students to participate in the program as a cost sharing or matching resource?

·         Can we decide whether or not to allocate some of the grant money to expenses incurred with our partners or do the funds need to stay within our institution and be given directly to our own students or faculty?

·         How will the grant be awarded, to the institution whose responsible officer is designated as the head and ultimate representative of the proposal or will it be divided according to the budgeted activities?

·         What is the maximum amount that a single HEI can ask for?

·         After receiving notification, when are the grants disbursed?

 

Institutional Capacity

·         On the application form, it asks for the “Level of Support for Study Abroad of Administrative Units/Faculty” on a scale of 1-10. Does this refer to financial support, administrative support, moral support, or all types combined?

 

Sustainability Plan

·         The Sustainability Plan section states, “Applicants must describe how their proposed program will continue after the grant period has expired.” What needs to be the contents of this plan?

·         Would it be worth mentioning the ways in which the initiative may grow beyond the proposal and the funds received, as well as the institutions that may join later?

·         Is there a specific time period for the Sustainability Plan?

 

Monitoring & Evaluation

·         What are the metrics to be used to measure success of the program?

·         Should the requested timeline be of all activities of the project or a timeline of monitoring and evaluation?

·         Is it expected that applicants will use a third-party evaluator?

 

Supporting Documents

·         Are institutional letters indicating leveraged support required?

·         If we have a MOU/MOA with a foreign institution, may we submit that as proof of our partnership or do we need to attach a specific letter of agreement or support for the proposed project?  

·         Are proposals that identify (and provide CVs/résumés/biographies for) two co-principal investigators, rather than a single individual, accepted as long as one is clearly identified as responsible for reporting?

·         How will the supporting documents count toward proposal page limits?

·         Our university requires the approval of another body or council to pursue opportunities such as this. Do you need copies of the official approval or other legal documents?

 

Proposal Evaluation

·         Is there a scoring rubric used by evaluators that can be shared beyond what is listed in the Evaluation Criteria of the RFP?

·         Are there any particular innovations that 100,000 Strong in the Americas is looking for?

·         Will there be a shortlist of winners?

·         Will there be an interview process during evaluation?

·         May we see examples of winning proposals?

 

 

General Information

1.      Where can I find the full RFP?

All open RFP information is available via the "Apply for a Grant" button at http://www.100kstrongamericas.org/educate.

 

2.      How often do you open rounds of RFPs for the year?

We anticipate opening a grant competition on a quarterly basis, but the best manner in which to receive announcements about future rounds is to join the Innovation Network.  It is a free enrollment and you can do this via the “Join the Innovation Network” button at http://www.100kstrongamericas.org/educate.

 

3.      Are the grants just for institutions or also for students?

The Innovation Fund grants are only for higher education institutions. They are not individual student scholarships.  Students are encouraged to visit http://studyabroad.state.gov and www.educationusa.info for information about individual study abroad for both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.  If possible, we also recommend that you talk to the study abroad advisor at your school. 

 

 

Innovation Network

The process of registering for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network is a requirement prior to applying for/submitting a grant proposal in response to RFPs. Click here to join now.

 

4.      Are there any fees in the registration process?

There is no fee to register for the Innovation Network.

 

5.      Is there deadline for registering our institution in the Innovation Network?

There is no deadline to joining the Innovation Network; however, institutions applying in response to the RFPs should join prior to submitting an application. Institutions who elect not to apply or who are not eligible to apply in the current Competition may still register and create an account in the Innovation Network at any time in order to receive the latest information about active and upcoming rounds of innovation competition.

 

6.      How is the application tied to the registration to the Innovation Network?

Registering and creating an account in the Innovation Network helps to facilitate the application process for future grants. For example, when logged in, specific fields required in every 100K application will auto-populate with answers provided previously.  It can also help you and your institution track of your applications.  Most importantly, being a part of the Innovation Network will ensure that you will receive messages about upcoming grant competitions, opportunities, and events.

 

7.      Once our institution registers as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network, are we eligible to receive one of the grants being issued?

Joining the Innovation Network is not a guarantee of winning a grant.

 

8.      Our HEI registered in 2013. Do we have to register again?

No. It is only necessary for your institution to register for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network once, although multiple individuals or divisions of an HEI may register separately if they so desire.

 

9.      Do we have to be part of Partners of the Americas in order to participate?

No. The only prerequisite to applying for a grant is to join the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network, which is managed by Partners of the Americas.

 

 

Proposal Application

10. Can our institution submit multiple proposals?

a.       How many proposals can our institution submit?

b.      Should proposals be submitted by the university, that is one proposal per institution, or could the proposal be sent by the Schools?

c.       Can we partner with a prime applying university and submit one of our own as the prime applying institution?

d.      Can we be the main point of contact for more than one proposal even though we are not the prime applicant?

There is a limit of one submission per competition per applying individual.  Applications may be sent by schools, faculties, or departments within universities and must indicate the school in the proposal cover page as the applying entity.  Due to limited available funding, however, it is unlikely that multiple awards will be given to the same HEI under a single RFP even if submitted from different schools.  An institution overall can be involved in proposed activities for multiple proposals within the same RFP as a partner, but schools, faculties, or departments within a single institution can only be the prime applicant for one proposal.

 

11. Is there a limit to the number of proposed PIs? Are there parameters on who can serve as a PI? 

Proposals may have multiple key personnel involved; however, in describing their management approach, applicants must name the one person who will be ultimately responsible for implementation and reporting.

 

 

Eligibility

 

Institutional Eligibility

12. Are bi-national centers (BNCs) eligible to apply?

Bi-national Centers (BNCs) are eligible to apply if partnered with an in-country HEI as the prime applicant and as the institution whose capacity is to administer study abroad programs to the United States.

 

13. Does a BNC need to have an established partnership with an in-country HEI in order to submit a proposal? 

If a BNC is competing as prime, it must compete in partnership with at least one other in-country HEI (in addition to a partner HEI(s) in the partner country(ies).  These partner institutions should be identified in the proposal. It is not necessary for a formal agreement (i.e. MOU) to have been signed before submitting the proposal, but if the proposal describes an agreed-upon partnership or desire to form one, the submission should be strengthened or letter(s) of support or any documentation indicating that such a partnership is in the development process.

 

14. Would 501(c) 3 institutions that run research-based study abroad programs throughout the world and accredited through a university, but are not a subsidiary or branch of the university, be considered a "Higher Education Institution" under this grant opportunity?

Institutions that facilitate study abroad opportunities as described in the RFP and that present convincing evidence of partnership with HEIs in both the sending and receiving countries may apply either as prime applicant or in partnership with an HEI that applies as a prime applicant.

 

15. Are certificate programs from the accredited universities eligible to apply?

A diversity of programs may be proposed as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the RFP, which includes the requirement that the participating students receive some level of credit from their home institution.  For example, an experience that provides only 2 or 3 credit hours would be eligible. As long as the HEI is legally registered within an eligible country, it can apply for the grant, no matter the length of the program under which the institution is applying.

 

16. Are non-profit research organizations that host students and researchers from HEIs eligible to apply?

Organizations that host university students and/or researchers can apply for a grant as part of a program if in collaboration with in-country HEI as the prime applicant.

 

17. Are organizational members of international education networks eligible to apply in collaboration with a local university?

If your organization is considered an HEI, you are eligible to apply as long as you convincingly demonstrate partnerships with HEIs in your country of operation as part of the proposed activities and demonstrate how the proposed activities will increase exchange opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level students.  If you are not an HEI, you must work with an HEI in your country that will apply as the prime.

 

18. Will being selected in one competition make the institution ineligible for future grants?

No. Institutions that have received an Innovation Fund grant may re-apply for future grants.

 

Country Eligibility

19. Which countries are eligible?  Can countries in other regions apply (e.g. Asia or Africa)?

RFPs are open to all higher education institutions in the Western Hemisphere (i.e. Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America only). Note that some RFPs may have geographic (country) restrictions.

 

20. Is there a list of "priority" countries, where the numbers are lowest, that you would like to see included in a proposal?

There are no priority countries; however, some RFPs will have geographic (country) restrictions.  In rounds that are open to all HEIs in the Western Hemisphere, we encourage diversity in country partnerships. For information on relative numbers of students studying in and from specific countries, please consult http://www.iie.org/research-and-publications/open-doors.

 

21. Is there any flexibility in the specified countries listed on the RFPs?

Because of restrictions on the sources of funding for the RFPs, there is no flexibility beyond the eligible countries listed within each RFP. However, 100,000 Strong in the Americas is a hemisphere-wide initiative and we anticipate inclusion of most countries in the region through the various rounds of competition to come in the future.

 

22. Would proposals between Latin American and Caribbean countries be considered eligible?

South-south exchanges between or within non-US countries are not eligible for support. Proposals from non-U.S. based HEIs must include a U.S. HEI as a partner institution.

 

23. Would mobility proposals between U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico be considered eligible?

Puerto Rico is considered to be part of the U.S.; therefore, proposals must highlight an exchange between the U.S. or Puerto Rico and one of the eligible non-U.S. countries in the Western Hemisphere.

 

 

Proposed Partnerships

 

24. How many proposed partners can we have in a proposal?

a.       Must the proposal only include one partnership between two HEIs?

b.      Do you encourage collaborative, multi-institutional proposals or is the preference for single institution submission with only mention of collaborators and collaborative activities? 

c.       Would you look favorably on a proposal that was developed and submitted by two or more HEIs in two different target countries?   By two or more HEIs within one of the target countries rather than a single HEI?

d.      Can domestic HEIs apply jointly? 

Collaboration is encouraged if it meets program objectives. The prime applicant must be a single higher education institution and propose to work with at least one other HEI in the partner country(ies). Proposals may involve multiple institutions in the same country, but one institution must be designated the prime applicant responsible and accountable for implementing the proposed program.

 

25. Does the proposal need to specify the partner institution(s) at the time of application or may it wait to do so until the time a grant is awarded?

Submitted proposals must identify the HEI(s) with whom to partner for the proposed study abroad program.

 

26. Is a firm commitment or agreement from the partner institution(s) with which we seek to create or build upon an existing partnership needed at the time we submit the application?

It is not necessary for a formal agreement (i.e. MOU) to have been signed before submitting the proposal, but if the proposal describes an agreed-upon partnership or desire to form one, the submission should be strengthened by letter(s) of support indicating that such a partnership is in development.

 

27. Can proposals be presented in association with organizations, municipal governments, or private sector companies dedicated to study abroad?

Proposals must identify higher education institution(s) with whom to partner for the proposed study abroad program. Proposals may include partnerships with institutions that facilitate study abroad opportunities as described in the RFP, but remember that the prime applicant must be a single higher education institution (HEI) and should propose to work with at least one other HEI in the partner country(ies). This is in addition to civil society, associations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private sector partners.

 

 

Program Duration

 

28. What is the duration of the project?

Though the Innovation Fund Grant funds projects for one year, proposed programs may continue beyond the timeframe of the grant. The grant aims to serve as a catalyst towards a more sustainable study abroad program that would promote student mobility in the Western Hemisphere. We understand that programs require time to establish lasting links between the partner institutions that can flourish after the termination of the formal program and multiple years of implementation.

 

29. Are all activities in the proposed program (including planning, promotion & recruitment, student exchanges, and reporting), required to be fully implemented by the grant period indicated in the RFP?

a.       Can this time period be used for planning and the beginning stages of implementation as well?

b.      Do the outbound and inbound exchanges both have to take place by the end of the grant period?

c.       Does the actual student program need to commence immediately after award of funds? 

d.      Is there any flexibility in the performance dates?

e.      Most of the grant funds will be used to support activities needed to build on existing partnerships, develop the program, and recruit students. These activities would be complete by the end of the grant period, but on-site program activities will take place after the dates. Is there any flexibility?

f.        Do all of the grant funds need to be used within the one-year timeframe?

g.       Can some of the funds be allocated to future study abroad scholarships after the period of the grant is over?

Grant funds for winning proposals must be used and program activities, including exchanges, must take place within the agreed timeframe. With prior approval, however, use of the funds and/or implementation of the project may extend beyond the grant period. It is important to note that some RFPs may have strict conditions of funding and timing, and therefore, no flexibility will be shown in these cases. Applicant proposals must include a timeline of activities according to the timeframe of the grant, but may also add activities beyond the dates to demonstrate sustainability of the project.

 

30. Do the proposed study abroad programs have a minimum/maximum length required?

a.       Are the projects only for a semester-year duration or can they be partial?

b.      Are short-programs eligible?

c.       Can the program be, for example, a one-week embedded experience in a course?

There is not a specific program length requirement for the student exchange portion. As long as the experience results in some level of credit from the home institution and the proposed project meets the other criteria outlined in the RFP, the proposal will be considered.

 

 

Program Design 

 

31. Are there any priority academic fields for the proposal?

All academic fields are eligible, unless otherwise noted on the RFP.

 

32. Are programs that are already developed and operating considered or does the grant fund new programs only?

Current and new programs are both eligible, as long as the proposal responds to the criteria in the RFP.

 

33. Can the grant be used for both undergraduate and graduate students?

The proposal is open to building capacity to support undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate exchanges. Priority is not given to one group of students over the other and is open to all both traditional and non-traditional students.

 

34. Can the grant be used for faculty exchanges?

Teacher exchanges alone do not qualify. Proposals must focus on student mobility, though some support can be used for faculty.

 

35. Do proposed program have to include bi-directional exchange or can travel be in one direction?

100,000 Strong in the Americas encourages two-way exchange of students, and the RFPs are designed to promote bi-directional study abroad. However, proposed programs do not have to be bi-directional. It is not a requirement that proposed programs involve reciprocal, balanced exchanges.

 

36. Is it a condition that a student from my institution goes abroad at the same time we receive a student?

No.

 

37. Is there a preferred number or types of students who would engage in the program?

There is no restriction, preference, or pre-determined number on where resources should be focused, which direction is priority, which groups to target, or how many should travel. Proposals will be judged by an objective panel on the basis of the criteria outlined in the RFP. However, proposals that address diversity in the profiles of students will be looked upon favorably.

 

38. Does the program have to be for credit?

 As specified, the program must involve some level of credit given to the student from his/her home institution.

 

39. Can a project be considered if it’s only community service?

A diversity of programs may be proposed as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the RFP, which includes the requirement that the participating students receive some level of credit from their home institution.  For example, an experience that provides only 2 or 3 credit hours would be eligible.

 

40. Could this grant support an on-line collaboration of a joint course at our university and at our partner university that includes a component of short-term travel abroad by our students in the course to our partner institution and/or short-term travel here by students from our partner?

100,000 Strong in the Americas ultimately strives to reach a level of 100,000 students studying abroad in each direction with a face-to-face component of the study experience. Integrated proposals that involve on-line collaboration can be proposed, as long as the proposed program includes an in-person international experience that results in some level of credit from the home institution.

 

41. Is a proposal in which the curriculum is 90% online mediated learning eligible?

For the purposes of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, only study abroad that involves physical mobility of students is counted toward the goals. However, proposals that include programs of academic study with both a significant online component and cross-border study abroad component would be eligible.

 

42. Does the program have to be based at a university in the partner country(ies) using their courses, or can our university develop its own courses using the partner country(ies) as the field sites?

The program should involve institutional partnerships between the U.S. and a non-U.S country.  An institution-led program that develops programs in the partner country(ies) without at least one partner institution in that country would be viewed less favorably.

 

43. Can bi-national center (BNC) apply to set up a program to offer internship/volunteering/short-term cultural exchange opportunities for U.S. students?

Yes; such activities could be part of a proposed program, as long as the applicant BNC meets all other program requirements, including but not limited to partnership with at least one in-country HEI and identification of at least one U.S. partner HEI. Additionally, the program design should result in some level of academic credit for participating students from their home institution.

 

 

 

 

Budget & Cost Considerations

 

44. Does the budget have to take into consideration the total grant amount of USD $25,000?

Proposals should propose and justify a budget for up to USD $25,000, in addition to the cost-share amount.

 

45. Can the grant be used for multiple programs or solely focus on developing one single program?

There is no requirement that the funding be dedicated t only one program.

 

46. Are there any restrictions related to who or where grant funds are expended?

·        Faculty travel, including site visits to potential partner institution to establish or to build upon an existing partnership?

·        Conference participation to relay sharing of information and findings from grant activities?

·        Student travel, including housing, visa costs, and on-the-ground expenses?

·        Student scholarships, research grants, etc.?

·        Research expenses, including supplies, transportation, and other field expenses?

·        Outreach/promotion or marketing materials?

·        Equipment expenses?

·        Creation or purchase of software that would assist in data collection on incoming international and outgoing national students (such as a database system),  and/or to assist in assessing outcomes (M&E)?

·        Defer student program fees or other student costs to a third-party non-profit partner?

·        Subsidize non-student costs paid to a partner?

Please refer to the RFP for any restrictions in the use of grant funds.  In general, the budget should be reasonable, well justified, and in accordance with activities that can be convincingly demonstrated to be related to the objectives of the proposed program. Diverse activities may be proposed as long as they are clearly described and reasonably budgeted as part of the proposed program to build the capacity of the partnering institutions, and encourage and promote mobility in either or both directions. While the Innovation Fund does not provide direct scholarships, applicant HEIs are encouraged to use portions of the grant to administer their own scholarships, travel grants, or partial funding mechanisms to students to encourage study abroad between the eligible countries.

 

47. Is there a limit to how much of the funding may be used for travel grants, scholarships, or partial-funding mechanisms? 

There is no limit on the percentage of funding that should be allocated for certain activities or line items, but the budgetary description should provide justification and address sustainability of the proposal.

 

48. Should program costs be compiled into one lump sum or should it show how they break out (ex. student costs are broken down into tuition, housing, books, etc.)?

RFPs clearly state that the budget must provide a detailed breakdown of program costs and adhere to the format stipulated. It is recommended that you use the Budget Summary Template, adding activities as needed.

 

49. What does "indirect rate" mean?  What is considered an indirect cost to the proposal?

The indirect rate is typically that which an institution charges for costs associated with facilities (operation and maintenance) and administration (departmental and central), and that cannot be readily and specifically attributed to a given activity in the proposed program.

 

50. Can indirect costs be requested as part of the grant?

a.       Are there any limits on the indirect rate?

b.      Can we use our standard rate?

RFPs do not prescribe a specific indirect rate and grant funds may be used toward indirect costs, however, given the size of the awards, institutions may consider proposing significant counterpart funding to compensate for the lower amount of available direct program funds for the proposed project. Generally, cost-effectiveness is considered during the review process.

 

51. How much of the proposed funds can be expended on administrative aspects of the program (e.g., salary for a program coordinator, or travel to arrange partnerships)?

a.       Is there a limit (e.g. 10% of total funds) that may be spent on things besides the students themselves?

b.      Can we use the grant to hire/pay our professors?

The RFPs do not prescribe a specific administrative rate, but cost-effectiveness will be considered during the review process. Given the size of the awards, organizations with high overhead rates may consider proposing significant counterpart funding to compensate for the lower amount of available direct program funds for the proposed project.

 

52. Can funds be used to support faculty professional development to increase regional expertise or language fluency?

a.       Can funds be used to hire a faculty member to teach a foreign language or English as a Second Language?

b.      Can funds be used to bring instructors from a partner institution to prepare them to teach in English to HEI students studying abroad at the instructors’ institutions? 

Proposals should focus on creating sustainable study abroad programs within HEIs. The budget should be reasonable, well justified, and in accordance with activities that can be convincingly demonstrated to be related to the objectives of the proposed program.

 

53. Does the budget have to include cost share?

a.       Is it possible to include non-monetary share or contribution (as classrooms, lectures, among others)?

b.      Can you explain to me the average of 1.5 to 1?

Budget must include cost-share, which may include cash or in-kind contributions.  Non-monetary share or contribution may be included. Typically in past proposals, costs associated with laboratory usage have been included where applicable, but not classrooms.  There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for the cost-share; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to provide cost sharing and additional funding on at least a 1:1 ratio in support of its proposed activities. HEIs that demonstrate cost sharing that would not happen without this grant money will be considered favorably, as an incentive to bring additional local resources to bear on increasing study abroad in the region.  In previous competitions, cost sharing by winning proposals averaged more than 1.5 to 1, which means that for each $1 dollar of the grant fund, institutions (and their partners) contribute $1.5 dollars.  

 

54.  Is it allowable to have all of the cost-sharing provided by the applicant organization, or does the host institution also need to provide cost-sharing?

Either will be acceptable.

 

55. Can you explain a little more about this sentence, "HEIs that demonstrate cost-sharing that would not happen without the grant will be considered favorably", this means, it would be okay if we can compromise funding only in the case we receive the grant?

Yes, it may be conditional.

 

56. Can institutions use income paid by students to participate in the program as a cost sharing or matching resource?

Yes, fees/tuition paid by students to participate in the proposed program can be presented as cost-share. Other examples of cost-share items include: student lodging, airfare, local transportation, meal plans, language workshops, books & materials, etc.

 

57.  Can we decide whether or not to allocate some of the grant money to expenses incurred with our partners or do the funds need to stay within our institution and be given directly to our own students or faculty?

The funding authorized should be predominantly coordinated and spent by the applicant HEI. The decision to allocate funds to partnering institutions is up to the prime applicant; however, it is important to keep in mind that the prime applicant will be responsible for submitting periodic financial reports to the Innovation Fund.

 

58.  How will the grant be awarded, to the institution whose responsible officer is designated as the head and ultimate representative of the proposal or will it be divided according to the budgeted activities?

All applications should be submitted by one primary institution. Applicant institutions that propose programs involving multiple institutions should describe the activities, roles, and budget related to those institutions. The grant will be awarded to the prime applicant institution, who is responsible for the execution and reporting on the project, including management of the budget and overall partnership.

 

59. What is the maximum amount that a single HEI can ask for?

a.       Is it possible for a single institution to apply to the eight USD $25,000 grants—that is total USD $200,000?

b.       Are funds limited to one grant of USD$ 25,000 per institution? 

c.       If a HEI in Latin America and a HEI in the U.S. put a proposal together, can we ask for more than one USD 25,000 grant?

d.      Is the $25,000 grant for each HEI or for both HEIs partners?

Each applicant may only submit once per competition.  The maximum award to a winning institution/ partnership is $25,000, unless specified by the RFP.

 

60. After receiving notification, when are the grants disbursed?

Grant funds are disbursed to winning institutions within the start of the grant period.

 

 

Institutional Capacity

 

61. On the application form, it asks for the “Level of Support for Study Abroad of Administrative Units/Faculty” on a scale of 1-10. Does this refer to financial support, administrative support, moral support, or all types combined?

This refers to the applicant’s perception of institutional support for study abroad. The diagnostic questions presented in the Online Application Form are designed to collect general non-attributable information about applying institutions with regard to study abroad to and from the U.S.

 

 

Sustainability Plan

 

62. The Sustainability Plan section states, “Applicants must describe how their proposed program will continue after the grant period has expired.” What needs to be the contents of this plan?

Each institution’s Sustainability Plan will be unique. This section of the proposal should demonstrate how each HEI plans to continue to collaborate and exchange students, faculty, curriculum, etc. after the grant ends.

 

63. Our proposed initiative may have the ability to involve other partners in the future.  Would it be worth mentioning the ways in which the initiative may grow beyond the proposal and the funds received, as well as the institutions that may join later?  Would it have a positive impact when the proposal is assessed?

Yes, proposals with strong sustainability plans are viewed favorably, and it is encouraged that applicants mention ways in which their proposed program will grow beyond the grant period and funding received.

 

64. Is there a specific time period for the Sustainability Plan?

There is no set period for the sustainability plan, but longevity will be looked upon favorably.

 

 

Monitoring & Evaluation

 

65. What are the metrics to be used to measure success of the program?

a.       Is it number of students studying abroad?

b.      Are there any other metrics?

The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) section of the RFP describes the basic requirements for measurement metrics. The applying HEI should propose reasonable and relevant metrics for the activities proposed, recognizing the overall objectives outlined in the RFP, the proposed objectives of the applying institution’s project, and the overall goals of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative to increase study abroad between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

66. Should the requested timeline be of all activities of the project or a timeline of monitoring and evaluation?

a.       If we receive the grant, must a schedule of activities be presented regarding the program funded (work schedule)?

Proposals must include a timeline of activities for program implementation (i.e. all activities), as presented in the Program Description section of the proposal. This will serve as the basis for the Innovation Fund staff to monitor grant recipient projects. A detailed schedule may be requested throughout program implementation.

 

67. Is it expected that applicants will use a third-party evaluator?

It is neither expected nor discouraged.

 

 

Supporting Documents

 

68. Are institutional letters indicating leveraged support required?

a.       From the U.S. HEI?

b.      From partnering HEI(s)?

c.       Or partner organization(s), companies, etc.?   

d.      May it be a letter of support or does it need to be a letter of agreement?

Proposals must also include at least one letter of support; either from the applying institution, its international studies office, the partner institution(s) and/or others joining or supporting the applicant on the proposed program. No formal agreement is required between partnering institutions, but the intent to collaborate must be demonstrated. Please consult the RFP for a description of the supporting documents.

 

69. If we have a MOU/MOA with a foreign institution, may we submit that as proof of our partnership or do we need to attach a specific letter of agreement or support for the proposed project?  

You may submit either a MoU or letter of support.

 

70. Are proposals that identify (and provide CVs/résumés/biographies for) two co-principal investigators, rather than a single individual, accepted as long as one is clearly identified as responsible for reporting?

a.        Can we upload the CVs/résumés/bios of both PI and Co-PI?

b.       Should these résumés be a certain format?

You may identify more than one PI for the proposed program. You may upload as many résumés in any format, but they should adhere to the page limits described in the RFP for annexes.

 

71. How will the supporting documents count toward proposal page limits?

Aside from the proposal, which has a 10-page maximum, you may upload up to 10 pages of additional supporting documents that count separately towards the Annex.

 

72. Our university requires the approval of another body or council to pursue opportunities such as this. Do you need copies of the official approval or other legal documents?

No, we do not require any legal/official documents or proof of internal approvals.  A letter of support is sufficient and should already reflect the level of support from the institution.

 

 

Proposal Evaluation

 

73. Is there a scoring rubric used by evaluators that can be shared beyond what is listed in the Evaluation Criteria of the RFP?

The scoring rubric mirrors the evaluation criteria presented in the RFP.

 

74. Are there any particular innovations that 100,000 Strong in the Americas is looking for?

a.       Could you provide the areas of interest that your organization is most interested in funding?

There are no specific innovations that are of priority or of most interest. Please refer to relevant RFP for the eligible areas of the competition.

 

75. Will there be a shortlist of winners?

a.       If so, will you be asking for a revised final proposal and/or budget?

Proposals undergo several rounds of review that span weeks to months until a group of finalists emerges, during which finalists may be asked to clarify aspects of their proposals, similar to a best-and-final-offer phase.

 

76. Will there be an interview process during evaluation?

No, there will be no interview as part of the evaluation process.

 

77. May we see examples of winning proposals?

No, we do not and will not share winning proposals.  However, we do offer to provide feedback to those whose proposals are not selected.

 

Last updatedS:  May 16, 2016.