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Higher Education Challenge Grants

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This federal aid program is managed by:

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Agriculture

Objectives:

To increase institutional capacities to respond to State, regional, national, or international educational needs by strengthening college and university teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences.

Funding obligations:

(Project Grants) FY 09 $5,407,624; FY 10 est $5,407,624; FY 11 est $7,827,840 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

Uses and Use Restrictions:

Funds may be used only in targeted areas, e.g., curricula design and materials development, faculty preparation and enhancement for teaching, instruction delivery systems, scientific instrumentation for teaching, student experiential learning, and student recruitment and retention, as cited in the annual program announcement in the Federal Register. student tuition remission, room and board, fees or other financial assistance (scholarships, fellowships, etc.). Also, funds may not be used for the renovation or refurbishment of research, education, or extension space; the purchase or installation of fixed equipment in such space; or to plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire, or construct buildings or facilities (i.e., greenhouses, laboratories, or other structures). Promotional items (e.g., T-shirts and other give-a-ways) and food functions (e.g., cookouts or other social meal gatherings) are considered ‘entertainment’ expenses, and are also not allowed under this grants program. Federal Cost Principles governing this grant program state that items not eligible for Federal funding may also not be used as an applicant’s contribution toward meeting matching requirements. Section 7132 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, amended the National Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), limiting indirect costs to 22 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each award. Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution’s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 22 percent of total Federal funds awarded. **Special Note on Indirect Costs as in-kind matching contributions. Indirect costs may be claimed under the Federal portion of the award budget or, alternatively, indirect costs may be claimed as a matching contribution (if no indirect costs are requested under the Federal portion of the award budget). However, unless explicitly authorized in the RFA, indirect costs may not be claimed on both the Federal portion of the award budget and as a matching contribution, unless the total claimed on both the Federal portion of the award budget and as a matching contribution does not exceed the maximum allowed indirect costs or the institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate, whichever is less. An awardee may split the allocation between the Federal and non-Federal portions of the budget only if the total amount of indirect costs charged to the project does not exceed the maximum allowed indirect costs or the institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate, whichever is less. For example, if an awardees' indirect costs are capped at 22 percent pursuant to section 1462(a) of NARETPA (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), the awardee may request 11 percent of the indirect costs on both the Federal portion of the award and as a matching contribution. Or, the awardee may request any similar percentage that, when combined, does not exceed the maximum indirect cost rate of 22 percent. Fully discretionary.

Examples of Funded Projects:

Fiscal Year 2010: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2011: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2012: No Current Data Available

Program Accomplishments:

Fiscal Year 2010: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2011: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2012: No Current Data Available

Types of Assistance:

PROJECT GRANTS

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:

If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:

Grants are awarded for a one (1) to three (3) year period and may receive no-cost extensions as appropriate up to a maximum of five (5) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Applicant Eligibility:

All U.S. public and private nonprofit colleges and universities offering a baccalaureate or first professional degree in at least one discipline or area of the food and agricultural sciences.

Beneficiary Eligibility:

All U.S. colleges and universities having a demonstrable capacity to teach the food and agricultural sciences.

Award Procedure:

Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.

Contact Info for Headquarters Office:

USDA, NIFA, Science and Education Resources Development, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2251, Washington , District of Columbia 20024 Phone: (202) 401-2855 or 720-1973 Fax: (202) 720-2030.

Website Address:

http://www.nifa.usda.gov/

Related Programs:

 

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