In a final rule, the Education Department changes funding priorities for the Indian Education Discretionary Grant Program to help tribes improve K-12 classroom instruction and get more tribal students on a sustainable career or college path.
Although the regulations, published in the Federal Register, become effective May 22, they will govern the grant application process for new awards for each program for the next fiscal year, starting Oct. 1. All competitions conducted for that program in subsequent years will have to comply.
For the Professional Development program, the proposed rules are designed to encourage applicants to better tailor their programs to meet the needs of the Indian students participating in the program. The proposed regulations also encourage Professional Development program applicants to have stronger plans for placing participants in qualifying employment upon completion of the program and in supporting participants in their first year on the job.
It also revises the competitive preference priorities for tribes, Indian organizations, and Indian institutions of higher education (IHE); amends pre-service priorities to include project-specific goals; and requires applicants to submit a letter of support from an entity in the applicant’s service area agreeing to consider program graduates for qualifying employment.
The rules also clarify that ED may reduce continuation awards based on a grantee’s failure to meet project goals; removes the set number of competitive preference priority points; and adds five new priorities, including one for native youth community projects.
For the Demonstration Grants program, the changes provide more flexibility to tribal communities in designing coordinated projects to help students become college- and career-ready.
During the public comment period, one commenter criticized a proposed requirement that the Indian entity leading a consortium must be the fiscal agent in order to receive priority points. Upon a ED internal review, officials recognized that it is possible to have a fiscal agent that is not the lead applicant. Accordingly, ED revised the requirement that an Indian entity be the “fiscal agent,” to instead require that the Indian entity be the lead applicant, which is the entity that receives the grant.
The ED is conducting an open discretionary competition: Indian Education Grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) (CFDA Number: 84.060);
Funding: $100 million for 1,300 awards (no match required)
Deadline: May 15.
These grants support LEAs and other eligible entities in their efforts to reform and improve elementary and secondary school programs that serve Indian students. The department funds comprehensive programs that address the language and cultural needs of Indian students, including professional development for teachers of Indian students, and that are designed to help Indian students meet state student academic achievement standard.