Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels, 1388-1394 [2016-00405]

Download as PDF 1388 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Risk Management Agency Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax (202) 395–5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250–7602. Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full affect if received within February 11, 2016. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720–8681. An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Risk Management Agency 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–00445 Filed 1–11–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–08–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Title: General Administrative Regulations; Interpretations of Statutory and Regulatory Provisions. OMB Control Number: 0563–0055. Summary of Collection: Section 533 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (1998 Research Act) requires the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to publish regulation on how FCIC will provide a final agency determination in response VerDate Sep<11>2014 to certain inquiries. Consistent with section 506(r) of the Act and 7 CFR part 400, subpart X in accordance with the Federal Crop Insurance Act, as amended, FCIC revised section 20 of the Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions, published at 7 CFR 457.8, to require the FCIC to provide interpretations of policy provisions and procedures (handbooks, manuals, memoranda, and bulletins) when any dispute in mediation, arbitration, or litigation requires interpretation of a policy provision or procedure. Need and Use of the Information: FCIC will use the requester’s name and address to provide a response. Federal crop insurance is a national program with all producers receiving the same policy for the same crop and insurance providers are required to use procedures issued by FCIC in the service and adjustment of such policies to ensure that all producers are treated alike and none receive special benefits or treatment because of the crop they produce, the insurance provider that insures them, or who hears their disputes. FCIC issued Manager’s Bulletin MGR–05–018 on October 7, 2005, to provide the criteria for requesting an interpretation of procedure to inquire about the meaning or applicability of procedure. The requirements for this collection are necessary for FCIC to provide an interpretation of statutory and regulatory provisions upon request. If the requested information is not collected with each submission, FCIC would not be able to comply with the statutory mandates. Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit; Farms. Number of Respondents: 32. Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion. Total Burden Hours: 256. Jkt 238001 Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA). AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), herein referred to as RUS or the Agency, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 announces its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. This notice is being issued in order to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS will publish on its Web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/ newsroom/notices-solicitationapplications-nosas the amount of funding received in the final appropriations act. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for DLT grants applicable for the fiscal year. The DLT Grant Program regulation can be found at 7 part CFR 1703 (Subparts D through E). DATES: Submit completed paper or electronic applications for grants according to the following deadlines: • Paper submissions: Paper submissions must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. • Electronic submissions: Electronic submissions must be received no later than March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. • If the submission deadline falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday, the application is due the next business day. ADDRESSES: Copies of the FY 2016 Application Guide and materials for the DLT Grant Program may be obtained through: (1) The DLT Web site at http:// www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/ distance-learning-telemedicine-grants, or (2) The RUS Office of Loan Origination and Approval at (202) 720– 0800. Completed applications may be submitted the following ways: (1) Paper: Mail paper applications to the Rural Utilities Service, Telecommunications Program, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2808, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250– 1597. Mark address with, ‘‘Attention: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, Rural Utilities Service.’’ (2) Electronic: Submit electronic applications through Grants.gov. Information on electronic submission is available on the Grants.gov Web site (http://www.grants.gov) at any time, regardless of registration status. E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices However, applicants must pre-register with Grants.gov to use the electronic applications option. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, telephone: (202) 720–0800, fax: 1 (844) 885–8179. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Overview Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Funding Opportunity Title: Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants. Announcement Type: Initial announcement. Funding Opportunity Number: RUS– 16–01–DLT. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.855. Dates: Submit completed paper or electronic applications for grants according to the deadlines indicated in Section D(5). A. Program Description DLT grants are designed to provide access to education, training, and health care resources for rural Americans. The DLT Program is authorized by 7 U.S.C. 950aaa and provides financial assistance to encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies that students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents can use. The regulation for the DLT Program can be found at 7 CFR part 1703 (Subparts D through E). The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be used to fund telecommunicationsenabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas. Grants are intended to benefit end-users in rural areas, who are often not in the same location as the source of the educational or health care service. As in years past, the FY 2016 DLT Grant Application Guide has been updated based on program experience. All applicants should carefully review and prepare their applications according to instructions in the FY 2016 Application Guide and sample materials. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant’s own risk. B. Federal Award Information Under 7 CFR 1703.124, the Administrator established a minimum VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 grant amount of $50,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for FY 2016. Award documents specify the term of each award, and the standard grant agreement is available at http:// www.rd.usda.gov/files/UTP_ 2015DLTDraftGrantAgreement.pdf. The Agency will make awards and successful applicants will be required to execute documents appropriate to the project before funding will be advanced. Prior DLT grants cannot be renewed; however, existing DLT awardees can submit applications for new projects which will be evaluated as new applications. Grant applications must be submitted during the application window. C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants (See 7 CFR 1703.103) a. Only entities legally organized as one of the following are eligible for DLT Grant Program financial assistance: i. An incorporated organization or a partnership; ii. An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b; iii. A state or local unit of government; iv. A consortium, as defined in 7 CFR 1703.102; or v. Other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on a forprofit or not-for-profit basis. b. Electric and telecommunications borrowers under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.) are not eligible for DLT grants. c. Corporations that have been convicted of a Federal felony within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any corporation that has been assessed to have any unpaid federal tax liability, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed and is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible for financial assistance. d. Applicants must have an active registration with current information in the System for Award Management (SAM) (previously the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)) at https:// www.sam.gov and have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Further information regarding SAM registration and DUNS number acquisition can be found in Sections D(3) and D(4) of this notice. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1389 2. Cost Sharing or Matching The DLT Program requires matching contributions for grants. See 7 CFR 1703.122, 1703.125(g), and the FY 2016 Application Guide for information on required matching contributions. a. Grant applicants must demonstrate matching contributions, in cash or in kind (new, non-depreciated items), of at least fifteen (15) percent of the total amount of financial assistance requested. Matching contributions must be used for eligible purposes of DLT grant assistance (see 7 CFR 1703.121 and Section D(7)(b) of this Notice). b. Greater amounts of eligible matching contributions may increase an applicant’s score (see 7 CFR 1703.126(b)(4)). c. Applications that do not provide sufficient documentation of the required fifteen percent match will be declared ineligible. d. Discounts and Donations. In review of applications submitted in FY 2014 and FY 2015, it was determined that vendor donated matches did not have any value without a corresponding purchase of additional equipment proposed to be purchased with grant funds. For example, for many of the proposed grant applications, software licenses were donated in support of grant applications. Without a corresponding purchase of the same vendor’s equipment, this donation would have no value towards the project. This is considered a vendor discount which has never been eligible under this program. As a result, such matches were determined to be ineligible, which in some cases disqualified applicants from further consideration. In kind matches from vendors are, therefore, no longer considered eligible. This is consistent with past practices prior to FY 2014. e. Eligible Equipment and Facilities. See 7 CFR 1703.102 and the FY 2016 Application Guide for more information regarding eligible and ineligible items. 3. Other a. Minimum Rurality Requirements. To meet the minimum rurality requirements, applicants must propose end-user sites that accrue a total average score of at least twenty (20) points. To receive points, an end-user site must not be located within the boundaries of any incorporated or unincorporated city, village, or borough having a population in excess of 20,000 inhabitants. For more information regarding rurality requirements and scoring, see 7 CFR 1703.126(b)(2) and the FY 2016 Application Guide. i. Hub sites may be located in rural or non-rural areas, but end-user sites need E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1 1390 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices to be located in rural areas. If a hub is utilized as an end-user site, the hub will be considered and scored as such. ii. If a grant application includes a site that is included in any other DLT grant application for FY 2016, or a site that has been included in any DLT grant funded in FY 2015 or FY2014, the application should contain a detailed explanation of the related applications or grants. The Agency may not approve grants that lack a clear explanation to justify a nonduplication finding. b. Ineligibility of Projects in Coastal Barrier Resources Act Areas. Projects located in areas covered by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) are not eligible for financial assistance from the DLT Program. See 7 CFR 1703.123(a)(11). D. Application and Submission Information The FY 2016 Application Guide provides specific, detailed instructions for each item in a complete application. The Agency emphasizes the importance of including every required item and strongly encourages applicants to follow the instructions carefully, using the examples and illustrations in the FY 2016 Application Guide. Applications submitted by the application deadline, but missing critical items, will be returned as ineligible. The Agency will not solicit or consider scoring eligibility information that is submitted after the application deadline. However, depending on the specific scoring criteria, applications that do not include all items necessary for scoring may still be eligible applications, but may not receive full or any credit if the information cannot be verified. See the FY 2016 Application Guide for a full discussion of each required item. For requirements of completed grant applications, refer to 7 CFR 1703.125. 1. Address to Request Application Package. The FY 2016 Application Guide, copies of necessary forms and samples, and the DLT Program Regulation are available from these sources: a. Electronic Copies are available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programsservices/distance-learning-telemedicinegrants. b. Paper Copies are available from the Rural Utilities Service, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, (202) 720– 0800. 2. Content and Form of Application Submission a. Carefully review the DLT Application Guide and the 7 CFR part Application item Regulation SF–424 (Application for Federal Assistance Form) ......... Executive Summary of the Project ................................... Scoring Criteria Documentation ........................................ Scope of Work .................................................................. Financial Information and Sustainability ........................... Statement of Experience .................................................. Telecommunications System Plan ................................... Leveraging Evidence and Funding Commitments from all Sources. Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination ........................ Architectural Barriers ........................................................ Flood Hazard Area Precautions ....................................... Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970. Drug-Free Workplace ....................................................... tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters. Lobbying for Contracts, Grants, Loans, and Cooperative Agreements. Non-Duplication of Services ............................................. Federal Collection Policies for Commercial Debt ............. Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants. Environmental Impact/Historic Preservation ..................... Evidence of Legal Existence and Authority to Contract with the Federal Government. Consultation with USDA State Director and State Strategic Plan Conformity. Special Considerations ..................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 1703, which detail all necessary forms and worksheets. A table summarizing the necessary components of a complete application can be found in this section. b. Description of Project Sites. Most DLT grant projects contain several project sites. Site information must be consistent throughout the application. The Agency has provided a site worksheet that lists the required information. Applicants should complete the site worksheet with all requisite information. Applications without consistent site information will be returned as ineligible. c. Submission of Application Items. Given the high volume of program interest, applicants should submit the required application items in the order indicated in the FY 2016 Application Guide. Applications that are not assembled and tabbed in the specified order prevent timely determination of eligibility. For applications with inconsistencies among submitted copies, the Agency will base its evaluation on the original signed application received. d. Table of Required Application Items. PO 00000 Comments 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 CFR CFR CFR CFR CFR CFR CFR CFR 1703.125(a) ............ 1703.125(b) ............ 1703.125(c) ............ 1703.125(d) ............ 1703.125(e) ............ 1703.125(f) ............. 1703.125(h) ............ 1703.125(g) ............ Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. Narrative. Narrative. Narrative & Documentation. Narrative. Narrative Documentation. Agency Worksheet and narrative. 7 7 7 7 CFR CFR CFR CFR part 15 subpart A .... 1703.125(i) ............. 1703.125(i) ............. part 21 .................... Form Form Form Form provided provided provided provided in in in in FY FY FY FY 2016 2016 2016 2016 Application Application Application Application Tool Tool Tool Tool Kit. Kit. Kit. Kit. 2 CFR part 182 and 2 CFR part 421. 2 CFR part 417 .................. Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. 2 CFR part 418 .................. Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. ............................................. ............................................. ............................................. Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. 7 CFR part 1794, and any successor regulation. 7 CFR 1703.125(k) ............ Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. 7 CFR 1703.125(m) ........... Documentation. 7 CFR 1703.125(p) ............ Applicants seeking Special Consideration: Documentation supporting end-user site is in a Trust Area, Tribal Jurisdiction, or ‘‘Strike Force’’ Area. Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Form provided in FY 2016 Application Tool Kit. Documentation. E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices e. Number of copies of submitted applications. i. Applications submitted on paper. Submit the original application and one (1) paper copy to RUS, as well as one digital copy on a CD/DVD or Flash Drive. Additionally, submit one (1) additional copy to the state government single point of contact as described below. ii. Applications submitted electronically. Submit the electronic application once. The additional paper copy is unnecessary to send. Applicants should identify and number each page in the same manner as the paper application. Additionally, submit one (1) additional copy to the state government single point of contact as described below. iii. State Government Single Point of Contact. Submit one (1) copy to the state government single point of contact, if one has been designated, at the same time as application submission to the Agency. If the project is located in more than one State, submit a copy to each state government single point of contact. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ grants_spoc for an updated listing of State government single points of contact. 3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. The applicant for a grant must supply a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as part of the application. The applicant can obtain the DUNS number free of charge by calling Dun and Bradstreet. Go to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform for more information on DUNS number acquisition or confirmation. 4. System for Award Management (SAM). Prior to submitting a paper or an electronic application, the applicant must register in the System for Award Management (SAM) at https:// www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. Throughout the RUS application review and the active Federal grant funding period, SAM registration must be active with current data at all times. To maintain active SAM registration, the applicant must review and update the information in the SAM database annually from the date of initial registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and complete. 5. Submission Dates and Times a. Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. Late applications, applications which do not include proof of mailing or shipping, and incomplete applications are not eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. In the event of an incomplete application, the Agency will notify the applicant in writing, return the application, and terminate all further action. i. Address paper applications to the Telecommunications Program, RUS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2808, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250– 1597. Applications should be marked, ‘‘Attention: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval.’’ ii. Paper applications must show proof of mailing or shipping by the deadline consisting of one of the following: A. A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark; B. A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the USPS; or C. A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier. iii. Due to screening procedures at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, packages arriving via regular mail through the USPS are irradiated, which can damage the contents and delay delivery to the DLT Program. RUS encourages applicants to consider the impact of this procedure in selecting their application delivery method. b. Electronic grant applications must be received no later than March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. i. Applications will not be accepted via fax or electronic mail. ii. Electronic applications for grants must be submitted through the Federal government’s Grants.gov initiative at http://www.grants.gov/. Grants.gov contains full instructions on all required passwords, credentialing and software. iii. Grants.gov requires some credentialing and online authentication procedures. These procedures may take several business days to complete. Therefore, the applicant should complete the registration, credentialing, and authorization procedures at Grants.gov before submitting an application. iv. Applicants must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as well as have current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM). Further information on DUNS and SAM can be found in sections D(3) and D(4) of this notice as well as in the FY 2016 Application Guide. v. If system errors or technical difficulties occur, use the customer support resources available at the Grants.gov Web site. c. If the submission deadline falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday, the application is due the next business day. 6. Intergovernmental Review The DLT Grant Program is subject to Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.’’ As stated in section D(2)(e)(iii) of this notice, a copy of a DLT grant application must be submitted to the state single point of contact, if one has been designated. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ grants_spoc to review the states’ single points of contact. 7. Funding Restrictions a. Hub sites not located in rural areas are not eligible for grant assistance unless they are necessary to provide DLT services to end-users in rural areas. See 7 CFR 1703.101(h). b. Table of Ineligible and Eligible Items. The following table includes a list of common items and whether each item is eligible for financial assistance. Applicants should exclude ineligible items and ineligible matching contributions from the budget unless those items are clearly documented as vital to the project. See the FY 2016 Application Guide for a recommended budget format and detailed budget compilation instructions. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Grants Lease or purchase of new eligible DLT equipment and facilities ............ Acquire new instructional programming that is capital asset ................... Technical assistance, develop instructional material for the operation of the equipment, and engineering or environmental studies in the implementation of the project. Telemedicine or distance learning equipment or facilities necessary to the project. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Yes, equipment only. Yes. Yes, up to 10% of the grant. Yes. Sfmt 4703 1391 E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1 1392 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices Grants Vehicles using distance learning or telemedicine technology to deliver services. Teacher-student links located at the same facility ................................... Links between medical professionals located at the same facility .......... Site development or building alteration, except for equipment installation and associated inside wiring. Land or building purchase ........................................................................ Building Construction ................................................................................ Acquiring telecommunications transmission facilities .............................. Internet services, telecommunications services or other forms of connectivity. Salaries, wages, benefits for medical or educational personnel ............. Salaries or administrative expenses of applicant or project .................... Recurring project costs or operating expenses ....................................... Equipment to be owned by the LEC or other telecommunications service provider, if the provider is the applicant. Duplicative distance learning or telemedicine services ........................... Any project that for its success depends on additional DLT financial assistance or other financial assistance that is not assured. Application Preparation Costs .................................................................. Other project costs not in regulation ........................................................ Cost (amount) of facilities providing distance learning broadcasting ...... Reimburse applicants or others for costs incurred prior to RUS receipt of completed application. No. No. No. No. No. No. No (such facilities are only eligible for DLT loans). No. No. No. No (equipment & facility leases are not recurring project costs). No. No. No. No. No. No. No. 2. Review and Selection Process 1. Criteria tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES E. Application Review Information Grant applications are ranked by the final score. RUS selects applications based on those rankings, subject to the availability of funds. In addition, the Agency has the authority to limit the number of applications selected in any one state or for any one project during a fiscal year. See 7 CFR 1703.127 for a description of the grant application selection process. In addition, it should be noted that an application receiving fewer points can be selected over a higher scoring application in the event that there are insufficient funds available to cover the costs of the higher scoring application, as stated in 7 CFR 1703.172(b)(3). a. In addition to the scoring criteria that rank applications against each other, the Agency evaluates grant applications on the following items, in accordance with 7 CFR 1703.127: i. Financial feasibility. A proposal that does not indicate financial feasibility or that is not sustainable will not be approved for an award. ii. Technical considerations. An application that contains flaws that would prevent the successful implementation, operation, or sustainability of the project will not be approved for an award. iii. Other aspects of proposals that contain inadequacies that would undermine the ability of the project to comply with the policies of the DLT Program. b. Special considerations or preferences. i. American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands Grants applications are scored competitively and are subject to the criteria listed below (total possible points: 235). See 7 CFR 1703.126 and the FY 2016 Application Guide for more information on the scoring criteria. a. Needs and Benefits Category. An analysis addressing the challenges imposed by the following criteria and how the project proposes to address these issues, as well as, the local community involvement in planning and implementing the project (up to 55 points): i. Economic characteristics. ii. Educational challenges. iii. Health care needs. b. Rurality Category. Rurality of the proposed service area (up to 45 points). c. Economic Need Category. Percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Plan (NSLP) in the proposed service area (up to 35 points). d. Leveraging Category. Matching funds above the required matching level (up to 35 points). e. Innovativeness Category. Level of innovation demonstrated by the project (up to 15 points). f. Cost Effectiveness Category. System cost-effectiveness (up to 35 points). g. Special Consideration Areas Category. Application must contain at least one end-user site within a trust area or a tribal jurisdiction area, within a ‘‘Promise Zone,’’ or within a ‘‘Strike Force’’ area (15 points). VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 applications are exempt from the matching requirement for awards having a match amount of up to $200,000 (see 48 U.S.C. 1469a; 91 Stat. 1164). ii. Tribal Jurisdiction or Trust Areas. RUS will offer special consideration to applications that contain at least one end-user site within a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The application must include a map that shows the end-user site(s) located in the trust or tribal jurisdictional areas and cites the geographical coordinates and physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). The applicant will also need to submit evidence indicating that the area where the end-user site is located is a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. See the DLT Grant Program regulation as well as the FY 2016 Application Guide for a list of accepted documentation. iii. ‘‘Promise Zone’’ Areas. RUS will offer special consideration to applications that contain at least one end-user site within a ‘‘Promise Zone’’ area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The application must include a map that shows the end-user site(s) located in the ‘‘Promise Zone’’ area and cites the geographical coordinates and physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). Current ‘‘Promise Zones’’ include the South Carolina Low Country, Choctaw Nation, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and the Kentucky Highlands. For further information, see the ‘‘Promise Zone’’ Web site at http:// www.hud.gov/promisezones/. iv. ‘‘Strike Force’’ Areas. RUS will offer special consideration to E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices applications that contain at least one end-user site within a ‘‘Strike Force’’ area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The application must include a map that shows the end-user site(s) located in the ‘‘Strike Force’’ area and cites the geographical coordinates and physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). For further information, see the ‘‘Strike Force’’ Web site at http:// www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/ usdamobile?navid=STRIKE_FORCE. c. Clarification: DLT grant applications which have non-fixed enduser sites, such as ambulance and home health care services, are scored according to the location of the hub or hubs used for the project. For Hybrid Projects which combine a non-fixed portion of a project to a fixed portion of a project, the Rurality Score and NSLP score will be based on the score of the end sites of the fixed portion plus the score of the hub that serves the nonfixed portion. See the FY 2016 Application Guide for specific guidance on preparing an application with nonfixed end-users. F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices RUS notifies applicants whose projects are selected for awards by mailing or emailing a copy of an award letter. The receipt of an award letter does not authorize the applicant to commence performance under the award. After sending the award letter, the Agency will send an agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the grant. A copy of the standard agreement is posted on the RUS Web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/distance-learningtelemedicine-grants. An applicant must execute and return the grant agreement, accompanied by any additional items required by the agreement, within the number of days specified in the selection notice letter. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements The items listed in Section E of this notice, the DLT Grant Program regulation, FY 2016 Application Guide and accompanying materials implement the appropriate administrative and national policy requirements, which include but are not limited to: a. Executing a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Agreement. b. Using Form SF 270, ‘‘Request for Advance or Reimbursement,’’ to request reimbursements (along with the submission of receipts for expenditures, timesheets, and any other VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 documentation to support the request for reimbursement). c. Providing annual project performance activity reports until the expiration of the award. d. Ensuring that records are maintained to document all activities and expenditures utilizing DLT grant funds and matching funds (receipts for expenditures are to be included in this documentation). e. Providing a final project performance report. f. Complying with policies, guidance, and requirements as described in the following applicable Code of Federal Regulations, and any successor regulations: i. 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards). ii. 2 CFR parts 417 and 180 (Government-wide Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension). g. Signing Form AD–3031 (‘‘Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants’’) (for corporate applicants only). h. Complying with Executive Order 13166, ‘‘Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.’’ For information on limited English proficiency and agency-specific guidance, go to http://www.LEP.gov. 3. Reporting a. Performance reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance must provide annual performance activity reports to RUS until the project is complete and the funds are expended. A final performance report is also required; the final report may serve as the last annual report. The final report must include an evaluation of the success of the project in meeting the DLT Grant Program objectives. See 7 CFR 1703.107 for additional information on these reporting requirements. b. Financial reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance must provide an annual audit, beginning with the first year in which a portion of the financial assistance is expended. Audits are governed by United States Department of Agriculture audit regulations. See 7 CFR 1703.108 and 2 CFR part 200 (Subpart F) for a description of the financial reporting requirements. c. Recipient and Sub-recipient Reporting. The applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1393 Transparency Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR 170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows: i. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month following the month the obligation was made. Please note that currently underway is a consolidation of eight federal procurement systems, including the Federal Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the System for Award Management (SAM). As a result the FSRS will soon be consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/ SAM/. ii. The Total Compensation of the Recipient’s Executives (the five most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the month in which the award was made. iii. The Total Compensation of the Sub-recipient’s Executives (the five most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Sub-recipient (if the Sub-recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to the Recipient by the end of the month following the month in which the sub-award was made. d. Record Keeping and Accounting. The contract will contain provisions related to record keeping and accounting requirements. G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts 1. Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/distance-learningtelemedicine-grants. The DLT Web site maintains up-to-date resources and contact information for DLT programs. 2. Telephone: (202) 720–0800. 3. Fax: 1 (844) 885–8179. 4. Email: dltinfo@wdc.usda.gov. 5. Main point of contact: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. H. Other Information 1. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1 1394 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 7 / Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / Notices disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) 2. How To File a Complaint Individuals who wish to file an employment complaint must contact their agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counselor within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act, event, or in the case of a personnel action. Additional information can be found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_ filing_file.html. Individuals who wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination must complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_ filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632–9992 to request the form. A letter may also be written containing all of the information requested in the form. Send the completed complaint form or letter by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250– 9410, by fax (202) 690–7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 3. Persons With Disabilities Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and wish to file either an EEO or program complaint may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877– 8339 (English) or (800) 845–6136 (Spanish). Persons with disabilities who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact USDA by mail or email. Individuals who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) may contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). Dated: December 8, 2015. Brandon McBride, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2016–00405 Filed 1–11–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:14 Jan 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). Agency: U.S. Census Bureau. Title: Automated Export System. OMB Control Number: 0607–0152. Form Number(s): AES. Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection. Number of Respondents: 304,223 shippers and freight forwarders filing 15,218,820 AES transactions annually. Average Hours per Response: 3 minutes per AES transaction. Burden Hours: 760,941. Needs and Uses: The Census Bureau is requesting continued clearance with revisions for the Automated Export System (AES) program. The Census Bureau requires mandatory filing of all export information via the AES. This requirement is mandated through Public Law 107–228 of the Foreign Trade Relations Act of 2003. This law authorizes the Secretary of Commerce with the concurrences of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to require all persons who file export information according to title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), chapter 9, to file such information through the AES. The AES is the primary instrument used for collecting export trade data, which are used by the Census Bureau for statistical purposes. The AES record provides the means for collecting data on U.S. exports. Title 13, U.S.C., chapter 9, sections 301–307, mandates the collection of these data. The regulatory provisions for the collection of these data are contained in the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR), title 15, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 30. The official export statistics collected from these tools provide the basic component for the compilation of the U.S. position on merchandise trade. These data are an essential component of the monthly totals provided in the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Press Release, a principal economic indicator and a primary component of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Traditionally, other federal agencies have used the Electronic Export Information (EEI) for export control purposes to detect and prevent the export of certain items by unauthorized parties or to unauthorized destinations or end users. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Since 2013, the Census Bureau and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have implemented the following enhancements to the AES: (1) Added Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) and increased edits and validations between License Codes and ECCNs; (2) developed six new license codes, three of which allow corrections to licensed shipments identified in voluntary self-disclosures and the remaining three are used to identify shipments involving .y 600 Series ECCN items, support for the Cuban people, and Australia International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Exemptions; (3) developed a new filing option indicator for the Advanced Export Information pilot program to indicate a partial or complete commodity shipment filing; (4) adjusted the Foreign Trade Zone Indicator to accept seven characters instead of five; and (5) migrated the AES to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform to modernize the technology and adhere to the requirements of developing a single window in accordance with Executive Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses, through the International Trade Data System. The AES will be accessed via a portal in ACE. Once the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR): Clarification on Filing Requirements, is published, the following enhancements may be implemented in the AES: (1) Develop an original Internal Transaction Number (ITN) field; and (2) develop a used electronics indicator. The changes identified in this Final Rule will require the addition of two data elements in the AES. The added data elements include the original ITN and the used electronics indicator. The original ITN field is an optional data element and is utilized if the filer creates an additional AES record for a shipment that was previously filed. The next data element added is the used electronics indicator, which is a conditional data element. The indicator will be used to improve information on the quantity and destination of used electronics. These revisions should not affect the average three-minute response time for the completion of the AES record. Constant advances in technology and heightened knowledge of filers offset the time required to complete the new fields in the AES record. In addition, repetitious information can be entered automatically via templates and profiles, and the number of data entry sections has been reduced to improve E:\FR\FM\12JAN1.SGM 12JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 12, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 1388-1394]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-00405]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), herein referred to as RUS or 
the Agency, announces its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) 
Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. This notice 
is being issued in order to allow potential applicants time to submit 
proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the 
current fiscal year. RUS will publish on its Web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas the 
amount of funding received in the final appropriations act.
    In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the 
minimum and maximum amounts for DLT grants applicable for the fiscal 
year. The DLT Grant Program regulation can be found at 7 part CFR 1703 
(Subparts D through E).

DATES: Submit completed paper or electronic applications for grants 
according to the following deadlines:
     Paper submissions: Paper submissions must be postmarked 
and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than March 14, 2016 to 
be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications 
will not be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding.
     Electronic submissions: Electronic submissions must be 
received no later than March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 grant 
funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 
2016 grant funding.
     If the submission deadline falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a 
Federal holiday, the application is due the next business day.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the FY 2016 Application Guide and materials for 
the DLT Grant Program may be obtained through:
    (1) The DLT Web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants, or
    (2) The RUS Office of Loan Origination and Approval at (202) 720-
0800.
    Completed applications may be submitted the following ways:
    (1) Paper: Mail paper applications to the Rural Utilities Service, 
Telecommunications Program, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2808, STOP 
1597, Washington, DC 20250-1597. Mark address with, ``Attention: Deputy 
Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, Rural 
Utilities Service.''
    (2) Electronic: Submit electronic applications through Grants.gov. 
Information on electronic submission is available on the Grants.gov Web 
site (http://www.grants.gov) at any time, regardless of registration 
status.

[[Page 1389]]

However, applicants must pre-register with Grants.gov to use the 
electronic applications option.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, Rural Utilities 
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, telephone: (202) 720-0800, 
fax: 1 (844) 885-8179.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
    Funding Opportunity Title: Distance Learning and Telemedicine 
Grants.
    Announcement Type: Initial announcement.
    Funding Opportunity Number: RUS-16-01-DLT.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.855.
    Dates: Submit completed paper or electronic applications for grants 
according to the deadlines indicated in Section D(5).

A. Program Description

    DLT grants are designed to provide access to education, training, 
and health care resources for rural Americans. The DLT Program is 
authorized by 7 U.S.C. 950aaa and provides financial assistance to 
encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in 
rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, 
and related advanced technologies that students, teachers, medical 
professionals, and rural residents can use. The regulation for the DLT 
Program can be found at 7 CFR part 1703 (Subparts D through E).
    The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be 
used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video 
equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational 
and medical applications into rural areas. Grants are intended to 
benefit end-users in rural areas, who are often not in the same 
location as the source of the educational or health care service.
    As in years past, the FY 2016 DLT Grant Application Guide has been 
updated based on program experience. All applicants should carefully 
review and prepare their applications according to instructions in the 
FY 2016 Application Guide and sample materials. Expenses incurred in 
developing applications will be at the applicant's own risk.

B. Federal Award Information

    Under 7 CFR 1703.124, the Administrator established a minimum grant 
amount of $50,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for FY 2016.
    Award documents specify the term of each award, and the standard 
grant agreement is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/UTP_2015DLTDraftGrantAgreement.pdf. The Agency will make awards and 
successful applicants will be required to execute documents appropriate 
to the project before funding will be advanced. Prior DLT grants cannot 
be renewed; however, existing DLT awardees can submit applications for 
new projects which will be evaluated as new applications. Grant 
applications must be submitted during the application window.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants (See 7 CFR 1703.103)
    a. Only entities legally organized as one of the following are 
eligible for DLT Grant Program financial assistance:
    i. An incorporated organization or a partnership;
    ii. An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 
450b;
    iii. A state or local unit of government;
    iv. A consortium, as defined in 7 CFR 1703.102; or
    v. Other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on 
a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.
    b. Electric and telecommunications borrowers under the Rural 
Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.) are not eligible for 
DLT grants.
    c. Corporations that have been convicted of a Federal felony within 
the past 24 months are not eligible. Any corporation that has been 
assessed to have any unpaid federal tax liability, for which all 
judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed 
and is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with 
the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not 
eligible for financial assistance.
    d. Applicants must have an active registration with current 
information in the System for Award Management (SAM) (previously the 
Central Contractor Registry (CCR)) at https://www.sam.gov and have a 
Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. 
Further information regarding SAM registration and DUNS number 
acquisition can be found in Sections D(3) and D(4) of this notice.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
    The DLT Program requires matching contributions for grants. See 7 
CFR 1703.122, 1703.125(g), and the FY 2016 Application Guide for 
information on required matching contributions.
    a. Grant applicants must demonstrate matching contributions, in 
cash or in kind (new, non-depreciated items), of at least fifteen (15) 
percent of the total amount of financial assistance requested. Matching 
contributions must be used for eligible purposes of DLT grant 
assistance (see 7 CFR 1703.121 and Section D(7)(b) of this Notice).
    b. Greater amounts of eligible matching contributions may increase 
an applicant's score (see 7 CFR 1703.126(b)(4)).
    c. Applications that do not provide sufficient documentation of the 
required fifteen percent match will be declared ineligible.
    d. Discounts and Donations. In review of applications submitted in 
FY 2014 and FY 2015, it was determined that vendor donated matches did 
not have any value without a corresponding purchase of additional 
equipment proposed to be purchased with grant funds. For example, for 
many of the proposed grant applications, software licenses were donated 
in support of grant applications. Without a corresponding purchase of 
the same vendor's equipment, this donation would have no value towards 
the project. This is considered a vendor discount which has never been 
eligible under this program. As a result, such matches were determined 
to be ineligible, which in some cases disqualified applicants from 
further consideration. In kind matches from vendors are, therefore, no 
longer considered eligible. This is consistent with past practices 
prior to FY 2014.
    e. Eligible Equipment and Facilities. See 7 CFR 1703.102 and the FY 
2016 Application Guide for more information regarding eligible and 
ineligible items.
3. Other
    a. Minimum Rurality Requirements. To meet the minimum rurality 
requirements, applicants must propose end-user sites that accrue a 
total average score of at least twenty (20) points. To receive points, 
an end-user site must not be located within the boundaries of any 
incorporated or unincorporated city, village, or borough having a 
population in excess of 20,000 inhabitants. For more information 
regarding rurality requirements and scoring, see 7 CFR 1703.126(b)(2) 
and the FY 2016 Application Guide.
    i. Hub sites may be located in rural or non-rural areas, but end-
user sites need

[[Page 1390]]

to be located in rural areas. If a hub is utilized as an end-user site, 
the hub will be considered and scored as such.
    ii. If a grant application includes a site that is included in any 
other DLT grant application for FY 2016, or a site that has been 
included in any DLT grant funded in FY 2015 or FY2014, the application 
should contain a detailed explanation of the related applications or 
grants. The Agency may not approve grants that lack a clear explanation 
to justify a nonduplication finding.
    b. Ineligibility of Projects in Coastal Barrier Resources Act 
Areas. Projects located in areas covered by the Coastal Barrier 
Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) are not eligible for financial 
assistance from the DLT Program. See 7 CFR 1703.123(a)(11).

D. Application and Submission Information

    The FY 2016 Application Guide provides specific, detailed 
instructions for each item in a complete application. The Agency 
emphasizes the importance of including every required item and strongly 
encourages applicants to follow the instructions carefully, using the 
examples and illustrations in the FY 2016 Application Guide. 
Applications submitted by the application deadline, but missing 
critical items, will be returned as ineligible. The Agency will not 
solicit or consider scoring eligibility information that is submitted 
after the application deadline. However, depending on the specific 
scoring criteria, applications that do not include all items necessary 
for scoring may still be eligible applications, but may not receive 
full or any credit if the information cannot be verified. See the FY 
2016 Application Guide for a full discussion of each required item. For 
requirements of completed grant applications, refer to 7 CFR 1703.125.
    1. Address to Request Application Package. The FY 2016 Application 
Guide, copies of necessary forms and samples, and the DLT Program 
Regulation are available from these sources:
    a. Electronic Copies are available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants.
    b. Paper Copies are available from the Rural Utilities Service, 
Office of Loan Origination and Approval, (202) 720-0800.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
    a. Carefully review the DLT Application Guide and the 7 CFR part 
1703, which detail all necessary forms and worksheets. A table 
summarizing the necessary components of a complete application can be 
found in this section.
    b. Description of Project Sites. Most DLT grant projects contain 
several project sites. Site information must be consistent throughout 
the application. The Agency has provided a site worksheet that lists 
the required information. Applicants should complete the site worksheet 
with all requisite information. Applications without consistent site 
information will be returned as ineligible.
    c. Submission of Application Items. Given the high volume of 
program interest, applicants should submit the required application 
items in the order indicated in the FY 2016 Application Guide. 
Applications that are not assembled and tabbed in the specified order 
prevent timely determination of eligibility. For applications with 
inconsistencies among submitted copies, the Agency will base its 
evaluation on the original signed application received.
    d. Table of Required Application Items.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Application item             Regulation            Comments
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SF-424 (Application for         7 CFR 1703.125(a)  Form provided in FY
 Federal Assistance Form).                          2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Executive Summary of the        7 CFR 1703.125(b)  Narrative.
 Project.
Scoring Criteria Documentation  7 CFR 1703.125(c)  Narrative.
Scope of Work.................  7 CFR 1703.125(d)  Narrative &
                                                    Documentation.
Financial Information and       7 CFR 1703.125(e)  Narrative.
 Sustainability.
Statement of Experience.......  7 CFR 1703.125(f)  Narrative
Telecommunications System Plan  7 CFR 1703.125(h)  Documentation.
Leveraging Evidence and         7 CFR 1703.125(g)  Agency Worksheet and
 Funding Commitments from all                       narrative.
 Sources.
Equal Opportunity and           7 CFR part 15      Form provided in FY
 Nondiscrimination.              subpart A.         2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Architectural Barriers........  7 CFR 1703.125(i)  Form provided in FY
                                                    2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Flood Hazard Area Precautions.  7 CFR 1703.125(i)  Form provided in FY
                                                    2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Uniform Relocation Assistance   7 CFR part 21....  Form provided in FY
 and Real Property Acquisition                      2016 Application
 Policies Act of 1970.                              Tool Kit.
Drug-Free Workplace...........  2 CFR part 182     Form provided in FY
                                 and 2 CFR part     2016 Application
                                 421.               Tool Kit.
Debarment, Suspension, and      2 CFR part 417...  Form provided in FY
 Other Responsibility Matters.                      2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Lobbying for Contracts,         2 CFR part 418...  Form provided in FY
 Grants, Loans, and                                 2016 Application
 Cooperative Agreements.                            Tool Kit.
Non-Duplication of Services...  .................  Form provided in FY
                                                    2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Federal Collection Policies     .................  Form provided in FY
 for Commercial Debt.                               2016 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Assurance Regarding Felony      .................  Form provided in FY
 Conviction or Tax Delinquent                       2016 Application
 Status for Corporate                               Tool Kit.
 Applicants.
Environmental Impact/Historic   7 CFR part 1794,   Form provided in FY
 Preservation.                   and any            2016 Application
                                 successor          Tool Kit.
                                 regulation.
Evidence of Legal Existence     7 CFR 1703.125(k)  Documentation.
 and Authority to Contract
 with the Federal Government.
Consultation with USDA State    7 CFR 1703.125(m)  Documentation.
 Director and State Strategic
 Plan Conformity.
Special Considerations........  7 CFR 1703.125(p)  Applicants seeking
                                                    Special
                                                    Consideration:
                                                    Documentation
                                                    supporting end-user
                                                    site is in a Trust
                                                    Area, Tribal
                                                    Jurisdiction, or
                                                    ``Strike Force''
                                                    Area.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 1391]]

    e. Number of copies of submitted applications.
    i. Applications submitted on paper. Submit the original application 
and one (1) paper copy to RUS, as well as one digital copy on a CD/DVD 
or Flash Drive. Additionally, submit one (1) additional copy to the 
state government single point of contact as described below.
    ii. Applications submitted electronically. Submit the electronic 
application once. The additional paper copy is unnecessary to send. 
Applicants should identify and number each page in the same manner as 
the paper application. Additionally, submit one (1) additional copy to 
the state government single point of contact as described below.
    iii. State Government Single Point of Contact. Submit one (1) copy 
to the state government single point of contact, if one has been 
designated, at the same time as application submission to the Agency. 
If the project is located in more than one State, submit a copy to each 
state government single point of contact. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc for an updated listing of State 
government single points of contact.
    3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. The 
applicant for a grant must supply a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number as part of the application. The 
applicant can obtain the DUNS number free of charge by calling Dun and 
Bradstreet. Go to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform for more information on 
DUNS number acquisition or confirmation.
    4. System for Award Management (SAM). Prior to submitting a paper 
or an electronic application, the applicant must register in the System 
for Award Management (SAM) at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. 
Throughout the RUS application review and the active Federal grant 
funding period, SAM registration must be active with current data at 
all times. To maintain active SAM registration, the applicant must 
review and update the information in the SAM database annually from the 
date of initial registration or from the date of the last update. The 
applicant must ensure that the information in the database is current, 
accurate, and complete.
5. Submission Dates and Times
    a. Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or 
sent overnight no later than March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 
grant funding. Late applications, applications which do not include 
proof of mailing or shipping, and incomplete applications are not 
eligible for FY 2016 grant funding. In the event of an incomplete 
application, the Agency will notify the applicant in writing, return 
the application, and terminate all further action.
    i. Address paper applications to the Telecommunications Program, 
RUS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 
2808, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250-1597. Applications should be 
marked, ``Attention: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan 
Origination and Approval.''
    ii. Paper applications must show proof of mailing or shipping by 
the deadline consisting of one of the following:
    A. A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark;
    B. A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
USPS; or
    C. A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    iii. Due to screening procedures at the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, packages arriving via regular mail through the USPS are 
irradiated, which can damage the contents and delay delivery to the DLT 
Program. RUS encourages applicants to consider the impact of this 
procedure in selecting their application delivery method.
    b. Electronic grant applications must be received no later than 
March 14, 2016 to be eligible for FY 2016 funding. Late or incomplete 
applications will not be eligible for FY 2016 grant funding.
    i. Applications will not be accepted via fax or electronic mail.
    ii. Electronic applications for grants must be submitted through 
the Federal government's Grants.gov initiative at http://www.grants.gov/. Grants.gov contains full instructions on all required 
passwords, credentialing and software.
    iii. Grants.gov requires some credentialing and online 
authentication procedures. These procedures may take several business 
days to complete. Therefore, the applicant should complete the 
registration, credentialing, and authorization procedures at Grants.gov 
before submitting an application.
    iv. Applicants must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number as well as have current registration 
with the System for Award Management (SAM). Further information on DUNS 
and SAM can be found in sections D(3) and D(4) of this notice as well 
as in the FY 2016 Application Guide.
    v. If system errors or technical difficulties occur, use the 
customer support resources available at the Grants.gov Web site.
    c. If the submission deadline falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a 
Federal holiday, the application is due the next business day.
6. Intergovernmental Review
    The DLT Grant Program is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.'' As stated in section 
D(2)(e)(iii) of this notice, a copy of a DLT grant application must be 
submitted to the state single point of contact, if one has been 
designated. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc to review the 
states' single points of contact.
7. Funding Restrictions
    a. Hub sites not located in rural areas are not eligible for grant 
assistance unless they are necessary to provide DLT services to end-
users in rural areas. See 7 CFR 1703.101(h).
    b. Table of Ineligible and Eligible Items. The following table 
includes a list of common items and whether each item is eligible for 
financial assistance. Applicants should exclude ineligible items and 
ineligible matching contributions from the budget unless those items 
are clearly documented as vital to the project. See the FY 2016 
Application Guide for a recommended budget format and detailed budget 
compilation instructions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Grants
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lease or purchase of new eligible DLT    Yes, equipment only.
 equipment and facilities.
Acquire new instructional programming    Yes.
 that is capital asset.
Technical assistance, develop            Yes, up to 10% of the grant.
 instructional material for the
 operation of the equipment, and
 engineering or environmental studies
 in the implementation of the project.
Telemedicine or distance learning        Yes.
 equipment or facilities necessary to
 the project.

[[Page 1392]]

 
Vehicles using distance learning or      No.
 telemedicine technology to deliver
 services.
Teacher-student links located at the     No.
 same facility.
Links between medical professionals      No.
 located at the same facility.
Site development or building             No.
 alteration, except for equipment
 installation and associated inside
 wiring.
Land or building purchase..............  No.
Building Construction..................  No.
Acquiring telecommunications             No (such facilities are only
 transmission facilities.                 eligible for DLT loans).
Internet services, telecommunications    No.
 services or other forms of
 connectivity.
Salaries, wages, benefits for medical    No.
 or educational personnel.
Salaries or administrative expenses of   No.
 applicant or project.
Recurring project costs or operating     No (equipment & facility leases
 expenses.                                are not recurring project
                                          costs).
Equipment to be owned by the LEC or      No.
 other telecommunications service
 provider, if the provider is the
 applicant.
Duplicative distance learning or         No.
 telemedicine services.
Any project that for its success         No.
 depends on additional DLT financial
 assistance or other financial
 assistance that is not assured.
Application Preparation Costs..........  No.
Other project costs not in regulation..  No.
Cost (amount) of facilities providing    No.
 distance learning broadcasting.
Reimburse applicants or others for       No.
 costs incurred prior to RUS receipt of
 completed application.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria
    Grants applications are scored competitively and are subject to the 
criteria listed below (total possible points: 235). See 7 CFR 1703.126 
and the FY 2016 Application Guide for more information on the scoring 
criteria.
    a. Needs and Benefits Category. An analysis addressing the 
challenges imposed by the following criteria and how the project 
proposes to address these issues, as well as, the local community 
involvement in planning and implementing the project (up to 55 points):
    i. Economic characteristics.
    ii. Educational challenges.
    iii. Health care needs.
    b. Rurality Category. Rurality of the proposed service area (up to 
45 points).
    c. Economic Need Category. Percentage of students eligible for the 
National School Lunch Plan (NSLP) in the proposed service area (up to 
35 points).
    d. Leveraging Category. Matching funds above the required matching 
level (up to 35 points).
    e. Innovativeness Category. Level of innovation demonstrated by the 
project (up to 15 points).
    f. Cost Effectiveness Category. System cost-effectiveness (up to 35 
points).
    g. Special Consideration Areas Category. Application must contain 
at least one end-user site within a trust area or a tribal jurisdiction 
area, within a ``Promise Zone,'' or within a ``Strike Force'' area (15 
points).
2. Review and Selection Process
    Grant applications are ranked by the final score. RUS selects 
applications based on those rankings, subject to the availability of 
funds. In addition, the Agency has the authority to limit the number of 
applications selected in any one state or for any one project during a 
fiscal year. See 7 CFR 1703.127 for a description of the grant 
application selection process. In addition, it should be noted that an 
application receiving fewer points can be selected over a higher 
scoring application in the event that there are insufficient funds 
available to cover the costs of the higher scoring application, as 
stated in 7 CFR 1703.172(b)(3).
    a. In addition to the scoring criteria that rank applications 
against each other, the Agency evaluates grant applications on the 
following items, in accordance with 7 CFR 1703.127:
    i. Financial feasibility. A proposal that does not indicate 
financial feasibility or that is not sustainable will not be approved 
for an award.
    ii. Technical considerations. An application that contains flaws 
that would prevent the successful implementation, operation, or 
sustainability of the project will not be approved for an award.
    iii. Other aspects of proposals that contain inadequacies that 
would undermine the ability of the project to comply with the policies 
of the DLT Program.
    b. Special considerations or preferences.
    i. American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana 
Islands applications are exempt from the matching requirement for 
awards having a match amount of up to $200,000 (see 48 U.S.C. 1469a; 91 
Stat. 1164).
    ii. Tribal Jurisdiction or Trust Areas. RUS will offer special 
consideration to applications that contain at least one end-user site 
within a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. Such applications 
will be awarded 15 points. The application must include a map that 
shows the end-user site(s) located in the trust or tribal 
jurisdictional areas and cites the geographical coordinates and 
physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). The applicant will also 
need to submit evidence indicating that the area where the end-user 
site is located is a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. See 
the DLT Grant Program regulation as well as the FY 2016 Application 
Guide for a list of accepted documentation.
    iii. ``Promise Zone'' Areas. RUS will offer special consideration 
to applications that contain at least one end-user site within a 
``Promise Zone'' area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The 
application must include a map that shows the end-user site(s) located 
in the ``Promise Zone'' area and cites the geographical coordinates and 
physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). Current ``Promise Zones'' 
include the South Carolina Low Country, Choctaw Nation, Pine Ridge 
Indian Reservation, and the Kentucky Highlands. For further 
information, see the ``Promise Zone'' Web site at http://www.hud.gov/promisezones/.
    iv. ``Strike Force'' Areas. RUS will offer special consideration to

[[Page 1393]]

applications that contain at least one end-user site within a ``Strike 
Force'' area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The 
application must include a map that shows the end-user site(s) located 
in the ``Strike Force'' area and cites the geographical coordinates and 
physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). For further information, 
see the ``Strike Force'' Web site at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdamobile?navid=STRIKE_FORCE.
    c. Clarification: DLT grant applications which have non-fixed end-
user sites, such as ambulance and home health care services, are scored 
according to the location of the hub or hubs used for the project. For 
Hybrid Projects which combine a non-fixed portion of a project to a 
fixed portion of a project, the Rurality Score and NSLP score will be 
based on the score of the end sites of the fixed portion plus the score 
of the hub that serves the non-fixed portion. See the FY 2016 
Application Guide for specific guidance on preparing an application 
with non-fixed end-users.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notices
    RUS notifies applicants whose projects are selected for awards by 
mailing or emailing a copy of an award letter. The receipt of an award 
letter does not authorize the applicant to commence performance under 
the award. After sending the award letter, the Agency will send an 
agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the grant. A 
copy of the standard agreement is posted on the RUS Web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants. An applicant must execute and return the grant agreement, 
accompanied by any additional items required by the agreement, within 
the number of days specified in the selection notice letter.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    The items listed in Section E of this notice, the DLT Grant Program 
regulation, FY 2016 Application Guide and accompanying materials 
implement the appropriate administrative and national policy 
requirements, which include but are not limited to:
    a. Executing a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Agreement.
    b. Using Form SF 270, ``Request for Advance or Reimbursement,'' to 
request reimbursements (along with the submission of receipts for 
expenditures, timesheets, and any other documentation to support the 
request for reimbursement).
    c. Providing annual project performance activity reports until the 
expiration of the award.
    d. Ensuring that records are maintained to document all activities 
and expenditures utilizing DLT grant funds and matching funds (receipts 
for expenditures are to be included in this documentation).
    e. Providing a final project performance report.
    f. Complying with policies, guidance, and requirements as described 
in the following applicable Code of Federal Regulations, and any 
successor regulations:
    i. 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, 
Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards).
    ii. 2 CFR parts 417 and 180 (Government-wide Nonprocurement 
Debarment and Suspension).
    g. Signing Form AD-3031 (``Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or 
Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants'') (for corporate 
applicants only).
    h. Complying with Executive Order 13166, ``Improving Access to 
Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.'' For 
information on limited English proficiency and agency-specific 
guidance, go to http://www.LEP.gov.
3. Reporting
    a. Performance reporting. All recipients of DLT financial 
assistance must provide annual performance activity reports to RUS 
until the project is complete and the funds are expended. A final 
performance report is also required; the final report may serve as the 
last annual report. The final report must include an evaluation of the 
success of the project in meeting the DLT Grant Program objectives. See 
7 CFR 1703.107 for additional information on these reporting 
requirements.
    b. Financial reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance 
must provide an annual audit, beginning with the first year in which a 
portion of the financial assistance is expended. Audits are governed by 
United States Department of Agriculture audit regulations. See 7 CFR 
1703.108 and 2 CFR part 200 (Subpart F) for a description of the 
financial reporting requirements.
    c. Recipient and Sub-recipient Reporting. The applicant must have 
the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the 
reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive 
compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency 
Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such 
applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR 
170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the Transparency Act 
pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows:
    i. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more (unless they are exempt 
under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month following the month the 
obligation was made. Please note that currently underway is a 
consolidation of eight federal procurement systems, including the 
Federal Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the System 
for Award Management (SAM). As a result the FSRS will soon be 
consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.
    ii. The Total Compensation of the Recipient's Executives (the five 
most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient 
(if the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the 
month in which the award was made.
    iii. The Total Compensation of the Sub-recipient's Executives (the 
five most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Sub-
recipient (if the Sub-recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 
170) to the Recipient by the end of the month following the month in 
which the sub-award was made.
    d. Record Keeping and Accounting. The contract will contain 
provisions related to record keeping and accounting requirements.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    1. Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants. The DLT Web site maintains up-to-date 
resources and contact information for DLT programs.
    2. Telephone: (202) 720-0800.
    3. Fax: 1 (844) 885-8179.
    4. Email: dltinfo@wdc.usda.gov.
    5. Main point of contact: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval, Rural Utilities 
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

H. Other Information

1. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement
    USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and 
applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, 
age,

[[Page 1394]]

disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where 
applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental 
status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is 
derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic 
information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or 
funded by USDA. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs 
and/or employment activities.)
2. How To File a Complaint
    Individuals who wish to file an employment complaint must contact 
their agency's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counselor within 45 
days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act, event, or in the 
case of a personnel action. Additional information can be found online 
at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_file.html.
    Individuals who wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of 
discrimination must complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint 
Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-
9992 to request the form. A letter may also be written containing all 
of the information requested in the form. Send the completed complaint 
form or letter by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, 
Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.
3. Persons With Disabilities
    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech 
disabilities and wish to file either an EEO or program complaint may 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 
(English) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).
    Persons with disabilities who wish to file a program complaint, 
please see information above on how to contact USDA by mail or email. 
Individuals who require alternative means of communication for program 
information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) may contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Dated: December 8, 2015.
Brandon McBride,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-00405 Filed 1-11-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P