Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, 31638-31644 [2021-12454]

Download as PDF 31638 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations requirements other than those currently imposed by State law. For further information on how this authorization complies with applicable executive orders and statutory provisions, please see the Proposed Rule published in the April 5, 2021, Federal Register at 86 FR 17572. The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The EPA will submit a report containing this document and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a ‘‘major rule’’ as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This final action will be effective June 15, 2021. List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 271 Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Hazardous waste, Hazardous waste transportation, Indian lands, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Authority: This action is issued under the authority of sections 2002(a), 3006, and 7004(b) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 6926, and 6974(b). Dated: June 1, 2021. Deborah Jordan, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2021–12458 Filed 6–14–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P Table of Contents DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE I. Background II. Statutory Requirements III. Regulatory Analyses & Notices National Telecommunications and Information Administration 47 CFR Part 302 [Docket No. 210608–0124] RIN 0660–AA36 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the ‘‘Act’’) appropriated $285 million to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program. The CMC Pilot Program will provide grants to eligible historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs); Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs); and Minorityserving institutions (MSIs) in anchor communities for broadband internet access service, equipment, or to hire information technology personnel to facilitate educational instruction including remote instruction, and to lend or provide equipment to eligible students or patrons. This final rule describes NTIA’s programmatic scope, eligibility criteria, and general guidelines for the CMC Pilot Program as authorized by the Act. NTIA will subsequently publish a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on www.grants.gov that will provide more details regarding the CMC eligibility guidelines, application instructions, and program requirements. DATES: This final rule is effective on June 15, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Woods, Senior Broadband Program Specialist, telephone: (202) 306–3096, email: SWoods@ntia.gov; or Francine Alkisswani, Telecommunications Policy Analyst, telephone: (202) 482–5560, email: FAlkisswani@ntia.gov, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4878, Washington, DC 20230. SUMMARY: Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Department of Commerce (DOC). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 I. Background NTIA, the Executive Branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues, launched its Minority Broadband Initiative (MBI) in November 2019 as an integral part of NTIA’s mission and commitment to expanding broadband internet access and adoption in America. With the MBI, NTIA took the lead on minority stakeholder engagement on broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas of the country through initially partnering with HBCUs PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 and TCUs. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, Section 902, Public Law 116– 260, 134 Stat. 1182 (Dec. 27, 2020), codifies the work of the MBI by directing NTIA to establish the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives, expanding the Agency’s reach to engage MSIs, and to promulgate rules establishing the CMC Pilot Program. The purpose of the Act is to realize the potential of HBCU, TCU, and MSI institutions that will aid in America’s economic development, growth of social capital and increased productivity. NTIA will build and expand upon its relationships with HBCU, TCU and MSI institutions to both fulfill the duties of the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives and to implement the CMC Pilot Program. Moreover, NTIA’s mission is to foster robust broadband access, connectivity and adoption as these are essential elements to support the nation’s economic growth and social advancement. NTIA believes that broadband is a conduit for economic development and social opportunities for U.S. households and a gateway to increased productivity, growth and market access for businesses of all sizes. Yet, many American communities, households and critical anchor institutions lack sufficient broadband connectivity and experience significant challenges with digital inclusion, adoption, access and equity, specifically within vulnerable communities, communities of color, and with students at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs. The COVID– 19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequities for students, faculty and staff at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs. To address these critical issues, Congress passed the Act to enhance and expand certain provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the ‘‘CARES Act’’).1 In the Act, Congress directed NTIA to provide grants to eligible recipients in anchor communities for the purchase of broadband internet access service or any eligible equipment, or to hire and train information technology personnel: (1) To facilitate educational instruction and learning, including through remote instruction; or (2) to operate a minority business enterprise; or (3) to operate a tax-exempt organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Through this CMC Pilot Program, NTIA will directly address the lack of broadband access, connectivity, adoption and equity at our 1 See Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Public Law 116–136, 134 Stat. 281 (Mar. 27, 2020). E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations nation’s HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and in their surrounding anchor communities. II. Statutory Requirements NTIA adopts these rules to establish, implement, and administer the CMC Pilot Program. Under the Act, Congress directed NTIA to promulgate these rules to establish a method to identify, determine and verify CMC applicant eligibility; to identify which eligible recipients in anchor communities have the greatest unmet financial needs; and to ensure that grants under the Pilot Program are made to eligible recipients in a manner that best achieves the purposes of the Pilot Program.2 Accordingly, NTIA developed the following methodology and supporting rationale utilizing information and data from the agency’s National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) and in consultation with several Federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education (ED), National Center for khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Type Education Statistics (NCES), Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 1. Method for identifying and verifying that an applicant is an HBCU, TCU, or MSI eligible recipient. NTIA will analyze available data to establish program eligibility as follows: a. Eligible institutions must be designated in one of the seven categories delineated by the U.S. Department of Education as authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965.3 b. Where the school type has been legislatively defined and a list of institutions is available from the Federal government, as is the case for HBCUs and TCUs, NTIA will use the data/ information provided by the NCES to verify their historical designation. c. Where the U.S. Department of Education provides eligibility criteria, but does not publish a definitive list of institutions (for example, Asian American and Native American Pacific Number of schools HBCU ............. HSI ................. 102 501 TCU ................ ANNH ............. 37 66 PBI ................. 104 AANAPISI ...... 336 NASNTI .......... 32 31639 Islander-serving institution (AANAPISI), Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), Predominantly Black institution (PBI), Alaska Native-serving institution/Native Hawaiian-serving institution (ANNH), and Native American-serving, non-Tribal institution (NASNTI) designations), NTIA has defined the universe of eligible institutions as those institutions that the U.S. Department of Education defines as eligible or potentially eligible in that category within the U.S. Department of Education’s most recently released Eligibility Matrix.4 (Currently the 2020 Eligibility Matrix, but NTIA will update this approach to include the U.S. Department of Education’s 2021 Eligibility Matrix, and any subsequent Matrix, as applicable, upon release.) Accordingly, under this methodology and rationale, NTIA estimates the universe of ‘‘eligible’’ recipient institutions, as of 2020,5 is as follows: Method Most recent NCES list of HBCUs.6 Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in HSI category. Most recent NCES list of TCUs.7 Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in ANNH or ANNH F categories. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in PBI F or PBI A categories. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in AANAPISI or AANAPISI F categories. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in NASNTI or NASNTI F categories. the most recent Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix available, in the the most recent Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix available, in the the most recent Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix available, in the the most recent Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix available, in the the most recent Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix available, in the 2. Method for identifying and mapping areas or anchor communities that are within a 15-mile radius of each eligible HBCU, TCU, or MSI and that meet the estimated median annual household income of not more than 250 percent of the poverty line. To identify those areas surrounding a qualifying institution in which the ‘‘estimated median annual household income is not more than 250 percent of the poverty line,’’ NTIA will use median household income estimates from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) for each census tract falling wholly or partially within the applicable area (so long as corresponding poverty threshold data is also available for that time period, to ensure comparison of similar datasets). Census tracts are the smallest geographic units for which median household income estimates are available, enabling more precise identification of the eligible areas defined in the statute. Currently, the most recent available data estimates are from 2015–2019. For each relevant census tract, NTIA will compare the median household income estimate with the most recent poverty thresholds published by the Census Bureau (so long as corresponding household income data is also available for that time period, as discussed above). Currently, the most recent available data is from 2019. NTIA will use the weighted average poverty threshold that corresponds to the mean household size in each tract. If the mean household size is between two whole numbers, NTIA will round up to the next whole number to determine the applicable weighted average poverty threshold. This will help to ensure that the program’s eligibility standards include as many communities in need as possible. If the median household income of a census tract does not exceed 2.5 times the applicable weighted average poverty threshold, that tract will be considered 2 See Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, Section 902(c)(1)(B), Public Law 116–260, 134 Stat. 1182 (Dec. 27, 2020). 3 See U.S. Dep’t of Education, List of Postsecondary Institutions Enrolling Populations with Significant Percentages of Undergraduate Minority Students, https://www2.ed.gov/about/ offices/list/ocr/edlite-minorityinst.html (last visited May 18, 2021). 4 See U.S. Dep’t of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Eligibility Designations and Applications for Waiver of Eligibility Requirements, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/ list/ope/idues/eligibility.html (last visited May 18, 2021). 5 Several Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) will qualify under more than one category in the table below. Therefore, the total universe of eligible institutions is not the total number of schools in all category types. 6 See National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, https://nces.ed.gov/COLLEGE NAVIGATOR/?s=all&sp=4 (last visited May 18, 2021). 7 See National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, https://nces.ed.gov/COLLEGE NAVIGATOR/?s=all&sp=8 (last visited May 18, 2021). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 31640 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations part of the anchor community. These data sets have a small margin of error that may affect the potential eligibility of particular census tracts, and data gaps may exist. NTIA will address this margin of error and an applicant’s submission of its own data to support eligibility in the program’s NOFO. A further breakdown of NTIA’s approach is as follows: a. The 250 percent threshold will be determined for household size based on the most recent poverty thresholds available from the U.S. Census Bureau, so long as household size data for that time period is also available.8 b. The 250 percent poverty threshold by household size will then be applied to the average household size in each census tract according to the most recent American Community Survey data available, so long as poverty threshold data for that time period is also available. c. Utilizing capabilities within the NBAM platform, a 15-mile buffer will be drawn around each eligible institution as described above. d. A digital overlay will be used to select all census tracts for each anchor community boundary. If any part of a census tract falls within the boundary, NTIA will include that entire census tract in order to avoid excluding potentially eligible communities. The median household income in each anchor community census tract will be compared to the 250 percent poverty threshold as defined above to determine if the anchor community tract does not exceed the prescribed poverty threshold. 3. Method to determine a comparable maximum distance for TCU anchor community located on land held in trust by the United States is statistically comparable to anchor communities defined as not more than 15 miles from an HBCU, TCU or MSI. In the Act, Congress also directed that NTIA may establish, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, a separate anchor community boundary for those Tribal schools located on land held in trust by the United States, if NTIA can ensure that each anchor community that is established is statistically comparable to other anchor communities within the CMC Pilot Program. After consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and upon review of the applicable data and information for the purposes of CMC Pilot Program consideration, NTIA will apply this standard as follows: For TCUs located on land held in trust by the United States that are also located within a reservation, the boundary of the reservation on which the TCU falls will be substituted for the 15-mile buffer to create an Area of Interest (AOI) for each institution. These AOIs will be used to define the institution’s anchor community boundary. 4. Method to identify which eligible recipients have the greatest unmet financial need. NTIA has interpreted that this requirement refers to both the ‘‘eligible institution’’ and the ‘‘students that attend the eligible institutions’’ and therefore, for ease of application, will analyze the student need data. Accordingly, to determine which eligible recipients have students with the greatest unmet financial needs, each applying eligible institution must provide the following information in their application for funding (or as much of the information as is reasonably available to the institution), to include any supplementary information to explain the data: (i) Student population size; (ii) Number and percentage of students that are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants; (iii) Number and percentage of students that receive other need-based financial aid from the Federal government, a State, or that institution; (iv) Number and percentage of students that qualify as low-income consumers; 9 (v) Number and percentage of students that are low-income individuals; 10 and (vi) Number and percentage of students that have been approved to receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law since March 1, 2020. NTIA will analyze the submitted information for each of these criteria and will develop an assessment of each institution’s student body-based unmet financial needs. These assessments will be compared across all submitted applications during the merit review phase and program eligibility determinations will be made based on an evaluation of the data provided and accompanying explanatory information. Final recommendations for project approval and grant funding will be made for those eligible anchor institutions that have demonstrated the highest unmet financial need. 5. Method for verifying that a designated Minority Business Enterprise 8 See U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/ demo/income-poverty/historical-povertythresholds.html (last visited May 18, 2021). 9 As defined under 47 CFR part 54, subpart E, or any successor regulations. 10 As that term is defined in section 312(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (MBE) or a 501(c)(3) organization applying as a member of the consortium is an eligible entity. NTIA will require that a consortium applicant that is an MBE self-certify that it is an MBE-designated entity. For consortium applicants that claim tax exempt status, NTIA will utilize the Internal Revenue Service’s 501(c)(3) certification portal/database to verify the organization’s 501(c)(3) status. As required by section 902(c)(1) of the Act, we are including all eligibility requirements in the program rules below in §§ 302.3–302.6. Further, § 302.5 addresses the interagency coordination required by section 902(c)(3) of the Act. III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Policies and Procedures) This rule has been determined to be significant under of Executive Order 12866, and therefore has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Administrative Procedure Act The effective date of this final rule is the date of publication in the Federal Register. The Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking requirements, including the requirement to engage in a notice and comment process and the 30-day delay in effective date for substantive rules, do not apply here as this rule concerns grants. See 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2). Regulatory Flexibility Act This final rule is not subject to the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as NTIA was not required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking or provide an opportunity for notice and public comment prior to publication of this final rule. See 5 U.S.C. 601(2), 603, 604. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is required, and none has been prepared. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) This final rule does not contain policies having federalism implications requiring preparations of a Federalism Summary Impact Statement. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) This rulemaking has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, as amended by Executive Order 13175. NTIA has determined that the final rule meets the applicable standards provided in section 3 of the Executive Order to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Consultation) Applications under this program are subject to Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,’’ which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. Non-TCU applicants are required to submit a copy of their applications to their designated State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) offices. See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V. NTIA respects the sovereignty of Tribal nations and the various arms of Tribal governments, including institutions of higher education. TCUs will be encouraged to consult with the Tribal entity through which they are chartered, to promote collaboration and a unified approach to addressing the mission of the CMC Pilot Program. Executive Order 12630 This final rule does not contain policies that have takings implications. Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribes) NTIA has analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13175 and has determined that the action would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian Tribes, would not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian Tribal governments, and would not preempt Tribal law. Therefore, a Tribal summary impact statement is not required. Paperwork Reduction Act This document does not contain new collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Unfunded Mandates Reform Act This final rule contains no federal mandates (under the regulatory provision of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995) for State, local, and Tribal governments or the private sector. The program is voluntary and applicants that meet all eligibility requirements could receive grant funds. Thus, this rulemaking is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. National Environmental Policy Act NTIA has reviewed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act. NTIA has determined that this final rule would not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 302 Broadband, Grant Programs, internet, Telecommunications. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 Dated: June 9, 2021. Evelyn Remaley, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In consideration of the foregoing, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of Commerce, adds 47 CFR part 302 to read as follows: ■ PART 302—CONNECTING MINORITY COMMUNITIES PILOT PROGRAM Sec. 302.1 Purpose. 302.2 Definitions. 302.3 Who may apply. 302.4 Application requirements. 302.5 Approval and award. 302.6 Distribution of grant funds. 302.7 Eligible uses for grant funds. 302.8 Continuing compliance. 302.9 Financial and administrative requirements. 302.10 Closeout. 302.11 Waiver authority. 302.12 Program termination. Authority: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, section 902, Pub. L. 116–260, 134 Stat. 1182 (Dec. 27, 2020). § 302.1 Purpose. This part establishes uniform application, approval, award, financial and administrative requirements for the Connecting Minority Communities pilot program authorized under Division N, Title IX, section 902, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. § 302.2 Definitions. As used in this part— Anchor Community means any area that— (1) Except as provided in the definition of Certain Tribal Colleges or Universities below, is not more than 15 miles from a historically Black college or university, a Tribal College or University, or a Minority-serving institution; and (2) Has an estimated median annual household income (based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data) of not more than 250 percent of the poverty line, as that term is defined in section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)). NTIA will use data from the most recent time period for which both household income and poverty line data are available. Certain Tribal Colleges or Universities means, with respect to a Tribal College or University that is located on land held in trust by the United States, the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, may PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 31641 establish a different maximum distance for the purposes of designating an anchor community if the Assistant Secretary is able to ensure that, in establishing that different maximum distance, each anchor community that is established as a result of that action is statistically comparable to other anchor communities described in the definition of Anchor Community in this section. After consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and review of the relevant statistical data, the Assistant Secretary has determined that, for TCUs located on land held in trust by the United States that are also located within a reservation, the boundary of the reservation on which the TCU falls will be substituted for the 15-mile buffer to create an Area of Interest (AOI) for each institution. These AOIs will be used to define the institution’s anchor community boundary. Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Broadband internet access service has the meaning given the term in 47 CFR 8.1(b), or any successor regulation. Commission means the Federal Communications Commission. Connected device means a laptop computer, tablet computer, or similar device that can connect to broadband internet access service. Director means the Director of the Office. Eligible equipment means— (1) A Wi-Fi hotspot; (2) A modem; (3) A router; (4) A device that combines a modem and router; (5) A connected device; or (6) Any other equipment used to provide access to broadband internet access service. Eligible recipient means— (1) A historically Black college or university; (2) A Tribal College or University; (3) A Minority-serving institution; or (4) A consortium that is led by a historically Black college or university, a Tribal College or University, or a Minority-serving institution and that also includes— (i) A Minority Business Enterprise; or (ii) An organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code. Historically Black college or university has the meaning given the term ‘‘part B institution’’ in section 322 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1061). E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 31642 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Minority-serving institution means any of the following: (1) An Alaska Native-serving institution, as that term is defined in section 317(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059d(b)). (2) A Native Hawaiian-serving institution, as that term is defined in section 317(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059d(b)). (3) A Hispanic-serving institution, as that term is defined in section 502(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1101a(a)). (4) A Predominantly Black institution, as that term is defined in section 371(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1067q(c)). (5) An Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, as that term is defined in section 320(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059g(b)). (6) A Native American-serving, nonTribal institution, as that term is defined in section 319(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059f(b)). Minority Business Enterprise has the meaning given the term in 15 CFR 1400.2, or any successor regulation. Office means the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives established pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, section 902(b)(1). Tribal College or University has the meaning given the term in section 316(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059c(b)). Wi-Fi means a wireless networking protocol based on Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers standard 802.11, or any successor standard. Wi-Fi hotspot means a device that is capable of— (1) Receiving broadband internet access service; and (2) Sharing broadband internet access service with another device through the use of Wi-Fi. § 302.3 Who may apply. (a) Eligible recipient. To apply for a CMC grant under this part, an applicant must be an eligible recipient in an anchor community as defined in § 302.2. NTIA will rely on the following sources of information to determine whether an applicant is an eligible recipient: TABLE 1 TO PARAGRAPH (a) Type NTIA Validation method Historically Black College or University (HBCU) Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) ....................... Tribal College or University (TCU) ..................... Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (ANNH) ..... Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) ................. Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institution (NASNTI). (b) Eligibility for consortia members. For consortium applications led by eligible recipients described in paragraph (a) of this section, NTIA will require that any Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) consortium member self-certify that it is a MBE-designated entity. For consortium members that claim tax-exempt status, NTIA will utilize the Internal Revenue Service’s 501(c)(3) certification portal/database to verify the consortium member’s taxexempt status. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES § 302.4 Application requirements. (a) Contents for an application. An application for funds for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program must consist of the following components: (1) Project narrative. The project narrative should describe a clearly defined project that best achieves the purposes of the CMC Pilot Program. The project narrative must demonstrate that every project, activity, and cost listed in the application meets the eligible use requirements in § 302.7. The project narrative should include the following information: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 Most recent NCES list of HBCUs. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in the most recent available, in the HSI category. Most recent NCES list of TCUs. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in the most recent available, in the ANNH or ANNH F categories. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in the most recent available, in the PBI F or PBI A categories. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in the most recent available, in the AANAPISI or AANAPISI F categories. Defined as eligible or potentially eligible in the most recent available, in the NASNTI or NASNTI F categories. (i) Project justification. Please describe the primary goals of your project, a description of the community needs and challenges that your proposed project will address and who will directly benefit from your project, including the institution, the anchor community, students, minority business enterprises and/or tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. The HBCU, TCU, or MSI applicant must include the following information (or as much of the information as is reasonably available to the institution), to include any supplementary information to explain the data: (A) Student population size; (B) Number and percentage of students that are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants; (C) Number and percentage of students that receive other need-based financial aid from the Federal Government, a State, or that institution; (D) Number and percentage of students that qualify as low-income consumers for the purposes of the program carried out under 47 CFR part 54, subpart E, or any successor regulations; PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix Dep’t of Education Eligibility Matrix (E) Number and percentage of students that are low-income individuals as that term is defined in section 312(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)); and (F) Number and percentage of students that have been approved to receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law since March 1, 2020. (ii) Project activities. Please provide details about the specific grant-funded activities you plan to carry out; who will plan, implement, and manage your project, including the lead organization and principal partner organizations; and a project schedule, including significant milestones that describe when and in what sequence your project activities will occur. (iii) Project results. Please provide a description of your project’s intended results and how you plan to evaluate the benefits of your project. Please describe proposed metrics, what data you plan to collect, and the evaluation methodologies. (2) Project budget. A project budget for all proposed projects and activities to be funded by the grant funds must be E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations reasonable and the allocation of funds must sufficient to complete the tasks outlined in the project narrative. Budget clarity and cost effectiveness are essential. The budget is a description of the resources the applicant proposes to use to complete the project in the time period that the applicant specifies. The budget should include the cost of all items needed to complete the project. The administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements listed in 2 CFR part 200, the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, will be incorporated into each award. (3) Budget narrative. The application must include a budget narrative that clearly relates each of the activities the applicant proposes in the Project Narrative to the relevant section of the Project Budget. (b) Due dates—application deadline. The applicant must submit the completed application by the application deadline provided in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, which will be subsequently published by NTIA and publicly accessible at www.grants.gov. Failure to meet the application deadline will generally preclude the applicant from receiving consideration for a grant award. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES § 302.5 Approval and award. (a) NTIA will review each application for compliance with the requirements of this part. (b) NTIA may request additional information from the applicant, with respect to any of the application submission requirements of § 302.4, prior to making a recommendation for an award. Failure to submit such additional information may preclude the applicant from further consideration for award. (c) When making grant awards, NTIA will coordinate with other Federal agencies, including the Commission, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Education, to ensure the efficient expenditure of Federal funds, including by preventing multiple expenditures of Federal funds for the same purpose. (d) The Assistant Secretary will recommend to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Grants Management Division, approval of grant awards to qualifying applicants. NIST, serving as the Grants Office for the CMC grant program, will then issue grant awards in writing to the successful applicants. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 § 302.6 Distribution of grant funds. (a) Funding allocation. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section— (1) In general. (i) Grant funds for each eligible recipient that meets the eligibility and/or certification requirements set forth in § 302.3 will be allocated to the applicants with the greatest unmet financial needs, based on evaluation of the following data provided by the applicant (including any supplementary information provided to explain the data) or by other Federal agencies: (A) Student population size; (B) Number and percentage of students that are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants; (C) Number and percentage of students that receive other need-based financial aid from the Federal Government, a State, or that eligible recipient; (D) Number and percentage of students that are qualifying low-income consumers for the purposes of the program carried out under 47 CFR part 54, subpart E, or any successor regulations; (E) Number and percentage of students that are low-income individuals as that term is defined in section 312(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)); and (F) Number and percentage of students that have been approved to receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law since March 1, 2020. (ii) Upon submission, NTIA will assess each institution’s student bodybased unmet financial needs. These assessments will be compared across all submitted applications during the merit review phase and program eligibility determinations will be made based on an evaluation of the data provided and any accompanying explanatory information. Final recommendations for project approval and grant funding will generally be made for those eligible anchor institutions that have demonstrated the greatest unmet financial need. (2) Historically Black colleges or universities set-aside. In accordance with the requirement set forth in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, at least 40 percent of the grant funds awarded pursuant to the CMC Pilot Program will be set aside for distribution to qualifying historically Black colleges or universities. (3) Student support set-aside. In accordance with the requirement set forth in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, at least 20 percent of grant funds awarded PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 31643 pursuant to the CMC Pilot Program will be set aside for eligible HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs to provide broadband internet access service or eligible equipment to their students. (b) Additional notices of funding opportunity. Grant funds that are not distributed under paragraph (a) of this section may be made available to applicants through subsequent Notices of Funding Opportunity, which will be published by NTIA and publicly accessible via www.grants.gov. § 302.7 Eligible uses for grant funds. (a) Eligible uses. In general and subject to the more specific uses listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section, grant funds awarded to HBCUs, TCUs or MSIs may be used as appropriate to facilitate educational instruction and learning, including through remote instruction; and grant funds awarded to consortia including Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) or Tax-Exempt Organizations may be used to operate that MBE or Tax-Exempt Organization. Grant funds awarded under this part may only be used for the following purposes: (1) The purchase of broadband internet access service, including the installation or upgrade of broadband facilities on a one-time, capital improvement, basis in order to increase or expand broadband capacity and/or connectivity at the eligible institution; (2) The purchase or lease of eligible equipment and devices for student or patron use, subject to any restrictions and prohibited uses identified in paragraph (d) of this section; and (3) To hire and train information technology personnel who are a part of the eligible anchor institution, MBE or Tax-Exempt Organization. (b) Student priority for the provision of broadband services, devices, and equipment. The HBCUs, TCUs or MSI applicant must certify that if it receives a grant under this part to provide broadband internet access service or eligible equipment to students that it will, as a condition of that grant, prioritize students in need, in accordance with the following criteria: (1) Students who are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants; (2) Students who receive any other need-based financial aid from the Federal Government, a State, or the eligible recipient; (3) Students who are qualifying lowincome consumers for the purposes of the program carried out under 47 CFR part 54, subpart E, or any successor regulations; (4) Students who are low-income individuals as that term is defined in E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 31644 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 15, 2021 / Rules and Regulations section 312(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)); or (5) Students who have been approved to receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law since March 1, 2020. (c) Prioritization of students and patrons without equipment and/or broadband access. Any recipient that lends or provides eligible equipment to students or patrons must prioritize the lending or providing of such equipment or devices to students or patrons that the recipient believes do not have access to such equipment. (d) Prohibited uses. The sale or transfer of any portion of the grantfunded equipment for a thing (including a service) of value during the life of equipment is prohibited. Recipients are required to comply with the property standards, including the use and disposition requirements, contained in 2 CFR 200.311 through 200.316, and with the terms and conditions set forth in the grant award. § 302.8 Continuing compliance. (a) The applicant must certify that it has complied with the required statutory and programmatic conditions in submitting its application. (b) A grant recipient must submit on an annual basis, 30 days after the end of each Federal fiscal year in which grant funds are available, a certification regarding compliance and use of CMC grant funds as outlined in § 302.7. (c) Where a recipient knowingly provides false or inaccurate information in its certification related use of CMC grant funds, the recipient shall— (1) Not be eligible to receive the grant under this part; (2) Return any grant awarded under this part during the time that the certification was not valid; and (3) Not be eligible to receive any subsequent grants under this part. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES § 302.9 Financial and administrative requirements. (a) General. The requirements of 2 CFR part 200, the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, govern the implementation and management of grants awarded under this part. Awards issued pursuant to this program will also be subject to the Department of Commerce Standard Terms and Conditions for Financial Assistance Awards that are in effect on the date of the award. The current version, dated VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:05 Jun 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 November 12, 2020, is accessible at: https://www.commerce.gov/sites/ default/files/2020-11/ DOC%20Standard%20Terms% 20and%20Conditions%20%2012%20November %202020%20PDF_0.pdf. Awards issued pursuant to this program may also be subject to specific award conditions as authorized by 2 CFR 200.208. (b) Reporting requirements—(1) Performance reports. Each grant recipient shall submit semi-annual and annual performance reports to NTIA, following the procedures of 2 CFR 200.329. Semi-annual performance reports are due within 30 calendar days after the reporting period. Annual performance reports are due within 90 calendar days after the reporting period, except when a final report is required under § 302.10. (2) Financial reports. Each recipient shall submit quarterly financial reports to NTIA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), following the procedures of 2 CFR 200.328, within 30 calendar days after the reporting period, except when a final financial report is required under § 302.10. (c) Audit requirements. All CMC grant awards are subject to audit in accordance with 2 CFR part 200, subpart F and the Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions. Specifically, 2 CFR part 200, subpart F, adopted by the Department of Commerce through 2 CFR 1327.101 requires any non-federal entity (as defined in 2 CFR 200.1) that expends Federal awards of $750,000 or more in the recipient’s fiscal year to conduct a single or program-specific audit in accordance with the requirements set out in subpart F. Additionally, unless otherwise specified in the terms and conditions of the award, entities that are not subject to subpart F of 2 CFR part 200 (e.g., commercial entities) that expend $750,000 or more in DOC funds during their fiscal year must submit to the Grants Officer either: A financial related audit of each DOC award or subaward in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards; or a project specific audit for each award or subaward in accordance with the requirements contained in 2 CFR 200.507. Applicants are reminded that NTIA, NIST, the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, or another authorized Federal agency PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 may conduct an audit of an award at any time. § 302.10 Closeout. (a) Expiration of the right to incur costs. The right to incur programmatic costs under this part will expire at the end of the period of performance. The right to incur closeout costs under this part will expire at the end of the 120day closeout period, unless this period is extended in writing by the Grants Officer. (b) Final submissions. Within 120 calendar days after the completion of projects and activities funded under this part, but in no event later than the closeout period expiration date identified in paragraph (a) of this section, each grant recipient must submit— (1) A final financial report to NTIA/ NIST, following the procedures of 2 CFR 200.344(a); and (2) A final performance report to NTIA/NIST, following the procedures of 2 CFR 200.344(a). (c) Disposition of unexpended balances. Any funds that remain unexpended after closeout shall cease to be available to the recipient and shall be returned to the Federal Government. § 302.11 Waiver authority. It is the general intent of NTIA not to waive any of the provisions set forth in this part. However, under extraordinary circumstances and when it is in the best interest of the Federal government, NTIA, upon its own initiative or when requested, may waive the provisions in this part. Waivers may only be granted for requirements that are discretionary and not mandated by statute or other applicable law. Any request for a waiver must set forth the extraordinary circumstances for the request. § 302.12 Program termination. Except with respect to the report required under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, section 902(c)(7), and the authority of the Secretary of Commerce and the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce described in section 902(c)(8), the CMC Pilot Program, including all reporting requirements under section 902, shall terminate on the date on which the amounts made available to carry out the CMC Pilot Program are fully expended. [FR Doc. 2021–12454 Filed 6–14–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–60–P E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 113 (Tuesday, June 15, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31638-31644]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-12454]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

47 CFR Part 302

[Docket No. 210608-0124]
RIN 0660-AA36


Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the ``Act'') 
appropriated $285 million to the National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration (NTIA) to establish the Connecting Minority 
Communities (CMC) Pilot Program. The CMC Pilot Program will provide 
grants to eligible historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs); 
Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs); and Minority-serving 
institutions (MSIs) in anchor communities for broadband internet access 
service, equipment, or to hire information technology personnel to 
facilitate educational instruction including remote instruction, and to 
lend or provide equipment to eligible students or patrons. This final 
rule describes NTIA's programmatic scope, eligibility criteria, and 
general guidelines for the CMC Pilot Program as authorized by the Act. 
NTIA will subsequently publish a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) 
on www.grants.gov that will provide more details regarding the CMC 
eligibility guidelines, application instructions, and program 
requirements.

DATES: This final rule is effective on June 15, 2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Woods, Senior Broadband Program 
Specialist, telephone: (202) 306-3096, email: [email protected]; or 
Francine Alkisswani, Telecommunications Policy Analyst, telephone: 
(202) 482-5560, email: [email protected], Office of 
Telecommunications and Information Applications, National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4878, Washington, DC 20230.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Statutory Requirements
III. Regulatory Analyses & Notices

I. Background

    NTIA, the Executive Branch agency principally responsible for 
advising the President on telecommunications and information policy 
issues, launched its Minority Broadband Initiative (MBI) in November 
2019 as an integral part of NTIA's mission and commitment to expanding 
broadband internet access and adoption in America. With the MBI, NTIA 
took the lead on minority stakeholder engagement on broadband 
deployment in unserved and underserved areas of the country through 
initially partnering with HBCUs and TCUs. The Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, Section 902, Public Law 
116-260, 134 Stat. 1182 (Dec. 27, 2020), codifies the work of the MBI 
by directing NTIA to establish the Office of Minority Broadband 
Initiatives, expanding the Agency's reach to engage MSIs, and to 
promulgate rules establishing the CMC Pilot Program. The purpose of the 
Act is to realize the potential of HBCU, TCU, and MSI institutions that 
will aid in America's economic development, growth of social capital 
and increased productivity. NTIA will build and expand upon its 
relationships with HBCU, TCU and MSI institutions to both fulfill the 
duties of the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives and to implement 
the CMC Pilot Program.
    Moreover, NTIA's mission is to foster robust broadband access, 
connectivity and adoption as these are essential elements to support 
the nation's economic growth and social advancement. NTIA believes that 
broadband is a conduit for economic development and social 
opportunities for U.S. households and a gateway to increased 
productivity, growth and market access for businesses of all sizes. 
Yet, many American communities, households and critical anchor 
institutions lack sufficient broadband connectivity and experience 
significant challenges with digital inclusion, adoption, access and 
equity, specifically within vulnerable communities, communities of 
color, and with students at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs. The COVID-19 pandemic 
has exacerbated these inequities for students, faculty and staff at 
HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs.
    To address these critical issues, Congress passed the Act to 
enhance and expand certain provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, 
and Economic Security Act (the ``CARES Act'').\1\ In the Act, Congress 
directed NTIA to provide grants to eligible recipients in anchor 
communities for the purchase of broadband internet access service or 
any eligible equipment, or to hire and train information technology 
personnel: (1) To facilitate educational instruction and learning, 
including through remote instruction; or (2) to operate a minority 
business enterprise; or (3) to operate a tax-exempt organization 
described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as 
amended. Through this CMC Pilot Program, NTIA will directly address the 
lack of broadband access, connectivity, adoption and equity at our

[[Page 31639]]

nation's HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and in their surrounding anchor 
communities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, 
Public Law 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (Mar. 27, 2020).
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II. Statutory Requirements

    NTIA adopts these rules to establish, implement, and administer the 
CMC Pilot Program. Under the Act, Congress directed NTIA to promulgate 
these rules to establish a method to identify, determine and verify CMC 
applicant eligibility; to identify which eligible recipients in anchor 
communities have the greatest unmet financial needs; and to ensure that 
grants under the Pilot Program are made to eligible recipients in a 
manner that best achieves the purposes of the Pilot Program.\2\
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    \2\ See Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title 
IX, Section 902(c)(1)(B), Public Law 116-260, 134 Stat. 1182 (Dec. 
27, 2020).
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    Accordingly, NTIA developed the following methodology and 
supporting rationale utilizing information and data from the agency's 
National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) and in consultation with 
several Federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education 
(ED), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Minority 
Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Internal Revenue Service 
(IRS).
    1. Method for identifying and verifying that an applicant is an 
HBCU, TCU, or MSI eligible recipient.
    NTIA will analyze available data to establish program eligibility 
as follows:
    a. Eligible institutions must be designated in one of the seven 
categories delineated by the U.S. Department of Education as authorized 
by the Higher Education Act of 1965.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ See U.S. Dep't of Education, List of Postsecondary 
Institutions Enrolling Populations with Significant Percentages of 
Undergraduate Minority Students, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/edlite-minorityinst.html (last visited May 18, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    b. Where the school type has been legislatively defined and a list 
of institutions is available from the Federal government, as is the 
case for HBCUs and TCUs, NTIA will use the data/information provided by 
the NCES to verify their historical designation.
    c. Where the U.S. Department of Education provides eligibility 
criteria, but does not publish a definitive list of institutions (for 
example, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving 
institution (AANAPISI), Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), 
Predominantly Black institution (PBI), Alaska Native-serving 
institution/Native Hawaiian-serving institution (ANNH), and Native 
American-serving, non-Tribal institution (NASNTI) designations), NTIA 
has defined the universe of eligible institutions as those institutions 
that the U.S. Department of Education defines as eligible or 
potentially eligible in that category within the U.S. Department of 
Education's most recently released Eligibility Matrix.\4\ (Currently 
the 2020 Eligibility Matrix, but NTIA will update this approach to 
include the U.S. Department of Education's 2021 Eligibility Matrix, and 
any subsequent Matrix, as applicable, upon release.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ See U.S. Dep't of Education, Office of Postsecondary 
Education, Eligibility Designations and Applications for Waiver of 
Eligibility Requirements, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/idues/eligibility.html (last visited May 18, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Accordingly, under this methodology and rationale, NTIA estimates 
the universe of ``eligible'' recipient institutions, as of 2020,\5\ is 
as follows:
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    \5\ Several Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) will qualify 
under more than one category in the table below. Therefore, the 
total universe of eligible institutions is not the total number of 
schools in all category types.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Number  of
         Type              schools                   Method
------------------------------------------------------------------------
HBCU.................             102  Most recent NCES list of
                                        HBCUs.\6\
HSI..................             501  Defined as eligible or
                                        potentially eligible in the most
                                        recent Dep't of Education
                                        Eligibility Matrix available, in
                                        the HSI category.
TCU..................              37  Most recent NCES list of TCUs.\7\
ANNH.................              66  Defined as eligible or
                                        potentially eligible in the most
                                        recent Dep't of Education
                                        Eligibility Matrix available, in
                                        the ANNH or ANNH F categories.
PBI..................             104  Defined as eligible or
                                        potentially eligible in the most
                                        recent Dep't of Education
                                        Eligibility Matrix available, in
                                        the PBI F or PBI A categories.
AANAPISI.............             336  Defined as eligible or
                                        potentially eligible in the most
                                        recent Dep't of Education
                                        Eligibility Matrix available, in
                                        the AANAPISI or AANAPISI F
                                        categories.
NASNTI...............              32  Defined as eligible or
                                        potentially eligible in the most
                                        recent Dep't of Education
                                        Eligibility Matrix available, in
                                        the NASNTI or NASNTI F
                                        categories.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2. Method for identifying and mapping areas or anchor communities 
that are within a 15-mile radius of each eligible HBCU, TCU, or MSI and 
that meet the estimated median annual household income of not more than 
250 percent of the poverty line.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ See National Center for Education Statistics, College 
Navigator, https://nces.ed.gov/COLLEGENAVIGATOR/?s=all&sp=4 (last 
visited May 18, 2021).
    \7\ See National Center for Education Statistics, College 
Navigator, https://nces.ed.gov/COLLEGENAVIGATOR/?s=all&sp=8 (last 
visited May 18, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To identify those areas surrounding a qualifying institution in 
which the ``estimated median annual household income is not more than 
250 percent of the poverty line,'' NTIA will use median household 
income estimates from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau's American 
Community Survey (ACS) for each census tract falling wholly or 
partially within the applicable area (so long as corresponding poverty 
threshold data is also available for that time period, to ensure 
comparison of similar datasets). Census tracts are the smallest 
geographic units for which median household income estimates are 
available, enabling more precise identification of the eligible areas 
defined in the statute. Currently, the most recent available data 
estimates are from 2015-2019. For each relevant census tract, NTIA will 
compare the median household income estimate with the most recent 
poverty thresholds published by the Census Bureau (so long as 
corresponding household income data is also available for that time 
period, as discussed above). Currently, the most recent available data 
is from 2019. NTIA will use the weighted average poverty threshold that 
corresponds to the mean household size in each tract. If the mean 
household size is between two whole numbers, NTIA will round up to the 
next whole number to determine the applicable weighted average poverty 
threshold. This will help to ensure that the program's eligibility 
standards include as many communities in need as possible. If the 
median household income of a census tract does not exceed 2.5 times the 
applicable weighted average poverty threshold, that tract will be 
considered

[[Page 31640]]

part of the anchor community. These data sets have a small margin of 
error that may affect the potential eligibility of particular census 
tracts, and data gaps may exist. NTIA will address this margin of error 
and an applicant's submission of its own data to support eligibility in 
the program's NOFO. A further breakdown of NTIA's approach is as 
follows:
    a. The 250 percent threshold will be determined for household size 
based on the most recent poverty thresholds available from the U.S. 
Census Bureau, so long as household size data for that time period is 
also available.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ See U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/historical-poverty-thresholds.html (last visited May 18, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    b. The 250 percent poverty threshold by household size will then be 
applied to the average household size in each census tract according to 
the most recent American Community Survey data available, so long as 
poverty threshold data for that time period is also available.
    c. Utilizing capabilities within the NBAM platform, a 15-mile 
buffer will be drawn around each eligible institution as described 
above.
    d. A digital overlay will be used to select all census tracts for 
each anchor community boundary. If any part of a census tract falls 
within the boundary, NTIA will include that entire census tract in 
order to avoid excluding potentially eligible communities. The median 
household income in each anchor community census tract will be compared 
to the 250 percent poverty threshold as defined above to determine if 
the anchor community tract does not exceed the prescribed poverty 
threshold.
    3. Method to determine a comparable maximum distance for TCU anchor 
community located on land held in trust by the United States is 
statistically comparable to anchor communities defined as not more than 
15 miles from an HBCU, TCU or MSI.
    In the Act, Congress also directed that NTIA may establish, in 
consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, a separate anchor 
community boundary for those Tribal schools located on land held in 
trust by the United States, if NTIA can ensure that each anchor 
community that is established is statistically comparable to other 
anchor communities within the CMC Pilot Program. After consultation 
with the Secretary of the Interior and upon review of the applicable 
data and information for the purposes of CMC Pilot Program 
consideration, NTIA will apply this standard as follows: For TCUs 
located on land held in trust by the United States that are also 
located within a reservation, the boundary of the reservation on which 
the TCU falls will be substituted for the 15-mile buffer to create an 
Area of Interest (AOI) for each institution. These AOIs will be used to 
define the institution's anchor community boundary.
    4. Method to identify which eligible recipients have the greatest 
unmet financial need. NTIA has interpreted that this requirement refers 
to both the ``eligible institution'' and the ``students that attend the 
eligible institutions'' and therefore, for ease of application, will 
analyze the student need data. Accordingly, to determine which eligible 
recipients have students with the greatest unmet financial needs, each 
applying eligible institution must provide the following information in 
their application for funding (or as much of the information as is 
reasonably available to the institution), to include any supplementary 
information to explain the data:
    (i) Student population size;
    (ii) Number and percentage of students that are eligible to receive 
Federal Pell Grants;
    (iii) Number and percentage of students that receive other need-
based financial aid from the Federal government, a State, or that 
institution;
    (iv) Number and percentage of students that qualify as low-income 
consumers; \9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ As defined under 47 CFR part 54, subpart E, or any successor 
regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (v) Number and percentage of students that are low-income 
individuals; \10\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ As that term is defined in section 312(g) of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (vi) Number and percentage of students that have been approved to 
receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law 
since March 1, 2020.
    NTIA will analyze the submitted information for each of these 
criteria and will develop an assessment of each institution's student 
body-based unmet financial needs. These assessments will be compared 
across all submitted applications during the merit review phase and 
program eligibility determinations will be made based on an evaluation 
of the data provided and accompanying explanatory information. Final 
recommendations for project approval and grant funding will be made for 
those eligible anchor institutions that have demonstrated the highest 
unmet financial need.
    5. Method for verifying that a designated Minority Business 
Enterprise (MBE) or a 501(c)(3) organization applying as a member of 
the consortium is an eligible entity.
    NTIA will require that a consortium applicant that is an MBE self-
certify that it is an MBE-designated entity. For consortium applicants 
that claim tax exempt status, NTIA will utilize the Internal Revenue 
Service's 501(c)(3) certification portal/database to verify the 
organization's 501(c)(3) status.
    As required by section 902(c)(1) of the Act, we are including all 
eligibility requirements in the program rules below in Sec. Sec.  
302.3-302.6. Further, Sec.  302.5 addresses the interagency 
coordination required by section 902(c)(3) of the Act.

III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Policies and Procedures)

    This rule has been determined to be significant under of Executive 
Order 12866, and therefore has been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB).

Administrative Procedure Act

    The effective date of this final rule is the date of publication in 
the Federal Register. The Administrative Procedure Act's rulemaking 
requirements, including the requirement to engage in a notice and 
comment process and the 30-day delay in effective date for substantive 
rules, do not apply here as this rule concerns grants. See 5 U.S.C. 
553(a)(2).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule is not subject to the requirements of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act, as NTIA was not required to publish a 
notice of proposed rulemaking or provide an opportunity for notice and 
public comment prior to publication of this final rule. See 5 U.S.C. 
601(2), 603, 604. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is 
required, and none has been prepared.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This final rule does not contain policies having federalism 
implications requiring preparations of a Federalism Summary Impact 
Statement.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This rulemaking has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform, as amended by Executive Order 13175. NTIA has 
determined that the final rule meets the applicable standards provided 
in section 3 of the Executive Order to minimize litigation, eliminate 
ambiguity, and reduce burden.

[[Page 31641]]

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Consultation)

    Applications under this program are subject to Executive Order 
12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,'' which requires 
intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. Non-TCU 
applicants are required to submit a copy of their applications to their 
designated State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) offices. See 7 CFR part 
3015, subpart V.
    NTIA respects the sovereignty of Tribal nations and the various 
arms of Tribal governments, including institutions of higher education. 
TCUs will be encouraged to consult with the Tribal entity through which 
they are chartered, to promote collaboration and a unified approach to 
addressing the mission of the CMC Pilot Program.

Executive Order 12630

    This final rule does not contain policies that have takings 
implications.

Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribes)

    NTIA has analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13175 and 
has determined that the action would not have a substantial direct 
effect on one or more Indian Tribes, would not impose substantial 
direct compliance costs on Indian Tribal governments, and would not 
preempt Tribal law. Therefore, a Tribal summary impact statement is not 
required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document does not contain new collection-of-information 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This final rule contains no federal mandates (under the regulatory 
provision of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995) for 
State, local, and Tribal governments or the private sector. The program 
is voluntary and applicants that meet all eligibility requirements 
could receive grant funds. Thus, this rulemaking is not subject to the 
requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act of 1995.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NTIA has reviewed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act. NTIA has determined that this final 
rule would not have a significant impact on the quality of the human 
environment.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 302

    Broadband, Grant Programs, internet, Telecommunications.

    Dated: June 9, 2021.
Evelyn Remaley,
Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and 
Information, National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration.

0
In consideration of the foregoing, the National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration, Department of Commerce, adds 47 CFR part 
302 to read as follows:

PART 302--CONNECTING MINORITY COMMUNITIES PILOT PROGRAM

Sec.
302.1 Purpose.
302.2 Definitions.
302.3 Who may apply.
302.4 Application requirements.
302.5 Approval and award.
302.6 Distribution of grant funds.
302.7 Eligible uses for grant funds.
302.8 Continuing compliance.
302.9 Financial and administrative requirements.
302.10 Closeout.
302.11 Waiver authority.
302.12 Program termination.

    Authority: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, 
Title IX, section 902, Pub. L. 116-260, 134 Stat. 1182 (Dec. 27, 
2020).


Sec.  302.1  Purpose.

    This part establishes uniform application, approval, award, 
financial and administrative requirements for the Connecting Minority 
Communities pilot program authorized under Division N, Title IX, 
section 902, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.


Sec.  302.2  Definitions.

    As used in this part--
    Anchor Community means any area that--
    (1) Except as provided in the definition of Certain Tribal Colleges 
or Universities below, is not more than 15 miles from a historically 
Black college or university, a Tribal College or University, or a 
Minority-serving institution; and
    (2) Has an estimated median annual household income (based on U.S. 
Census Bureau American Community Survey data) of not more than 250 
percent of the poverty line, as that term is defined in section 673(2) 
of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)). NTIA 
will use data from the most recent time period for which both household 
income and poverty line data are available.
    Certain Tribal Colleges or Universities means, with respect to a 
Tribal College or University that is located on land held in trust by 
the United States, the Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the 
Secretary of the Interior, may establish a different maximum distance 
for the purposes of designating an anchor community if the Assistant 
Secretary is able to ensure that, in establishing that different 
maximum distance, each anchor community that is established as a result 
of that action is statistically comparable to other anchor communities 
described in the definition of Anchor Community in this section. After 
consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and review of the 
relevant statistical data, the Assistant Secretary has determined that, 
for TCUs located on land held in trust by the United States that are 
also located within a reservation, the boundary of the reservation on 
which the TCU falls will be substituted for the 15-mile buffer to 
create an Area of Interest (AOI) for each institution. These AOIs will 
be used to define the institution's anchor community boundary.
    Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for 
Communications and Information, and Administrator of the National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
    Broadband internet access service has the meaning given the term in 
47 CFR 8.1(b), or any successor regulation.
    Commission means the Federal Communications Commission.
    Connected device means a laptop computer, tablet computer, or 
similar device that can connect to broadband internet access service.
    Director means the Director of the Office.
    Eligible equipment means--
    (1) A Wi-Fi hotspot;
    (2) A modem;
    (3) A router;
    (4) A device that combines a modem and router;
    (5) A connected device; or
    (6) Any other equipment used to provide access to broadband 
internet access service.
    Eligible recipient means--
    (1) A historically Black college or university;
    (2) A Tribal College or University;
    (3) A Minority-serving institution; or
    (4) A consortium that is led by a historically Black college or 
university, a Tribal College or University, or a Minority-serving 
institution and that also includes--
    (i) A Minority Business Enterprise; or
    (ii) An organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal 
Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such 
Code.
    Historically Black college or university has the meaning given the 
term ``part B institution'' in section 322 of the Higher Education Act 
of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1061).

[[Page 31642]]

    Minority-serving institution means any of the following:
    (1) An Alaska Native-serving institution, as that term is defined 
in section 317(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1059d(b)).
    (2) A Native Hawaiian-serving institution, as that term is defined 
in section 317(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1059d(b)).
    (3) A Hispanic-serving institution, as that term is defined in 
section 502(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1101a(a)).
    (4) A Predominantly Black institution, as that term is defined in 
section 371(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1067q(c)).
    (5) An Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving 
institution, as that term is defined in section 320(b) of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059g(b)).
    (6) A Native American-serving, non-Tribal institution, as that term 
is defined in section 319(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
U.S.C. 1059f(b)).
    Minority Business Enterprise has the meaning given the term in 15 
CFR 1400.2, or any successor regulation.
    Office means the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives 
established pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, 
Division N, Title IX, section 902(b)(1).
    Tribal College or University has the meaning given the term in 
section 316(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1059c(b)).
    Wi-Fi means a wireless networking protocol based on Institute of 
Electrical and Electronics Engineers standard 802.11, or any successor 
standard.
    Wi-Fi hotspot means a device that is capable of--
    (1) Receiving broadband internet access service; and
    (2) Sharing broadband internet access service with another device 
through the use of Wi-Fi.


Sec.  302.3  Who may apply.

    (a) Eligible recipient. To apply for a CMC grant under this part, 
an applicant must be an eligible recipient in an anchor community as 
defined in Sec.  302.2. NTIA will rely on the following sources of 
information to determine whether an applicant is an eligible recipient:

                        Table 1 to Paragraph (a)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Type                        NTIA Validation method
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Historically Black College or  Most recent NCES list of HBCUs.
 University (HBCU).
Hispanic-Serving Institution   Defined as eligible or potentially
 (HSI).                         eligible in the most recent Dep't of
                                Education Eligibility Matrix available,
                                in the HSI category.
Tribal College or University   Most recent NCES list of TCUs.
 (TCU).
Alaska Native and Native       Defined as eligible or potentially
 Hawaiian (ANNH).               eligible in the most recent Dep't of
                                Education Eligibility Matrix available,
                                in the ANNH or ANNH F categories.
Predominantly Black            Defined as eligible or potentially
 Institution (PBI).             eligible in the most recent Dep't of
                                Education Eligibility Matrix available,
                                in the PBI F or PBI A categories.
Asian American and Native      Defined as eligible or potentially
 American Pacific Islander-     eligible in the most recent Dep't of
 Serving Institution            Education Eligibility Matrix available,
 (AANAPISI).                    in the AANAPISI or AANAPISI F
                                categories.
Native American-Serving Non-   Defined as eligible or potentially
 Tribal Institution (NASNTI).   eligible in the most recent Dep't of
                                Education Eligibility Matrix available,
                                in the NASNTI or NASNTI F categories.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) Eligibility for consortia members. For consortium applications 
led by eligible recipients described in paragraph (a) of this section, 
NTIA will require that any Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) 
consortium member self-certify that it is a MBE-designated entity. For 
consortium members that claim tax-exempt status, NTIA will utilize the 
Internal Revenue Service's 501(c)(3) certification portal/database to 
verify the consortium member's tax-exempt status.


Sec.  302.4  Application requirements.

    (a) Contents for an application. An application for funds for the 
Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program must consist of the 
following components:
    (1) Project narrative. The project narrative should describe a 
clearly defined project that best achieves the purposes of the CMC 
Pilot Program. The project narrative must demonstrate that every 
project, activity, and cost listed in the application meets the 
eligible use requirements in Sec.  302.7. The project narrative should 
include the following information:
    (i) Project justification. Please describe the primary goals of 
your project, a description of the community needs and challenges that 
your proposed project will address and who will directly benefit from 
your project, including the institution, the anchor community, 
students, minority business enterprises and/or tax-exempt non-profit 
organizations. The HBCU, TCU, or MSI applicant must include the 
following information (or as much of the information as is reasonably 
available to the institution), to include any supplementary information 
to explain the data:
    (A) Student population size;
    (B) Number and percentage of students that are eligible to receive 
Federal Pell Grants;
    (C) Number and percentage of students that receive other need-based 
financial aid from the Federal Government, a State, or that 
institution;
    (D) Number and percentage of students that qualify as low-income 
consumers for the purposes of the program carried out under 47 CFR part 
54, subpart E, or any successor regulations;
    (E) Number and percentage of students that are low-income 
individuals as that term is defined in section 312(g) of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)); and
    (F) Number and percentage of students that have been approved to 
receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law 
since March 1, 2020.
    (ii) Project activities. Please provide details about the specific 
grant-funded activities you plan to carry out; who will plan, 
implement, and manage your project, including the lead organization and 
principal partner organizations; and a project schedule, including 
significant milestones that describe when and in what sequence your 
project activities will occur.
    (iii) Project results. Please provide a description of your 
project's intended results and how you plan to evaluate the benefits of 
your project. Please describe proposed metrics, what data you plan to 
collect, and the evaluation methodologies.
    (2) Project budget. A project budget for all proposed projects and 
activities to be funded by the grant funds must be

[[Page 31643]]

reasonable and the allocation of funds must sufficient to complete the 
tasks outlined in the project narrative. Budget clarity and cost 
effectiveness are essential. The budget is a description of the 
resources the applicant proposes to use to complete the project in the 
time period that the applicant specifies. The budget should include the 
cost of all items needed to complete the project. The administrative 
requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements listed in 2 CFR 
part 200, the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and 
Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, will be incorporated into each 
award.
    (3) Budget narrative. The application must include a budget 
narrative that clearly relates each of the activities the applicant 
proposes in the Project Narrative to the relevant section of the 
Project Budget.
    (b) Due dates--application deadline. The applicant must submit the 
completed application by the application deadline provided in the 
Notice of Funding Opportunity, which will be subsequently published by 
NTIA and publicly accessible at www.grants.gov. Failure to meet the 
application deadline will generally preclude the applicant from 
receiving consideration for a grant award.


Sec.  302.5  Approval and award.

    (a) NTIA will review each application for compliance with the 
requirements of this part.
    (b) NTIA may request additional information from the applicant, 
with respect to any of the application submission requirements of Sec.  
302.4, prior to making a recommendation for an award. Failure to submit 
such additional information may preclude the applicant from further 
consideration for award.
    (c) When making grant awards, NTIA will coordinate with other 
Federal agencies, including the Commission, the National Science 
Foundation, and the Department of Education, to ensure the efficient 
expenditure of Federal funds, including by preventing multiple 
expenditures of Federal funds for the same purpose.
    (d) The Assistant Secretary will recommend to the National 
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Grants Management 
Division, approval of grant awards to qualifying applicants. NIST, 
serving as the Grants Office for the CMC grant program, will then issue 
grant awards in writing to the successful applicants.


Sec.  302.6  Distribution of grant funds.

    (a) Funding allocation. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this 
section--
    (1) In general. (i) Grant funds for each eligible recipient that 
meets the eligibility and/or certification requirements set forth in 
Sec.  302.3 will be allocated to the applicants with the greatest unmet 
financial needs, based on evaluation of the following data provided by 
the applicant (including any supplementary information provided to 
explain the data) or by other Federal agencies:
    (A) Student population size;
    (B) Number and percentage of students that are eligible to receive 
Federal Pell Grants;
    (C) Number and percentage of students that receive other need-based 
financial aid from the Federal Government, a State, or that eligible 
recipient;
    (D) Number and percentage of students that are qualifying low-
income consumers for the purposes of the program carried out under 47 
CFR part 54, subpart E, or any successor regulations;
    (E) Number and percentage of students that are low-income 
individuals as that term is defined in section 312(g) of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)); and
    (F) Number and percentage of students that have been approved to 
receive unemployment insurance benefits under any Federal or State law 
since March 1, 2020.
    (ii) Upon submission, NTIA will assess each institution's student 
body-based unmet financial needs. These assessments will be compared 
across all submitted applications during the merit review phase and 
program eligibility determinations will be made based on an evaluation 
of the data provided and any accompanying explanatory information. 
Final recommendations for project approval and grant funding will 
generally be made for those eligible anchor institutions that have 
demonstrated the greatest unmet financial need.
    (2) Historically Black colleges or universities set-aside. In 
accordance with the requirement set forth in the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2021, at least 40 percent of the grant funds 
awarded pursuant to the CMC Pilot Program will be set aside for 
distribution to qualifying historically Black colleges or universities.
    (3) Student support set-aside. In accordance with the requirement 
set forth in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, at least 20 
percent of grant funds awarded pursuant to the CMC Pilot Program will 
be set aside for eligible HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs to provide broadband 
internet access service or eligible equipment to their students.
    (b) Additional notices of funding opportunity. Grant funds that are 
not distributed under paragraph (a) of this section may be made 
available to applicants through subsequent Notices of Funding 
Opportunity, which will be published by NTIA and publicly accessible 
via www.grants.gov.


Sec.  302.7  Eligible uses for grant funds.

    (a) Eligible uses. In general and subject to the more specific uses 
listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section, grant funds 
awarded to HBCUs, TCUs or MSIs may be used as appropriate to facilitate 
educational instruction and learning, including through remote 
instruction; and grant funds awarded to consortia including Minority 
Business Enterprises (MBEs) or Tax-Exempt Organizations may be used to 
operate that MBE or Tax-Exempt Organization. Grant funds awarded under 
this part may only be used for the following purposes:
    (1) The purchase of broadband internet access service, including 
the installation or upgrade of broadband facilities on a one-time, 
capital improvement, basis in order to increase or expand broadband 
capacity and/or connectivity at the eligible institution;
    (2) The purchase or lease of eligible equipment and devices for 
student or patron use, subject to any restrictions and prohibited uses 
identified in paragraph (d) of this section; and
    (3) To hire and train information technology personnel who are a 
part of the eligible anchor institution, MBE or Tax-Exempt 
Organization.
    (b) Student priority for the provision of broadband services, 
devices, and equipment. The HBCUs, TCUs or MSI applicant must certify 
that if it receives a grant under this part to provide broadband 
internet access service or eligible equipment to students that it will, 
as a condition of that grant, prioritize students in need, in 
accordance with the following criteria:
    (1) Students who are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants;
    (2) Students who receive any other need-based financial aid from 
the Federal Government, a State, or the eligible recipient;
    (3) Students who are qualifying low-income consumers for the 
purposes of the program carried out under 47 CFR part 54, subpart E, or 
any successor regulations;
    (4) Students who are low-income individuals as that term is defined 
in

[[Page 31644]]

section 312(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1058(g)); 
or
    (5) Students who have been approved to receive unemployment 
insurance benefits under any Federal or State law since March 1, 2020.
    (c) Prioritization of students and patrons without equipment and/or 
broadband access. Any recipient that lends or provides eligible 
equipment to students or patrons must prioritize the lending or 
providing of such equipment or devices to students or patrons that the 
recipient believes do not have access to such equipment.
    (d) Prohibited uses. The sale or transfer of any portion of the 
grant-funded equipment for a thing (including a service) of value 
during the life of equipment is prohibited. Recipients are required to 
comply with the property standards, including the use and disposition 
requirements, contained in 2 CFR 200.311 through 200.316, and with the 
terms and conditions set forth in the grant award.


Sec.  302.8  Continuing compliance.

    (a) The applicant must certify that it has complied with the 
required statutory and programmatic conditions in submitting its 
application.
    (b) A grant recipient must submit on an annual basis, 30 days after 
the end of each Federal fiscal year in which grant funds are available, 
a certification regarding compliance and use of CMC grant funds as 
outlined in Sec.  302.7.
    (c) Where a recipient knowingly provides false or inaccurate 
information in its certification related use of CMC grant funds, the 
recipient shall--
    (1) Not be eligible to receive the grant under this part;
    (2) Return any grant awarded under this part during the time that 
the certification was not valid; and
    (3) Not be eligible to receive any subsequent grants under this 
part.


Sec.  302.9  Financial and administrative requirements.

    (a) General. The requirements of 2 CFR part 200, the Uniform 
Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements 
for Federal Awards, govern the implementation and management of grants 
awarded under this part. Awards issued pursuant to this program will 
also be subject to the Department of Commerce Standard Terms and 
Conditions for Financial Assistance Awards that are in effect on the 
date of the award. The current version, dated November 12, 2020, is 
accessible at: https://www.commerce.gov/sites/default/files/2020-11/DOC%20Standard%20Terms%20and%20Conditions%20-%2012%20November%202020%20PDF_0.pdf. Awards issued pursuant to this 
program may also be subject to specific award conditions as authorized 
by 2 CFR 200.208.
    (b) Reporting requirements--(1) Performance reports. Each grant 
recipient shall submit semi-annual and annual performance reports to 
NTIA, following the procedures of 2 CFR 200.329. Semi-annual 
performance reports are due within 30 calendar days after the reporting 
period. Annual performance reports are due within 90 calendar days 
after the reporting period, except when a final report is required 
under Sec.  302.10.
    (2) Financial reports. Each recipient shall submit quarterly 
financial reports to NTIA and the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology (NIST), following the procedures of 2 CFR 200.328, within 30 
calendar days after the reporting period, except when a final financial 
report is required under Sec.  302.10.
    (c) Audit requirements. All CMC grant awards are subject to audit 
in accordance with 2 CFR part 200, subpart F and the Department of 
Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions. 
Specifically, 2 CFR part 200, subpart F, adopted by the Department of 
Commerce through 2 CFR 1327.101 requires any non-federal entity (as 
defined in 2 CFR 200.1) that expends Federal awards of $750,000 or more 
in the recipient's fiscal year to conduct a single or program-specific 
audit in accordance with the requirements set out in subpart F. 
Additionally, unless otherwise specified in the terms and conditions of 
the award, entities that are not subject to subpart F of 2 CFR part 200 
(e.g., commercial entities) that expend $750,000 or more in DOC funds 
during their fiscal year must submit to the Grants Officer either: A 
financial related audit of each DOC award or subaward in accordance 
with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards; or a project 
specific audit for each award or subaward in accordance with the 
requirements contained in 2 CFR 200.507. Applicants are reminded that 
NTIA, NIST, the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, or 
another authorized Federal agency may conduct an audit of an award at 
any time.


Sec.  302.10  Closeout.

    (a) Expiration of the right to incur costs. The right to incur 
programmatic costs under this part will expire at the end of the period 
of performance. The right to incur closeout costs under this part will 
expire at the end of the 120-day closeout period, unless this period is 
extended in writing by the Grants Officer.
    (b) Final submissions. Within 120 calendar days after the 
completion of projects and activities funded under this part, but in no 
event later than the closeout period expiration date identified in 
paragraph (a) of this section, each grant recipient must submit--
    (1) A final financial report to NTIA/NIST, following the procedures 
of 2 CFR 200.344(a); and
    (2) A final performance report to NTIA/NIST, following the 
procedures of 2 CFR 200.344(a).
    (c) Disposition of unexpended balances. Any funds that remain 
unexpended after closeout shall cease to be available to the recipient 
and shall be returned to the Federal Government.


Sec.  302.11  Waiver authority.

    It is the general intent of NTIA not to waive any of the provisions 
set forth in this part. However, under extraordinary circumstances and 
when it is in the best interest of the Federal government, NTIA, upon 
its own initiative or when requested, may waive the provisions in this 
part. Waivers may only be granted for requirements that are 
discretionary and not mandated by statute or other applicable law. Any 
request for a waiver must set forth the extraordinary circumstances for 
the request.


Sec.  302.12  Program termination.

    Except with respect to the report required under the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2021, Division N, Title IX, section 902(c)(7), and 
the authority of the Secretary of Commerce and the Inspector General of 
the Department of Commerce described in section 902(c)(8), the CMC 
Pilot Program, including all reporting requirements under section 902, 
shall terminate on the date on which the amounts made available to 
carry out the CMC Pilot Program are fully expended.

[FR Doc. 2021-12454 Filed 6-14-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-P