B - Readily funds technology as part of an award
Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)
The Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) provides funding to support institutions of higher education to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. Funds may be used for a myriad of purposes including: planning, faculty development, and establishing endowment funds. Administrative management and the development and improvement of academic programs also are supported. Other projects include joint use of instructional facilities, construction and maintenance, and student service programs designed to improve academic success, including innovative, customized, instruction courses designed to help retain students and move the students rapidly into core courses and through program completion, which may include remedial education and English language instruction.
The Department of Education usually conducts two separate SIP competitions (Parts A and F), pending the availability of funds for that biennium. Applicants may apply for grants in both the 84.031A and 84.031F competitions, but can only receive one grant. The department will default to funding the Part F application if both score high enough to be awarded.
For the 2021 competition, SIP Part A features two competitive preference priorities and one invitational priority. Applicants are strongly encouraged to meet as many of these priorities as possible.
- Competitive Preference Priority 1: Tutoring, Counseling, and Student Service Programs Projects designed to provide tutoring, counseling, and student service programs designed to improve academic success, including innovative, customized, instruction courses designed to help retain students and move the students rapidly into core courses and through program completion, which may include remedial education and English language instruction.
- Competitive Preference Priority 2: Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths to Obtaining Knowledge and Skills Projects designed to provide work-based learning experiences (such as internships, apprenticeships, and fellowships) that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA)).
History of Funding
Previous awards can be viewed on the Department of Education website: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/iduestitle3a/awards.html
At present, the SIP Part F competition has not been announced for 2019. The 2017 SIP Part F competition included one absolute priority and one optional competitive priority.
- Absolute Priority: Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness. Projects that are supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness.
- Competitive Preference Priority: Projects that provide tutoring, counseling, and student service programs designed to improve academic success, including innovative, customized, instruction courses designed to help retain students and move the students rapidly into core courses and through program completion, which may include remedial education and English language instruction. The Department is interested in receiving applications with strong plans for improving outcomes for students who are academically underprepared for college. Each year, substantial numbers of students enroll in college and are assigned to take developmental education courses. These non-credit bearing courses often introduce an additional barrier to college persistence and completion for college students, particularly at SIP-eligible institutions. Proposed activities should be designed to assist students in progressing into credit-bearing courses.
To meet the absolute priority of Title III, Part F applicants must identify no more than two studies that underpin the primary practice or strategy they intend to carry out. Cited studies may include both those already listed in the Department's What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Database of Individual Studies (see https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/ ReviewedStudies#/OnlyStudiesWithPositive Effects:false,SetNumber:1) and those that have not yet been reviewed by the WWC. Studies listed in the WWC Database of Individual Studies do not necessarily satisfy any or all of the criteria needed to meet the moderate evidence of effectiveness standard. Therefore, it is important that applicants themselves ascertain whether the study or studies for the evidence priority meets the standard for moderate evidence of effectiveness.
Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the two following conditions is met:
- There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), and includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice.
- There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a large sample and a multi-site sample. (Note: multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph.)
Designation as an eligible institution is required prior to formal application to the SIP (or any other Higher Education Act) grant program. To be eligible for HEA Title III or V programs, an institution of higher education's average educational and general expenditures” (E&G) per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student must be less than the average E&G expenditures per FTE undergraduate student of institutions that offer similar instruction in that year. Pending this initial calculation or approval of waiver, institutions must then meet further qualifications based on the specific grant program under the HEA for which they wish to apply.
The Department has instituted a process known as the Eligibility Matrix (EM), under which they will use information submitted by IHEs to IPEDS to determine which institutions meet the basic eligibility requirements for the programs authorized by Title III or Title V of the HEA. The Department will use enrollment and fiscal data for the 2018-2019 year submitted by institutions to IPEDS to make eligibility determinations for FY 2021.
Beginning December 16, 2019, an institution will be able to review the Department's decision on whether it is eligible for the grant programs authorized by Titles III or V of the HEA through this process by checking the institution's eligibility in the Eligibility system linked through the Department's Institutional Service Eligibility website at: https://hepis.ed.gov/main
If the entry for your institution in the EM shows that your institution is automatically eligible (green color coding) to apply for a grant for a particular program and you plan to submit an application for a grant in that program, you will not need to apply for eligibility or for a waiver through the process described in this summary. Rather, you may print out the eligibility letter directly. However, if the EM does not show that your institution is automatically eligible (yellow color coding) for a program in which you plan to apply for a grant, you must submit a waiver request as discussed in this summary before the deadline. Note that eligibility designation for waivers are effective for one year: from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
The FY20 eligibility matrix is available here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/idues/2020eligibilitymatrix.xlsx
Eligibility for 2021 for main campuses was pre-determined using data from the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Eligible main campuses do not need to complete an application. Branch campuses will be required to log in to submit an application. You may search for your institution to determine if your institution is eligible and download your approval letter here: https://hepis.ed.gov/title3and5/ltrMatrix/eligMatrix.cfm
Upon general HEA Title III and V funding eligibility confirmation, the SIP program further requires that applicants are Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) that meet the following requirements:
- Be accredited or pre-accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association;
- Be legally authorized by the State to be a junior college or provide an educational program for which it awards a bachelor's degree;
- Have at least 50% of its degree students who receive need-based assistance or a substantial number of enrolled students who receive Pell Grants; and
- Have low educational and general expenditures
NOTE: A grantee under the HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions) program, which is authorized under title V of the HEA (Higher Education Act), may not receive a grant under any HEA, title III, part A program. The title III, part A programs are: SIP; the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities program; the Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions program; the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions program; and the Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions program. Furthermore, a current HSI program grantee may not give up its HSI grant to receive a grant under SIP or any title III, Part A program. An eligible HSI that is not a current grantee under the HSI program may apply for a FY 2021 grant under all Title III, part A programs for which it is eligible, as well as receive consideration for a grant under the HSI program. However, a successful applicant may receive only one grant under the HEA. Finally, for any IHE with current funding under a SIP grant (whether that is Part A or F) a two-year hiatus is required between current project close-out and ability to reapply for SIP funding.
Institutions must first confirm eligibility to apply for HEA Title III and V funding prior to applying to this program. For more information about this process, see: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/idues/eligibility.html
While the SIP competitions occur on a biennial cycle, the Title III and V eligibility window is annual.
- The deadline to confirm eligibility or submit a request for waiver for any funding available under Title III or Title V of the Higher Education Act in FY 2021 was April 16, 2021.
- Please see https://hepis.ed.gov/title3and5/login.cfm for more information. Note that eligibility designation for waivers only of the non-federal cost share is effective for one year: from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Those applicants approved for 2021 eligibility waiver letters were expected to be announced by April 2021.
Provided the applicant institution is listed as automatically eligible within the current FY's eligibility matrix (green color coding) or applied for a waiver (yellow color coding) and received an approval letter, they are then permitted to apply to the SIP program once the window opens.
Applications for the 2021 SIP Part A competition were to be submitted by July 13, 2021. At present, a SIP Part F competition has not been announced for 2019. A similar deadline is anticipated biennially (2021). Updates to this timeline will be posted here https://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/find/edlite-forecast.html
Approximately $17,182,981. is available in total funding for new SIP Part A awards in 2021.
- SIP Part A Institutional Development Grants - Award size will range from $400,000 to $450,000 per year, but the average award will be $425,000 per year. Approximately 28 awards are anticipated.
- SIP Part A Cooperative Arrangement Grants - Award size will range from $500,000 to $550,000 per year, but the average award will be $525,000 per year. Approximately 10 awards are anticipated.
At present a SIP Part F competition has not been announced for 2019, however, for the FY2017 competition, a total of $3,699,000 was available for up to 7 awards. Those awards ranged from $500,000 to $600,000 per year, with the average annual award size of $550,000.
SIP Part A and Part F Grants last up to 60 months (5 years). This program does not require cost sharing or matching unless the grantee uses a portion of its grant for establishing or improving an endowment fund. If a grantee does use a portion of its award for endowment fund purposes, it must match those grant funds with non-Federal funds.
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