Higher Education - Multicultural Scholars Grant Program

 

To increase the ethnic and cultural diversity of the food and agricultural scientific and professional work force, and to advance the educational achievement of minority Americans, by providing grants to colleges and universities that have a demonstrable capacity to attract, educate, and graduate minority students for careers as agriscience and agribusiness professionals, and have unique capabilities for achieving the objective of full representation of minority groups in the fields of agriculture, natural resources, forestry, veterinary medicine, home economics, and disciplines closely allied to the food and agricultural system.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.220
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:

For FY 2014, 21 applications were received for consideration. The success rate was 23.8%. Five proposals were funded, yielding a total of 28 scholarships for students. Applications addressed the following Program Areas of Emphasis: Veterinary Medicine; Agricultural Sciences and Engineering; Natural Resource Sciences Training; Human Sciences Training; Food Science and Human Nutrition Training; Agrosecurity Science Training; and Agricultural Education. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:

RFA pending. Approximately 30 applications, and 4 awards are anticipated.
Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.






NOTE:
The President's FY 2015 Budget proposal consolidates STEM-related programs in the budgets for the Department of Education or the National Science Foundation. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.
Authorization
Legislative authority for this program is contained in section 1417 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA) (99 Stat. 1548; 7 U.S.C. 3152). USDA/NIFA administers this federal assistance grant program to support food and agricultural sciences baccalaureate and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree training of the next generation of scientists, policy makers, and educators in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. USDA initiated the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program in FY 1994. This program, functioning collaboratively with eligible higher education institutions, is developing intellectual capital to secure the preeminence of U.S. food and agricultural systems., 7 U.S.C 3152.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Proposals may be submitted by all U.S. colleges and universities with baccalaureate or higher degree programs in agriculture, natural resources, forestry, veterinary medicine, home economics, and disciplines closely allied to the food and agricultural system, including land-grant colleges and universities, colleges and universities having significant minority enrollments and a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences, and other colleges and universities having a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Funds awarded under this program are used to support full-time undergraduate students pursing a baccalaureate degree in an area of the food and agricultural sciences or a closely allied field. Persons eligible to receive scholarships under this program are students who either are enrolled or have been accepted as full-time baccalaureate or DVM degree candidates, and who are members of groups traditionally under-represented in food and agricultural scientific and professional fields.
Credentials/Documentation
Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) - each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, “Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.”. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.

Award Procedure
Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subpart C and Appendix I apply to this program.

2 CFR Part 400 applies to this program.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors: (a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities; (b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields; (c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs; (d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations; (e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and (f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.

Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Section :094 - Deadlines:

Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.
Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. Respective links are provided below:

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

Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:
From 30 to 180 days.
Appeals
2 CFR Part 200 – Subparts D & E apply to this program.
Renewals
Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.
How are proposals selected?
Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Request for Application (RFA).
How may assistance be used?
Competitive annual grants to selected U.S. institutions of higher education provide for a limited number of four-year undergraduate scholarships to support minority students pursuing baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences. Institutions also receive an annual cost-of-education allowance for each scholar supported by a grant. The scholars are selected by the institutions and students must apply for the scholarships through procedures established by the individual institutions.

No scholarship grants are made directly to students and students cannot apply directly to USDA for scholarships. Scholarship monies may be used for tuition, fees, room, board, and other educational expenses as announced in a Federal Register notice inviting applications for new awards.

The institutional cost-of-education allowance may be used by the selected institutions to defray program expenses including, but not limited to, travel and publications costs incurred for student recruitment, and salaries of project personnel. Indirect cost is not allowable. Pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 3152(b), no indirect costs may be recovered under the MSP Program. Funds are restricted to the clearly designated uses found within the RFA.

For Award Category No. 2 Proposals, the budget sharing criteria are: (i) no single institution may receive more than forty percent (40%) and (ii) any institution may not receive less than fifteen percent (15%) of the requested funding for the baccalaureate and/or D.V.M. degree level training project (see Part II, C of the RFA).

When grant is for SEL that will be used by To-Be-Recruited Scholars: The SEL funds for To-Be-Recruited Scholars will be withheld until the Project Director has submitted, to the MSP Grants Program Office, all of the required documentation for eligibility of the MSP/SEL Scholar(s) for the SEL as well as the required specifics outlined in the RFA for the SEL. The information must be submitted for approval, no less than 90 days prior to the use of the SEL funds (see Part IV, B., 3, b, Section 1 of the RFA). Fully discretionary.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal Financial Report to monitor cash. (Pertinent details regarding Progress Reports are provided above.). A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Branch, Office of Extramural Programs at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division (AMD)
Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. (Pertinent details regarding Performance Monitoring Reports are provided above.).
Auditing
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Subpart F—Audit Requirements nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this part. A non-Federal entity that expends less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in § 200.503. Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Records
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, § 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three (3) year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. Funds are awarded competitively. No formula grants are awarded under Subtitle K of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 [7 U.S.C. 3319e].

NIFA does not require matching or cost sharing support for this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grants are awarded for a five (5) year period, however, scholars are supported for four (4) years during that five (5) year period. One (1) year of the grant period is available for student recruitment and for short interruptions of a scholar's educational advancement due to personal circumstances or emergencies. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None.
Headquarters Office
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Youth, Family, and Community, Division of Community and Education, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2250 , Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2250 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-2324 Fax: (202) 720-2030
Website Address
http://nifa.usda.gov/program/higher-education-multicultural-scholars-program-msp
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1500-0-1-352.
Obligations
(Project Grants) FY 14 $947,475; FY 15 est $944,900; and FY 16 est $0 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

NOTES:

(1) In terms of availability of appropriations (time), there are no time limits as to when "no-year" funds may be obligated and expended and the funds remain available for their original purposes until expended.

(2) Effective in FY 2012, funding for three (3) Higher Education Programs: (Graduate Fellowships – CFDA 10.210; Challenge – CFDA 10.216; and Multicultural Scholars – CFDA 10.220), were consolidated under a single funding line within the Research & Education Activities Account. However, different legislative authorities are applicable and separate Requests for Applications (RFAs) were issued under the respective CFDA numbers.

(3) The President's FY 2016 Budget proposal consolidates STEM-related programs in the budgets for the Department of Education or the National Science Foundation.

7/25/15 - PAULA - IS EXPLANATION REQUIRED FOR FY '16 - ZERO?.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The following federal statutes and regulations represent general administrative requirements which apply to NIFA federal assistance programs. These include, but are not limited to the ones listed below.

2 CFR Part 25 - Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration

2 CFR Part 170 - Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information

2 CFR Part 175 - Award Term for Trafficking in Persons

2 CFR Part 180 and Part 417 - OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government-Wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and USDA Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 182 - Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 400 – USDA implementation of 2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 415 - General Program Administrative Regulations

2 CFR Part 416 – USDA General Program Administrative Regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

2 CFR Part 417 - Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 418 - New Restrictions on Lobbying

2 CFR Part 421 - Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 422—Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconduct.

7 CFR Part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and 7 CFR Part 3404, Public Information.

7 CFR Part 1c—USDA Implementation of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection

7 CFR Part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121—USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002

7 CFR Part 3407—USDA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

7 CFR Part 3418—Stakeholder Input Requirements for Recipients of Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Formula Funds

7 CFR Part 3419—Matching Funds Requirement for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds at 1890 Land–Grant Institutions, Including Tuskegee University, and at 1862 Land–Grant Institutions in Insular Areas

7 CFR Part 3430—Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Financial Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions

7 CFR Part 3434—Hispanic–Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) —prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally-assisted programs

35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. —Bayh Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in federally-assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR Part 401)

44 U.S.C. 3551-3558 (Pub. L. 113–283) - Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). Applies to awardees if it will collect, store, process, transmit, or use information on behalf of NIFA.

Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging while Driving (Oct. 1, 2009).

NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide—a compendium of basic NIFA policies and procedures that apply to all NIFA awards, unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary.

In addition, the following represent Program-Specific requirements:

7 CFR Part 3400 – Special Research Grants Program (for CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3401—Rangeland Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3402—Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (CFDA 10.210).

7 CFR Part 3403—Small Business Innovation Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.212)

7 CFR Part 3405—Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (CFDA 10.217)

7 CFR Part 3406—1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants Program (CFDA 10.216)

7 CFR Part 3415 – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.219)

7 CFR Part 3431—Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (CFDA 10.313)


Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:
Supported projects advance national STEM education achievement by supporting students representing a multicultural pool of graduates entering the future food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce; support America’s academic competitiveness in STEM by supporting scholarships in D.V.M. and/or undergraduate degree level training grounded in curricula to advance food and agricultural sciences; increase the number of qualified students from traditionally underrepresented and underserved groups pursuing undergraduate/D.V.M. degrees in training programs that have the highest chance for success; and enhance workforce diversity in STEM fields by supporting experiential learning opportunities of MSP Scholars in the public and private sectors. Further information is available at http://nifa.usda.gov/program/higher-education-multicultural-scholars-program-msp. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:

Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.



NOTE:
The President's FY 2015 Budget proposal consolidates STEM-related programs in the budgets for the Department of Education or the National Science Foundation. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.