Higher Education Challenge Grants
COOPERATIVE STATE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND EXTENSION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, Section 1417(b)(1), as amended, Public Law 95-113, 7 U.S.C. 3152.
To increase institutional capacities to respond to State, regional, national, or international educational needs by strengthening college and university teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences.
Types of Assistance
Uses and Use Restrictions
Funds may be used only in targeted areas, e.g., curricula design and materials development, faculty preparation and enhancement for teaching, instruction delivery systems, scientific instrumentation for teaching, student experiential learning, and student recruitment and retention, as cited in the annual program announcement in the Federal Register.
All U.S. public and private nonprofit colleges and universities offering a baccalaureate or first professional degree in at least one discipline or area of the food and agricultural sciences.
All U.S. colleges and universities having a demonstrable capacity to teach the food and agricultural sciences.
Each first-time recipient must furnish organizational management information requested by the funding agency, and each applicant must provide assurances specified in the annual solicitation of applications.
Application and Award Process
All proposal solicitations are published on the Agency's Web site. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Formal proposals should be submitted to the Proposal Services Unit, CSREES, as outlined in the solicitation of applications. Application procedures are contained in the program regulations and required forms are contained in the Grant Application Kit. This program is subject to the regulatory provisions of USDA, 7 CFR Part 3015, et seq., and all successor regulations.
Proposals are reviewed and evaluated by CSREES staff members with the assistance and advice of peer panels of qualified educators, administrators, industrialists, and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the fields covered by the proposals. Proposals are supported in order of merit to the extent permitted by available funds. Grant payments may be made by the electronic transfer system, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check.
Specific deadline dates are announced in the request for applications or guidelines for each fiscal year.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
From 90 to 180 days.
Formula and Matching Requirements
Dollar-for-dollar matching funds from nonfederal sources is required.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grants are awarded for a one to three-year period and may receive no-cost extensions as appropriate up to a maximum of five years.
Post Assistance Requirements
Annual progress reports. Quarterly financial reports. Final progress and financial reports are due within 90 days after project expiration.
Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," and implemented in 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations."
Grantees are expected to maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are expended for authorized purposes. Grant related records must be retained beyond the three-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.
(Grants) FY 07 $5,174,151; FY 08 est $5,227,200; and FY 09 est not reported.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$47,936 to $152,000. Average: $89,479.
An example of program accomplishments: One university developed a course entitled, "Biotechnology: Science and Socio-Economic Issues" presented in two formats: as a traditional on-campus lecture class for undergraduates and as an innovative distance education course. The course introduces genetic engineering and the basic scientific theory of biotechnology in animal, plant, food, and economic research, and the latest applications of biotechnology in agriculture production.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR Part 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations (implementing the provisions of OMB Circular Nos. A-21 and A-110); 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and Government wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Grants); 7 CFR Part 3018, Restrictions on Lobbying; 7 CFR part 3019, Uniform Administrative: Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations; 7 CFR Part 3405, Higher Education Challenge Grants, Administrative Provisions, and Grant Application Kit.
Regional or Local Office
National Program Leader - Higher Education Challenge Grants; Higher Education Programs; Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 2251; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-2251; Telephone: (202) 720-1973; Fax: (202) 720-2030.
Web Site Address
10.226, Secondary And Two-Year Postsecondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grants
10.210, Food And Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship Grants
10.216, 1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants
Examples of Funded Projects
Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Digital Library for Diagnosis, Conferencing and Education; Applications of Functional Anatomy in Farm Animals Using Collaborative Learning; Foreign Disease Curriculum Development of Veterinary Colleges; anf Transferring Experts' Reasoning to Novice Learners in Food Product Development.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
Proposals are evaluated using the following criteria: Potential for advancing quality of education/significance of the problem; proposed approach and cooperative linkages; institutional capability and capacity building; key personnel; and budget and cost-effectiveness.