STARTALK Proposals - Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please email us at startalk@nflc.umd.edu.

  1. Changes
    1. 2014
      1. New lower budget ceilings
      2. Plan for Ramadan if it will affect your program
      3. No Non-STARTALK Language participants in teacher programs
      4. Plan extra costs for spring conference airfare
      5. Preference for 3 week/90 hour student programs
      6. Collect budget support documents as you write your budget
    2. 2013
      1. More budget scrutiny
      2. Prohibited
      3. CCR Information is required for submission
      4. Both Signed Budget and Rate Agreement/Rate Justification are required for submission
      5. CCR now SAM (System for Award Management)
    3. 2012
      1. Earliest start date
    4. 2011
      1. DUNS number is required
    5. 2010
      1. What happened to the Organization Form?
      2. Multiple insurance documents
  2. Overview
    1. Proposal Structure and Requirements
      1. How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
      2. What is the deadline for proposal submission?
      3. What are the types of proposals?
      4. What goes into a proposal?
      5. What is the overall proposal submission process?
        1. Creating a new proposal
        2. Filling out your proposal
        3. How do I know if my proposal is ready to be submitted?
        4. Submitting your proposal
      6. Can I save an unfinished proposal?
      7. Can I delete a proposal?
      8. Can I incorporate STARTALK programs with other summer language programs that are funded by another source?
      9. Where can I go for additional help?
  3. Using the Online Application
    1. User Accounts
      1. I forgot my password. How do I get a new one?
      2. Why do I need to set my time zone?
    2. Text and Word Counts
      1. How are the word counts calculated? Your application is telling me a different number than Microsoft Word is.
      2. Are word limits per field or per proposal?
      3. Will I be allowed to submit a proposal with responses over the stated word limits?
      4. I copied and pasted some text from Microsoft Word, and now there are a bunch of gibberish characters on the form. What happened?
    3. Help with Technology
      1. How do I create a PDF formatted file?
      2. How do I attach documents to my proposal
    4. Checking for Errors
      1. For fields highlighted red when I click “Check for errors”, how do I know what is wrong with them?
    5. Program Form
      1. What is the difference between the Published Organization Name and the Program Title?
      2. What is “blended learning”?
      3. What counts as the “same program” across multiple years?
      4. What if I have more than one Instructional Lead?
      5. What should I put in the bios?
      6. Do I need to attach their résumés for the Program Director, Instructional Lead, or any other personnel?
      7. What if I don't know the projected enrollment numbers for my program?
      8. What if I don't know the expected proficiency level of my students?
      9. What counts as instructional time?
      10. Does the total number of days mean teaching days only, or does this include non-teaching days (e.g., Saturdays and Sundays)
      11. We have not yet hired a STARTALK Program Director. Can we put the name of one of our academic directors? Will we be able to change this once the grant is awarded?
      12. We are planning a combination program with a Hindi-Urdu teacher component and a Hindi student component. Can we also submit a separate, independent Urdu student program?
    6. Narrative Form
      1. What goes in the Executive Summary?
      2. What is the purpose of the program summary?
      3. What information should be included in this program summary?
      4. What do you mean by “Explain the process that will be used to develop the more detailed required curriculum template documents?”
      5. Can I view any sample curricula from past years?
    7. Budget Form
      1. What is a DUNS number?
      2. What is a CCR CAGE Code?
      3. Budget Worksheet
      4. What is meant by “foreign entity support”?
      5. What is a “federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement”?
      6. What is an indirect rate justification?
      7. Submitting a signed budget
    8. Insurance Form
      1. What sort of insurance documentation do I need to provide?
      2. How do I get my insurance documentation into a PDF document?
  4. Other Common Questions
    1. Eligibility
      1. Are non-profit organizations eligible to apply for STARTALK funding?
      2. Are state departments of education eligible to apply?
      3. Are for-profit organizations eligible to apply?
    2. Level of Funding
      1. What is the level of funding from a STARTALK award?
      2. Our institution plans to offer both Chinese and Arabic student programs. Should we submit one or two proposals?
      3. What is the cap of funding for a single institution, i.e. for all proposals?
      4. Does that $90,000 limit apply if an applicant is submitting a combined proposal and therefore is proposing to establish two programs (one for students, and one for teachers)?
      5. What is a reasonable cost per participant?
      6. What is a reasonable cost for consultants?
      7. What is the indirect cost (IDC) or facilities and administrative (F&A) cost rate for STARTALK?
    3. Program Planning
      1. Criteria and Priorities
        1. What do you mean by the three modes of communication?
        2. This year STARTALK encouraged us to include ongoing support during the academic school year for our summer participants. Should that component be eliminated from our proposal for 2014 based on the following statement in your email below, “funding for programs that occur primarily in the summer”?
      2. STARTALK Central Support
        1. What kind of consultation and training will be provided for institutions selected to run this year's programs?
      3. Other
        1. Will STARTALK support study abroad programs?
        2. Can we submit plans for more than one year?
        3. What is the minimum number of students that are required to be served through this program?
        4. Is there a minimum number of weeks for a program?
        5. Is a Program Director allowed to be both a director and an instructor with the condition that strong administrative support is available?
        6. When will award notifications be made?
    4. Program Activities
      1. What kind of extracurricular activities should we plan for?
      2. We are planning to offer a day program but have had requests to provide housing for students who need it. Is reimbursement of this expense allowed?
      3. Can I plan for follow-up activities after summer instruction has ended?
    5. Budget
      1. Should we budget for travel to pre- and post-program awardee meetings?
      2. How much should we budget for the pre- and post-program awardee meetings?
      3. What staffing levels should we plan for?
      4. Who is the authorized financial officer who must sign the budget?
      5. Can I budget for activities or supplies that I will need during the school year?
      6. If money allocated under a specific line item is not spent on that item, can I reallocate those funds?
      7. Does STARTALK award cover the salary or partial salary of the program director as well as involved instructors in addition to support tuition and instructional costs for students?
      8. Are budgets for STARTALK grants typically 6 months or a year long?
      9. What are my responsibilities for implementing a Financial Management System to manage my grant?
      10. What is OMB Circular A-110?
      11. Who is covered by A-110?
      12. Importance of A-110?

Changes

2014

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New lower budget ceilings

The budget ceilings for independent and combined proposals for 2014 have been lowered. Award amounts will vary, but will not exceed $90,000 for independent and collaborative proposals, and $112,500 for combination proposals.

Plan for Ramadan if it will affect your program

If your proposed program could potentially be affected by Ramadan, please keep this in mind when planning your staffing and program dates. Ramadan 2014 will begin around June 28th and end around July 28th.

No Non-STARTALK Language participants in teacher programs

All participants in STARTALK-funded teacher programs must be current teachers of the STARTALK languages or planning to teach one of the STARTALK languages. Participants representing non-STARTALK languages or other disciplines are not allowed to participate in STARTALK-funded programs.

Plan extra costs for spring conference airfare

The 2014 spring conference will be held May 2-3 in Austin, TX. The federal sponsor, NSA, anticipates that grants will be awarded in April. Therefore, airfares for attendees of the spring conference may be higher than the average price. In your proposed budget, be sure to add additional funds to the cost of airfare to the spring conference location to accommodate the possibility that you would have to purchase tickets at the last minute.

Preference for 3 week/90 hour student programs

Preference will be given to student programs lasting three weeks or longer and providing at least 90 hours of instruction time. STARTALK has observed that programs of this duration have more successful outcomes than one- or two-week programs.

Collect budget support documents as you write your budget

All proposed expenses must be documented and those documents submitted to STARTALK if your application is recommended for an award. Obtain quotes for all anticipated purchases such as supplies and materials, and all services, such as meal catering, lodging, and facility rental as you write your budget. See instructions for how to collect and organize your budget support documents on the Budget Guide.

2013

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More budget scrutiny

As you begin to prepare your 2013 STARTALK proposal and budget for 2013, please take time to read through the instructions (Student Program Applicant Guide, Teacher Program Applicant Guide, Budget Guide) because there are several changes this year. Most importantly, be aware that government grants will be subject to more rigorous scrutiny and may be subject to audit. You should assume that your grant will be audited as early as next year.

Therefore, STARTALK will require more documentation and explanation on the budget form. All proposed expenses must be documented and those documents held by you for audit purposes. In some cases, you will be asked to submit that documentation to the STARTALK online system. Please be sure to obtain written quotes for all anticipated purchases such as supplies and materials, and all services, such as meal catering, lodging, and facility rental. For employee and consultant projections, you must submit the calculation used to arrive at a budget figure.

As you submit your proposal, you or your sponsored research office will be required to attest to certain conditions: for example, your entity has accounting practices and services in place, is not supported by a foreign government, and understands that electronics or similar devices purchased with grant funds, remain the property of the program.

Please take time to read the instructions for preparing your budget.

Prohibited

Please note that the following items are not allowed and should not be included in proposals:

CCR Information is required for submission

You must provide both a DUNS number and a CCR Cage Code to submit your proposal. If your institution does not already have one, be sure to apply for these numbers early, so that you have them in time for submission.

Both Signed Budget and Rate Agreement/Rate Justification are required for submission

You must obtain and upload a signed budget and a rate agreement to be able to submit your proposal.

Applicants whose institution does not have a Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement are required to upload a rate justification document.

CCR now SAM (System for Award Management)

The federal government has added CCR to a consolidated system called SAM (System for Award Management). This is being done to avoid data redundancy. Therefore, when CCR is mentioned in any STARTALK documentation, it refers to SAM. To learn more about the SAM system and how it relates to the old CCR system, please visit http://www.sam.gov.

2012

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Earliest start date

Programs may NOT start earlier than June 1st. You will not be able to submit a proposal unless your program starts on or after this date. Note: All activities must be completed and programs must be closed by February 28th.

Based on the number of questions about the June 1st start date for programs, we discussed this issue and your concerns with the NSA staff. Face-to-face segments of the program cannot begin before June 1st, but on-line sessions, curriculum and lesson planning, and instructor training workshops can occur prior to the June 1st date, provided that the countersigned award from NSA is in place.

2011

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DUNS number is required

You are now required to have a DUNS number in order to submit your proposal.

2010

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What happened to the Organization Form?

The organization form has been removed. Some fields have been moved to the program form (organization name, institution type, and website), some to the budget form (DUNS number and CCR) and some have been removed entirely (the organization address, phone, and fax).

Multiple insurance documents

You are now able to upload more than 1 insurance document.

Overview

Proposal Structure and Requirements

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How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

For a detailed explanation of the eligibility, criteria, and priorities for proposals, please see the program eligibility document.

What is the deadline for proposal submission?

You may submit a proposal up through 11:59pm (your local time) on November 4, 2013. No proposals will be accepted after that time.

What are the types of proposals?

Independent Proposal

A standalone student or teacher program with its own budget.

Combination Proposal

A combined student-teacher program with a single budget.

Collaborative Proposal

A student or teacher program with its own budget, but one where you plan on collaborating closely with one or more STARTALK programs.

If you select this type of proposal, you will be asked to write a cost sharing effects addendum to your budget explaining how your plans for collaboration will allow you to share costs with your collaborator(s) and reduce your individual budgets.

Please note that it is possible that you may receive funding while your collaborator(s) do not, and you should plan for this contingency.

What goes into a proposal?

A STARTALK proposal is made up of several components called forms. These forms are:

Program Form

This form contains information about the personnel in your program, your target participants, and the site locations and dates for your program.

If you submit an independent or a collaborative proposal, you will only need to fill out one program form. However, if you submit a combination proposal, you will need to fill out two program forms: one for your student program and one for your teacher program.

Narrative Form

This form contains a series of narrative topics which allow you to describe in more detail certain aspects of your proposed program.

If you submit an independent or a collaborative proposal, you will only need to fill out one narrative form. However, if you submit a combination proposal, you will need to fill out two narrative forms: one for your student program and one for your teacher program.

Contracting Form

This form contains contracting information about your program that is need to issue your award, including DUNS number, CCR CAGE code, and your sponsored research office's contact information.

Budget Form

This form is the proposed budget for your program.

Please note: In addition to filling out your budget online, you are required to submit a signed copy of the PDF generated from this form.

Insurance Form

This form is where you will upload 1 or more insurance documents. For a description of the sort of documents you will need to upload, see what documents we are asking you to provide.

Here is a graphic representation of the parts of a STARTALK proposal:

What is the overall proposal submission process?

Creating a new proposal

  1. If you do not have an account, create a new account.
  2. If you already have an account, log in.
  3. Click the “Create a new proposal” link at the top of the Proposals Home screen.
  4. Review the eligibility requirements and click “continue”.
  5. Choose a proposal type.
  6. If you chose an independent or collaborative proposal, indicate whether you will be offering a student program or a teacher program.
  7. Fill in a descriptive nickname for your proposal, if you want. This nickname is never published, and is for your convenience only.
  8. Click the “Create proposal” button at the bottom of the screen. The system will create a new proposal document and return you to the Proposals Home screen. Your new proposal should now be listed there.

Filling out your proposal

Once you have created a proposal, you must fill out all of the forms for that proposal. The forms are listed in the “Forms” column on the Proposals Home screen.

You may edit and save each form as many times as you need to before you submit your proposal.

  1. For each Program, Narrative, Contracting, and Budget Form:
    1. Fill out the form. Each of these forms has multiple pages. Use the tabs at the top of the form or the “Previous/Next Page” buttons to move through the pages.
    2. Click the “Check for errors” button to see if what you have entered so far has any errors. If there are errors, X will appear next to the “Check for errors” button, and the invalid or missing fields on the form will be highlighted. If there are no errors on the current form, OK will appear instead. Correct any errors.
    3. Click the “Save” button to save the form that you are on. This will not move you away from your current location in the form.
    4. You may return to the Proposals Home at any point while you are filling out the form.
  2. For the Insurance Form:
    1. Choose a PDF file to upload and click the “Upload” button.
    2. After the file has been uploaded, it will appear in the “Current Insurance Documents” table at the top of the Insurance Form
    3. To remove a file you have already upload, click the ”Delete” button next to the name of the file you wish to remove.
    4. To overwrite a file you have already uploaded, simply upload a new file with the same filename as the file you wish to overwrite.

How do I know if my proposal is ready to be submitted?

On each form, you may click “Check proposal” to view a short error report on the entire proposal. You may also click the “Check proposal” button on the Proposals Home screen to check the status of the proposal. In that case, you can click on the OK or X that appears next to the “Check Proposal” button to view the error report for that proposal.

Submitting your proposal

  1. On the Proposals Home screen, click “Submit”. If there are no errors, this will take you to a preview screen, where you will have a chance to view and confirm that all the information that you have provided is correct.
  2. Once you are satisfied with your proposal, click “Submit this proposal” on the preview screen. This step is final; you will not be able to make changes to your proposal after this!

Please note that this process does not have to be completed all at once. At any stage of the process before submitting, you may save your changes, log out, log back in later, and return to your saved proposal.

After you submit your proposal, you will not be able to make any changes to it. Therefore, please carefully review your proposal before you submit it. However, you will still be able to view and download PDF copies of your proposal (containing the information from the Program and Narrative Forms) and your budget.

Here are some flowcharts of this process:

Can I save an unfinished proposal?

Yes, at any stage of the process before submitting, you may save your changes, log out, log back in later, and return to your saved proposal.

Can I delete a proposal?

You may delete a proposal that you have not yet submitted. Please note, though, that once you delete a proposal, there is no way to get it back.

Can I incorporate STARTALK programs with other summer language programs that are funded by another source?

This is possible, but the budget must clearly specify what portions of the program would be funded by STARTALK. In determining the cost per participant, only those students funded by STARTALK can be used in the calculation.

Where can I go for additional help?

For questions about using the Proposals Application website, please contact STARTALK Support via email at startalk-support@nflc.umd.edu. For general inquiries about STARTALK, please contact us via email at startalk@nflc.umd.edu.

Using the Online Application

User Accounts

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I forgot my password. How do I get a new one?

Go to the Password Reset page and supply the email address you used to create your account. A new random password will be sent to that email address.

Why do I need to set my time zone?

This is so that we can display the last modified time of your proposal using your local time, and more importantly, so that the deadline for submitting a proposal is 11:59pm in your local time.

Text and Word Counts

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How are the word counts calculated? Your application is telling me a different number than Microsoft Word is.

This application uses a very simple method for counting words: it just splits the text on spaces, and counts how many pieces that is.

Are word limits per field or per proposal?

On the program form, each bio field has an individual word limit of 200 words.

Each narrative form has a combined word limit of 4500 words. There is no word limit on each individual narrative question.

Will I be allowed to submit a proposal with responses over the stated word limits?

No. While there is no hard limit preventing you from typing more than the stated number of words into the narrative or bio text fields, you will not be permitted to submit your proposal if the word count for any of those fields exceeds the stated limit. At any time, you can click the “Check for errors” button to see which fields are over the stated word count.

I copied and pasted some text from Microsoft Word, and now there are a bunch of gibberish characters on the form. What happened?

This is a known issue with copying and pasting from some Microsoft Word documents. The gibberish characters are extraneous formatting information that has been accidentally copied along with the text. To stop these characters from appearing, you can try saving the document you are copying from as Plain text or RTF. Then close and reopen the document before copying and pasting from it.

Help with Technology

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How do I create a PDF formatted file?

Please refer to this section, which discusses how to generate a PDF file from a printed document.

If you have access to a scanner, you can scan the document and save it as a PDF. Many scanners also come with a “Scan to PDF” button on them that can simplify this process.

If you do not have access to a scanner, you can take the paper documents to a copy center and scan them there.

How do I attach documents to my proposal

There are 3 documents that you must attach to your proposal in order to submit:

  1. All pages of your budget with the signature page signed
  2. Your insurance document(s)
  3. Your federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement or rate justification.

To attach these documents to your proposal, go to the Proposals Home. Click the “Attach Documents” link for the appropriate proposal to navigate to a table that shows all the documents for your proposal. For the signed budget, rate agreement, or rate justification, click the “Upload...” button, follow the instructions to attach your document to your proposal. For the insurance documents, click the “Attach insurance document(s)...” link and follow the instructions on the form.

Checking for Errors

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For fields highlighted red when I click “Check for errors”, how do I know what is wrong with them?

Every invalid field highlighted in red has a tooltip that will tell you what needs to be fixed in that field. Just hover your mouse over the field and the tooltip will appear.

Program Form

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What is the difference between the Published Organization Name and the Program Title?

Published Organization Name

This is the name of the primary organization or institution submitting the proposal for a STARTALK award; in most cases it will be the organization with fiscal responsibility.

Program Title

This is the descriptive title of the proposed program. Please include the word “STARTALK” in this title.

What is “blended learning”?

Blended Learning (also called "hybrid" or "mixed" learning) is an educational approach that combines both in-person and distance-learning types of environments. Blended Learning requires that a single course or seminar be delivered partly in an online/technology-mediated format and partly in a conventional face-to-face format. Teachers and students interact in both environments but do not use technology or videoconferencing as simply a supporting tool for learning and instruction.

What counts as the “same program” across multiple years?

As long as your program has the same participant type (student or teacher), language(s), and is run by the same organization or institution, it will count as the same program across multiple years. Changes to target grade or proficiency levels to a student program do not make this year a different program. If, however, you add or remove a language, this year's program is NOT the same as last year's, and should not be counted as a prior STARTALK program.

What if I have more than one Instructional Lead?

You should only have one instructional lead per target language. If, however, you do offer more than one target language, and you do have more than one instructional lead, you should list one of them in the “Instructional Lead” section on the Program Form, and list all additional leads under the “Other Personnel” section on that same page. You should select “instructional lead” from the Role dropdown for each of those additional leads.

What should I put in the bios?

Provide information about the educational backgrounds and relevant experience for the key personnel. We are not requesting résumés or CVs; however, if you feel it necessary to provide one, include a URL here to a website with the relevant résumés and/or CVs.

Do I need to attach their résumés for the Program Director, Instructional Lead, or any other personnel?

No, the brief bio of the personnel will suffice. If you want to include additional information that might be found on a website, add the link to the personal website box.

What if I don't know the projected enrollment numbers for my program?

For new programs, this is a realistic estimate of the number of participants you expect will enroll in your program. For returning programs, this number should reflect a realistic expectation based on prior experience.

What if I don't know the expected proficiency level of my students?

Just provide your best estimate at this time.

What counts as instructional time?

Student programs

For day programs, instructional time includes all of the hours that students are in attendance. This includes lunch and other planned breaks since it is assumed that those times are also used for language and culture activities. For residential programs, instructional time also includes the hours for supervised evening and weekend activities that relate to the instructional goals of the program. The expectation is that students in residential programs are normally engaged in organized instructional activities.

Teacher programs

Instructional time includes all required activities whether they occur during the day, in the evening or on weekends.

Does the total number of days mean teaching days only, or does this include non-teaching days (e.g., Saturdays and Sundays)

The total is for teaching days only. If your program is not in session on Saturday and Sunday, do not count those days.

We have not yet hired a STARTALK Program Director. Can we put the name of one of our academic directors? Will we be able to change this once the grant is awarded?

The qualifications of the Program Director are a critical factor in the proposal review process. Changes in key personnel are strongly discouraged and require an award modification once the award is in place.

We are planning a combination program with a Hindi-Urdu teacher component and a Hindi student component. Can we also submit a separate, independent Urdu student program?

Yes, you can submit multiple proposals (both combination and independent). Keep in mind that each proposal is structured as a stand- alone program (meaning that if one of your proposals is awarded and the other is not, your awarded program can still go on).

Narrative Form

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What goes in the Executive Summary?

This is an overall summary statement that should show that the program is well designed with a strong potential to be successfully implemented. The executive summary is shared with others and should be clearly written so that the reader understands at a basic level what the program will deliver. It should be a statement that can stand alone as a summary of the program.

At a minimum, the executive summary should touch on the following:

What is the purpose of the program summary?

If you are awarded a STARTALK grant, this section will be incorporated into the award document. Providing the information in this format will facilitate the award process at NSA.

What information should be included in this program summary?

The summary should address the following information from your proposal: program outcomes, number of participants, target grade levels (for student programs), duration of the program, and number of instructional hours.

What do you mean by “Explain the process that will be used to develop the more detailed required curriculum template documents?”

This question focuses in even greater detail on the development of the required curriculum from STARTALK’s curriculum template. This template can be found online. Does the proposal clarify who will be involved in the development process? Is it clear that there is a plan for how the work will be divided and completed? Will someone with experience with the targeted age group be involved in the design of the curriculum template? Will those who are teaching in the program be involved in the design of the curriculum? Will the curriculum template be available for any professional development completed prior to the start of the program?

Can I view any sample curricula from past years?

Yes. The STARTALK website has sample curricula available for you to view or download here: https://startalk.umd.edu/materials.

Budget Form

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What is a DUNS number?

The Data Universal Numbering System is a nine- or thirteen-digit number issued by Dun & Bradstreet required by the Federal Government for all grant applicants for new or renewal awards. There is no charge to obtain a DUNS number. However the wait can be as long as 30 days when obtaining a DUNS number online.

Apply for a DUNS number online. You must have a DUNS number before you submit your proposal.

What is a CCR CAGE Code?

You must have a CCR Cage Code before you submit your proposal. If you do not have one, apply for one right away.

The Central Contractor Registration is the primary supplier database for the U.S. Federal government. The CCR collects data from suppliers, validates and stores this data, and disseminates it to various government acquisition agencies. A centralized, electronic registration process known as CCR is the single point of entry for vendors that want to do business with the Department of Defense.

This hyperlink directs to the Central Contractor Registration website. The SAM system is the official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of CCR and other systems. There is NO fee to register for this site. Entities may register at no cost directly from this page.

For your STARTALK proposal, we are asking for your organization or institution's CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) Code. The CAGE Code is a 5-character alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by the Department of Defense. It is assigned to you once you are registered with the CCR.

If you have received a STARTALK award in a past year, your organization or institution already has a CAGE Code. Please check with your institution's sponsored research office if you do not know what your CAGE Code is or to check its validity.

Budget Worksheet

The budget form contains a worksheet for creating your budget. As you insert numbers the totals will be calculated automatically.

You must provide a number in the quantity column for each line item. For bulk items, like Office Expenses, enter the number 1 for the quantity and the total amount in the Amount column. You make corrections to items the same way you would in a word processing or spreadsheet document, using the Backspace or Delete key on your keyboard. The Remove button on the worksheet is for removing a whole line item, not the amounts you have entered. Make corrections in the quantity and amount columns. The Line Total amounts will be automatically adjusted when you make those changes.

In the Calculation column, provide information about how you derived the amounts listed. The Program Director's salary, for example, might state “Standard university faculty rate, 100 hrs @ $xx”. In the Explanation column add any additional information on the line item that will help clarify its purpose.

What is meant by “foreign entity support”?

The applying organization must not be organized, chartered or incorporated under the laws of any country other than the US or its possessions, or be controlled by an individual who is not a US citizen.

What is a “federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement”?

This is an agreement that establishes the indirect cost rates your institution may have with the federal government. It is usually negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services or with the Office of Naval Research. Indicate on the budget worksheet whether or not you have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. If your institution does have this agreement, please submit a copy of this agreement as a PDF document after you submit your proposal.

What is an indirect rate justification?

This is a PDF document detailing the indirect costs that your institution would like to charge to the grant. If your institution does NOT have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, you are required to create this detailed breakdown of indirect costs, convert the document to a PDF file, and upload it.

Submitting a signed budget

In addition to submitting your budget online, you will need to submit a signed copy of the entire budget (please do not submit just the last page). On the Proposals Home page, click on the Budget PDF under View & Download. Print out the PDF document, sign it, and upload it.

You must provide the signed copy of the entire budget by the proposal submission deadline (November 4, 2013).

Insurance Form

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What sort of insurance documentation do I need to provide?

We require a certificate of liability insurance that reflects coverage of the facilities where the course sessions will be held and, for residential programs, where participants will reside.

If you do not have an insurance certificate yet, upload a quote from an insurance provider.

If your institution is self-insured, provide a document stating this signed by the appropriate authorized signatory at your institution.

How do I get my insurance documentation into a PDF document?

You may be able to get the necessary documentation in PDF format directly from your institution or insurance company's website. If, however, you only have a paper copy of the documentation, there are a couple of options:

Other Common Questions

Eligibility

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Are non-profit organizations eligible to apply for STARTALK funding?

Yes.

Are state departments of education eligible to apply?

Yes.

Are for-profit organizations eligible to apply?

Yes.

Level of Funding

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What is the level of funding from a STARTALK award?

Award amounts will vary, but will not exceed $90,000 for independent and collaborative proposals, and $112,500 for combination proposals. In all cases, a reasonable cost per participant will be the determining factor.

Our institution plans to offer both Chinese and Arabic student programs. Should we submit one or two proposals?

That is entirely up to your institution. Again, remember the criteria: reasonable cost per participant. STARTALK will carefully review multiple proposals from the same institution.

What is the cap of funding for a single institution, i.e. for all proposals?

Although there is a cap of $90,000 on each independent and collaborative proposal and $112,500 for each combination proposal, there is no official cap on the number of proposals per institution. Given the level of competition anticipated this year, additional factors will be considered when making awards: language, number of participants served, program type, number of STARTALK programs in one geographical area, etc.

Does that $90,000 limit apply if an applicant is submitting a combined proposal and therefore is proposing to establish two programs (one for students, and one for teachers)?

No, the $90,000 limit applies to independent and collaborative proposals - for a combination proposal, the limit is $112,500.

What is a reasonable cost per participant?

The average cost per participant for student and teacher programs usually ranges from $1,600-$2,700. Keep in mind that cost per participant can vary according to several factors: residential vs. non-residential programs, language, location, indirect cost rates, etc.

What is a reasonable cost for consultants?

STARTALK strongly recommends that you allocate no more than 20% of your total budget to consultants.

What is the indirect cost (IDC) or facilities and administrative (F&A) cost rate for STARTALK?

STARTALK does not have a prescribed rate. Most past programs submitted IDC rates around 10%. Given the nature of the program, most awardees were able to negotiate these rates with their home institutions.

Program Planning

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Criteria and Priorities

What do you mean by the three modes of communication?

The three modes as defined by the national standards are interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. See The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (the “5 Cs”), which include the standards related to the Three Modes of Communication.

This year STARTALK encouraged us to include ongoing support during the academic school year for our summer participants. Should that component be eliminated from our proposal for 2014 based on the following statement in your email below, “funding for programs that occur primarily in the summer”?

No, as stated in the Eligibility, Criteria, and Priorities document, priority will be given to programs that provide “the opportunity for students to continue to develop language proficiency after the summer by enrolling in programs during the academic year, whether via face-to-face instruction or distance learning; (The applicant is not required to be the responsible party for offering the follow-up experiences.)”

STARTALK Central Support

What kind of consultation and training will be provided for institutions selected to run this year's programs?

STARTALK Central will provide web-based modules on developing a STARTALK curriculum using the prescribed template and offer sessions devoted to the criteria that will be used to monitor program effectiveness during the Spring Conference. In addition, STARTALK staff will work closely with each program to ensure that curricula, materials, and instructional strategies are in place before the program begins. Site visits will be made to each program. Based on the objectives and expected outcomes of the program, STARTALK staff will work with you to determine appropriate assessment strategies.

Other

Will STARTALK support study abroad programs?

No. STARTALK funds are for summer language programs for students (grades K–16) and professional development opportunities for teachers within the US.

Can we submit plans for more than one year?

No. Awards will be made for only one year.

What is the minimum number of students that are required to be served through this program?

There is no minimum number, but implementing a program for fewer than 10 students is not cost-effective. Typically, past programs have projected at least 20 participants.

Is there a minimum number of weeks for a program?

It depends on the nature of the program you are proposing: the objectives and the expected outcomes. Some programs may provide an orientation to language and culture; others, an overview; others may offer credit. Using past programs as a guide, most programs were two weeks or longer.

Is a Program Director allowed to be both a director and an instructor with the condition that strong administrative support is available?

STARTALK does not specify who should serve in what role, but experience has shown that it is challenging for a single person to serve as both the Program Director and the Instructional Lead or an instructor, due to the intensive nature of STARTALK programs.

When will award notifications be made?

STARTALK expects to notify applicants during February 2014.

Program Activities

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What kind of extracurricular activities should we plan for?

Give careful thought to planning field trips and try to get student input. Survey results from past years have often shown a disconnect between activities planned for the students and what students actually found interesting and motivating. For example, trips to ethnic restaurants or shopping areas were not perceived to be particularly valuable by students.

We are planning to offer a day program but have had requests to provide housing for students who need it. Is reimbursement of this expense allowed?

If you submit a proposal for a day program, lodging for students should not be a part of your budget. Aside from the fact that it would increase the cost per participant as compared to other day programs, there are safety and liability issues involved. Students willing to travel to a language program should consider applying to one of the residential programs.

Can I plan for follow-up activities after summer instruction has ended?

Yes, as long as it is a follow-up activity for your 2014 program, and involves the same instructors and/or participants from that program.

Budget

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Should we budget for travel to pre- and post-program awardee meetings?

Yes, all travel is the responsibility of each individual program. In 2014, the spring conference will be held May 2-3 in Austin, TX and the fall conference will be held October 24-25 in Indianapolis, IN.

How much should we budget for the pre- and post-program awardee meetings?

We will conduct two meetings, one in the spring and one in the fall, each lasting two days. In 2014, these meetings' locations and dates are still to be determined. When budgeting for these meetings, you should consider travel (air, train, etc.), hotel, per diem and ground transportation.

What staffing levels should we plan for?

Overall, program directors from past years felt that they had not planned adequately for administrative support: recruitment, making copies, arranging for field trips, maintaining student lists, etc. One should carefully consider these tasks, the support that currently exists, if any, and budget accordingly.

Who is the authorized financial officer who must sign the budget?

The person who has authority to sign on behalf of your institution must sign your budget. In some schools, the person resides in the department, while in others it is at the vice president level. We are looking for institutional commitment to carry out the tasks proposed for the amount requested.

Can I budget for activities or supplies that I will need during the school year?

No. Your budget is for planned STARTALK activities only.

If money allocated under a specific line item is not spent on that item, can I reallocate those funds?

Yes, as long as those funds are allocated within the same grant, and therefore the same budget. Even if your institution receives more than one award, funds may not be transferred between awards.

Does STARTALK award cover the salary or partial salary of the program director as well as involved instructors in addition to support tuition and instructional costs for students?

Yes, staff salaries may be included in your program budget. In fact, these are included as sample line items in the budget worksheet in the online proposal.

Are budgets for STARTALK grants typically 6 months or a year long?

The period of performance will begin once a contract is signed and extend through February 28, 2015. NOTE: All activities must be completed and programs must be closed by February 28, 2015.

What are my responsibilities for implementing a Financial Management System to manage my grant?

Attachment #3 to each grant is the NSA General Provisions for NSA Grants and Cooperative Agreements, Revised February 2011. Paragraph 12 (Standards for Financial Management Systems) of the NSA General Provisions for NSA Grants and Cooperative Agreements states the following: “OMB Circular A-110 sets forth standards for financial management systems which apply to this agreement.”

The following is the excerpt from OMB Circular A-110 that explains what OMB Circular A-110 is, who is covered, importance, and overriding principles that recipients’ financial management systems shall provide.

What is OMB Circular A-110?

OMB Circular A-110 ("A-110") is officially named "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations". This Circular sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies in the administration of grants to and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations. This is the primary guidance that non-profit organizations must follow if they receive federal awards, including both grants and co-operative agreements.

Who is covered by A-110?

A-110 is applicable to all not-for-profit organizations, including universities. (However A-110 does not apply to state and local governments, which have their own circular (A-102).)

Importance of A-110?

A-110 standardized the administrative requirements that federal agencies can impose on award recipients. Further, compliance with A-110 is required for all award recipients and testing that compliance is a component of an A-133 audit.

Financial and program management

The overriding principle of this section is that recipients' financial management systems shall provide for the following:

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please email us at startalk@nflc.umd.edu.