Applicant Resources

Welcome to the STARTALK Proposal Guide! On this web page, you will find you everything you need to plan, organize, and submit your application.

Program Overview

The STARTALK program has three goals:

  1. Increase the number of students enrolled in the study of critical languages
  2. Increase the number of highly effective critical-language teachers in the United States
  3. Increase the number of highly effective materials and curricula available to teachers and students of critical-need languages

To meet these goals, STARTALK solicits proposals to run summer programs for student language learning and teacher development. STARTALK grants support programs for students and teachers of eleven critical-need languages. All programs must serve participants learning or teaching one or more of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu. The primary focus of STARTALK programs is on summer learning, but applicants are encouraged to add follow-on opportunities for instruction or activities for participants to continue learning beyond the summer.

STARTALK is seeking proposals from applicants for three types of programs: student programs, teacher programs, and combination programs, which have both student and teacher program components.

Student Programs

Programs providing students in kindergarten through 12th grade and undergraduate students with language learning experiences that offer opportunities for them to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills through the three modes of communication. Independent programs are eligible to receive up to $90,000 in funding to implement their program, with the average student program receiving $82,500.

Teacher Programs

Programs providing teacher development experiences to teachers of one or more of the STARTALK languages that focus on acquiring, applying, and reflecting on new knowledge and skills about language learning and teaching. Independent programs are eligible to receive up to $90,000 in funding to implement their program, with the average teacher program receiving $79,000.

Combination Programs

Programs providing both student language learning and teacher development in order to create a comprehensive experience for teachers that involves pedagogical training and opportunities for classroom observations and practicum experiences. Combination programs are eligible to receive up to $112,500 in funding to implement their programs, with the average combination program receiving $111,500.

View the STARTALK Program Types

SOPHIE

The application period for 2019 STARTALK programs is from 12:01am September 4, 2018, through 7:00pm local time October 12, 2018. To apply for a STARTALK grant, you will use SOPHIE, an online system where you will create and submit your application.

Access SOPHIE

Please note, you will need to create an account and log in to use SOPHIE.

The STARTALK application in SOPHIE is organized into sections. You can view the sections of your application in the left side bar navigation menu in SOPHIE. Click on a section below to review guidance that will help you to complete that section of your proposal.


General Information

Eligibility, Requirements, and Priorities

Eligibility Statement for STARTALK Awards

For a program to be considered eligible, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must provide evidence that participant safety, liability, and insurance issues are addressed.
  • All instruction must occur in the United States (or within US territories or tribal areas); STARTALK funds cannot be used to fund study abroad programs.
  • The applying organization must not be organized, chartered, or incorporated under the laws of any country other than the United States or its possessions or be controlled by an individual who is not a US citizen. STARTALK funds may not be used to support a foreign-owned entity.
  • The applying organization must maintain an accounting system capable of accurately and adequately tracking the expenses associated with the STARTALK grant.
  • Institutions that are a part of the University System of Maryland (http://www.usmd.edu/institutions/) are ineligible for STARTALK grants.

Student Programs

The following requirements must be met by the program to merit an award. Preference will be given to proposals that include the priorities identified below:

Requirements:

  • Serve students in kindergarten through grade 12 and undergraduate.
  • Students participating in a STARTALK program must be enrolled in a US school or homeschooled in the United States.

Priorities:

  • Program runs for three weeks or longer and provides at least ninety hours of instruction.
  • Program provides an opportunity for students to earn academic credit (e.g., Carnegie units, college credit) if appropriate for the age of the students.
  • Program serves a diverse population in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, special needs, and/or socioeconomic status.
  • Program includes a strong professional development plan before and during the program to support instructors.

Teacher Programs

The following requirements must be met by the program to merit an award. Preference will be given to proposals that include the priorities identified below:

Requirements:

  • A clearly defined pedagogical focus that is designed to serve teachers from one or more of the following groups: preservice/beginning teachers, practicing teachers, master teachers/teacher leaders, and heritage school language teachers.
  • Teachers participating in a STARTALK program must be currently teaching or planning to teach one of the STARTALK languages in the United States. (Programs that plan to serve teachers in two or more STARTALK languages may also enroll teachers of Spanish, but their enrollment must be less than 30% of total projected enrollment.)*

Priorities:

  • Program leads participants toward state certification or an alternative certification process by awarding credit hours or fulfilling professional development requirements for practicing teachers.
  • Program includes coaching or other professional development opportunities throughout the academic year.
  • Program includes virtual and/or distance learning components in conjunction with face-to-face instruction.

New for 2019: Spanish teachers are welcome in STARTALK teacher development programs with multiple languages. 30% of teacher participants may be Spanish language teachers. For example, if an institution were to offer a program for teachers of Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi and project an enrollment of twenty teachers, up to six of those teachers could be teachers of Spanish.

Combination Programs

The purpose of the combination program is to provide a comprehensive experience for teachers that involves pedagogical training, practice in implementing the STARTALK-endorsed principles, and opportunities for classroom observations and practicum experiences. Combination programs also offer students the benefit of working with both experienced instructors and teacher trainees. Proposals for combination programs must meet all of the requirements for student and teacher programs. Preference will be given to proposals that include the following additional priorities:

Priorities:

  • Provides classroom observation and/or practicum experience for teacher participants.
  • Demonstrates benefit to student program; e.g., provides opportunities for students to interact with teacher participants through tutoring, learning stations, etc.

New: Enrollment in the teacher program component must be available to instructors in the student program and other teachers who wish to apply.

Preparing a STARTALK proposal

Keep in mind that some of the items you must complete before submitting your proposal will require extra steps. Use the icon key below to keep track of these important items.

Requires Signature  Requires Signature

Documents with this icon require the signature of an authorized representative from your institution. This representative may be a grants officer at your sponsored research office if you are at a college or university. It may be your chief operating officer or chief financial officer for independent organizations or schools. Check with your institution to find out who is authorized to sign grant proposal documents, and notify them early of your intent to apply and when you expect to submit documents to them for signature. This advanced notification will allow the representative to plan for the review and signature of the document and avoid any delays that could jeopardize your application submission.

Requires registration with an organization outside of STARTALK’s website  Requires registration with an organization outside of STARTALK’s website

Items with this icon will require you to visit an external website and register to receive information you will need to enter into your STARTALK application before submitting it. The speed with which these external organizations will process your request is outside of the control of STARTALK. Therefore, be sure to visit these sites and register, renew, or verify that your current registration is up to date and valid early in your application preparation

Requires Upload   Requires upload

Items with this icon are completed outside of the STARTALK grant application system and uploaded to the system on the Upload Documents page before application submission. Most of these documents can be prepared or collected well in advance of proposal submission. Do not wait until the last minute to prepare and upload them to the system.

To upload documents to your SOPHIE grant application, go to the Upload Documents section, then:

  1. Click Upload Documents
  2. Browse for the correct PDF file and select it, or drag and drop files from your computer. The file will appear in your Documents list, but your upload is not yet complet
  3. In the field called Purpose, select the appropriate document type from the drop-down list; this label should match the type of document you are uploading.
  4. Once you have selected a Purpose, click Upload to add the document to your proposal.

Support

SOPHIE Support

If you have any questions about the application process, please send them to startalk@nflc.umd.edu. If you need technical support, please call 240-436-2294 or e-mail us at startalk-support@nflc.umd.edu. You may wish to include a phone number where you can be reached.

Help desk support will be provided at the following times:
September 4 to October 5: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EDT
October 8 to October 12: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EDT

Webinars

Meet with STARTALK program staff at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, ask questions, and receive answers on the STARTALK application.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 3:00PM EDT

Register Now!

Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 1:00PM EDT

Register Now!


Contract Information

In the Contract Information section of your application, you will enter important information about your organization that will help the federal sponsor, the National Security Agency (NSA), process your grant should you receive an award. Complete this information with the help of your sponsored research office (universities and colleges) or your finance office (other organizations).

Organization Information

Requires registration with an organization outside of STARTALK’s website  DUNS Number

This is an identification number assigned and maintained by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) and referred to as the global location identifier. STARTALK grants require this number to be listed on grant applications. If your organization does not have one, you can apply for a DUNS number at https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/get-a-duns.html.

Requires registration with an organization outside of STARTALK’s website  Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. This number is assigned to your organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Check with your finance office or sponsored research office for your EIN. You can learn more about EINs here: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers.

Organization Legal Name

Your organization’s legal name is the name that is used by the federal government in your organization’s registration with the System for Award Management (SAM, www.sam.gov). Be sure to enter into your application the same legal name that you have in Sam.gov.

Common Organization Name

Enter your organization name as the public recognizes it. For example, if your organization’s legal name is “The Rectors and Visitors of the University of My State,” but the public recognizes “University of My State,” enter “University of My State.” If your organization receives an award, STARTALK will use this information to promote your program to the public on our website.

Requires registration with an organization outside of STARTALK’s website  Cage Code

A Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code is a five-character code that identifies those companies planning to do business with the federal government. CAGE codes are assigned through SAM (www.sam.gov). You must have a CAGE code to receive a STARTALK grant. Applying for and receiving a CAGE code can take up to a week. Be sure to complete this task ahead of time. Check with your sponsored research office or finance office to find out if your organization needs a CAGE code or if your organization needs to renew its CAGE code

Applicant Type

You will need to select the type of program you are applying for. STARTALK grants support three types of programs:

  1. Student programs: programs serving students kindergarten through grade 12 and undergraduate students
  2. Teacher programs: program serving teaching professionals of one or more of the STARTALK languages
  3. Combination Programs: programs serving both student (K-16) and teacher participants

*Note: Applicants who select “Combination Program” as their program type will be prompted to complete both the Student Program Narrative and the Teacher Program Narrative sections of the application.

Congressional District Number

You will be required to enter your organization’s congressional district number in this section of the application. You can look up your congressional district online a http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. Enter all district(s) affected by the program or project. Enter the district number in the following format: two-character state abbreviation - three-character district number. For example: CA-005 for California’s 5th district, CA-012 for California’s 12th district, NC-103 for North Carolina’s 103rd district. If all congressional districts in a state are affected, enter “all” for the district number, e.g., MD-all for all congressional districts in Maryland. If all districts within all states are affected, e.g., the program is nationwide, enter US-all.

Federal Debt Delinquency

This question applies to the applicant organization, not the person who signs as the authorized representative. Select Yes if your organization is delinquent on any federal debt. Categories of federal debt include, but may not be limited to: delinquent audit disallowances, loans, and taxes. If you select Yes, include an explanation under budget notes in the Budget Information section.

Requires Upload  Federal Grant Awards Exceeding $750,000 (A-133 Audit Report)

If your organization received $750,000 or more in total federal grant awards during your current fiscal year, you are required to submit the most recent copy of your A-133 Audit report. You may enter a URL (link) to this document, or you can upload the document to your application if your organization does not have a link to it.

Requires Upload  Indirect Rate Agreement

Your federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement is an agreement that establishes the indirect cost rates your institution may have established with the federal government. The agreement is usually negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Naval Research. Indicate on the budget worksheet in the Budget Information section whether 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 in the Upload Documents section of the application, and select the “Rate Agreement” label when uploading.

Requires Upload  Indirect Rate Justification

This is a PDF document detailing the indirect costs that your institution would like to charge to the grant. If your organization does not have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, you are required to create a detailed breakdown of indirect costs, convert the document to a PDF file, and upload it to your application. For more information about indirect costs, please see the Upload Documents section of this guide.

Sponsored Research Office

In the Sponsored Research Office section of the application, you will enter contact information for the sponsored research office for your grant proposal. The information entered should be for the individual in the office who processes all grants for your unit of your organization. If your organization does not have a sponsored research office, you may list the individual in the accounting office of your primary organization who would manage and process the award documents and finances of the grant.


Student Program

In this section of the application, you will enter the details of the student program that your organization is proposing. This section includes details about the features of your program, a place to indicate whether you have received STARTALK funding in the past, the language(s) you propose to teach, details on program personnel, and proposal narrative questions that will collect more details about the content of your proposed program.

Program Features

Use this part of the application to enter some descriptive information about your program that will help us to better understand the basics of your proposed program. Below are some things to keep in mind while completing this section.

Title

This is a short descriptive title for your proposed program. It should not be the organization name. Please be sure to use the word STARTALK somewhere in the title

Summer Program Start and End Dates

These dates should occur no earlier than June 1 and no later than August 31. These are the core dates of your program that must occur during the summer months.

Post-Summer Activities

If your organization plans to include follow-up activities after the summer, answer Yes to the question “Will your program have any continuing activities beyond the last day of summer instruction?”

Residential (Overnight) Programs

If your program will be an overnight, or residential, program, be sure to answer “Yes, all participants,” or “Yes, some participants” to the question “Will you be using STARTALK funds to provide housing for any participants?” Answering Yes to this question will lead to specific questions in the Program Narrative section. It is very important to answer this question correctly.

Blended Learning

Let STARTALK know if you plan to teach any portion of your program online. Blended learning (also called hybrid or mixed learning) is an educational approach that combines both in-person and distance-learning 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 use technology or videoconferencing as more than simply a supporting tool for learning and instruction.

Program Funding

The Program Funding section of the application asks if your institution is a new applicant and will let STARTALK know whether your proposed program has received STARTALK funding in the past. We want to know how many new and returning applicants we have each year.

Changes made to this section later could affect specific questions in the Program Narrative section that appear as a result of your response to this section. You could lose data if you make changes to this section later in the proposal development process.

If the STARTALK program you are applying for existed partially or entirely in or after 2016, and the same institution indicated in this application administered the program, you should answer Yes to this question. If the program for which you are seeking funding is adding or removing a participant type (student or teacher), effectively making it a combination or independent program, OR if the program is adding or removing languages from its offerings, you should still answer Yes to this question.

If the program you are applying for existed partially or entirely as a STARTALK program in or after 2016 at a different institution, you should answer “No, this application seeks to move the STARTALK program in or after 2016 to a new institution.” If the program you are applying for did not exist in any form in or after 2016, you should answer “No, neither the institution in this application nor any other institution administered the proposed STARTALK program in or after 2016.”

Language Features

Use the Language Features section of the application to let STARTALK know what language(s) you plan to teach next summer, along with the grade level(s), target enrollment numbers, and proficiency level(s) of your target population of students. You will also enter the total instructional time that students will receive during your proposed program. STARTALK recommends 90 hours of instructional time for 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. Hours where students are not expected to be actively engaged in language learning should not be counted as instructional time

Personnel Information

This section is where you will enter contact information for the people who will work on your program. You will enter more details about the key personnel (program director and instructional lead) in your program narrative. The primary program director and instructional lead cannot be entered as TBD. These roles must be confirmed and listed by name in the proposal and the budget.

Every STARTALK program is supported by a team of qualified individuals who are passionate about language learning. These key roles in STARTALK programs are critical to program success. Describing other roles and individuals such as instructors, technical specialists, and other people who are important to the success of your proposed program will certainly help proposal reviewers better understand your proposal and gauge its chances for success. However, your proposal must provide details on these key roles and the professional backgrounds of the people who will fill them. The qualifications of the program director and the instructional lead will impact the overall rating of your proposal. Please review the Key Personnel Infographic if you require more information about the qualifications for a program director or instructional lead:

View Key Personnel Infographic

Program Director

Enter the contact information for the primary program director (you may list the information of a codirector in the Other Personnel section). You will also be required to list the responsibilities and qualifications of the program director in detail in the narrative section of your proposal.

Principal Investigator

Enter the contact information for your principal investigator. The principal investigator (PI) is the individual authorized by your institution to oversee a grant for your department and who holds ultimate responsibility for your grant’s compliance with sponsor rules and regulations. This person is often the same as the program director. You need only provide contact information for the PI in your proposal.

Additional POC

The STARTALK additional point of contact (POC) is the person who, along with the program director, will receive all communications regarding the award, program implementation, and program administration. This may be the same person as the program director

Instructional Lead

Enter the contact information for the instructional lead. The instructional lead works with the program director and is responsible for developing curriculum and coordinating all teachers and instructional staff. The instructional lead must be confirmed and listed by name in the proposal and budget. You should only have one instructional lead per target language. If, however, you offer more than one target language and have more than one instructional lead, you should list additional instructional leads in the Other Personnel section. You will also be required to list the responsibilities and qualifications of the lead instructor in detail the narrative section of your proposal.

Other Personnel

The contact information for any additional program directors or instructional leads and any consultants must be listed in this section of the application. You may also list instructors, teaching assistants, program coordinators, or technology staff. Any personnel listed in this section must also be listed individually on the budget worksheet in the Budget Information section of your application. You are required to list all positions for which you plan to hire for your program. If you have yet to identify individuals by name, you may enter TBD. You will also be required to list the responsibilities and qualifications of the other personnel in detail in the narrative section of your proposal.

Student Program Narrative

In the Program Narrative section of the application in SOPHIE, applicants respond to a series of questions to provide the rationale for the proposed program, outline instructional goals, describe program activities, and justify the personnel charged with implementing the program.

Strong responses to the narrative questions include concrete and realistic plans for the design and implementation of the program goals and should be guided by a solid understanding of the STARTALK-endorsed Principles for Effective Teaching and Learning.

View STARTALK-endorsed Principles

This document outlines the questions and provides hints based on the review criteria used by proposal reviewers to rate applications in order to determine recommendations for funding. Applicants are advised to review the criteria prior to and while preparing the program narrative section of their proposal. Examples provided in the criteria are not intended to be exhaustive, but guide the applicant’s own development of their proposal.

View Student Narrative Guide

Additionally, STARTALK has created a series of videos that provide additional information about how to craft a strong narrative response and that address frequently asked questions about the proposal narrative.

View Foundational Documents


Teacher Program

In this section of the application, you will enter the details of the teacher professional development program that your organization is proposing. This section includes details about the features of your program, a place to indicate whether you have received STARTALK funding in the past, the language(s) taught by the teacher participants in your program, details on program personnel, and proposal narrative questions that will collect more details about the content of your proposed program.

Program Features

Use this part of the application to enter some descriptive information about your program that will help us to better understand the basics of your proposed program. Below are some things to keep in mind while completing this section.

Title

This is a short descriptive title of your proposed program. It should not be the organization name. Please be sure to use the word STARTALK somewhere in the title.

Summer Program Start and End Dates

These dates should occur no earlier than June 1 and no later than August 31. These are the core dates of your program that must occur during the summer months.

Post-Summer Activities

If your organization plans to include follow-up activities after the summer, answer Yes to the question “Will your program have any continuing activities beyond the last day of summer instruction?

Residential (Overnight) Programs

If your program will be an overnight, or residential, program, be sure to answer “Yes, all participants,” or “Yes, some participants” to the question “Will you be using STARTALK funds to provide housing for any participants?” Answering Yes to this question will lead to specific questions in the Program Narrative section. It is very important to answer this question correctly.

Blended Learning

Let STARTALK know if you plan to teach any portion of your program online. Blended learning (also called hybrid or mixed learning) is an educational approach that combines both in-person and distance-learning 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 use technology or videoconferencing as more than simply a supporting tool for learning and instruction.

Program Funding

The Program Funding section of the application asks if your institution is a new applicant and will let STARTALK know whether your proposed program has received STARTALK funding in the past. We want to know how many new and returning applicants we have each year. Take your time answering this question.

Changes made to this section later could affect specific questions in the Program Narrative section that appear as a result of your response to this section. You could lose data if you make changes to this section later in the proposal development process.

If the STARTALK program you are applying for existed partially or entirely in or after 2016, and the same institution indicated in this application administered the program, you should answer Yes to this question. If the program for which you are seeking funding is adding or removing a participant type (student or teacher), effectively making it a combination or independent program, OR if the program is adding or removing languages from its offerings, you should still answer Yes to this question.

If the program you are applying for existed partially or entirely as a STARTALK program in or after 2016at a different institution, you should answer “No, this application seeks to move the STARTALK program in or after 2016 to a new institution.” If the program you are applying for did not exist in any form in or after 2016, you should answer “No, neither the institution in this application nor any other institution administered the proposed STARTALK program in or after 2016."

Language Features

Use the Language Features section of the application to let STARTALK know the language(s) taught by the teachers you plan to teach next summer, along with their experience level(s) and the target enrollment numbers. You will also enter the total instructional time that teachers will receive during your proposed program. Instructional time includes all required activities, whether they occur during the day, in the evening, or on weekends.

Personnel Information

This section is where you will enter contact information for the people who will work on your program. You will enter more details about the key personnel (program director and instructional lead) in your program narrative. The primary program director and instructional lead cannot be entered as TBD. These roles must be confirmed and listed by name in the proposal and the budget.

Every STARTALK program is supported by a team of qualified individuals who are passionate about language learning. These key roles in STARTALK programs are critical to program success. Describing other roles and individuals such as instructors, technical specialists, and other people who are important to the success of your proposed program will certainly help proposal reviewers better understand your proposal and gauge its chances for success. However, your proposal must provide details on these key roles and the professional backgrounds of the people who will fill them. The qualifications of the program director and the instructional lead will impact the overall rating of your proposal. Please review the Key Personnel Infographic if you require more information about the qualifications for a program director or instructional lead:

View Key Personnel Infographic

Program Director

Enter the contact information for the primary program director (you may list the information of a codirector in the Other Personnel section). You will also be required to list the responsibilities and qualifications of the program director in detail in the narrative section of your proposal.

Principal Investigator

Enter the contact information for your principal investigator. The principal investigator (PI) is the individual authorized by your institution to oversee a grant for your department and who holds ultimate responsibility for your grant’s compliance with sponsor rules and regulations. This person is often the same as the program director. You need only provide contact information for the PI in your proposal.

Additional POC

The STARTALK additional point of contact (POC) is the person who, along with the program director, will receive all communications regarding the award, program implementation, and program administration. This may be the same person as the program director.

Instructional Lead

Enter the contact information for the instructional lead. The instructional lead works with the program director and is responsible for developing curriculum and coordinating all teachers and instructional staff. The instructional lead must be confirmed and listed by name in the proposal and budget. You should only have one instructional lead per target language. If, however, you offer more than one target language and have more than one instructional lead, you should list additional instructional leads in the Other Personnel section. You will also be required to list the responsibilities and qualifications of the lead instructor in detail the narrative section of your proposal.

Other Personnel

The contact information for any additional program directors or instructional leads and any consultants must be listed in this section of the application. You may also list instructors, teaching assistants, program coordinators, or technology staff. Any personnel listed must also be listed individually on the budget worksheet in the Budget Information section of your application. You are required to list all positions for which you plan to hire for your program. If you have yet to identify individuals by name, you may enter TBD. You will also be required to list the responsibilities and qualifications of the other personnel in detail in the narrative section of your proposal.

Teacher Program Narrative

In the Program Narrative section of the application in SOPHIE, applicants respond to a series of questions to provide the rationale for the proposed program, outline instructional goals, describe program activities, and justify the personnel charged with implementing the program.

Strong responses to the narrative questions include concrete and realistic plans for the design and implementation of the program goals and should be guided by a solid understanding of theSTARTALK-endorsed Principles for Effective Teaching and Learning.

View STARTALK-endorsed Principles

This document outlines the questions and provides hints based on the review criteria used by proposal reviewers to rate applications in order to determine recommendations for funding. Applicants are advised to review the criteria prior to and while preparing the program narrative section of their proposal. Examples provided in the criteria are not intended to be exhaustive, but guide the applicant’s own development of their proposal.

View Teacher Narrative Guide

Additionally, STARTALK has created a series of videos that provide additional information about how to craft a strong narrative response and that address frequently asked questions about the proposal narrative.

View Foundational Documents


Budget Information

The Budget Information section of your STARTALK application is where you will enter all of your proposed program expenses. There are two parts to the budget: the worksheet and the worksheet notes.

Budget Worksheet

The purpose of the proposal budget worksheet is to help you to present and justify all planned expenses for your program. Within the budget worksheet, you will enter the items, quantities, costs, calculations, and descriptions for your budget.

General Budget Requirements

When creating your program budget, all costs must be reasonable, justifiable, and allowable. STARTALK budgets will be subject to rigorous review and may be subject to audit. Including unclear or prohibited costs in your proposed budget can delay or prevent award of a STARTALK grant. It is important to be as clear and thorough as possible when developing your budget, with attention to the following requirements:

  • NEW FOR 2019! Round to the nearest dollar: The budget worksheet in SOPHIE will only allow you to enter integers. To ensure consistency across documentation, please round all dollar amounts to the nearest whole dollar when preparing your budget line items. Please be sure this is reflected in your calculations and work in whole dollar amounts.
  • Reasonable Costs: The government defines "reasonable cost" as "a price that is consistent with what a reasonable person would pay in the same or similar circumstances for the same business or for the same or similar item." STARTALK Central may ask for revisions or clarifications if items within the budget are not clearly described or within the range of the reasonable average. The average cost per participant for the student and teacher programs usually ranges from $1,600 to $2,700. Keep in mind that cost per participant can vary according to several factors: residential versus non residential programs, language, location, indirect cost rates, etc.
  • Staff/Personnel: All staff named within your proposal must be included as line items in your budget worksheet, either in the “contractual” section or the “personnel” section. Additionally, you must include the program director and lead instructor’s names in the line items for these roles within your budget. If for any reason, personnel or staff will be working for your program without compensation (due to in-kind support, etc.), you must still include a line item with their name and role, and should use the calculation and explanation fields to note the reason for the zero-cost compensation.
  • Calculations and Explanations: Provide accurate numerical calculations in the Calculations column of the budget and clear written descriptions of how costs/calculations were determined and to explain the instructional and/or administrative purpose of the item in the Explanations column for each line item in your budget.
  • Budget Support: Obtain written quotes for all line items in the budget as you create the budget. You are required to submit these quotes as supporting documentation along with your proposal. Keep all financial documentation for audit purposes. Budget support documents do not need to match the exact dollar amounts for every line item in your budget, but must be reasonably close. For more information on collecting budget support, click here.
  • STARTALK Conferences: Programs are required to include travel and housing costs for the STARTALK Spring and Fall conferences in their budgets. Conference attendance is mandatory for the Program Director and Lead Instructor.
  • Application Fees: Programs may charge an application or enrollment fee only if that fee covers services rendered in processing the application. If an application fee is used, it must be charged to all applicants equitably—fees may not be reduced or waived for some applicants. Fees or refundable deposits may not be charged to participants to reserve or hold a seat in the program.
  • Swag and Promotional Items: Programs may only include a maximum of 2 promotional items, such as t-shirts, bags, hats, water bottles, etc. in the budget.

Prohibited Costs:

The following costs are not allowed and should not be included in STARTALK budgets or proposals.

  • Fees for background checks and fingerprinting
  • Immigration fees, including visa paperwork, fingerprinting, background checks, etc.
  • Gift Cards
  • Proposal writing and/or grant writing expenses
  • Non-STARTALK Conference costs, including registration fees and travel expenses (with the exception of the STARTALK spring and fall conferences)
  • Deposits or fees for participants to reserve or hold a place in a program
  • Substitute teachers outside of core program hours (e.g. to cover absences during STARTALK conferences)
  • Stipends for participants
  • Food for anyone other than program staff and participants, or for ceremonies or events taking place outside of instructional time.
  • Entertainment costs taking place outside of normal instructional hours
  • Furniture purchases of any kind
  • Gifted computers or electronic devices intended for students to keep after the program has ended
  • Third-party accounting services charged as direct costs
  • Travel allowances for student program participants other than for daily local commuting
  • Program evaluation fees

Budget Categories

The budget worksheet is broken down into seven categories, and the following guidance is intended to help you determine which category to place your budget items into—the examples provided are not intended to be exhaustive; if you wish to budget for something that is not included in these examples, and is also not on the prohibited expenses list, please use your best judgement in selecting a budget category for it. When creating your budget, you can easily modify the category for a line item, and move items from one category to a different category by clicking on the pencil button and selecting a new category for the line item.

Contractual: Include staff, instructors, or consultants who will work as contractual hires for your program in this section. Contracted staff are usually not regular employees of your institution or not on payroll, and have a contractual agreement to work for your program/institution only to perform specific tasks or for only a specific period of time. Fringe benefits should not be charged to the grant for contracted employees or consultants.

You may also include costs associated with other contractual agreements in this section, such as space rental costs or program-related costs for services provided by a third-party contractor or vendor.

Equipment: Include all proposed equipment purchases in this section. Equipment is defined as items that are electronic and have an expected service life of more than one year, such as computers, iPads, printers, keyboards, and cameras. Non-electronic items (e.g. sports equipment, cooking supplies, etc.) should be included in the Supplies category.

You must detail in either the explanations field or the budget worksheet notes how/when the equipment will be used, how it supports the program goals, and the impact not allowing the purchase would have on the program. The need for and planned use of the equipment should also be explained within the proposal narrative. All equipment purchases must remain the property of the program. The budget line items for each piece of equipment and/or the budget worksheet notes must explicitly state that all equipment will remain the property of the program. Participants are not allowed to keep equipment after the program has ended.

Personnel: Include all employees working with your program who will be on the institutional payroll during the dates of the program in this section. These payroll employees hold permanent positions at your institution, and typically earn a regular salary or hourly wage and earn benefits. Be sure to show how you calculated the salary or rate for each employee using the calculations field, and explain the calculations using the explanation field. Please note, any payroll employees for your institution who will be working simultaneously for your STARTALK program and other parts of your institution (such as clerical staff, janitors, accounting staff) should instead be included in your indirect costs.

Fringe Benefits: In this section, include payroll employee benefits for each payroll employee you listed in the Personnel section of the budget worksheet. You are required to provide a detailed breakdown of benefits for each payroll employee. Examples of benefits typically included in this section are items such as health insurance, FICA, retirement plans, etc, that are provided by your employer. Be sure to list all benefits and the rates for each benefit, and be sure to clearly note the calculations used for determining fringe benefits at your institution.

If any payroll employees in the Personnel section of your budget worksheet will not have benefit costs associated with them, be sure to include a note explaining this in your budget worksheet notes.

Supplies: Include in this section the costs of any supplies needed for your program such as teaching materials, classroom or office supplies, equipment for activities, swag or promotional items, software, etc. Please add separate line items for each item and provide detailed information on the price and quantities of each item to be purchased in the calculations field. Please explain the instructional or administrative purpose of each item in the explanation fields. Please also note that there is a limit of 2 promotional items/swag items (such as t-shirts or bags) per participant allowed in your budget.

Travel: All anticipated travel, transportation, meals & incidentals, and lodging costs should be included in the travel section of your budget. It is mandatory that STARTALK programs budget for the STARTALK Conferences, so the travel section of your budget worksheet should include line items for the spring and fall STARTALK conferences that include the estimated travel expenses (airfare/transportation, lodging, and meal per diem costs) for your program director and lead instructor. Please use the lodging rate and location information below to calculate your expenses for each conference.

Spring Conference*: May 3-4, 2019 in St. Louis, MO at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Lodging cost: $155 per night (including 19% taxes)

Fall Conference: October 11-12 in Phoenix, AZ at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel. Lodging cost: $140 per night (including 12.5% taxes)

Meal and incidentals per diem costs may not exceed the approved GSA rates for each location. To look up the rates, please visit https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates and select 2019 for the fiscal year.

*Please budget for higher-than-normal airfare costs for the spring conference. NSA anticipates that grants will be awarded in April of 2019; therefore, it is possible that you will have to purchase tickets to the spring conference at the last minute.

In addition to the STARTALK conference travel, you should include all anticipated travel, meals, and lodging costs for your program in the Travel section of the budget. These costs may include lodging costs for participants or staff, field trips that take place during the instructional day, food for participants to be consumed during instructional hours, or travel allowances for local travel. Programs are allowed to cover airfare/provide a travel allowance for consultants and teacher program participants. Student programs may not cover airfare or travel allowances for non-local travel for student participants.

Tuition and Fees: In this section, detail any tuition costs or mandatory fees that the grant will cover for participants. This may include mandatory university or institution charges for administrative processing, tuition for credit hours, entrance fees for field trips, etc.

Budget Examples

View Sample Student Program Budget

View Sample Teacher Program Budget

Budget Worksheet Notes

Use the budget worksheet notes to explain any line items in your budget that require additional detail, justification, or clarification, or to provide detailed itemization for any high-cost items (e.g. videographers or consultant services).


Upload Documents

Requires Upload Your application is not complete until all required documents are uploaded on the Upload Documents page. This section explains the documents required for a complete proposal package.

Required Documents

Requires SignatureSigned Budget

After you have completed your budget, an authorized representative from your organization must sign your budget. After completing your budget, go to My Applications. There you can view your budget, print it, and have it signed by your authorized representative. Once the budget is signed, upload it to your application. Do not make any changes to your budget after it is signed. If you need to make changes, the budget must be signed again and uploaded to your application.

Budget Support Documents (Quotes)

As you create your budget, collect quotes to support the calculation of each budget line item. Support documents may include the following:

  1. Emails stating contracting prices for consultants that detail the hourly/daily rate and contain a description of the services to be rendered
  2. Screenshots of “shopping carts” from vendor websites for supplies
  3. Contracts, receipts, quotes, and other documents from previous year
  4. Screenshots of airfares or train fares from online travel vendors
  5. Quotes from vendors with vendor information, service descriptions, and prices or rates
  6. Google Maps or MapQuest directions showing mileage for mileage charge
  7. Screenshots from university bursar websites for tuition and fees
  8. You are required to provide supporting documentation for all proposed expenses, including all items entered under payroll employees in the personnel section and benefits entered in the fringe benefits section of your budget worksheet. For employee and consultant projections, you must submit the calculation used to arrive at a budget figure.

Review the Budget Support Documentation Instructions to help you to prepare your budget support documentation.

View Budget Support Documentation Instructions and Sample

Insurance Certificate

Applying organizations must provide proof of liability insurance to submit a proposal. You will need to provide a copy of your organization’s liability insurance, or, if you do not yet have one, a quote from an insurance carrier. Self-insured organizations need to provide a document signed by the appropriate authority to confirm that status. The insurance must be in effect throughout the length of the program.

Requires UploadIndirect Cost Rate Agreement or Indirect Cost Rate Justification

An Indirect Cost Rate Agreement or Rate Justification must be attached to your proposal before the proposal can be submitted. This document will be either your federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (for universities and colleges) OR your rate justification for indirect charges (for independent organizations). Upload a pdf copy of your document and select either “Rate Agreement” or “Rate Justification” as the label for the file.

Indirect costs are actual costs incurred to conduct the normal business of an organization that are not readily identified with, or directly charged to, a specific project or activity. These are costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives at an organization and therefore cannot be readily identified with a specific project or activity of an organization. The indirect costs are applied equitably across all of the business activities of the organization, according to the benefits each gain from them. Typical examples of indirect costs are the costs of operating and maintaining facilities, local telephone service, and accounting services. Please note that STARTALK does not have a prescribed rate. Most past programs submitted IDC rates around ten percent. Given the short duration and low cost of the program, most awardees were able to negotiate these rates with their home institutions.

My organization has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement

Your organization may have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. Check with your organization’s financial or sponsored research office for more information. A federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement 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. If your institution has this agreement, indicate that you have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement on the Organization Information section of your STARTALK proposal and upload a copy as an uploaded PDF document before you submit your proposal.

View Sample Rate Agreement

My organization does not have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement

If your organization does not have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, you are required to provide a breakdown of your indirect costs (if applicable) as an uploaded document. Please submit an uploaded PDF document detailing your indirect costs.

View Sample Rate Justification

Examples of items that may be included in this section:

  • Clerical staff*
  • Nurse/janitorial staff/security guards**
  • Insurance**
  • Rent for kitchen space
  • Nurse
  • Janitor
  • Security guard
  • Utilities
  • Rent

* In the case of clerical staff, nurses, janitors, or security guards working simultaneously for the program and for other areas of the institution, a pro-rated salary calculation should be included, and the employees should be included in the indirect cost category instead of in the employee category.

** Insurance refers to additional coverage purchased specifically for the duration of the program.

Requires SignatureGrants.gov Lobbying Form

All applicants must upload a Grants.gov Lobbying Form to their application in the Upload Documents section SOPHIE. Review this form carefully and have an authorized representative at your organization sign it. Upload a signed copy of the document and select “ Signed Grants.gov Lobbying form” as the label for the file.

Download the form here:
https://apply07.grants.gov/apply/forms/sample/GG_LobbyingForm-V1.1.pdf

Requires SignatureApplication for Federal Assistance SF-424

All applicants are required to complete this federal form (Signed Application for Federal Assistance SF-424, OMB Number 4040-0004) and upload it to their application in the Upload Documents section of SOPHIE.

Download the following form in PDF format:
https://apply07.grants.gov/apply/forms/sample/SF424_2_1-V2.1.pdf

Complete the form carefully using the following instructions, and ensuring that the information entered into the form matches the information provided in your application in SOPHIE. Have an authorized representative at your organization sign it. Upload the signed copy and select “Signed Application for Federal Assistance SF-424” as the label for the file.

The Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 form has 3 pages that you need to complete. Each field in the form has a corresponding number and/or letter. Not all fields will need to be completed. Explained below are the items on each page of the form that require completion, along with notes on completing each item.

View Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 Instructions

Budget Information SF-424A

All applicants must upload a completed Budget Information SF424A form (Budget Information SF-424A – Non-Construction Programs: OMB Number 4040-0006) to their application in SOPHIE. Make sure that the information entered into this form matches your budget, signed budget, and Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 form.

Download the following form in PDF format:
https://apply07.grants.gov/apply/forms/sample/SF424A-V1.0.pdf

Upload a pdf copy of the form and select “Budget Information SF-424A” as the label for the file.

The Budget Information SF-424A form has 3 pages that you need to complete. Each field in the form has a corresponding number and/or letter. Not all fields will need to be completed. Explained below are the items on each page of the form that require completion, along with notes on completing each item.

View Budget Information SF-424A Instructions

Requires SignatureAssurances – Non-Construction Programs SF-424B

All applicants must upload an Assurances—Non-Construction Programs SF-424B Form (Signed Assurances - Non-Construction Programs SF-424B: OMB Number 4040-0007) to their application in the Upload Documents section of their application in SOPHIE. Review this form carefully and have an authorized representative at your organization sign it. Upload a signed copy of the document and select “ Signed Assurances SF-424B” as the label for the file.

Download the form here:
https://apply07.grants.gov/apply/forms/sample/SF424B-V1.1.pdf

Key Contacts Form

All applicants must upload a Key Contacts Form (Key Contacts form: OMB Number 4040-0010) to the Upload Documents section of their application in SOPHIE. This form must include the contact information for your Program Director, Principal Investigator, Point of Contact (if different from the Program Director), and the Sponsored Research Office Contact listed in your proposal’s Contract Information section of SOPHIE.

Download the following form in PDF format:
https://apply07.grants.gov/apply/forms/sample/Key_Contacts-V1.0.pdf

Follow these steps to complete and upload the form:

  1. Applicant Organization Name: Enter the Organization Legal Name found at the top of the proposal.
  2. Add the names and contact information for your program’s
    • Program Director
    • Principal Investigator
    • Point of Contact (if different from Program Director)
    • Sponsored Research Office Contact (from your proposal’s “Contract Information” section in SOPHIE)

    For each contact, you will need to create a new page by clicking “Next Person” at the bottom of the form.


  3. In order to upload this form to the STARTALK application, you will need to print each page as a separate PDF file and recombine them into a single file that shows all contacts. There are two ways to accomplish this:
    1. Navigate to each contact one at a time using the “Next Person” button, then “print to PDF” each individual contact page, and save the individual PDFs together as one PDF file.
    2. Print out each individual contact page in hard copy then scan and save all pages together as a single PDF file

When uploading the file to the Upload Documents section of SOPHIE, select the “Key Contacts Form” label for the file.


Submit Application

Once you have completed all sections of the application and uploaded all required support documents, you may submit your application. Please note that once you submit your application, you will no longer be able to make any changes or add any documentation. Please allow yourself plenty of time to review your application and ensure it is complete prior to hitting submit.

Submitting your Application

After you submit a STARTALK application, it will be carefully reviewed. Proposal reviewers will review the narrative portion of your application and your budget. STARTALK Central will also review your budget and support documents to ensure that they are compliant with the grant requirements, and may request modifications or additional information. Notification of award will be made in early 2019. Programs who are awarded STARTALK funding will receive a letter containing feedback and requirements that must be implemented to accept funding. Programs that are not selected for an award will also receive feedback on how they can improve future applications.

Application Deadline

The proposal system closes on October 12th, 2018 at 7pm local time.

Material Type(s): 

  • Administration