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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Questions and Answers on the Competitive Request for Proposals
ABE Transition to Community College – Fund Code: 668

Each time this document is updated, answers to questions will be noted in red font.

Q1:
Will the Bidders conference still be held on 12/6 given the memorial for Anne Serino on that date?
A1:
The Bidder’s Conference is from 10:00-11:30 a.m. in Devens on 12/6, and the memorial for Anne Serino starts at 1:00 p.m. in Framingham that afternoon.
 
 
Q2:
According to the announcement:

The Letter of Intent to Apply form must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 16, 2013. It should be sent by Certified, Registered, or Return Receipt Requested mail.

However no form has been provided. Please advise.
A2:
Programs can send their own letters/forms to the Department; there is no template since the purpose of sending a letter of intent is so that the Department will have an idea of how many programs and which programs will be applying. If a program does not send a letter of intent, that program can still apply for funding.
 
 
Q3:
In the BUDGET section of the RFP, applicants are asked to submit a budget for July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016; however, the signature pages include the following dates: 7/01/2014 – 6/30/2015. Which are correct?
A3:
7/01/2014 – 6/30/2015 (FY’15)
 
 
Q4:
What is meant by "grants ranging from $50,000 to $90,000" in the RFP?
A4:
Grants awarded will range from $50,000 to $90,000. No grant award will be less than $50,000 or more than $90,000. Funding is subject to state and federal appropriations.
 
 
Q5:
What should College for Success and Technology for College encompass?
A5:
The applicant must make that decision.
 
 
Q6:
How do you define administrative costs?
A6:
Administrative costs are costs associated with staff not providing direct services to students (e.g., data entry staff; program director's time spent on administrative tasks). Advisors or staff with advising hours would be considered staff providing direct services and therefore would not be included in administrative costs.
 
 
Q7:
Are Indirect Costs included in the 15% administrative cap?
A7:
Yes.
 
 
Q8:
Would a student referred from a GED testing center be included in the 80% or 20% population of enrolled students?
A8:
If a student is referred from a GED testing center and has a SMARTT ID because they were once enrolled in an ESE-funded ABE program, then he/she would be included in the 80". The Transition to Community College 80/20 enrollment policy reads as follows: Recipients of ESE Adult Basic Education Transition to Community College grants will be required to maintain a minimum enrollment of 15 ESE-funded students per semester, no less than 80% of whom will be former (or current) ESE-funded adult basic education (ABE) students, as verified by a SMARTT identification number. See the FY15 Adult Basic Education Transition to Community College Guidelines for more information.
 
 
Q9:
Is a Letter of Intent required in order to apply for funding?
A9:
A Letter of Intent is not required in order to apply for funding. The purpose of a Letter of Intent is so that the Department can estimate how many proposals will be submitted by potential applicants.
 
 
Q10:
Where is the Transition to Community College RFP located?
A10:
The Transition to Community College RFP is located on the Grants/Funding Opportunities page on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website under Current Grant Funding Opportunities. There is also a link on the ACLS home page under *Hot Topics*.
 
 
Q11:
Who are "key program staff" required in Appendix B in the RFP?
A11:
The applicant must make that determination.
 
 
Q12:
Does past performadnce information need to be presented in a table format?
A12:
The applicant must make that determination.
 
 
Q13:
Is everything auditable? (This question is in regards to all data in Appendix E.)
A13:
Yes, all data needs to be auditable.
 
 
Q14:
Could I offer one course that includes both College for Success and Technology for College?
A14:
The applicant must make that determination. There is policy information in the FY15 Massachusetts Guidelines for Effective Adult Basic Education Transition to Community College about the two required course offerings.
 
 
Q15:
Must College for Success and Technology for College be stand alone courses or could they be integrated into other courses offered by the college?
A15:
The applicant must make that determination. There is policy information in the FY15 Massachusetts Guidelines for Effective Adult Basic Education Transition to Community College about the two required course offerings.
 
 
Q16:
Will programs receive guidance around entering classes in the SMARTT data system?
A16:
Upon notification of funding, successful applicants will be required to enter certain program design elements, including required classes, into SMARTT. Applicants will receive guidance in this process.
 
 
Q17:
What is the meaning of degree bearing credits?
A17:
College course credit that is transferrable.
 
 
Q18:
Please clarify Past Performance Part 2 B in the RFP.
A18:
Previous and new applicants must provide in Appendix E auditable data for the following outcomes achieved by students previously enrolled in ESE-funded adult education programs who started their studies in the Transition program at the community college no earlier than September 1, 2013 and whose outcomes occurred before March 1, 2014:
  • Provide a list of certificate programs and the names of the institutions offering the programs.
  • Provide the number of students who enrolled in each program (listed from "a" above) and the number who completed.
The answer to this RFP question provides a snapshot of enrollments and outcomes that are achieved in the current semester. Please note that this part of the question does not specify what type of credit, if any, a student receives.
 
 
Q19:
Related to the above question, could the student be "counted" if he/she started the certificate program before he/she started the Transition program?
A19:
Yes. The question states that the program must provide outcomes for students who started their studies in the Transition program at the community college no earlier than September 1, 2013. The question does not specify the start date for the student's enrollment in the certificate program.
 
 
Q20:
Is it possible to delete question V. 2. b from the RFP? (It doesn't seem possible for many programs to have more than a zero listed for that question.)
A20:
No questions will be deleted from the RFP. Applicants should answer all questions to the best of their ability.
 
 
Q21:
Is space considered match funding?
A21:
Yes, space is considered match.
 
 
Q22:
If a Transition program hires a teacher for a course, and our grant pays his/her salary, but the college pays the balance of the costs to make the course a credit-bearing course, then could this balance (e.g., college fees) be considered match funding?
A22:
Yes.
 
 
Q23:
The Transition to Community College Guidelines state that programs "must maintain a current, formal, detailed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with at least one ESE-funded ABE program partner and maintain current, formal Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with all ABE programs in the college's catchment area to facilitate the successful transition of former ABE students to the community college." Does this include non-DESE funded ABE programs?
A23:
Yes. See Statement of Assurances #18.
 
 
Q24:
The RFP requests the following info for students who began no earlier than Sept 1, 2013, and whose outcomes occurred before Mar 1, 2014: The total number of students who enrolled in degree-bearing college courses. Provide the total number of those students who completed degree-bearing college credit courses.
 
None of the students who enroll in degree-bearing courses in January will have completed them by March 1, 2014. Won't this skew the results to appear that 100% of students during winter semester never completed their courses?
A24:
See previous question and answer related to past performance. The question asks for total numbers, not percents.
 
 
Q25:
Our College Success seminar is a degree bearing college credit course. Can we use a student's FASFA to pay for tuition and fees?
A25:
No. See Statement of Assurances #5.
 
 
Q26:
Can transition students use financial aid to pay for degree bearing college credit courses as part of the no cost to students priority listed in the RFP?
A26:
One of the goals of the Transition program is to offer degree credit bearing college courses at no cost to the students in the program. The college can pay for the courses through matching funds or the program can use their ESE Transition funds to cover the costs of the courses. While in the Transition program, Transition classes/courses must be free of charge to students enrolled in the Transition program.
 
 
Q27:
Can you please tell me if the Letter of Intent for this program was mandatory?
A27:
The purpose of sending a letter of intent is so that the Department will have an idea of how many programs and which programs will be applying. If a program does not send a letter of intent, that program can still apply for funding.
 
 
Q28:
All of the students in our program are enrolled in the college as full-fledged college students. They are eligible to take 9 credits of degree bearing courses, and it is this number of possible credits that is very attractive to are applicants. Applying for FASFA is part of our pre-enrollment process. This fully integrates our students in the college enrollment process. We understand why the RFP would not want FASFA to be used for developmental courses, but we would like some clarification about why credit bearing courses must be exempt from FASFA use. The college and the grant will waive all costs to students who are not eligible for FASFA.
A28:
One of the priorities of the Transition program is to provide students access to degree-bearing college credit courses at no cost through participation in the Transition program. ACLS is unable to guide potential applicants on program design during an Open and Competitive RFP process; however, this question is about program design, and the RFP states that the priority for this funding is to support programs that provide access to credit courses at no cost through participation in the Transition program. Some of the classes that you offer to Transition students may be outside of the Transition program design.
 
 
Q29:
Could you please point me towards the current list of FAQs for this RFP that have been submitted to ACLS. I have searched the web site but can't locate them.
A29:
All answers to questions that are sent to the Transition RFP Q&A mailbox are posted on the ACLS webpage at the top of the page under Hot Topics. The Transition to Community College Q&A FY15 is the first link.
 
 
Q30:
The rfp states that "non-required appendices" will not be read. For Appendix C, it states MOAs with ESE-Funded Programs. If this is what is being requested, then would we have to add letters from non-funded ESE ABE programs, if these are not being requested for Appendix C. (See previous question and answer below). Thank you for providing clarification.
Q23: The Transition to Community College Guidelines state that programs "must maintain a current, formal, detailed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with at least one ESE-funded ABE program partner and maintain current, formal Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with all ABE programs in the college's catchment area to facilitate the successful transition of former ABE students to the community college." Does this include non-DESE funded ABE programs? A23: Yes. See Statement of Assurances #18.
A30:
The Transition RFP states that "additional, non-required appendices and narrative pages that exceed 12 pages will not be read," meaning that the proposal narrative (up to 12 pages), required forms, and required appendices will be read. Appendix C (i.e., MOA with collaborating ESE-funded ABE program partners) is required and will be read. The question and answer that you refer to from the Q&A (Q23 and A23) ask about the Transition policy that is found in the FY15 Transition Guidelines and also in the Statement of Assurances; this is not a question about submitting documents for the Transition proposal. The policy states that Transition programs must have a partnership with at least one ESE-funded ABE program that includes a current, formal and detailed MOA. The policy also states that if a Transition program decides to partner with a non-ESE-funded program, then the Transition program must also maintain a current and formal MOA with that program as well. The requirement is to have at least one formal partnership with an ESE-funded program; it is not required that Transition programs partner with non-ESE-funded programs. Therefore, for the purposes of proposal submissions, programs should only submit MOAs for partnerships with ESE-funded programs; any additional MOAs with non-ESE-funded programs are not required in the Transition proposal package.
 
 
Q31:
Our community college does not mandate that a student have a GED to take a college course. Do all participants of the DESE-funded Transitions program need to have attained their GED or can they still be in the process of preparing to take the HSET?
A31:
Transition programs and the colleges determine student eligibility and prerequisites. There is eligibility information on pages 6 and 7 in the FY15 Transition Guidelines.
 
 
Q32:
Would a proposal be disqualified if the budget submitted is slightly more than $90,000?
A32:
A program proposal would not be disqualified; however, the RFP states that grants will range from $50,000 to $90,000. The highest grant award will be for $90,000, and the applicant would be expected to provide services for that amount or less.
 
 


Last Updated: February 10, 2014
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