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Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund


 

[Grants to Tribal Colleges] [Grants to Public and Private Institutions] [COMING SOON: GEER Grant Recipient Information] [Timeline] [Eligibility] [FAQ] [More Information]

May 14, 2020

Under the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund), the U.S. Department of Education (Department) will be awarding grant funds to Governor Walz for the purpose of providing schools, districts, institutions of higher education, and other education‐related entities with emergency assistance as a result of COVID‐19. Under the GEER Fund, the Office of Higher Education will be awarding $5.3 million to institutions of higher education.

The purpose of the GEER Fund is to provide emergency support through grants to institutions of higher education serving students within Minnesota that the Governor determines have been most significantly impacted by COVID‐19 to support the ability of such institutions to continue to provide educational services and support the ongoing functionality of the institution. GEER funds will support critical technology needs and continued operations at three Minnesota Tribal Colleges, and be award via competitive grant process to provide targeted support to programs and institutions ensuring equity in education, and technology and remote learning.

This emphasis balances the other CARES Act funding available to institutions under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF, $195 million estimated) for institutional use and student emergency grants. The GEER Fund application emphasizes the need for institutional flexibility in order to ensure they continue to provide educational services and institution on‐going functionality. Therefore, OHE will be distributing funds as follows:

Grants to Tribal Colleges

Leech Lake Tribal College, Red Lake Nation College, and White Earth Tribal and Community College will receive awards of $100,000 each to address critical technology need and ensure continued operations outlined above.

Competitive Grants to Public and Private Institutions

To ensure the emphasis on equity in education and technology and remote learning needs for underserved students, the remaining $5.0 million of higher education GEER funds will be awarded to public and private institutions under two funding areas:

  1. The need to support postsecondary faculty and teacher candidates, particularly from underserved communities, in adapting instructional resources related to teaching and learning as well as their own professional sustainability, including but not limited to:
    • professional development,
    • resources for faculty,
    • direct supplemental grants to teacher candidates,
    • support funds for teacher preparation programs,
    • support for partnerships with K‐12 and community‐based organizations,
    • support to develop mentorship programs for current teacher candidates to connect with current faculty and K‐12 teachers, and
    • incorporating equity‐driven resources into curriculum and instruction to respond to disruptions in learning due to COVID‐19.
      Priority will be given to programs serving students and/or faculty representing Minnesotans of color, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and lower‐income persons.
  2. The need to fund supports related to technology and remote learning at the state's public and private institutions in support of lower‐income students, students of color, indigenous students, and students with disabilities.

COMING SOON: GEER Grant Recipient Information

Timeline

June 29, 2020 Request for Proposals available to applicants
July 17, 2020 (4:30 p.m.) Mandatory deadline of Intent to Submit form
July 24, 2020 (4:30 p.m.) Deadline for receipt of proposal
Week of August 10, 2020 Notification of recommended grant awards

Eligibility

Colleges with a physical campus in Minnesota are eligible for competitive grant funding and include:

University and college systems are welcome to apply as well as individual institutions. Tribal and minority‐serving colleges and universities are encouraged to apply. Institutions with suspended licenses or in the process of closure are not eligible for GEER Grant funding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated 7/21/2020
  1. Are institutions limited to one submission per institution, or will multiple proposals from one institution be considered?
  2. Could we use grants to offer scholarships to qualified students of color?
  3. Is the same institution allowed to apply for the technology grant AND the teacher/faculty grant? Would we be allowed to receive both grants, if selected?
  4. What is the criteria for the Intent to Submit? Is there a template for the grant application?
  5. If multiple universities within a system each submit proposals for their institution, is the system limited to proposals totaling $750,000? Or is the $750,00 limitation only intended for proposals that are truly system‐wide?
  6. We are currently on probation status with the HLC. I'm wondering if institutions being on probationary status are not eligible relates to being on probation with OHE or in general.
  7. Is funding limited to just FY2021 or can the funding be used for 2‐3 years?
  8. I am hoping for some clarification regarding the $250,000 limit. I work for one college housed at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Could you please tell me if our college (as opposed to the other UMN TC colleges) could receive a maximum of $250,000? Or, is the University of Minnesota Twin Cities limited to an award of $250,000? Or, lastly, is the entire University of Minnesota system limited to an award of $250,000?
  9. What do you consider a system vs. an institution vs. a consortium?
  10. Do we need to be federally accredited to apply?
  11. Will the State be making partial funding awards on grant applications, or is it all or nothing?
  12. In the “Funding Priorities” section, the definition indicates Minnesotans. Does this mean that only Minnesota residents should be considered when determining the relevant percentage of students served by the project? If yes, must students be a Minnesota resident to receive direct grant funds such as scholarships?
  13. The “Funding Priorities” section also indicates, “Minnesotans of color, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and lower‐income persons. Does the “and” indicate that students must be from lower‐income households and also meet one of the other criteria? For example, would a person with disability from a middle‐income household count in the percentage of priority population served through the project? Or, do they only qualify if they are from a lower‐income household? Does a student from a lower‐income household count in the percentage of students if that is the only criteria they meet?
  14. To clarify, can the project or components of the project serve all students on campus? For example, a faculty development project to train faculty on inclusive teaching practices. If yes, does a student need to meet one of the priority criteria to receive direct aid such as a scholarship?
  15. In the FAQ section, you indicate that funds can be re‐granted to students for scholarship. May funds be used to pay for computers/technology for individual students? If it is allowable, may students keep the computers or should they be owned by the institution and checked out for students to use during the semesters?
  16. How do I apply for a GEER Grant for my school?
  17. Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund: The RFP focuses on Minnesotans of color, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and lower income persons. Does that mean we need to exclude out of state and international students and faculty from our data?
  18. If we intend to submit two proposals (one for Technology and one for Faculty), do we need to send in two intent to submit forms? Or can we check off both boxes on the same form?
  19. Can a community based organization that serves students from marginalized communities in one of the content areas (I.e. STEM for students of color) partner with a postsecondary institution and receive partial grant funding through them if awarded?
  20. Will the Office of Higher Education be using peer reviewers to read and score grant applications for the GEER program grants? If so, I would like to apply to be a peer reviewer. Please advise.
  21. We see on the budget that indirect costs of 8% are allowable. If we will be purchasing laptops and hotspots for use by students in the priority groups, are those costs included within the indirect cost computation?
  22. Are indirects allowed for the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) budget?
  23. Is it permissible to have two co principle investigators for the grant?
  24. For the technology portion, are the priority points only available for the student participants or can faculty be considered in a technology request?
  25. Can I get a Microsoft Word copy of the RFP to assist in our proposal development?
  26. The proposal indicates that GEER funds may not be used to supplant state funds. If awarded, we are not looking to hire additional staff to run the grant but instead assigning tasks to existing employees. Are we able to use some of the grant funds to cover small portions of employee salaries or is that considered supplanting state funds in this case?
  27. Are "other funds" considered committed matching funds? If awarded, will grantees need to report actual costs for these items? While 15-20 of our faculty and staff will be involved in supporting this project and we can provide a generalized estimate of contributed time, tracking and reporting the exact time for this large group may be challenging given the intermingling of this project and other IT support these faculty and staff provide to students?
  28. If our requested grant period were from 8/15/20 through 8/14/22, would our ending date for each of the two years be 8/14 or is there a standard ending date that the state uses (e.g., 6/30) instead? Or would grants be awarded for a two-year project period without need to separate expenditures by year?
  29. If the majority of technology purchases are in Year 1 with some modest costs expected in Year 2, should we include Year 2 costs on the one-page budget form (and explain them separately in the budget narrative)? Or should we have a second one-page budget form for Year 2?
  30. In the Priority Response section what is OHE looking for in response to "...please include supporting documentation..."?
  31. In the Priority Response section, how should we interpret the phrase "represent Minnesotans"? [My University] has students who may have permanent residence in another state but move to our campus each academic year to attend the University. We also may have faculty who live in another state, maybe in Wisconsin, but work at the University in Saint Paul, or may live in another state and teach by distance/virtually. Now that distance education has a more prominent role in postsecondary education where related personnel may have connections to multiple states this notion of "represent Minnesotans" gets more complicated?
  32. Are we eligible to apply for this grant if our OHE license is pending
  33. On the cover sheet, what do you recommend including as the Project Start Date? Should it be retro to March 13 if we are reimbursing some costs
  34. We would like to include in one of our proposal budgets the hiring of a mentor for our professional education program to assist underserved students. We do have a way to sustain the program after the funding period has lapsed. Is this acceptable to include as long as it aligns with need based on covid?
  35. We receive MITTP funding and within that program, teacher ed prep expands to include degrees in social work, paraprofessional ed, early childhood, etc. I was wondering if the GEER program also would include recognize these programs under the teacher prep support or if funding must be strictly used for Professional Ed only under that focus area
  36. With funding extending over three years, should the provided budget template be cumulative across three years and then breakdown the budget by year within the justification
  37. Scholarships and tech equipment can be provided to any underserved student regardless of program of study
  38. If we had the maximum grant of $250,000, we could reopen in a new location. Am I eligible for this grant
  39. Concerning the GEER grant, regarding Appendix A, what are applicants to submit? (Pam Russell)
  40. I am writing today to inquire further about the Priority Response section. How would you like this data displayed? Can we do something as simple as a chart, or do you need "official" data from our Admissions Office?/strong.
  41. As we work on our full proposal for GEER funding, we note a possible typo on p. 13 of the RFP, which states "All proposals must be submitted as an attachment to an email entitled "GEER Grant Proposal Submission" by 4:30pm on Thursday, July 24, 2020 to GEER.ohe@state.mn.us." Since July 24 is mentioned throughout the RFP, may we assume that the deadline falls on Friday, July 24, not on Thursday, July 23
  42. We marked on the LOI both focus areas but is it okay to just submit one proposal for the technology piece
  43. Can we apply as a consortium in one content area, and as an individual institution in another content area?? What if our intent to submit only included my institution as a part of a consortium
  44. Can we include mentorship as an expense in the technology content area so that it can impact more students across degree programs
  45. Are individual faculty able to apply for this grant for the development of teaching/learning tools
  46. If a university applies to both the teacher/faculty and technology projects, and both proposals receive high ratings, would the university be able to decide for itself which project it wants to be funded? If not, how would it be decided which project would be funded
  47. Is there any reason why it might not be in our best interest to submit two proposals, one in each area, for the full amount
  48. If an institution applies to both projects (technology and teacher preparation) and receives high ratings for both, could an institution blend the objectives together and use the $250,000 grant award to support a mix of both projects

For More Information

To sign up for notifications from the Office of Higher Education concerning GEER funding, subscribe here.

If you have further questions, you can email the Office of Higher Education here.

[Grants to Tribal Colleges] [Grants to Public and Private Institutions] [GEER Grant Request for Proposals] [Timeline] [Eligibility] [FAQ] [More Information]

May 14, 2020

Under the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund), the U.S. Department of Education (Department) will be awarding grant funds to Governor Walz for the purpose of providing schools, districts, institutions of higher education, and other education‐related entities with emergency assistance as a result of COVID‐19. Under the GEER Fund, the Office of Higher Education will be awarding $5.3 million to institutions of higher education.

The purpose of the GEER Fund is to provide emergency support through grants to institutions of higher education serving students within Minnesota that the Governor determines have been most significantly impacted by COVID‐19 to support the ability of such institutions to continue to provide educational services and support the ongoing functionality of the institution. GEER funds will support critical technology needs and continued operations at three Minnesota Tribal Colleges, and be award via competitive grant process to provide targeted support to programs and institutions ensuring equity in education, and technology and remote learning.

This emphasis balances the other CARES Act funding available to institutions under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF, $195 million estimated) for institutional use and student emergency grants. The GEER Fund application emphasizes the need for institutional flexibility in order to ensure they continue to provide educational services and institution on‐going functionality. Therefore, OHE will be distributing funds as follows:

↑Grants to Tribal Colleges

Leech Lake Tribal College, Red Lake Nation College, and White Earth Tribal and Community College will receive awards of $100,000 each to address critical technology need and ensure continued operations outlined above.

↑Competitive Grants to Public and Private Institutions

To ensure the emphasis on equity in education and technology and remote learning needs for underserved students, the remaining $5.0 million of higher education GEER funds will be awarded to public and private institutions under two funding areas:

  1. The need to support postsecondary faculty and teacher candidates, particularly from underserved communities, in adapting instructional resources related to teaching and learning as well as their own professional sustainability, including but not limited to:
    • professional development,
    • resources for faculty,
    • direct supplemental grants to teacher candidates,
    • support funds for teacher preparation programs,
    • support for partnerships with K‐12 and community‐based organizations,
    • support to develop mentorship programs for current teacher candidates to connect with current faculty and K‐12 teachers, and
    • incorporating equity‐driven resources into curriculum and instruction to respond to disruptions in learning due to COVID‐19.
      Priority will be given to programs serving students and/or faculty representing Minnesotans of color, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and lower‐income persons.
  2. The need to fund supports related to technology and remote learning at the state's public and private institutions in support of lower‐income students, students of color, indigenous students, and students with disabilities.

GEER Grant Request for Proposals

Intent to Submit Proposal Form

Proposals will be evaluated for funding in accordance with requirements of the State of Minnesota's Office of Grants Management.

↑Timeline

June 29, 2020 Request for Proposals available to applicants
July 17, 2020 (4:30 p.m.) Mandatory deadline of Intent to Submit form
July 24, 2020 (4:30 p.m.) Deadline for receipt of proposal
Week of August 10, 2020 Notification of recommended grant awards

↑Eligibility

Colleges with a physical campus in Minnesota are eligible for competitive grant funding and include:

University and college systems are welcome to apply as well as individual institutions. Tribal and minority‐serving colleges and universities are encouraged to apply. Institutions with suspended licenses or in the process of closure are not eligible for GEER Grant funding.

↑For More Information

To sign up for notifications from the Office of Higher Education concerning GEER funding, subscribe here.

If you have further questions, you can email the Office of Higher Education here.


 

More Information