Click on any of the topics below to jump directly to the section:

General Information
Innovation Network
Proposal Application
Eligibility
Proposed Partnerships
Program Duration
Program Design
Monitoring & Evaluation
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General Information

All current, open RFPs are available via the Grants page.

We anticipate opening a grant competition on a quarterly basis, but the best way to receive announcements about future rounds is to sign up for the Innovation Network. It is a free enrollment and you can do this via the “Join the Innovation Network” tab above.

The Innovation Fund grants are only for higher education institutions (HEIs). They are not individual student scholarships. Students are encouraged to visit http://studyabroad.state.gov and www.educationusa.info for information about individual study abroad for both U.S. and non-U.S. students. If possible, we also recommend that you talk to the study abroad advisor at your institution.

Innovation Network

The process of registering for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network is a requirement prior to submitting a grant proposal. Click on “Join the Innovation Network” tab to register now.

There is no fee to register for the Innovation Network.

There is no deadline to joining the Innovation Network; however, institutions applying in response to the RFPs should join prior to submitting an application. Institutions who elect not to apply or who are not eligible to apply in the competitions may still register and create an account in the Innovation Network at any time in order to receive the latest information about active and upcoming Innovation Fund competitions and other related events.

Joining the Innovation Network is not a guarantee of winning a grant.  It remains a competitive process in which applications must be evaluated and reviewed based on the terms of the RFP.

No. It is only necessary for your institution to register for the Innovation Network once, although multiple individuals or divisions within your institution may register separately if they so desire.

No. The only prerequisite to applying for a grant is to join the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network, which is managed by Partners of the Americas.

Proposal Application

Yes, institutions may submit multiple proposals.  Applications must indicate the school, college, or department within the institution as the applying entity in the proposal cover page. Due to limited available funding, however, it is unlikely that multiple awards will be given to the same institution under a single RFP even if submitted from different schools. An institution overall can be involved in proposed activities for multiple proposals within the same RFP as a partner.

Yes, your institution overall can be involved in proposed activities for multiple proposals within the same RFP, either as the prime applicant or as a partner institution.

Proposals may have multiple key personnel involved. There are no strict requirements as to who can serve as the PI, as long as applicants name the person(s) who will be ultimately responsible for implementation and reporting.

Eligibility

Institutional Eligibility

Yes, bi-national Centers (BNCs) are eligible to apply if partnered with an in-country higher education institution (HEIs) who would serve as the prime applicant and as the institution that would administer the program to the United States.

Yes, if a BNC is competing as prime, it must compete in partnership with at least one other in-country HEI, in addition to a partner HEI(s) in the United States. Both the in-country and U.S. partner institutions must be identified in the proposal.

Institutions that facilitate study abroad opportunities at the post-secondary level and as described in the RFP, and provide academic credit to students can be considered a Higher Education Institution.

Organizations that host university students and/or researchers can apply for a grant as part of a program if in collaboration with in-country HEI as the prime applicant. The goal of the Innovation Fund grants is to facilitate bilateral programs, therefore it is key for colleges & universities to be a part of the process, as credit-giving institutons.

Yes, they may be proposed as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the RFP, which includes the requirement that the participating students receive some level of credit from their home institution. An experience that provides only 2 or 3 credit hours would be eligible, despite the type of program.

Yes, as long as a local university and an international host university is part of the partnership in the proposal, organizational members of international education networks are eligible.

No. Institutions that have received an Innovation Fund grant may re-apply for future grants, as long as they do not submit the same proposal or propose the same program/partner institution that was previously funded. Proposing additional funding to expand a previously-funded 100K program is also not viewed favorably, as one of the primary reasons to funding the original proposal is that the partnering institutions would be expected to sustain the program after the grant funds end.
Country Eligibility

RFPs are open only to higher education institutions in the Western Hemisphere (i.e. Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America). Note that some RFPs may have geographic (country/state) restrictions.

There are no priority countries; however, some RFPs will have country restrictions. In rounds that are open to all HEIs in the Western Hemisphere, we encourage diversity in country partnerships. For information on relative numbers of students studying in and from specific countries, please consult www.iie.org/research-and-publications/open-doors.

Because of restrictions on the sources of funding for the RFPs, there is no flexibility beyond the eligible countries listed within each RFP. However, 100,000 Strong in the Americas is a hemisphere-wide initiative and we anticipate inclusion of most countries in the region through the various rounds of grant competitions.

South-south exchanges between or within non-US countries are not eligible for support.  Proposals must include a non-U.S. based HEI and a U.S.-based HEI.

No, Puerto Rico is considered to be part of the U.S.; therefore, proposals must highlight exchanges between the U.S. or Puerto Rico and one of the eligible non-U.S. countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Proposed Partnerships

There is no limit to the number of proposed partners.  Multi-institutional collaboration is encouraged if it meets program objectives and is feasible among the partnering institutions.  Proposals may involve multiple institutions in the same country, but remember that one HEI must be designated the prime applicant responsible and accountable for managing the funds and reporting on the proposed program.
Though it is viewed positively, there is on preference over a multi-partner country proposal over a single partner country proposal—as the evaluation of the proposal is based on the content, the program’s impact on the involved institutions & students, the strength of the institutional partnership & support of the program, and the sustainability of the program beyond the grant year.

Yes, submitted proposals must identify the HEI partner(s) for the proposed study abroad program at the time of application.

It is not necessary for a formal agreement (i.e. MOU) to have been signed before submitting the proposal.  Instead, the proposal should describe an agreed-upon partnership or desire to form one.  The proposed collaboration should also be strengthened by letter(s) of support indicating that such a partnership is in development or is confirmed.

Yes, in fact, proposals are encouraged to include partnerships with civil society, associations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private sector partners–along with main partnership  between at least two HEIs in the U.S. and in an eligible non-U.S. country in the Western Hemisphere.

Program Duration

The duration of the proposed program is one year and proposed activities should take place within the dates listed in the RFP.  However, if selected for funding, grantees may extend project activities beyond the timeframe in order to complete & fulfill the program objectives.

Grant funds must typically be used and program activities, including exchanges, must take place within the one-year timeframe. With prior approval, however, the use of funds and/or implementation of the project may extend beyond the grant period.  It is important to note that some RFPs may have strict conditions of funding and timing, and therefore, no flexibility will be shown in these cases.
Overall, the Innovation Fund grants aim to serve as a catalyst towards a more sustainable study abroad program that would promote student mobility in the Western Hemisphere. Therefore, we understand that programs require time to establish lasting links between the partnering institutions that can flourish after the end of the formal program and through multiple years of implementation.

There is no specific program length requirement for the student exchange portion. As long as the experience results in some level of credit from the home institution and the proposed project meets the other criteria outlined in the RFP, the proposal will be considered.

Program Design

No, there are no priority fields.  All academic fields are eligible, unless otherwise noted on the RFP.

Current and new programs are both eligible as long as new innovations, especially to current programs, are presented and the proposal responds to the criteria in the RFP.

Yes. The proposal is open to providing international exchange opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students. Priority is not given to one group of students over the other, and is open to both traditional and non-traditional students.

Yes, but teacher exchanges alone do not qualify. Proposals must focus more on student mobility, though some support can be used for faculty to travel to prepare for or lead the exchange program.

Two-way exchanges of students are highly encouraged, as the RFPs are designed to promote bi-directional study abroad; however, proposed programs do not have to be bi-directional, unless specified in the RFP. It is also not a requirement that proposed programs involve reciprocal, balanced exchanges (i.e. equal ratio of student exchanges), unless specified in the RFP.

No.

There is no restriction, preference, or pre-determined number on where resources should be focused, which direction is priority, which groups to target, or how many students should travel, unless specified in the RFP. Proposals will be judged by an objective panel based on the criteria outlined in the RFP.  However, proposals are highly encouraged to address diversity in the profiles of students and will viewed favorably.

Yes, the proposed program must involve some level of credit given to the student from his/her home institution.

A diversity of programs, such as service-learning exchanges, may be proposed as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the RFP, which includes the requirement that the participating students receive some level of credit from their home institution toward their degree.

Yes, an online collaboration can be proposed as long as the program includes an in-person international experience for participating students.

No. For the purposes of 100,000 Strong in the Americas, only study abroad that involves physical mobility of students is counted toward the goals.  It is acceptable to have a program with significant online component but it must be accompanied by cross-border study abroad component.

Proposed programs do not have to be based at the partner university.  Your university can develop its own course and can use the partner country to implement field activities; however, there must be the participation of at least one in-country HEI in the program that will be able to host your students/faculty and eventually reciprocate the exchange.  Overall, an institution-led program that develops programs in the partner country(ies) without at least one partner HEI in that country would be ineligible.

Yes, such activities could be part of a proposed program, as long as the applicant BNC meets all other program requirements, including but not limited to partnership with at least one in-country HEI and identification of at least one U.S. partner HEI. Additionally, the program design should result in some level of academic credit for participating students from their home institution.

Budget & Cost Considerations

Proposals should propose and justify a budget for up to USD $25,000, in addition to the cost-share amount.

Please refer to the RFP for any restrictions in the use of grant funds. In general, the budget should be reasonable, well justified, and in accordance with activities that can be convincingly demonstrated to be related to the objectives of the proposed program.  Diverse activities—including those listed above—may be proposed as long as they are clearly described and reasonably budgeted as part of the proposed program to build the capacity of the partnering institutions, and to encourage and promote mobility in either or both directions.

There is no limit on the percentage of funding that should be allocated for certain activities or line items, but the budgetary description should provide justification and address sustainability of the proposal.

RFPs clearly state that the budget must provide a detailed breakdown (i.e., calculations) of program costs. It is recommended that you use the Budget Summary Template, adding activities as needed.

The indirect rate is typically that which an institution charges for costs associated with facilities (operation and maintenance) and administration (departmental and central), and that cannot be readily and specifically attributed to a given activity in the proposed program.

Yes, indirect costs may be requested as part of the grant, and there is no prescribed indirect rate; however, given the size of the Innovation Fund awards, institutions may consider proposing significant counterpart funding to compensate for the lower amount of available direct program funds for the proposed project. Generally, we recommend cost-sharing indirect costs, but if this isn’t possible, then you may charge no more than 20% of the grant funds to cover indirect costs.  It is important to note that cost-effectiveness is considered during the proposal evaluation process.

There is no prescribed specific administrative rate, but given the size of the Innovation Fund awards, organizations with high overhead rates may consider proposing significant counterpart funding to compensate for the lower amount of available direct program funds for the proposed project.

Proposals should focus on providing international academic and/or training exchanges for students and creating sustainable study abroad programs within HEIs.  Grant funds may be used to cover faculty costs in implementing the proposed program, not for individual professional development.  In general, the budget should be reasonable, well justified, and related to the objectives of the proposed program.

Yes, the budget must include cost-share, which may include cash or in-kind contributions from involved institutions. Non-monetary share or contribution may also be included. Typically in past proposals, costs associated with laboratory usage have been included where applicable, but not classrooms.
In previous competitions, cost sharing by winning proposals averaged more than 1.5 to 1, which means that for each $1 dollar of the grant fund, institutions (and their partners) have matched and contributed $1.5 dollars.

Either will be acceptable.

Yes, it may be conditional.

No, tuition, fees, or any costs paid by students to participate in the proposed program cannnot be presented as cost-share, unless those fees are waived by the institution.

The decision to allocate funds within the institution or to partnering institutions is up to the prime applicant.  This also depends on the nature of the proposed program and activities.  It is important to keep in mind that if funded, the prime applicant will be responsible for submitting periodic financial reports to the Innovation Fund.

The grant will be awarded to the prime applicant institution, who will responsible for the implementation and reporting on the project, including management of the budget and overall partnership.

 The maximum award to a winning proposal is USD $25,000, unless specified by the RFP.  Only one Innovation Fund grant per selected proposal will be awarded.

Grant funds are disbursed to the prime applicant after negotiating the award agreement with Partners of the Americas.  This usually takes place 6-12 weeks after receiving the initial notification of funding, depending on the internal processes of the receiving institutions, as well as Partners of the Americas.

Institutional Capacity

This refers to the applicant’s perception of institutional support for study abroad. The diagnostic questions presented in the Online Application Form are designed to collect general non-attributable information about applying institutions with regard to study abroad to and from the U.S.

Sustainability Plan

The Sustainability Plan should demonstrate how your institution and your partner institution plans to continue to collaborate and exchange students, faculty, curriculum, etc. after the grant ends.  Rmember that each institution’s Sustainability Plan will be unique.  For more details on what to include in this section, please visit our page on Proposal Format & Design.

Of course! The purpose of the Sustainability Plan is to do exactly that—present the ways in which your proposed program may grow  beyond the grant period and funding received through the 100K Innovation Fund.

There is no set period for the sustainability plan, but longevity will be looked upon favorably.  We recommend that you outline how your proposed program will continue in Years 2 and 3.

Monitoring & Evaluation

There are no specific metrics that we require you to use to measure the success of your proposed program.  The important thing is to make sure that you connect the M&E Plan to the goals & objectives of your program.  You should propose reasonable and relevant metrics for the activities proposed, recognizing the objectives & activities of your project, the objectives outlined in the RFP and the overall goals of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas to increase study abroad between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) section of the RFP describes the basic requirements for measurement metrics. For more details on what to include in this section, please visit our page on Proposal Format & Design.

Both.  Proposals should include a timeline of activities for program implementation (i.e. all activities), including monitoring and evaluation.  The timeline will serve as the basis for the Innovation Fund staff to monitor your project, if funded.  We typically do not ask for a work schedule from our grantees during the implementation process, but it will be required for the progress/final reports.

It is neither expected nor discouraged.

Supporting Documents

Yes to all of the questions above. Proposals must include a letter of support from the applying institution and your partner institution(s).  We also encourage including letters from others joining/supporting the applicant on the proposed program (i.e. NGOs, local government/communities, private companies, etc.).  No formal agreement is required between partnering institutions, but the intent to collaborate must be demonstrated.

You may submit either a MoU as proof of partnership, but we would also require letters of support, as they are more current demonstrations of collaboration.

There is no particular format, but they should adhere to the page limits described in the RFP for annexes.

Aside from the technical proposal, the supporting documents have a separate 10-page limit.

No, we do not require any legal/official documents or proof of internal approvals. A letter of support is sufficient and should already reflect the level of support from the institution.

Proposal Evaluation

The scoring rubric mirrors the bullet points listed in each section in our Proposal Format & Design page.

Yes, finalists may be asked to clarify aspects of their proposals and submit a revised version.

No, there will be no interview as part of the evaluation process.

No, we do not and will not share winning proposals. However, we do offer to provide feedback to those whose proposals are not selected.