Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When is the proposal submission deadline?
A. The deadline is close of business, local time on Friday, June 7, 2019. All applications and required attachments should be uploaded electronically in a single file in PDF format through the MentorLinks college submission link at www.aacc.nche.edu/mentorlinks.
Q. Can I send part of my proposal package through email and another part by mail?
A. No. The application package must be submitted electronically in a single PDF file. The package must include letters of support on letterhead with signatures. Applications will not be accepted by email, fax, or mail.
Q. Who is eligible for the MentorLinks grant competition?
A. All AACC member colleges. However, please note that the community college programs that are applying for MentorLinks participation cannot be currently funded through the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program.
As an example, if your college has an information technology program that is funded through an ATE grant, you are not eligible to apply for MentorLinks in the area of information technology. However, if your college would like to submit an application to develop/strengthen a program in a different disciplinary area, such as biotechnology or manufacturing technology, those programs would be eligible to apply. If you need further clarification on program eligibility, please contact the program director, Ellen Hause at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Can an institution submit more than one proposal to the MentorLinks program?
A. While it is allowable to submit more than one application from an institution, no more than one MentorLinks award would be made to any individual institution—so the MentorLinks’ proposals would be in competition with one another.
Q. Are there any requirements for matching funds?
A. While there are no matching funds requirements, colleges are strongly encouraged to budget for release time for the project director as necessary to implement program changes or development. Colleges are also encouraged to support the work of the second team member, including attendance during the full course of the grant at three project conferences in Washington, DC.
Q. Are indirect costs an allowable expense?
A. Yes. They should be clearly identified and must not exceed your college’s federal negotiated rate.
Q. Should travel costs be budgeted?
A. AACC will pay the travel costs for the project director to attend three MentorLinks project meetings held in conjunction with the annual national ATE Principal Investigators Conferences in Washington, DC. The dates of the project meetings and conferences are October 22–25, 2019; October 20–23, 2020; and October 19–22, 2021. AACC also will cover registration fees for both the project director and second team member to attend the annual ATE Conferences.
Two team members are required to attend each conference. It is encouraged that the college support the travel costs of a second team member to attend these meetings. The estimated travel and lodging cost to/from Washington, DC, for the second team member to attend the MentorLinks project meeting and ATE Conference is approximately $1,800.
Colleges should also budget grant funds for two team members to visit the assigned Mentor’s college. AACC will pay for travel costs for the assigned Mentor site visit(s) to your college.
Q. When will grant funds be distributed?
A. Due to federal regulations, there will be no advance grant payments. Colleges will be required to complete financial expense reimbursement forms for quarterly reimbursement of approved grant expenses.
MentorLinks Mentor Team
Q. Who are the members of the MentorLinks Mentor Team?
A. Members of the MentorLinks Mentor Team are community college faculty, administrators, or consultants who have expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics. They are chosen through a separate national award competition.
Q. Can my college choose who our Mentor will be?
A. No. AACC will assign a specific Mentor to each MentorLinks College after awards have been made. A number of factors will influence pairing decisions, including program discipline, expertise, and geography.
Q. Do specific areas of the country or types of colleges have priority in the grant review process?
A. AACC and its review team seek a group of colleges that will collectively represent a diversity of institutions, geographic regions, and STEM disciplines.
Q. Can my college apply for MentorLinks support for a program that is currently funded by the National Science Foundation?
A. If the program is currently being funded by an ATE grant, it is ineligible for consideration. Only MentorLinks applications from college programs that are not currently funded by the National Science Foundation’s ATE program will be considered.
Q. If my college has an ATE grant in one STEM discipline area, but we would like to apply to MentorLinks in another STEM area that has no NSF ATE support, is that allowable?
A. Yes, we welcome applications from college programs that are not currently funded by the National Science Foundation.
Q. How many community colleges will be selected for the MentorLinks program?
A. Up to 10 community colleges will be selected to participate as grantees in the MentorLinks program for the 2019–2021 cohort.
Q. What is the proposal review process?
A. Proposals will be evaluated in a peer review process with additional input from AACC. The evaluation categories are outlined in the RFP.
Q. When will grant announcements be made?
A. The MentorLinks Colleges and the Mentor Team will be formally announced by July 15, 2019.