SERS Grants - FAQ

Who should I call with questions about the grant process? 

Questions should be sent to throughout the entire grant lifecycle. 

Keeping track of questions helps us improve our process and develop our FAQ list! 

Can I submit a paper application or email an application? 

Do SERS grants need to focus on underrepresented minority students? 

  • SERS grants are funded with Access & Diversity funding and can focus on any subpopulation that is part of the following institution plans:
    • Achieving the Dream
    • Pathways Project
    • Diversity or completion plan(s). 

Can or should proposals target large groups that may include subpopulations? 

  • These grants are for specific initiatives that target subpopulations that fit within the Access & Diversity scope. They are not intended for proposals that cast a wide net (all students, all freshmen, etc.) in hopes of capturing those subpopulations. 

What is an achievement/completion gap? 

  • This is the gap between the completion rate for majority (white, non-low-income students) versus the rate for underrepresented population (most often underrepresented minorities and/or PELL recipients) 

Are Locally Governed Four-year Universities eligible for to receive SERS grant funding? 

  • Yes. LGI’s are eligible to be lead institutions for the 2019-2020 SERS grant cycle. 

Can grants be awarded for multiple years? 

  • Only single year grants are accepted at this time.

What is a program enhancement? 

  • A program enhancement should be used for existing campus funded programs that relate to student success, retention, or engagement and meet the overall criteria for SERS grants. SERS Grant funds may only be used to enhance programs and should not be used supplant salaries or operating budgets from existing programs. Grants that have been previously funded are program enhancements and eligible to apply. However, programs currently funded by SERS funds or A&D funds will not be considered. There will be more scrutiny placed on proposals that have been considered or funded previously. 

What is a pilot program? 

  • Pilot programs allow institutions to experiment or test programs, initiative, or interventions before they become institutionalized. Pilot programs proposals must include plans to incorporate the program into the campus’ regular programming following the grant, depending on project success. 

What are collaborative proposals? 

  • Collaborative proposals are proposals whereby TBR colleges partner with an external organization, such as an LGI, government or non-profit agency, business, or another secondary or postsecondary institution. 

Can funds be used for tuition? 

  • SERS grant funds may not be used to for tuition and mandatory fees. 

Can SERS grants fund campus personnel? 

  • Grant funds may not be used to establish new full-time positions. On a case by case basis, funds might be used for temporary program help, faculty release time, or stipends for student workers. 

Where can I find information about high impact practices (HIP)? 

Is a self-study or self-assessment of a HIP required to receive a SERS grant? 

  • If selecting from one of the 9 TBR identified HIPs, a self-study or self-assessment is required. All institutions were asked to do a self-study of all 9 HIPs, and the institution’s assessments should guide decisions for the grant application. 

Does internationalization of the curriculum mean studying abroad? 

  • This includes more than study abroad opportunities. Faculty and staff should consider how all students gain exposure to diverse ideas and cultural understanding both inside and outside the classroom. This may include intentionality of including international perspectives on a particular topic, internationally related experiences, or pedagogical practices. 

When is the state-wide HIP conference? If I cannot attend, will the grant lose funding? 

  • TBR will set the next HIP Conference date prior to the start of the 2019-20 academic year. Grant recipients will be personally invited to attend the conference. If there is a conflict that would prohibit participation, the grantee will be asked to provide another form of best practice sharing (webinar, video recording, etc.) that can be shared with conference participants. 

Who will pay for the travel to the conference? 

  • The HIP Conferences are grant funded and provide for travel reimbursement to participants. 

In what format should the final project summary be (for HIP proposals)? How is this different from the final report? 

  • Grant recipients may be asked to prepare short descriptive summary of the project, initial findings, and next steps that will be posted to the TBR HIP website for use by other institutions. If the grantee presents at the HIP conference, any additional presentation materials will also be shared publicly through the HIP website. 

Will applications be accepted after the deadline passes? 

  • Late applications will not be accepted. 

What will the mid-year and final report look like? 

  • These reports will be available in the TBR Webgrants systems once the grant has been accepted and the funding cycle begins. The reports are used as status updates based on the stated goals in the proposal. 

When filling out the budget, how specific should line items be? 

  • Be as specific as possible. If travel will be for a specific conference, include all relevant information about that conference (name and dates, etc.). However, if ordering food, the location and menu of where the meal will be purchased is not necessary. The line item budget should include uses of the funds. Examples: “Travel for 5 by van to X conference - $5,000” or “One meal per month for ten months - $500 each or $5,000.” 


Post Award FAQ 

What kinds of revisions need to be reported to TBR? 

TBR is happy to consult on any changes. Please feel free to email or by phone.