If the Secretary receives an unsolicited application, the Secretary may consider the application under the following procedures unless the Secretary has published a notice in the Federal Register stating that the program that would fund the application would not consider unsolicited applications:
(1) The Secretary determines whether the application could be funded under a competition planned or conducted for the fiscal year under which funds would be used to fund the application.
(i) If the application could be funded under a competition described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and the deadline for submission of applications has not passed, the Secretary refers the application to the appropriate competition for consideration under the procedures in § 75.217.
(A) If the application could have been funded under a competition described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and the deadline for submission of applications has passed, the Secretary may consider the application only in exceptional circumstances, as determined by the Secretary.
(1) There is a substantial likelihood that the application is of exceptional quality and national significance for a program administered by ED;
(2) The application meets the requirements of all applicable statutes and codified regulations that apply to the program; and
(3) Selection of the project will not have an adverse impact on the funds available for other awards planned for the program.
(c) If the Secretary determines that the criteria in paragraph (b) of this section have been met, the Secretary assembles a panel of experts that does not include any employees of the Department to review the application.
(d) The experts -
(1) Evaluate the application based on the selection criteria; and
(2) Determine whether the application is of such exceptional quality and national significance that it should be funded as an unsolicited application.
(e) If the experts highly rate the application and determine that the application is of such exceptional quality and national significance that it should be funded as an unsolicited application, the Secretary may fund the application.
To assure prompt consideration, applicants submitting unsolicited applications should send the application, marked “Unsolicited Application” on the outside, to the Chief, Application Control Center, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC 20202-4725.
[60 FR 12096, Mar. 3, 1995]