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U.S. Department of Education: Preschool Development Grants – Preschool Pay for Success Feasibility Pilot

Deadline: October 6, 2016

The Preschool Pay For Success (PFS) Feasibility Pilot was developed by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services. The Preschool PFS seeks to encourage state and local PFS activity for preschool programs by providing grants for feasibility studies. The feasibility studies will determine if the PFS project is a viable and appropriate strategy to implement preschool programs that are high-quality and yield meaningful results. PFS includes innovative contracting and financing models that seek to test and advance promising and proven interventions, while paying only for successful impacts and outcomes for families, individuals, and communities. Through a PFS project, a government (or other) entity enters into a contract to pay for the achievement of concrete, measurable outcomes for specific people or communities. Service providers deliver interventions to achieve these outcomes. Payments, known as outcomes payments, are made only if the interventions achieve those outcomes agreed upon in advance. In many cases, these outcomes are expected to occur over a period of years, meaning that the service providers need outside funding in order to cover their operating costs.

The PFS contracting and financing model requires a partnership among multiple stakeholders. Partners typically include:

  • One or more outcomes “payors,” generally federal, state, local government, or Tribal government entities, or other public or private entities that contract to pay for outcomes when achieved
  • Service provider(s), which deliver the intervention intended to achieve the outcomes
  • Investor(s), which cover the up-front cost of implementing the intervention and may also cover other associated costs through PFS financing
  • An independent evaluator, which determines, through a rigorous evaluation, whether the intervention achieved the outcome(s) sought
  • Most PFS projects to date have also included a project coordinator or intermediary to facilitate and manage the contracting process and project

The development, implementation, and evaluation of PFS projects typically involve three stages: 1) feasibility study; 2) transaction structuring; and 3) agreement implementation. The first stage is the feasibility study, which is the focus of this solicitation and includes the following activities:

  • Identification of outcome(s) sought, in particular for the population being served
  • Assessment of community needs, assets, and capacity
  • Identification of a challenge(s) or barrier(s) for serving a particular population or addressing a social issue and determination of the total costs associated with the lack of intervention
  • Identification of interventions that can achieve the desired outcome(s)
  • Projection of the potential public value, including any savings, to be achieved through potential interventions
  • Determination of the willingness and capacity of stakeholders to implement a PFS project
  • Development of rigorous evaluation methodology to determine if outcome measures have been achieved

The 2016 PFS competition has one absolute priority and one competitive preference priority:

  • Absolute Priority – Feasibility Study: The applicant must propose a feasibility study that will determine the viability of using a PFS approach to expand or improve a preschool program for a target population, and describe the potential outcome measures the applicant proposes to identify and evaluate for appropriateness for PFS. Any applicant that includes a feasibility study for a PFS project that proposes to reduce the need for special education and related services as an outcome measure must also include at least one other meaningful and substantive outcome measure of short-, medium-, or long-term student achievement, such as kindergarten readiness, reading and math growth or achievement, and improved social and emotional skills.
  • Competitive Preference Priority – Outcome Measures Across Various Domains (up to five additional points): An applicant must propose a feasibility study to evaluate if PFS is viable that would evaluate social and emotional or executive functioning outcome measures, or both. These potential outcome measures may be predictive of future school success, cost savings, cost avoidance, and other societal benefits, and may appropriate to include in a PFS project.

Amount: A total of $2,800,000 is available to make 7-14 awards, ranging from $200,000-$400,000.

Eligibility: An applicant must be a state, local government, or tribal government.

Link: https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-20021

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