The application process for the U.S. Department of Education's 2011 Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant opened Tuesday. All applications must be submitted by May 13, with a review of all applications expected to be completed by July 12. PEP grant money is used by schools and other organizations to purchase fitness and sports equipment, as well as to train and encourage innovation among physical education teachers.
"It is great news that the Department of Education plans to continue funding PEP, however the final 2011 budget has yet to be approved by Congress, which creates uncertainty on the future of the program," says Bill Sells, vice president of government relations for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, which along with the nonprofit P.E.4Life organization, was instrumental in the inception of the PEP grant.
Should Congress eliminate or drastically reduce PEP funding in the final 2011 budget, the Department of Education would suspend the application process until additional funds are allocated to the program, Sells says. Last year, recipients received $80 million in PEP grant money.
Congress is expected to complete work on the budget for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 in April, at which time the funding level for PEP will be determined. The Congressional budget process for 2012 has been delayed due to the absence of a 2011 budget, but SGMA officials call it a positive sign that the Department of Education has begun the PEP grant application process, anyway - almost three months earlier than last year.
In the past, PEP grants have ranged from $100,000 to $750,000, with the average grant being $427,000.
SPARK, a research-based, public-health organization of the San Diego State University Research Foundation, has dedicated a section of its website to the PEP grant, including tips for preparing and submitting the application.