Frequently Asked Questions: PCTE-Physician Assistant HRSA-19-087

Funding Opportunity Number: HRSA-19-087


  1. Are programs who currently have a PCTE grant still eligible for this NOFO?
    Yes, they are eligible, but you cannot propose the same project activities that you are conducting at this time. You have to document that you are a current PCTE grantee and that what you are proposing is different from what you are currently doing. Also, keep in mind you need to keep the funding separate.
  2. Is this grant for Physician Assistant (PA) Schools or for care delivery organizations to train existing PAs?
    This grant is for academically affiliated PA training programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).The focus of this program is on PA schools that train PA students - future PAs.
  3. We have many underserved area placements but we are in a densely populated area. Could you please provide additional clarification: Is it rural AND underserved (could be non-rural) or only rural, underserved?
    It is rural and underserved, so institutions located in urban underserved areas are eligible to apply.
  4. Can a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that partners with an accredited PA training program apply for this NOFO? Or does the accredited institution need to be the applicant?
    You can apply if you come in (partner) with an accredited PA program. You can’t apply as a standalone and/or lead applicant, but you can apply as a partner organization. You can decide who will be the lead applicant, but keep in mind that if you plan to apply for the funding preference you need to provide the data from a PA school, and that would be a lead applicant.
  5. Does it matter where we focus our efforts in terms of the realms of primary care? For example, our program is looking to expand their family medicine placements, but there is disagreement as to whether this encompasses all primary care? Could an OB/Gyn site be considered "primary care"? Where can we find a list of what is considered primary care in this program?
    You can choose to focus on Family Medicine as your area of Primary Care. We can’t exclude all women’s health. It depends on whether women’s health is related to Primary Care areas such as Family Medicine. If it is part of this area, then it is covered. We cannot include OBGYN as a separate specialty. For the purpose of the PCTE, training programs in family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics, including combined general internal medicine and pediatrics (“med-peds”) are considered primary care.

Application and Submission

  1. Where do I upload the Project Narrative?
    Start the application process and if you are not prompted to upload the narrative, please contact the help desk.
  2. Are there page limits for the applications?
    The total size of all uploaded files may not exceed the equivalent of 65 pages when printed by HRSA. The page limit includes the abstract, project and budget narratives, attachments including biographical sketches (biosketches), and letters of commitment and support required in HRSA’s SF-424 R&R Application Guide and this NOFO. Standard OMB-approved forms that are included in the workspace application package do NOT count in the page limit. Biographical Sketches do count in the page limit. Indirect Cost Rate Agreement and proof of non-profit status (if applicable) do not count in the page limit. We strongly urge you to take appropriate measures to ensure your application does not exceed the specified page limit.
    Applications must be complete, within the specified page limit, and validated by under the correct Notice of Funding Opportunity number prior to the deadline to be considered under this notice.
  3. Is there a required order for the application documents?
    All applications must follow the order described in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.
  4. How many Senior Key Personnel Biographical Sketches should I provide?
    Provide a biographical sketch for the principal investigator/project director, the lead evaluator, and up to two additional Senior Key Persons. For each of these individuals a maximum 2 page bio-sketch should be attached that lists the individual’s credentials/degrees. The attachment accepts up to eight bio-sketches, but only four are requested. Recommended information includes: education and training; research, professional, and synergistic activities that most closely relate to the proposed grant activities. When applicable, biographical sketches should also include language fluency and experience working with the cultural and linguistically diverse populations as relevant to proposed grant activities. Save the information in a single file and attach by clicking Add Attachment. The NIH bio-sketch template (DOC - 41 KB) may be used.
    You can provide information on additional faculty as a summary of their qualifications and responsibilities (both in kind and in the budget) in the Organizational Resources section.
  5. How should attachments be formatted?
    ​Instructions for formatting are in the SF-424 R&R Application Guide referenced in the NOFO.


  1. Do PA students who participate during the 5-year project need to be tracked past the project period? If yes, for how long?
    As long as you are a current grantee, you need to track your graduates at least one year after graduation. We advise that you track your graduates after the grant ends for future applications to demonstrate where your graduates are practicing.

Application Content

  1. HRSA-19-087 is clear that programs must address rural/underserved, opioid/MAT, mental health, and wellbeing. That said, must all encouraged areas (diversity, veterans, and IPE) also be addressed or is a focus on one acceptable and competitive?
    Rural/underserved, opioid/MAT, mental health and provider wellbeing are the required elements for the PCTE training programs. We encourage you to address diversity and veterans activities. We highly encourage you to address Interprofessional education and practice.
  2. Is faculty development related to furthering PA student training an acceptable activity?
    Yes, faculty development is an allowable activity.
  3. Is this a new program, or has this NOFO been released/awarded in years past?
    It is not a new program. The last competition for PCTE-PA program was held in 2012, and the program ended in 2017.
  4. We heard on the TA call that interprofessional education and training is a requirement, but per the NOFO it just says it’s encouraged, “encourages interprofessional education and practice.” Can you confirm is interprofessional education and training a requirement or just encouraged?
    We highly encourage Interprofessional education and practice as this is one of the required training elements of the PCTE program.

Funding Preference

  1. Can you address to what extent applicants that meet the funding preference will be placed in a competitive position, for example will they be given an additional number of points for meeting the funding preference priority?
    No, they will not be given any additional points. Instead, if two applicants scored 80% and one requested and met the funding preference, the applicant that requested and met the funding preference would receive consideration for funding before the one that did not have the funding preference even though they all have the same score.
  2. We’re trying to assess whether our PA program qualifies for the high rate funding preference, but we are a bit confused on the calculation instructions. Given that many of our AY 17-18 graduates often complete clinical requirements through the summer and typically aren’t finished until September, we don’t currently have a robust data set for where they are now practicing. We are wondering if this has been raised by other programs and how we handle the fact that graduate data for AY17-18 is incomplete at best?
    If you do not have complete data and do not qualify with the data you have, then you would not qualify for the preference.
  3. Our university is trying to determine whether our new PA program qualifies for the New Program funding preference. Our PA program just received provisional accreditation in July 2018 and our first class of students won’t begin until January 7, 2019. Some of my colleagues say that there is a provision for new programs less than 3 years old and that we should qualify. I maintain that new programs must have at least one graduating class to be able to provide the data required for this grant. Would you please help clarify this for us?
    Yes, your program is eligible to apply for this NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity) as a New Program. Per our program guide on p. 26 “New programs for the purpose of this NOFO means those PA schools that have completed training of less than three consecutive classes.”
    Your colleagues are correct because 0 consecutive classes is less than 3 consecutive classes. There is no provision in the NOFO to have at least one graduating class for the New Programs. Please note that you program will qualify as long as it meets at least four of the following criteria:
    1. The training organization’s mission statement identifies a specific purpose of the program as being the preparation of health professionals to serve underserved populations.
    2. The curriculum of the program includes content which will help to prepare practitioners to serve underserved populations.
    3. Substantial clinical training in MUCs is required under the program.
    4. A minimum of 20 percent of the clinical faculty of the program spend at least 50 percent of their time providing or supervising care in MUCs.
    5. The entire program or a substantial portion of the program is physically located in a MUC.
    6. Student assistance, which is linked to service in MUCs, is available to students through the program. Federal and state student assistance programs do not qualify.
    7. The program provides a placement mechanism for helping graduates find positions in MUCs.


  1. Do subcontract budget documents count toward the page limit?
    The SF-424 R&R Subaward Budget forms do not count toward the page limit. The Subaward Budget attachments (e.g., Budget Justification) do count. See funding opportunity announcement for further clarification.
  2. If there was a need for simulation models or equipment to support PA training and interprofessional education activities pertinent to the grant focus, could the grant funds be used to acquire such models or equipment?
    Equipment is allowed for the grant activities, but you must justify that it is necessary to achieve grant objectives and the cost must be reasonable considering other line items in the budget.
  3. Does the budget limit include IDC?
    Yes, the budget does include indirect costs at the 8% rate.
  4. Can Year 1 be used for planning?
    For this program there is no planning year. However, if it is necessary for you to have a planning year to achieve your objectives, you will have to carefully document the reasons why you need the planning year, and clearly document what activities you will be carrying out in the planning year. That will help reviewers evaluate your application.


  1. Who are appropriate trainees for this funding opportunity?
    Students actively enrolled in a program that confers a PA degree, MPAS or MSPAS (Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies).
    Beneficiary eligibility requirements - Student/Trainee Every student/trainee receiving support from awarded funds must be a citizen of the United States or a foreign national having in his/her possession a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States.
  2. Is there a minimum number for PA trainees through any single project?
    ​There is no minimum number for PA trainees through any single project. You have to consider how many PA trainees you have in your program.


  1. What documentation is required to prove accreditation status?
    The applicant must provide in Attachment 4: (1) a statement that they hold continuing accreditation from the relevant accrediting body, the Accreditation Review Commission for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), and are not on probation, and (2) the dates of initial accreditation and the next accrediting body review. If a partner organization holds the accreditation for a training program, a letter of agreement must be provided as well. The entire accreditation letter is not required. See the Eligibility Information section of the notice of funding opportunity for additional information.
  2. May a new PA program that is on a combination of probation plus provisional accreditation apply for this funding opportunity?
    A new PA program that is on a combination of probation plus provisional accreditation is not eligible to apply for this funding opportunity.
Date Last Reviewed:  January 2019