The Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP) is a grant competition authorized by the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to support partnerships among colleges and universities, employers, technology companies, and other relevant organizations to create postsecondary programs that deliver distance education "anytime and anywhere." These programs should be implemented on a national or regional scale and should be innovative within the context of national trends in distance education.
- LAAP supports "anytime anywhere" distance education that uses predominantly asynchronous technologies to reach students wherever they may be, whatever time of day. Generally, this means not only internet delivery, but also student-centered delivery like: customization of courses, self-paced learning, "just in time" job training, and competency-based measurement of student progress.
- LAAP funds strategic partnerships among colleges and universities, technology companies, groups of employers, professional associations, publishers, and any other relevant organizations. Through LAAP-funded partnerships, institutions can pool resources, reduce program duplication, and aggregate to achieve economies of scale, as well as wide-scale implementation. LAAP discourages locally oriented projects.
- LAAP seeks to address new challenges that have arisen as a result of the changing distance education environment. LAAP grants seek not just to create new education or training options, but to tackle as well the emerging challenges in support services, policy formation, instructional design, technical support, intellectual property, and other areas.
- LAAP seeks to create new postsecondary education opportunities and create job readiness for student populations that have been underserved by conventional education or other forms of distance education, especially individuals with disabilities, dislocated workers, individuals transitioning from welfare to the workforce, and students seeking basic skills.
- The 2001 LAAP budget includes $15.5 million for new projects and 30-40 awards are anticipated. LAAP projects can extend for up to three years of funding. Grants generally range from $100,000 to $500,000 per year, with an average of $333,333 per year or $1 million total.
- Cost sharing is required on a one-to-one basis, i.e., funded partnerships must commit to cost sharing that meets or exceeds the federal grant dollars.
- Eligible partnerships must consist of two or more independent agencies, organizations, or institutions with a non-profit organization designated to serve as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for the award.
- LAAP uses a two-stage application process: All applicants are required to submit a preliminary proposal up to 7 pages in length due March 15, 2001. After preliminary proposals are reviewed, the most promising applicants will be invited to submit complete "final proposals" up to 25 pages in length. Final award decisions are based on review of the final proposals.