(a) The Secretary selects applications for new grants on the basis of the authorizing statute, the selection criteria, and any priorities or other requirements that have been published in the Federal Register and apply to the selection of those applications.
(1) The Secretary may use experts to evaluate the applications submitted under a program.
(2) These experts may include persons who are not employees of the Federal Government.
(c) The Secretary prepares a rank order of the applications based solely on the evaluation of their quality according to the selection criteria.
(d) The Secretary then determines the order in which applications will be selected for grants. The Secretary considers the following in making these determinations:
(1) The information in each application.
(2) The rank ordering of the applications.
(3) Any other information -
(i) Relevant to a criterion, priority, or other requirement that applies to the selection of applications for new grants;
(ii) Concerning the applicant's performance and use of funds under a previous award under any Department program; and
(iii) Concerning the applicant's failure under any Department program to submit a performance report or its submission of a performance report of unacceptable quality.