The Office of Higher Education may, within the limits of available appropriations, provide grants on a competitive basis to public and nonprofit service entities seeking to participate in the federal National and Community Service Trust Program pursuant to 42 USC 12501 et seq., in order to assist such service entities in meeting federal matching fund requirements for service placements, provided no grant shall exceed one-half of the federally unreimbursed cost to the service entity for providing such placements. Applications for grants pursuant to this section shall be made at such time and in such manner as the executive director of the Office of Higher Education prescribes.