Dictionary of Grant Terms

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  • Allowable cost – A cost incurred by an award recipient that is (1) reasonable for the performance of the award; (2) allocable;(3) in conformance with, or incorporated by reference, any limitations or exclusions set forth in the Federal cost principles applicable to the organization incurring the cost or in the Notice of Award (NoA) as to the type or amount of cost; (4) consistent with regulations, policies, and procedures of the recipient for both federally-supported and other activities of the organization; (5) accorded consistent treatment as a direct or indirect cost; (6) determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; and (7) not included as a cost in any other federally-supported award (unless specifically authorized by statute).
  • Application deadline – Applications will be considered on time if they are received on or before the deadline listed in the application guidance. Applications sent to any address other than that specified in the application guidance are subject to being returned.
  • Announcement number – Also called the funding opportunity number (FON).  This number is used to search for a specific funding opportunity within Grants.gov.  HRSA announcement numbers begin with HRSA, followed by the Fiscal Year, followed by a unique set of numbers, e.g. HRSA-FY-1234 (HRSA-14-029).
  • Application package template – A group of specific forms and documents for application to a specific funding opportunity.
  • Assurance – A written statement by an applicant, normally included with the application, indicating that it will abide by a particular requirement if a grant is awarded.
  • Audit requirements – Grantees with awards made after December 26, 2014 must comply with audit requirements of the Uniform Guidance – (2 CFR 200 http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_docs/ as codified by HHS at 45 CFR 75that states the standards for Federal agencies in the audit of States, local governments and non-profit organizations awarding and spending federal funds. Information on the scope, frequency, and other aspects of the audits can be found on the Internet at Office of Management and Budget Circulars.
  • Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) – the individual(s), named by the applicant/recipient organization, who is authorized to act for the applicant/recipient and to assume the obligations imposed by the federal laws, regulations, requirements, and conditions that apply to grant applications or awards.
  • Award – The document that provides funds to a recipient to carry out an approved program or project (based on an approved application or progress report).
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) – A specific number is assigned to each Federal program and this number is required data element of post-award reporting requirements. An online database of all available federal programs can be found at www.cfda.gov.
  • Ceiling amount – The maximum amount of funding an organization may request in its application budget.
  • Certifications and disclosure of lobbying activities – A form included in application packages on which applicants indicate if their organization is involved in lobbying.
  • Competing continuation – Application submitted to extend the period of support for a project whose funding would otherwise expire.
  • Competing supplement – Also known as revision, the competing supplement adds funds to a grant to expand its scope or meet needs of a research protocol following a competing application.
  • Competition – A process in which applications are evaluated against established review criteria, also known as objective review, and scored and recommended for award accordingly.
  • Congressional district – One of a fixed number of districts into which a state is divided, each district electing one member to the national House of Representatives. 
  • Consortium agreement – A formal agreement, considered a sub-award, whereby a project is carried out by an award recipient and one or more other organizations that are separate legal entities. Under the agreement, the award recipient must perform a substantive role in the planned project or program activity and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties.
  • Consultant – An individual who provides professional advice or services for a fee, but normally not as an employee of the engaging party. The term “consultant” also includes a firm that provides paid professional advice or services.
  • Contract under a grant – A written agreement between an award recipient and a third party to acquire commercial goods or services.
  • Cooperative agreement – a legal instrument of financial assistance between a federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and a non-federal entity that, consistent with 31 U.S.C. §§ 6302-6305:
  • Cost sharing or matching – – the portion of project costs not paid by federal funds (unless otherwise authorized by federal statute). This may include the value of allowable third party inkind contributions, as well as expenditures by the recipient. See also 45 CFR 75.306 (Source: 45 CFR 75.2).
  • Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) – A unique nine-character identification number provided to businesses and organizations by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Number assignment is free and a requirement for all Federal awards.
  • Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) –  the independent office established in the Office of the Secretary with delegated authority from the Secretary to review and decide certain disputes between recipients of HHS funds and HHS awarding agencies under 45 CFR Part 16 and to perform other review, adjudication and mediation services as assigned (Source: 45 CFR 75.2).
  • Discretionary grant – An award for which the federal awarding agency may select the recipient from among all eligible recipients, may decide to make or not make an award based on the programmatic, technical, or scientific content of an application, and can decide the amount of funding to be provided to carry out project activities.
  • Domestic organization – a public (including a state or other governmental agency) or private non-profit or commercial organization that is located in the United States (U.S.) or its territories and is subject to U.S. laws.
  • E-Business Point of Contact (E-Biz POC) – An E-Business Point of Contact is responsible for the administration and management of grant activities in his/her organization. The E-Biz POC authorizes representatives of their organization (See: Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)) to submit grant applications through Grants.gov. An E-Biz POC must also register as an AOR to submit an application.
  • E-Gov – Office of E-Government & Information Technology (E-Gov) is a part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) electronic government initiative. Created in an effort to use technology to provide and improve government services, transactions and interactions with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.
  • Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) – The grants management system used by HRSA. Applicants and grantees may be instructed to use this system to submit application documents, reports, or other required award documents.
  • Eligible applicants – Any organization that meets the eligibility requirements listed in Section III. of each Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).  Eligibility for each program is different and is presented in the legislative authority for each program.
  • Entity Identification Number (CRS-EIN) – a three-part coding scheme of 12 characters used in the Payment Management System (PMS). The first character identifies the recipient as an organization or an individual. The next nine characters are the federal Taxpayer Identification Number (Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number) assigned by the Internal Revenue Service. The last two characters are a suffix to distinguish different organizational components within a recipient organization.
  • Equipment – tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000. See also Capital assets, Computing devices, General purpose equipment, Information technology systems, Special purpose equipment, and Supplies (Source: 45 CFR 75.2).
  • Federal Cost Principles – The set of principles identified for determining allowable costs under Federal awards.  These principles are set out in the https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default. Federal share of real property, equipment, or supplies – The percentage of costs for properties, supplies, and/or improvement expenditures paid with federal funds. This percentage will be the same as the federal share of the total costs under the award for the funding period in which the property was acquired (excluding the value of third party in-kind contributions).
  • Federally recognized Indian tribal government – The governing body of any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community (including any Native village as defined in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) certified by the Secretary of the Interior as eligible for the special programs and services provided through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Final report – A report that is due within 90 days after the project period ends. The final report collects information relevant to program-specific goals and progress on strategies; core performance measurement data; impact of the overall project; the degree to which the grantee achieved the mission, goals and strategies outlined in the program; grantee objectives and accomplishments; barriers encountered; and responses to summary questions regarding the grantee’s overall experiences during the entire project period. The final report must be submitted on-line by awardees in the HRSA Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) system at https://grants.hrsa.gov/webexternal/home.asp.
  • Financial assistance – Transfer of money, property in lieu of money, or other direct assistance to an eligible recipient to support or stimulate a public purpose authorized by statute.
  • Fiscal year – Federal budget year: October 1 to September 30.
  • For-profit organization – An organization, institution, corporation, or other legal entity that is organized or operated for the profit or financial benefit of its shareholders or other owners. Such organizations also are referred to as “commercial organizations.”
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) – a publicly available document by which a federal agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, notices of funding availability, requests for applications, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov/FIND and on the Internet at the funding agency's or program's website. The FOA issuance date is the date on which the FOA is posted to Grants.gov.
  • Funding opportunity number (FON) – The number that a federal agency assigns to its award announcement.
  • Funding preference – The funding of a specific category or group of applications ahead of other categories or groups of applications that are recommended for approval.  If the authorizing legislation provides a funding preference for some applicants, applicants that meet the criteria for the preference will be placed in a more competitive position among applications that can be funded.  Applications that do not receive a Funding Preference will be given full and equitable consideration during the review process.
  • Funding priority – A favorable adjustment of combined review scores of individually approved applications when applications meet specified criteria.  An adjustment is made by a set, pre-determined number of points.
  • Government – A State or local government or a federally recognized Indian tribal government.
  • Grant – A type of financial assistance support mechanism providing money, property or other direct assistance in lieu of money, or both, to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity in support of a public purpose and not the direct benefit of the government. A grant is used whenever the agency anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during performance of the financially assisted activities.
  • Grants Management Officer (GMO) – The GMO signs the Notice of Award (NoA) and is the government official who is responsible for the business management and other non-programmatic aspects of the award. GMOs ensure that awardees fulfill requirements of laws, regulations, and administrative policies.
  • Grants.gov – A government website where applicants may find available funding opportunities and application packages. Applicants will also upload complete application packages to this site (www.grants.gov).
  • Grants.gov tracking number – A number set used by Grants.gov to identify each application it receives. Applicants use this number to obtain information about the status of their application.
  • HHS Grants Forecast – an HHS-wide database of planned competitive grant opportunities developed for each fiscal year. The Forecast contains actual or estimated dates and funding levels for competing funding opportunities that each OPDIV intends to issue during the upcoming fiscal year, subject to change based on enactment of Congressional appropriations.
  • HHS Grants Policy Statement (GPS) – The Department of Health and Human Services Grants Policy Statement (HHS GPS) is intended to make available in a single document the general terms and conditions of HHS discretionary grant and cooperative agreement awards. These general terms and conditions are common across all HHS Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) and apply as indicated in the HHS GPS unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary (as specified in individual Notices of Award). The HHS awarding offices are components of the OPDIVs and Staff Divisions that have grant-awarding authority. This document also is designed to be useful to those interested in the HHS grants process by providing information about that process and its associated authorities and about responsibilities. The HHS GPS is available online from the HHS home page at http://www.hhs.gov/grantsnet.
  • HRSA SF 424 and SF 424 R&R Application Guides –Guides with detailed instructions for submitting the SF-424 Non-Construction and SF-424 R&R (Research & Related) application kits.
  • The Guides, companion documents to the funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), are intended to be the comprehensive source of general information related to the application preparation and submission process and will be updated periodically.
  • Indirect cost rate agreement –  a formal rate agreement signed by the agency negotiating the indirect cost rate, i.e., the HHS Program Support Center’s Cost Allocation Services (CAS) office, the National Institutes of Health’s Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS), or other cognizant federal agency office, and an authorized organizational representative of the recipient.
  • Indirect costs – Those costs that have been incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be readily identified with a particular final cost objective. Depending on the structure of each particular program, these costs may include items that are not project specific such as certain supplies, salaries for administrative or support staff, rent, utilities, etc.
  • Intergovernmental review – Certain HHS programs/activities are subject to the requirements of Executive Order 12372, as amended, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” and the HHS implementation at 45 CFR part 100, and to other intergovernmental cooperation provisions. These requirements allow State and local governments to provide input on applications submitted (or to be submitted) for funding consideration.
  • Letter of intent – A preliminary, non-binding indication of an organization’s intent to submit an application.
  • Local government –  any unit of government within a state, including a: (1) County; (2) Borough; (3) Municipality; (4) City; (5) Town; (6) Township; (7) Parish; (8) Local public authority, including any public housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937; (9) Special district; (10) School district; (11) Intrastate district; (12) Council of governments, whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under state law; and (13) Any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-state or local government.
  • Maintenance of effort – a statutory requirement where the recipient is required, as a condition of eligibility for federal funding, to maintain its financial contribution to the program at not less than a stated percentage (which may be 100 percent or less) of its contribution for a prior time period, usually the previous fiscal year. Mandatory grant – A grant (or cooperative agreement) for which the authorizing statute requires the agency to make an award to each eligible entity under the conditions and in the amount (or based on the formula) specified in the statute.
  • Marketing Partner ID number (MPIN) – A personal code created by a user in SAM. This code or password allows access to other government systems. Code must have 9 characters and contain a minimum of one alpha (must be in capital letters) and one numeric character (no spaces or special characters permitted). MPIN is the last data field in the Points of Contact section of SAM registration.
  • Notice of Award (NoA) –  – the official legally binding award document that: (1) notifies the recipient of the award of a grant; (2) contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and federal funding limits; and, (3) provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of federal funds in the agencies’ accounting systems.
  • Objective Review Committee – A selected group of unbiased experts in the programmatic area who review grant applications.
  • Outlays or expenditures – The allowable charges made to the federally sponsored project or program.
  • Personal property – property of any kind except real property. It may be tangible, having physical existence, or intangible, such as copyrights, patents, or securities.
  • Program income –  gross income earned by the non-Federal entity that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the Federal award during the period of performance except as provided in §75.307(f). (See Period of performance.) Program income includes but is not limited to income from fees for services performed, the use or rental or real or personal property acquired under Federal awards, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under a Federal award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and principal and interest on loans made with Federal award funds. Interest earned on advances of Federal funds is not program income. Except as otherwise provided in Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award, program income does not include rebates, credits, discounts, and interest earned on any of them. See also §§75.307, 75.407 and 35 U.S.C. 200-212 (applies to inventions made under Federal awards)
  • Project costs –  total allowable costs incurred under a federal award and all required cost sharing and voluntary committed cost sharing, including third-party contributions.
  • Project period – The total time for which support of a project has been approved. The total project period comprises the initial competitive segment, any subsequent competitive segments resulting from a competing continuation award, and any non-competing extensions.
  • Property – real property or personal property
  • Real property – Land, including land improvements, structures, and additions, but not movable machinery and equipment.
  • Recipient – an entity, usually but not limited to non-Federal entities, that receives a Federal award directly from a Federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under a Federal program.
  • Reimbursement – A payment made to a recipient for cash disbursements. Most reimbursement payments are processed through the Payment Management System (PMS), the Department’s centralized grants payment system.
  • Review criteria – Critical elements of the grant program presented in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The criteria assist the applicant in presenting pertinent information and provide the reviewer with a standard for evaluating an application.
  • Special consideration – A special consideration is defined as the enhancement of priority scores by peer reviewers based on the extent to which the application addresses areas of concern in a discretionary program.
  • Standard Form 424 (SF-424) and Standard Form 424 Research and Related (R&R) Series Forms – Standard government-wide grant application forms. The correct forms for each funding opportunity will be included in the application package posted on Grants.gov.

    SF-424 (Application for federal Assistance cover page used for programs that do not involve research or training);

    SF-424 R&R (Application for federal assistance cover page used for research or training programs);

    SF-424A (Budget Information Non-construction Programs);

    SF-424B (Assurances Non-construction Programs;

    SF-424C (Budget Information Construction Programs);

    SF-424D (Assurances Construction Programs);

    SF-LLL (Disclosure of Lobbying Activities);

  • Plus other standard OMB-approved forms and named attachments including Project and Budget Narrative, etc.
  • State Government – The government of any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any U.S. territory or possession, or any agency of a State exclusive of local governments. State institutions of higher education and State hospitals are not considered State governments for purposes of the HHS general administrative requirements for.
  • State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) – For Federal grants made to state and local governments under provisions of Executive Order 12372, the Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, the application must be submitted to the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for review.  The list of states with contacts is available here:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc/ Sub-recipient – a non-federal entity that receives a sub award from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a federal program and is accountable to the recipient for the use of the funds provided; but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such program. A sub recipient may also be a recipient of other federal awards directly from a federal awarding agency   
  • Supplies –  all tangible personal property other than those described in Equipment. A computing device is a supply if the acquisition cost is less than the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-federal entity for financial statement purposes or $5,000, regardless of the length of its useful life.
  • Synopsis of funding opportunity – summary information extracted from or based on the funding opportunity announcement that is electronically posted at the government-wide website known as Grants.gov/Find. The posting at Grants.gov/FIND includes a direct link to the funding opportunity announcement or includes an uploaded copy of the funding opportunity announcement
  • System for Award Management (SAM) – SAM validates applicant information and electronically shares the secure and encrypted data with the federal agencies' finance offices to facilitate paperless payments through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). The SAM stores your organizational information, allowing Grants.gov to verify your identity and to pre-fill organizational information on your grant applications.
  • Third-party in-kind contributions – – the value of non-cash contributions (i.e., property or services) that: (1) Benefit a federally assisted project or program; and (2)Are contributed by non-federal third parties, without charge, to a non-federal entity under a federal award
  • Total project or program costs – The total allowable costs (both direct and indirect) incurred by the recipient to carry out a grant-supported project or activity. Total project or program costs include costs charged to the award and costs borne by the recipient to satisfy a matching or cost-sharing requirement.
  • Unallowable cost – A cost specified by law or regulation, Federal cost principles, or term and condition of award that may not be reimbursed under a grant or cooperative agreement.


Date Last Reviewed:  November 2017