Definitions & Explanations

Application Deadlines
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.

The citation of the law authorizing the various grant programs is provided immediately following the title of the programs.

CFDA Number
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) is a Government wide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services and activities that provide assistance. Programs listed therein are given a CFDA Number.

Cooperative Agreement
A financial assistance mechanism (grant) used when substantial Federal programmatic involvement with the recipient is anticipated by the funding agency during performance of the project. The nature of that involvement will always be specified in the offering or application guidance materials.

DUNS Number
All applicants are now required to have a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number to apply for a grant or cooperative agreement from the Federal Government. The DUNS number is a nine-digit identification number which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a DUNS number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, go to the Dun and Bradstreet Web site or phone 1-866-705-5711.

The status an entity must possess to be considered for an award, as specified by authorizing legislation and programmatic regulations. Generally, eligible entities are public and nonprofit private organizations and institutions, including faith-based and community-based organizations, State/local governments and their agencies, Federally-recognized Indian Tribes or tribal organizations, and occasionally individuals. For profit organizations are eligible to receive awards under financial assistance programs specifically when authorized by legislation.

Estimated Amount of Competition
The funding level listed is provided only as an estimate and is subject to the availability of funds, Congressional action, and changing program priorities.

Funding Priorities and/or Preferences
Funding preferences, priorities, and special considerations may come from legislation, regulations, or HRSA program leadership decisions. They are not the same as review criteria.

Funding preferences are any objective factors that would be used to place a grant application ahead of others without the preference on a list of applicants recommended for funding by a review committee. Some programs give preference to organizations that have specific capabilities such as telemedicine networking, or have established relationships with managed care organizations.

Funding priorities are factors that cause a grant application to receive a fixed amount of extra rating points - which may similarly affect the order of applicants on a funding list.

Special considerations are other factors considered in making funding decisions that are neither review criteria, preferences, nor priorities, e.g., ensuring that there is an equitable geographic distribution of grant recipients, or meeting requirements for urban and rural proportions.

Letter of Intent
To help in planning the application review process, many HRSA programs request a letter of intent from the applicant in advance of the application deadline. Letters of intent are neither binding nor mandatory. Details on where to send letters can be found in the guidance materials contained in the application kit.

Matching Requirements
Several HRSA programs require an awardee to provide matching funds or share in the costs of a project based on the program’s authorizing statute or program regulations. The requirement and the specific percentage or amount of matching or cost sharing are set forth in the program announcement and application materials.

Program Announcement Code
The program announcement code is a unique identifier for each program funded by HRSA. The multiple-character acronyms are located in parentheses immediately at the end of each program title and must be used to request application materials either from the HRSA Grants Application Center at

Program Announcement Number
A unique program announcement (HRSA) number is located at the beginning of each program announcement in the HRSA Preview, Mini-Preview and Federal Register notices and includes the Fiscal Year and sequence number for announcement; for example, HRSA 06-001. This number is used with the program title and program announcement code to order application materials.

Project Period
The project period is the total time for which support of a discretionary project has been programmatically approved. The project period usually consists of a series of budget periods of one-year duration. Once approved through initial review, continuation of each successive budget period is subject to satisfactory performance, availability of funds, and program priorities.

Review Criteria
General review criteria for all HRSA programs include:

  • Need: The extent to which the application describes the problem and associated contributing factors to the problem.
  • Response: The extent to which the proposed project responds to the “Purpose” included in the program description. The clarity of the proposed goals and objectives and their relationship to the identified project. The extent to which the activities (scientific or other) described in the application are capable of addressing the problem and attaining the project objectives.
  • Evaluative Measures: The effectiveness of the method proposed to monitor and evaluate the project results. Evaluative measures must be able to assess 1) to what extent the program objectives have been met and 2) to what extent these can be attributed to the project.
  • Impact: The extent and effectiveness of plans for dissemination of project results, and/or the extent to which project results may be national in scope and/or the degree to which a community is impacted by delivery of health services, and/or the degree to which the project activities are replicable, and/or the sustainability of the program beyond Federal funding.
  • Resources/Capabilities: The extent to which project personnel are qualified by training and/or experience to implement and carry out the project. The capabilities of the applicant organization, and quality and availability of facilities and personnel to fulfill the needs and requirements of the proposed project. For competing continuations, past performance will also be considered.
  • Support Requested: The reasonableness of the proposed budget in relation to the objectives, the complexity of the activities, and the anticipated results.
  • Specific Program Criteria: Additional specific program criteria, if any, are included in the program description and in the individual guidance material provided with the application kit. The specific review criteria used to review and rank applications are included in the individual guidance material provided with the application kits. Applicants should pay strict attention to addressing these criteria, as they are the basis upon which the reviewers will judge their applications.

Technical Assistance
A contact person is listed for each program and his/her e-mail address and telephone number provided. Some programs may have also scheduled workshops and conference calls. If you have questions concerning individual programs or the availability of technical assistance, please contact the person listed.

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2017