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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
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Health Resources and Services Administration

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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 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) treated consistently 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 must comply with audit requirements of OMB Circular A-133 that 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.exit icon
  • Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) – An AOR submits an application on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. AORs are authorized by the organization’s E-Business Point of Contact. Only an AOR has the authority to sign and submit applications.
  • 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). The term, when used as a noun, is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘grant.’
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) – An online database of all available federal programs
  • 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 rated 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 financial assistance support mechanism used for a program that will include substantial Federal involvement. Substantial involvement means that agency program staff will collaborate or participate in project or program activities as specified in the Notice of Award.
  • Cost sharing or matching – Third-party in-kind contributions and the portion of a program’s costs that are not borne by the Federal government. Costs used to satisfy matching or cost-sharing requirements are subject to the same policies as other costs under the approved budget.
  • 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 contracts and grants.
  • Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) – The administrative board responsible for resolving certain disputes arising under HHS grants and cooperative agreements. The DAB provides an impartial adjudicatory hearing process for appealing certain final written decisions by Grants Management Officers (GMOs).
  • Discretionary grant – A grant (or cooperative agreement) 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 awarded.
  • Domestic organization – Any state or local government agency or private organization that is located in the United States or its territories, is subject to U.S. laws, and assumes legal and financial accountability for funds awarded.
  • 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) to identify organizations and individuals. The first character identifies the recipient as an organization or an individual. The next 9 characters are the Internal Revenue Service tax number identification (TIN) for organizations or the social security number (SSN) for individuals. The last 2 characters are a suffix to provide distinction between organizational entities that are assigned a single EIN and those that have more than one EIN. The entities could be subsidiaries, divisions, branches, subdivisions, or other organizational groupings of a major organizational entity.
  • Equipment – An article of tangible, nonexpendable personal property that has a useful life of more than 1 year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit or the value established by the recipient’s written policies, whichever is less.
  • Federal Cost Principles – The set of principles identified for determining costs of grants, contracts, and other agreements. These principles are set out in the following circulars: Circular A-122 applies to non-profit organizations; Circular A-21 applies to Educational Institutions; and Circular A-87 applies to State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments. See Office of Management and Budget Circulars.exit icon
  • 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.
  • 4.  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.
  • 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) – An agency’s formally issued announcement of the availability of Federal funding through one of its financial assistance programs. The announcement provides eligibility and evaluation criteria, funding preferences/priorities, the submission deadline, and information on how to obtain application kits.
  • Funding opportunity number (FON) – The number that a federal agency assigns to its grant 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 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 exit icon – A government website where applicants may find available funding opportunities and application packages. Applicants will also upload complete application packages from Grants.gov. exit icon
  • 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 Forecastexit icon – A database of planned grant opportunities for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS Grants Forecast provides future applicants with advanced notice of potential upcoming opportunities for HHS funding.
  • HHS Grants Policy Statement (GPS) (PDF - 1.3 MB) exit icon – 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.
  • HRSA SF 424 and SF 424 R&R User Guides – New 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 – The rate negotiated by the cognizant Federal agency used for reimbursing indirect costs.  The rate may be applicable to an entire organization, on-site activities or off-site activities only, a particular site, or specified activities.  The rate must be effective for the period for which reimbursement is claimed.  Rates may be fixed, predetermined, provisional, or final, consistent with the applicable Federal cost principles.
  • 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 – A county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority (including any public and Indian housing agency), school district, special district, intra-State district, council of governments (whether or not incorporated under State law), any other regional or interstate government entity (such as regional planning agencies), or any agency or instrumentality of a local government. The term does not include institutions of higher education and hospitals.
  • Maintenance of effort – A requirement contained in a program’s authorizing legislation or program regulations stating that, in order to receive Federal grant funds, a recipient must agree to maintain a specified level of financial effort (using a specified baseline period, such as the year prior to the initiation of grant support) for the grant from its own resources and other non-Federal sources.
  • 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) – Official document notifying the applicant that the proposal is being funded. This official award document contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of Federal funds in the Department's accounting system.
  • 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, having no physical existence, such as copyrights, patents, or securities.
  • Program income – Income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the award. Program income must be spent according to the terms of the award. In most cases, it must be put back into the program.
  • Project costs – The total allowable costs incurred by a recipient (and the value of in-kind contributions made by third parties) in accomplishing the objectives of the award during the project period.
  • 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, equipment, and intangible property.
  • Real property – Land, including land improvements, structures, and additions, but not movable machinery and equipment.
  • Recipient – Also known as the awardee, the organization or individual that receives a grant or cooperative agreement award. The recipient is the entire legal entity even if a particular component is designated in the Notice of Award (NoA).
  • 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.
    1. SF-424 (Application for federal Assistance cover page used for programs that do not involve research or training);
    2. SF-424 R&R (Application for federal assistance cover page used for research or training programs);
    3. SF-424A (Budget Information Non-construction Programs);
    4. SF-424B (Assurances Non-construction Programs;
    5. SF-424C (Budget Information Construction Programs);
    6. SF-424D (Assurances Construction Programs);
    7. SF-LLL (Disclosure of Lobbying Activities);
    8. 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) exit icon– 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. 
  • Sub-recipient – An entity that receives a sub-award from a recipient or another sub-recipient and is accountable to the recipient or other sub-recipient for the use of the Federal funds.
  • Supplies – Personal property other than equipment and intangible property. The category of “supplies” includes items that could be considered equipment, but do not meet the threshold definition (acquisition value of $5,000 or more).
  • Synopsis of funding opportunity – Summary information of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) posted on the government-wide website known as Grants.gov. The posting 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 directly benefiting a grant-supported project or program that is provided by non-Federal third parties to the recipient, the subrecipient, or a cost-type contractor under the grant or subgrant without charge. In-kind contributions may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies and other expendable property, and goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the project or program.
  • 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.