Grant Application FAQs
Questions Frequently Asked by Applicants about Grant Applications
Entering Information / Field Limitations
Must I fill out all the mandatory fields (for example in the Sub-Award Budget Attachment)?
Yes. In order to submit your application, you are required to fill-out the mandatory fields as well as any other applicable fields.
Like the "Check Package for Errors" button at the top of your application package, there is also a "Check Form for Errors" button on the Research & Related Sub-Award Budget Attachment. Make sure that you use this button to check for any errors. You should do this for each and every Sub-Award Budget Attachment included in your application. If you do not fill-out each mandatory field, your application will be rejected by Grants.gov.
What kind of information can be entered into form fields within my application?
Grants.gov application packages offer fields to enter a set amount of data. When the limit is reached for a certain field, you will no longer be able to enter data into that field. For every form, there are different limitations to the data that you are allowed to enter (this varies between agency and form). Refer to the agency instructions available for download with the application package for more detail.
Do not use special characters (example: &,-,*,%,/,#) within the application form fields including periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks; an underscore may be used. Please note that if these guidelines are not followed, your application may be rejected.
Can I copy and paste information into my Grants.gov application from a MSWord document?
Copying and pasting data into a Grants.gov application form from MSWord may lead to errors in the Adobe Reader form, unless the information is copied and pasted from a text editor such as "Notepad" which does not have proprietary fonts and/or special characters.
Are there any field limitations regarding my contact information?
Yes. There is a 30-character limit on the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) name field on the SF-424 Signature page. This field is auto-populated using your full name (last name and first name combined) from your AOR account. Please ensure that your name in your login credentials does not exceed 30 characters. You can edit your name in your account by logging in and clicking the "Manage Applicant Profile" link in the menu to the left of the screen.
What is the field limitation for the organization name in the R&R Senior/Key Person Form?
There is a 60-character limit on the R&R Senior/Key Person Form for the organization name field. Please be aware that if you exceed the 60-character limit your application will get stuck in the system and not be processed. If your application gets stuck, you will be contacted by the Grants.gov Contact Center to help you correct the problem.
How important is it to enter the correct dates for the length of the program and the budget information?
While your application may be accepted by Grants.gov, the federal agency receiving the application may not accept it based on invalid dates. Verify that the dates you enter regarding the length of your proposed project and your budget information are correct. Also check your entries for invalid dates, such as 06-30-0000.
File Names and Attachments
What type of attachments may be added to an application package?
Each agency has their own restrictions on the type of attachments (.pdf,.xls,.doc,.jpeg,.mpeg,.mov) and file sizes allowed for a particular grant opportunity application package, this is why it is very important to read the agency instructions for the particular grant application package (agency instructions available for download with the application package). Grants.gov suggests limiting the size of the entire grant application package including all attachments to 200MB, naming all attachments with different names and do not use special characters (example: &,-,*,%,/,#) in attachment file names; this includes periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks.
If you are adding a video (.mpeg,.mov, etc.), image (.tif,. jpg.,.gif, etc.), or audio (.wav,.aif,.au, etc.) be sure to compress these files for web usage. There are different types of applications and compression methods, so please sure to check agency instructions for guidance on quality, resolution, bit rate standards they allow for submission.
Are there restrictions on file names for any attachment I include with my application package?
- Please limit file names to 50 characters
- Do not use special characters (example: &,-,*,%,/,#, periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks) in attachment names and application form fields. Some agencies allow use of an underscore (example:my_Attached_File.pdf) to separate a file name.
- Do not attach any documents with the same name. All attachments should have a unique name.
Please note that if these guidelines are not followed, your application may be rejected.
What happens if I attach a blank document or a file that doesn't have any information to the application package?
The empty file, such as a Word document opened and saved without entering any data, will cause problems as the system processes your application package. Make sure attached files contain data. Empty files can create delays in Grants.gov processing your package, and the empty file will be included as part of your official application submission to the federal agency.
What type of documents and files can be uploaded to an application package?
While using the compatible version of Adobe Reader, any type of file can be attached to an application package. Please read the application instructions, in many cases an agency will place restrictions on the types of files it will accept. You can only attach documents to an application if the forms within the application package allow you to do so.
Note: Although Grants.gov does not restrict types of file attachments, if more than one attachment is included in a grant submission and two or more files have the same name, the grant application cannot be processed without manual intervention. To correct this, you should:
- Rename attached files with the same name so that no files share the same name.
- Reattach the files.
- Resubmit the application package.
Difficulty Submitting an Application
To ensure that your application package will be successfully submitted to the Grantor agency please adhere to the following guidelines:
- Only copy and paste text using "NotePad" or other text editors (to avoid copying Microsoft proprietary fonts and characters).
- Limit application package (including attachments) to 200MB.
- Do not use special characters (example: &,-,*,%,/,#) with forms and file attachment names (including periods (.), spaces and accent marks).
- Do not attach documents with the same name.
I have received one of the following error messages: Error 500, Username ID and password do not match credentials provided, or We cannot register you as a user. What should I do?
Try submitting your application using this method:
- Close all browser(s) and running applications.
- Open Internet Explorer
- From the tool bar, click File => Open
- The Open window appears. Click the Browse button located at the bottom of the right of the window.
- A Browse menu opens. At the bottom of this screen there is a Files of type: drop down menu. Click the drop down arrow and click All Files.
- At the top of the screen there is a Look in: drop down menu. Click the drop down arrow and browse to the physical location where the application file is located on you hard disk. Select the application.
- Double click the application or click Open and then click OK.
- Internet Explorer will open the application. This might take a couple of moments. Be patient.
- Once the application is completely open, click the Submit button, and then click Sign and Submit.
- Next, enter your username ID and password.
- Lastly, click Login.
Do you have any other suggestions that might help?
Option 1 - Browser Setting Correction
- Please close all your browser windows.
- Save the.xfd file to your desktop.
- Open a browser window.
- Click File > Open > Browse.
- Navigate to the.xfd saved on your desktop and double click to open it.
- Click Submit button.
Option 2 - Modified Browser Setting Correction
- Save the grant application on the DESKTOP.
- Open Internet Explorer (IE).
- Midsize IE by clicking on the middle button in the upper right-hand corner.
- You should be able to move the IE screen around by clicking on the top IE "blue" bar. Move the IE screen until the desktop, and the icon for the grant application is visible.
- Click on the grant application and drag it.
- Drop the grant application (release the left-mouse key) inside IE screen.
- The application will now open in an IE window.
- Proceed as usual.
How long should it take to upload my application package for submission?
The time it will take to upload your application for submission varies based on the size of the application package (including attachments).The time and speed will also vary based on whether you are running various internet applications or if you have dedicated all your bandwidth to submitting the application package.
The following "Estimated Application Submission (Upload) Speeds" table indicates time estimates for a 10MB application package file upload for submission using different bandwidths (internet connection speed).
|Bandwidth (connection speed)||Bit Rate (Kbps)||Upload Speed (min)|
|DSL||128 - 384||11|
|Satellite||128 - 256||10|
|Premium DSL||384 - 768||6|
|Cable||384 - 768||4|
|Premium Cable||768 - 1500||2|
|TI||768 - 1000||2|
Why was my application package rejected by the Grants.gov system?
Here are five common reasons an application may be rejected:
- The DUNS number of the submitter does not match the DUNS number on the application.
- A virus was detected in a file attachment.
- Attachments do not follow the proper naming convention: 50 characters or less, no spaces, no special characters (example: -, &, *, %, /, #, \) including periods (.), blank spaces and accent marks. Special characters may NOT be used within the application form fields.
- The application was submitted after the deadline for receiving applications.
- The submitter does not have an authorized Grants.gov applicant registration.
If your application is rejected you will need to address the errors and resubmit the application if the opportunity is still open for submission. For help troubleshooting errors, visit the "Troubleshooting Tips" page or see Adobe Reader Error Messages.
How do I print all of the forms within my application package?
The functionality to print all attachments within an application package, such as forms for budget years and Senior Key Person (also known as "form-in-form" attachments) at once is currently not available. Each attachment must be opened manually and printed separately.
You may however print all forms open within the application, excluding attachments. To open and print all forms within an application package, such as mandatory and optional forms (excluding attachments) ensure that these forms have been moved to the "Forms for Submission Box" (on the right side of the application package cover page) and click the Open Form button. Once all forms are open and visible, click the Print button at the top of the screen. All open forms will then be printed at once.