Grantors' Frequently Asked Questions
The following answers address common queries relating to managing agencies and users, creating application packages and templates, using data analysis, and more. Please refer to the Grants.gov Online User Guide for a complete description and discussion of the Grants.gov Grantor system.
- Managing Agencies and Users
- Managing Sub-Agencies
- Managing Applications
- Assigning Agency Tracking Numbers
- Publishing and Managing an Application Package
- Creating and Managing Forms
- Using Data Analysis
- Account Registration
- Login Troubleshooting
- Password Expiration
- Account Deactivation
- Web Browsers
- Antivirus Best Practices
How many grantors can register under an agency?
An unlimited number of grantors can be registered under an agency. Read the Grantor Registration page for more information.
What roles can be assigned to agency users?
When a user has registered with Grants.gov, they have the ability to log in, but they cannot perform agency-related actions until they are given a role. Read the Manage Roles help article for a list of roles and functionality associated with each.
Grants.gov will perform the initial set-up of the agency. From there, the Agency Administrator will be able to set up sub-agencies.
How is a sub-agency created on Grants.gov?
Grantors with the Manage Agencies role are able to create agencies and sub-agencies in Grants.gov. Review the Create Agency help article and Modify Agency and Sub-Agency help article for instructions.
How does a user become a sub-agency administrator?
Grantors with the Manage Grantors role may assign roles to grantors within their agency and sub-agencies. For new users, please Register with Grants.gov then follow the Add Profile & Agency Affiliation instructions. For information on how to add roles to a grantor, review the Manage Roles help article.
I have already downloaded and acknowledged all of my submitted application packages. When will these old submitted applications be removed?
Submitted applications will be available on the "View All Submitted Applications" page for 5 years* after submission.
*Note: The application purge period was increased from 180 days to 5 years on October 20, 2015, so all applications submitted on or after April 22, 2015 will be stored for 5 years. All applications submitted before April 22, 2015 have been deleted under the previous 180 day purge period.
I downloaded my applications days ago, so why won't they disappear from the Retrieve Submitted Applications list?
If you have downloaded an application and it is still visible in the list, you may have forgotten to click the Acknowledge Completion of Download button. After downloading applications, clicking on the Acknowledge Completion of Download button will change the status of the applications. The status is viewable both to the Grantor and to the applicant communities.
I just assigned an agency tracking number to an application. When I clicked on the Continue button, the application was no longer on the screen. What happened to it?
Users still have access to these submissions after assigning the agency tracking number; search criteria can be adjusted to view those submissions. The Assign Tracking Numbers screen only displays applications submitted to your agency that have not yet been assigned a tracking number. You may see a full list of applications submitted to your agency by clicking the View All Submitted Applications link.
How does my applicant know an agency tracking number has been assigned to his/her application?
The applicant will receive an email notification stating that a tracking number has been assigned. An applicant may also obtain the tracking number for their grant application by logging on and checking the status of their grant application.
What if my agency does not assign tracking numbers?
Assigning tracking numbers is not mandatory and is the choice of the individual agency. If your agency does not assign tracking numbers, the application process will not be affected.
What information will I need to publish an application package?
Please review the Manage Opportunities help article and Create Grant Opportunities help article for information about publishing funding opportunity announcements and the required information.
Can I post earmarked or mandatory grant application packages on Grants.gov?
Yes. You can post any type of application package on Grants.gov. In the case of those packages that have a limited applicant pool or that are part of a block or mandatory grant program, you can simply post the application package on Grants.gov without publishing an opportunity synopsis. The applicant will be able to find the package on the Search for Opportunity Package page.
How can I create a draft of a grant synopsis or forecast for my co-workers to review?
When creating a grant synopsis or forecast of a funding opportunity announcement, it is considered a draft until it reaches the Post Date you selected and is published by the system. Your co-workers, or anyone with the appropriate Grantor roles, may review and edit it until its publication.
Some Grantors may choose to set the Post Date well into the future to give ample time to create, refine, and finalize the grant synopsis or forecast. Once the synopsis or forecast is ready for publication, the Grantor may change the Post Date to make the opportunity available to the public.
Will I be able to make any modifications to application packages after they are published?
Yes, you can modify an application package at any time. However, please keep in mind that if you make any significant changes to an existing application package, applicants must update their application and possibly lose work already completed. For applicants using Grants.gov Workspace, they will see an alert on the Manage Workspace page to update their application. Applicants who have signed up for email notifications will be automatically notified of the changes via email, if the grantor chooses to send change notifications.
How do you create a template?
Users with the Agency Template Creator role may create and manage application package templates. Read the Manage Application Package Templates help article and Create Application Package Templates for instructions on using the template functionality.
Why am I getting an error message that says Grants.gov does not recognize my agency's CFDA Number?
Grants.gov uses a nightly extract from the CFDA Catalog to update its information. If the CFDA has not updated its catalog yet, Grants.gov may not have the information necessary to recognize the CFDA Program Number. If you are the agency administrator, please contact your Grants.gov agency Program Advisor. Grants.gov may be able to manually insert this information. If you are not the Agency Administrator, work with that designated person in your agency to resolve the issue.
How do I create a form?
Before a grant application form can appear in a Grants.gov user's workspace, it must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and developed by Grants.gov's team of developers and testers. Read the Forms Request for information on how to have a form added to Grants.gov.
Will Grants.gov obtain OMB approval for me?
No. Agencies are responsible for obtaining OMB approval prior to submitting the forms to Grants.gov for development. OMB approval is not needed if the Agency uses the SF-424 family of forms, because these forms have been approved for government-wide use. Review the Forms Process page for more information.
How can I view the forms that Grants.gov has created?
Grants.gov has all of the forms listed on the website within the Forms Repository. Review the Forms Request page for more information.
Is it possible to reuse an existing form?
Yes. The following four types of forms are currently available for your use:
- Standard forms. OMB has approved Standard Forms, such as the SF-LLL, SF-424, and SF-424A-D, as well as the Faith-Based EEO form for government-wide use.
- Agency-specific forms. You may reuse forms created by other agencies if the fields on those forms are the same as the fields on one of your existing OMB-approved forms. If necessary, Grants.gov will change the form name, title, and agency logo to meet your needs.
- Grants.gov forms. Grants.gov provides "attachment forms" that allow applicants to include supporting documentation via pre-existing files (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.), such as a budget narrative, project narrative, or other miscellaneous documents.
- Government-wide forms. The SF-424 was established as the core government-wide standard data set and cover sheet form. Besides the base SF-424 form, several additional coversheets and forms address grant information needs for programs requiring less applicant information, as well as for specific applicant communities applying for mandatory, research and individual program grants.
May I reuse an existing form but add my agency's name to it?
Yes. Just let Grants.gov know when you submit your data analysis templates for development.
My agency requires that all applications be signed. Does Grants.gov handle electronic signatures, and has the signature undergone legal review?
Grants.gov does provide electronic signatures on forms that contain a signature block (e.g., SF424, Certifications, and Assurances). However, you should continue to adhere to the policies set forth by your agency regarding electronic signatures for grant applications.
What file formats are supported for applicants uploading files?
Currently, when using the standard attachment forms provided by Grants.gov, there are no restrictions on file types. If you would like to restrict your applicants to certain formats (e.g., Word, Excel, PDF), please specify the particular formats within your agency-specific instructions.
What is the purpose of data analysis?
Data analysis allows an agency to provide its form requirements for a specific grant program to Grants.gov. By following this process, agencies can clearly communicate to Grants.gov about how fields on a form are used and what rules, if any, should be enforced on each field. Agencies benefit directly because Grants.gov will accurately reproduce their forms, resulting in higher-quality submissions. In addition, data analysis provides a mechanism by which each agency can review forms used by other agencies. This may result in consolidation or elimination of some items.
I do not intend to use XML. Do I still need to perform the data analysis when we request Grants.gov to develop an agency-specific form?
Yes. The data analysis process stays the same even if you do not intend to use XML. For example, we will use a field's maximum character length to determine how much data an applicant should enter into a field.
How do I get started with data analysis templates (DAT)?
Review all of your programs and determine which ones may be good candidates for Grants.gov. Your considerations should include the following:
- The number of expected applications
- Forms already in production that could be re-used in your application package
- Other programs with forms that could be re-used
What tools are available to assist my agency with completing the data analysis template?
- Grants.gov Forms Repository – This resource lists all forms currently available on Grants.gov for your use.
- Application instructions. The instructions that you currently provide to your applicants often have very descriptive information about how your forms should be completed.
- Application forms. The application form often contains descriptive information about how the fields should be completed. If not, try completing the form and document any detail that is not clearly stated.
- Database Dictionary. If you enter all or part of your application information into a database, your database dictionary will contain much of the required information about your data fields. Please ask your IT staff for additional help.
- Completed application forms. A review of past, successful submissions will often clarify any undocumented form requirements.
What type of skill set and coordination is needed to develop the data analysis template?
Completing the data analysis template requires:
- Familiarity both with the form's instructions and with the types of entries that are acceptable. This includes knowing which fields should be mandatory, conditionally mandatory, or optional. It's also important to identify rules for each conditionally mandatory field (e.g. If 4a is yes, then complete 4b, etc.), expected field lengths, and field formats (e.g., Assurance number must be in format mm-yyyy-####).
- An understanding of the form's relationship to other forms in the application package (e.g., the 'From Date' on the SF-424 is the same as the 'Start Date' on your agency-specific form).
Can I include attachments as a requirement in my data analysis template?
Yes. Your data analysis template provides a way for you to include all of your file attachment requirements.
I have completed data analysis of a program, and I am ready to submit the results. What should I do?
You should email the following items to your assigned agency Program Advisor:
- A list of forms that will be required to publish your program (NOTE: Some of these forms may already be in production.)
- The expected number of applicants for the program
- A data analysis template for each form requiring development
- A copy of each original form (usually submitted as a Word, Excel, or PDF document). If this is a new form, you should create a mock-up of the form.
- A copy of the application instructions
- The desired production date (NOTE: You should allow at least 3-4 months for development, but timeframes are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on form complexity and the number of forms in the development queue.)
Did You Know?
Grantors may register and log on to Grants.gov, but they will not be able to perform agency-related actions until they are assigned a role.
Did You Know?
Forms can take up to three or four months to develop. It's important to allow for this development time in your planning processes.
What should I do if I receive the message "Email Already Exists in System" and I am unable to register?
If you receive the message "Email Already Exists in System," your email address has already been used to register. Go to the Login page and use the Forgot My Username function to retrieve the username and password associated with your email address.
What is a profile?
A profile in Grants.gov corresponds to a single applicant organization the user represents (i.e., an applicant), an individual applicant, or a single federal agency (i.e., for a grantors). Read the Add Profile and Agency Affiliation help article for instructions on how to register with Grants.gov and have your profile affiliated with an agency.
What are the Grants.gov password requirements?
- Cannot be the same as the previous six (6) passwords
- Must contain at least eight (8) characters
- Must contain at least one (1) number
- Must contain at least one (1) uppercase letter
- Must contain one (1) lower case letter.
- Must contain one (1) special character.
Why am I being locked out from logging in?
For your security, Grants.gov sets a system lockout on your account if it recognizes actions that appear to be a remote attempt to hack into your account. After three (3) consecutive failed attempts at login or submission over a period of 5 minutes, accounts are locked for 15 minutes.
How do I log in after being locked out?
If you have a username and password, wait 15 minutes before taking any action on the login page. After 15 minutes, your correct username and password will allow you to log in.
If you do not want to wait 15 minutes to unlock your account, you can either click "I Forgot My Password/Unlock My Account" or use the Forgot Secret Answer button on the Reset Password page.
How do I retrieve a forgotten username?
To retrieve the username associated with your email address:
- Click the Login link in the upper-right corner of the Grants.gov banner.
- Click the Forgot My Username link that is located beneath the Username and Password fields.
- Enter your email address associated with this Grants.gov account in the Email Address field.
- Click the Submit button. An email will be sent with your Grants.gov username to the email address you entered. Use this username to log in to Grants.gov.
I forgot my password. How do I reset my password?
To retrieve the password associated with your email address:
- Click the Login link in the upper-right corner of the Grants.gov banner.
- Click the Forgot My Password/Unlock My Account link that is located beneath the Username and Password fields.
- Enter your username in the Username field and click the Continue button.
- Enter the answer to your secret question, then click the Continue button. If you do not know the answer to your secret question, click the Forgot Secret Answer button and password reset instructions will be sent to the email address associated with the Grants.gov account.
- After answering your secret questions, enter your new password and confirm it was entered correctly by re-typing it into the New Password Confirm field.
- Click the Submit button to complete the password reset process.
I am trying to reset my password, but I did not receive an email with the temporary password, what should I do?
If you are attempting to reset your password and do not receive a password reset email with a temporary password, you may have entered an incorrect email address for your request. Make sure that the email address you use to request a password reset is the same email address you used when registering. If you are sure that you have entered the proper email address for your password reset request, wait a few moments and check your email again. Please be patient while your request is handled. Also, be sure to check your spam and junk email folders.
Your E-Business Point of Contact will be able to confirm the email address you used during registration or you may contact Grants.gov Support for this information.
How long are passwords valid?
Passwords are valid for 60 days and will not be valid on the 61st day onward.
How do I log in after my password expires?
To reset an expired password:
- Login to Grants.gov using your username and password. If your password is expired, you will be directed to the Reset Password page.
- Enter your old password and a new password based on the requirements listed on the Reset Password page.
- Click the Submit button. You will receive an email notification of your password reset.
Why has my Grants.gov account been deactivated?
Your Grants.gov account is automatically deactivated after 365 days of inactivity (i.e., not logging in for a year). Grants.gov automatically sends you four separate warning emails, one per week for the four weeks immediately preceding your deactivation.
If your account is deactivated, you will lose all roles in Grants.gov. Roles are not applicable to EBiz POCs and individual applicant profiles, but their account will also be deactivated after inactivity for 365 days.
What do I do after my Grants.gov account is deactivated for inactivity?
If your account is deactivated, you must log in and change your password to re-activate your account. If you do not remember your password, then click the Forgot My Password/Unlock My Account link and follow the on-screen instructions.
The next steps depend on your account type:
- EBiz POC – No additional steps after logging in and resetting password.
- Individual Profiles – No additional steps after logging in and resetting password.
- Organization Profiles – By re-activating your account, Grants.gov automatically emails your organization's EBiz POC to assign roles in Grants.gov. You may also want to communicate with your organization's EBiz POC outside of Grants.gov to ensure your roles are reassigned.
- Grantor – After re-activating your account, you need to communicate with someone within your grant-making agency with the Manage Agencies role, requesting that they reassign roles to your profile Grants.gov.
Which web browsers are supported by Grants.gov?
The latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari are supported for use with Grants.gov. However, these web browsers undergo frequent changes and updates, so we recommend you have the latest version when using Grants.gov. Legacy versions of these web browsers may be functional, but you may experience issues.
Grants.gov no longer provides support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 or below.
Which security protocols does my web browser need to support to access Grants.gov?
Your web browser must support at least one of the following: Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.0, 1.1, or 1.2. Note: TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are disabled in the Training environment and will be disabled in the Production environment in the future. Read the Grants.gov Notices page for more information.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) version 2 and 3 are not supported.
How do I clear my browser cache?
The cache refers to the Temporary Internet Files folder which contains a record of the items you have seen, heard, or downloaded from the web, including images, sounds and web pages.
Below are links to instructions on how to clear your browser cache:
How can I prevent a virus from infecting my computer or system?
Grants.gov checks for viruses when a file is uploaded, but it is the users' responsibility to make sure they do a virus check on their end when downloading to help protect against zero-day attacks. A zero-day attack is an attack on a computer system that exploits a previously unknown vulnerability that the vendor has not had time to address and patch.
Users are encouraged to do the following when downloading and uploading files with Grants.gov:
- Ensure virus protection software (with the latest signature updates) is installed and running on the system/network being used to perform actions within Grants.gov Workspace
- Perform a scan for viruses locally prior to uploading files or data packages to Grants.gov Workspace
- Download Grants.gov Workspace data to a temporary folder and perform a scan for viruses prior to opening files or data packages
- Report suspicious files or activity immediately to the Grants.gov Support Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email@example.com
Get More FAQs
For additional information, check out the Support Center's frequently asked questions knowledge base and ticket status system—Grants.gov Support Center iPortal.