Grant Terminology

The grants community is diverse, and so is the terminology we use to talk about roles and aspects of the grants lifecycle. Here is a glossary of grant terms based on the Grant Policies and Grants.gov functionality.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A

Agency Specific Data Sets
Data that an agency collects in addition to data on any of the SF-424 series forms.
Applicant
Any user registered with an applicant account type. See also Individual Applicant and Organization Applicant
Application
The specific set of forms, documents, and attachments that comprise an applicant’s submission to a federal grant opportunity.
Application Package Template
One or more forms and documents which can be reused for multiple opportunity-specific application packages.
Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)
See Standard AOR and Expanded AOR.
Award
Financial assistance that provides support or stimulation to accomplish a public purpose. Awards include grants and other agreements in the form of money or property in lieu of money, by the federal government to an eligible recipient. The term does not include: technical assistance, which provides services instead of money; other assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, or insurance; direct payments of any kind to individuals; and contracts which are required to be entered into and administered under federal procurement laws and regulations.

top ↑

B

Budget
The financial plan for the project or program that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity approves during the Federal award process or in subsequent amendments to the Federal award. It may include the Federal and non-Federal share or only the Federal share, as determined by the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity.

top ↑

C

Cage Code
A five-character code which identifies companies doing, or planning to do business with the federal government and is assigned through SAM.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number C-DER Library Icon
The number assigned to a Federal program in the CFDA.
CFDA program title C-DER Library Icon
The title of the program under which the Federal award was funded in the CFDA.
Close Date
The deadline designated by the grant-making agency designated for submission of a particular grant application. Also see Grace Period
Closeout C-DER Library Icon
The process by which the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the Federal award have been completed and takes actions as described in § 200.343 Closeout of the OMB Uniform Grants Guidance.
Competition ID
A grantor selected ID that allows further distinction of the funding opportunity number which allows applications with the same funding opportunity number to be assigned unique identifiers.
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. Review the How to Find Your Congressional District for the SF-424 Form blog post for more information.
Continuation Grant
An extension or renewal of existing program funding for one or more additional budget period(s) that would otherwise expire. Continuation grants are typically available to existing recipients of discretionary, multi-year projects; however, new applicants may be considered.
Receipt of a continuation grant is usually based on availability of funds, project performance, and compliance with progress and financial reporting requirements. Applications for continuation may compete with other continuation requests submitted to the awarding agency.
Contract C-DER Library Icon
A legal instrument by which a non-Federal entity purchases property or services needed to carry out the project or program under a Federal award. The term as used in the OMB Uniform Grants Guidance does not include a legal instrument, even if the non-Federal entity considers it a contract, when the substance of the transaction meets the definition of a Federal award or subaward (see § 200.92 Subaward of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance).
Contractor C-DER Library Icon
An entity that receives a contract as defined in § 200.22 Contract of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance.
Cooperative Agreement C-DER Library Icon
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:
  1. Is used to enter into a relationship the principal purpose of which is to transfer anything of value from the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity to the non-Federal entity to carry out a public purpose authorized by a law of the United States (see 31 U.S.C. 6101(3)); and not to acquire property or services for the Federal government or pass-through entity's direct benefit or use;
  2. Is distinguished from a grant in that it provides for substantial involvement between the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and the non-Federal entity in carrying out the activity contemplated by the Federal award.
  3. The term does not include: (1) A cooperative research and development agreement as defined in 15 U.S.C. 3710a; or (2) An agreement that provides only: (i) Direct United States Government cash assistance to an individual; (ii) A subsidy; (iii) A loan; (iv) A loan guarantee; or (v) Insurance.
Cost Sharing or Matching C-DER Library Icon
The portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds (unless otherwise authorized by Federal statute). See also §200.306 Cost sharing or matching of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance.

top ↑

D

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number
The nine-digit number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify entities. A non-Federal entity is required to have a DUNS number in order to apply for, receive, and report on a Federal award. A DUNS number may be obtained from D&B by telephone (currently 866–705–5711) or the Internet (currently at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform Click to View Exit Disclaimer).
Date of Completion
The date on which all work under an award is completed or the date on the award document, or any supplement or amendment thereto, on which awarding agency sponsorship ends.
Discretionary Grant
A grant (or cooperative agreement) for which the federal awarding agency generally 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. Review the What Is a Discretionary Grant? blog post for more information.
Download
Transferring data (usually a file) from another computer to the computer you are using.

top ↑

E

E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC)
A user registered as an organization applicant who is responsible for the administration and management of grant activities for his or her organization. The EBiz POC is likely to be an organization's chief financial officer or authorizing official. The EBiz POC authorizes representatives of their organization to apply on behalf of the organization (see Standard AOR and Expanded AOR). There can only be one EBiz POC per DUNS Number.
Earmark
Earmarks are grants that are appropriated by Congress prior to a peer review. The term "earmark" is a reference to the Congressional Record where the awards are written into legislation specifically with the grant applicant's name, activity, and dollar amounts.
Expanded Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)
An AOR is a member of your organization authorized by the EBiz POC to submit applications in Grants.gov on behalf of the organization. An applicant user with the Expanded AOR role is authorized to submit any applications on behalf of the organization and has privileges that allow the user to modify organization-level settings in Grants.gov.

top ↑

F

Federal Agency C-DER Library Icon
Federal agency means an ‘‘agency'' as defined at 5 U.S.C. 551(1) and further clarified by 5 U.S.C. 552(f).
Federal Award C-DER Library Icon
Federal award has two definitions, which depend on the context of its use. Paragraphs (a) and (b) explain the context and define the term appropriately.
  1. (1) The Federal financial assistance that a non-Federal entity receives directly from a Federal awarding agency or indirectly from a pass-through entity, as described in § 200.101 Applicability of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance; or (2) The cost-reimbursement contract under the Federal Acquisition Regulations that a non-Federal entity receives directly from a Federal awarding agency or indirectly from a pass-through entity, as described in § 200.101 Applicability of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance.
  2. The instrument setting forth the terms and conditions. The instrument is the grant agreement, cooperative agreement, other agreement for assistance covered in paragraph (b) of § 200.40 Federal financial assistance of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance, or the cost-reimbursement contract awarded under the Federal Acquisition Regulations. (c) Federal award does not include other contracts that a Federal agency uses to buy goods or services from a contractor or a contract to operate Federal government owned, contractor operated facilities (GOCOs). (d) See also definitions of Federal financial assistance, grant agreement, and cooperative agreement.
Federal Award Date C-DER Library Icon
The date when the Federal award is signed by the authorized official of the Federal awarding agency.
Federal Awarding Agency C-DER Library Icon
The Federal agency that provides a Federal award directly to a non-Federal entity. Alternative term: Grant-Making Agency
Federal Financial Assistance C-DER Library Icon
  1. For grants and cooperative agreements, Federal financial assistance means assistance that non-Federal entities receive or administer in the form of:
    1. Grants
    2. Cooperative agreements
    3. Non-cash contributions or donations of property (including donated surplus property)
    4. Direct appropriations
    5. Food commodities
    6. Other financial assistance (except assistance listed in paragraph (b) of this section).
  2. For Subpart F—Audit Requirements of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance, Federal financial assistance also includes assistance that non-Federal entities receive or administer in the form of:
    1. Loan
    2. Loan Guarantees
    3. Interest subsidies
    4. Insurance
  3. Federal financial assistance does not include amounts received as reimbursement for services rendered to individuals as described in § 200.502 Basis for determining Federal awards expended, paragraph (h) and (i) of the OMB Uniform Grant Guidance.
Federal Program C-DER Library Icon
  1. All Federal awards which are assigned a single number in the CFDA.
  2. When no CFDA number is assigned, all Federal awards to non-Federal entities from the same agency made for the same purpose should be combined and considered one program.
  3. Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) of this definition, a cluster of programs. The types of clusters of programs are: Research and development (R&D) Student financial aid (SFA) "Other clusters" as described in the definition of Cluster of Programs.
Federal Share C-DER Library Icon
The portion of the total project costs that are paid by Federal funds.
Formula Grant
Allocations of federal funding to states, territories, or local units of government determined by distribution formulas in the authorizing legislation and regulations. To receive a formula grant, the entity must meet all the eligibility criteria for the program, which are pre-determined and not open to discretionary funding decisions.
Formula grants typically fund activities of a continuing nature and may not be confined to a specific project. Common elements in formulas include population, proportion of population below the poverty line, and other demographic information.
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, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding agency's or program's website.
Funding Opportunity Number (FON)
The number that a federal agency assigns to its grant announcement.
Funding Period
The period of time when federal funding is available for obligation by the recipient.

top ↑

G

Grace Period
A grace period may be created at the grant-making agency's discretion to extend the application submission period. This period reflects the number of days after the closing date that Grants.gov will continue to accept applications for a grant opportunity, for example, an agency might include a grace period to accept revised applications. It also represents the day (Closing Date + Grace Period) that applicants will no longer be able to download the application package. This value is entered by an agency when creating a grant opportunity and is not visible to grant applicants.
Grant Agreement C-DER Library Icon
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, 6304:
  1. Is used to enter into a relationship the principal purpose of which is to transfer anything of value from the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity to the non-Federal entity to carry out a public purpose authorized by a law of the United States (see 31 U.S.C. 6101(3)); and not to acquire property or services for the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity's direct benefit or use.
  2. Is distinguished from a cooperative agreement in that it does not provide for substantial involvement between the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and the non-Federal entity in carrying out the activity contemplated by the Federal award.
  3. Does not include an agreement that provides only: (1) Direct United States Government cash assistance to an individual; (2) A subsidy; (3) A loan; (4) A loan guarantee; or (5) Insurance.
Grantor
A user registered on behalf of their federal grant-making agency to post funding opportunities or manage submissions to these funding opportunities.
Grants.gov Tracking Number
A number set used by Grants.gov which is used to identify each application it receives.

top ↑

I

Indian Tribe (or federally recognized Indian tribe) C-DER Library Icon
Any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. Chapter 33), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)). See annually published Bureau of Indian Affairs list of Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services.
Individual Applicant
A registered applicant user who submits applications on their own behalf. Individuals sign the grant application and its associated certifications and assurances that are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the application process.
Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) C-DER Library Icon
IHE is defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001, which states, "an educational institution in any State that—
  1. admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate, or persons who meet the requirements of section 1091(d) of this title;
  2. is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;
  3. provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree, or awards a degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional degree program, subject to review and approval by the Secretary;
  4. is a public or other nonprofit institution; and
  5. is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of preaccreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time."

top ↑

L

Local Government C-DER Library Icon
Any unit of government within a state, including a: (a) County; (b) Borough; (c) Municipality; (d) City; (e) Town; (f) Township; (g) Parish; (h) Local public authority, including any public housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937; (i) Special district; (j) School district; (k) Intrastate district; (l) Council of governments, whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under state law; and (m) Any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-state or local government.

top ↑

M

Mandatory Form
The forms that are required for the application. Please note that a mandatory form must be completed before the system will allow the applicant to submit the application package.
Mandatory Grant
A grant (or cooperative agreement) awarded under a program where the authorizing statute requires the head of the agency or designee to make an award to each eligible entity under the conditions and in the amount (or based on the formula) specified in the statute.

top ↑

N

Non-Federal Entities C-DER Library Icon
A state, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient.
Nonprofit Organization C-DER Library Icon
Any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including IHEs, that: (a) Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; (b) Is not organized primarily for profit; and (c) Uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.

top ↑

O

Obligations C-DER Library Icon
When used in connection with a non-Federal entity's utilization of funds under a Federal award, obligations means orders placed for property and services, contracts and subawards made, and similar transactions during a given period that require payment by the non-Federal entity during the same or a future period.
Opportunity Category
A field located on the Grant Opportunity Properties screen within Grants.gov. The Opportunity Category field values include Discretionary, Mandatory, Earmark, and Continuation. The Opportunity Category field was added to the site to assist Grants.gov with aggregating opportunities and application packages for public and private displays on the site. For example, there are links which show grant opportunities and packages recently posted to the site. Those opportunities and packages with a category type of Earmarked or Continuation will not show up on these public listings.
Opportunity Package
Synonymous with “Application”—the specific set of forms, documents, and attachments that comprise an applicant’s submission to a federal grant opportunity.
Optional Forms
The forms that can be used to provide additional support for an application, but are not required to complete the application package.
Organization Applicant
A registered grant applicant user who is working on or submitting applications on behalf of an organization, such as a state government, nonprofit organization, private business, or any other type of institution.
Oversight Agency for Audit C-DER Library Icon
The Federal awarding agency that provides the predominant amount of funding directly to a non-Federal entity not assigned a cognizant agency for audit. When there is no direct funding, the Federal awarding agency which is the predominant source of pass-through funding must assume the oversight responsibilities. The duties of the oversight agency for audit and the process for any reassignments are described in § 200.513 Responsibilities, paragraph (b) of the OMB Uniform Grants Guidance.

top ↑

P

Pass-Through Entity C-DER Library Icon
Pass-through entity means a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program.
Pass-Through Funding
Funds issued by a federal agency to a state agency or institution that are then transferred to other state agencies, units of local government, or other eligible groups per the award eligibility terms. The state agency or institution is referred to as the "prime recipient" of the pass-through funds. The secondary recipients are referred to as "subrecipients." The prime recipient issues the subawards as competitive or noncompetitive as dictated by the prime award terms and authorizing legislation. Read the What Is a Government Grant and Pass-Through Funding? blog post for more information.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) C-DER Library Icon
Information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. Some information that is considered to be PII is available in public sources such as telephone books, public Web sites, and university listings. This type of information is considered to be Public PII and includes, for example, first and last name, address, work telephone number, email address, home telephone number, and general educational credentials. The definition of PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. Non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available, in any medium and from any source, that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.
Posted Date
The date the grant-making agency published the funding opportunity on Grants.gov.
Profile
Applicant information stored in the Grants.gov system for the purpose of identifying a user. Read the Add Profile to a Grants.gov Account page for more information.
Program Income C-DER Library Icon
Program income means 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. (See §200.77 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 §200.407 Prior written approval (prior approval). See also 35 U.S.C. 200-212 "Disposition of Rights in Educational Awards" applies to inventions made under Federal awards.
Project Cost C-DER Library Icon
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 period established in the award document during which awarding agency sponsorship begins and ends.
Protected Personally Identifiable Information (Protected PII) C-DER Library Icon
An individual's first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of types of information, including, but not limited to, social security number, passport number, credit card numbers, clearances, bank numbers, biometrics, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, criminal, medical and financial records, educational transcripts. This does not include PII that is required by law to be disclosed. (See also § 200.79 Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in the OMB Uniform Grants Guidance).

top ↑

R

Recipient
A non-Federal entity that receives a Federal award directly from a Federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under a Federal program. The term recipient does not include subrecipients. See also § 200.69 Non-Federal entity in the OMB Uniform Grants Guidance.
Research and Development (R&D) C-DER Library Icon
All research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by non-Federal entities. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. ‘‘Research'' is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. ‘‘Development'' is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.
Role
This Grants.gov term refers to the specific set of functions assigned to a grantor or organization applicant. Each role provides a user with specific rights, responsibilities, and levels of access to functionality within the Grants.gov system. For more information about applicant roles, review the Manage Roles for Applicant help article. For more information about grantor roles, review the Manage Roles for Grantor help article.
Role Manager
The grantor user listed as the Point of Contact for a specific grant-making agency or subagency. This person will receive any email notifications about application submissions or agency creations, depending on the option selected in the agency's profile.

top ↑

S

Standard Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)
An AOR is a member of your organization authorized by the EBiz POC to submit applications in Grants.gov on behalf of the organization. An applicant user with the Standard AOR role can only submit applications when they are a Participant of that workspace.
State C-DER Library Icon
Any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any agency or instrumentality thereof exclusive of local governments.
Student Financial Aid (SFA) C-DER Library Icon
Federal awards under those programs of general student assistance, such as those authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (20 U.S.C. 1070–1099d), which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, and similar programs provided by other Federal agencies. It does not include Federal awards under programs that provide fellowships or similar Federal awards to students on a competitive basis, or for specified studies or research.
Subaward C-DER Library Icon
An award provided by a pass-through entity to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal award received by the pass-through entity. It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual that is a beneficiary of a Federal program. A subaward may be provided through any form of legal agreement, including an agreement that the pass-through entity considers a contract.
Subrecipient C-DER Library Icon
A non-Federal entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a Federal program; but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such program. A subrecipient may also be a recipient of other Federal awards directly from a Federal awarding agency.
Synopsis of Funding Opportunity
Summary information extracted from or based on the funding opportunity announcement that is displayed in FOAs found within the Search Grants tab of Grants.gov. The posting in Grants.gov includes a direct link to the funding opportunity announcement or includes a downloadable 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). SAM stores your organizational information, allowing Grants.gov to verify your identity and to pre-fill organizational information on your grant applications. For more information, review the Register with SAM page.

top ↑

T

Termination C-DER Library Icon
The ending of a Federal award, in whole or in part at any time prior to the planned end of period of performance.
Third-Part In-Kind Contributions C-DER Library Icon
Third-party in-kind contributions means the value of non-cash contributions (i.e., property or services) that- (a) Benefit a federally assisted project or program; and (b) Are contributed by non-Federal third parties, without charge, to a non-Federal entity under a Federal award.

top ↑

U

User
Any person navigating the Grants.gov website.

top ↑

W

Workspace Manager role
An applicant user with the Workspace Manager role is authorized to create new workspaces. Review the Workspace Roles page for more detailed information.
Workspace Owner
Registered applicant user with the responsibility to manage user access to a workspace. There is only one Workspace Owner per workspace, which is initially granted to the user with the Workspace Manager role who created the workspace. After initial creation of a workspace, the Workspace Owner access can be reassigned to any participant with the Workspace Manager role.
Workspace Participant
A registered applicant user with access to at least one workspace, allowing the user the ability to perform an action on any form within the specific workspace(s) in which they are added. Participants may have any combination of roles. For more information, review the Workspace Roles page.

top ↑

C-DER Library Icon Terms noted with a CDER Library Icon are from the Common Data Element Repository (CDER) Library. For the full list of standard data elements, refer to the CDER Library. The CDER Library is the authoritative, federal-wide source of financial and business terms, which is based on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Uniform Grants Guidance and the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act).