If you don’t have a clear understanding of Grant Terminology, simply reference our Grant Glossary below.

Applicant is the entity requesting a grant.

Application notice is usually the formal public posting by a grantmaker of a new grant application period and invites applications for one or more discretionary grant competitions. It provides basic program and fiscal information on each competition, informs potential applicants when and where they can obtain applications, and cites the deadline date for a particular competition. An Application Notice may be made by mail, email, press release or a web posting. The method of posting used is at the discretion of the Grantor

Application Package contains the application notice for one or more programs, and all the information and forms needed to apply for a discretionary grant.

Appropriations legislation is a law passed by Congress to provide a certain level of funding for a grant program in a given year.

Authorized Representative is the official within an applicant organization with the legal authority to give assurances, make commitments, enter into contracts, and execute such documents on behalf of the applicant as may be required by a grant maker. Note that the Authorized Representative is not necessarily the Project Director.

Block Grants – formula funds that are not allocated to a specific category and are more flexibly distributed. The grant seeker applies directly to state for these funds, and state sets up procedures for their disbursement.

Boilerplate Materials – a mass produced proposal or one that is copied from another grant application. This is a MAJOR NO-NO in the grant world, and will get your application bounced 99.99% of the time!

Budget period is an interval of time into which a project period is divided for budgetary purposes.

Budget narrative explains the budget. Explanations can include the derivation of amounts, the itemization of totals, the purpose of purchased supplies and services, and the justification of the size of salaries, fringe benefits, and indirect costs. Parameters and requirements for the budget narrative are usually included in the Application Package

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) lists all domestic assistance programs of the Federal Government. It includes information about a program’s authorization, fiscal details, accomplishments, regulations, guidelines, eligibility requirements, information contacts, and application and award process. It is maintained by the General Services Administration in both a printed publication and a database. It can be found on the web at

Certification is a statement, signed by an applicant or grantee as a prerequisite for receiving Federal funds, that it meets or will adhere to certain conditions and/or will undertake or not undertake certain actions.

CFDA number is an identifying number for a Federal assistance program, composed of a unique two-digit prefix to identify the Federal agency (e.g., 10 for the Department of Agriculture), followed by a period and a unique three-digit code for each authorized program.

Competitive review process is used by a Grantor to select discretionary grant applications for funding, in which applications are scored by the Grantor’s criteria.

Deadline date is the date by which a discretionary grant application must be received by the Grantor in order for it to be considered for funding.

Discretionary grant is an award of financial assistance in the form of money by the Federal government to an eligible grantee, usually made on the basis of a competitive review process.

DUNS Number is a nine-digit number assigned to an organization by Dun & Bradstreet. The number does not convey any information about the recipient. A built-in check digit helps assure the accuracy of the DUNS Number. The ninth digit of each number is the check digit, which is mathematically related to the other digits.

E-Application – Electronic grant application system. Most federal, as well as many state and Private Sector grants can now be applied for online

EDGAR Education Department General Administration Regulations – provides criteria and instruction on grant applications

ESEA Elementary & Secondary Education Act – legislation that authorizes most education grants

Database of US Publications in ERIC

Educational Resources Information Center federally funded research site that provides information on current educational issues—used by many grant seekers

Federal Register is a daily compilation of Federal regulations and other Federal agency documents of public interest, which is prepared by the National Archives and Records Administration for public distribution by the Government Printing Office.

FNS stands for the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Formula Grants – grants awarded to eligible entities through allocation based on the program’s authorizing legislation; block grants or categorical. These funds are sent directly to the states, who disburse monies according to the formula.

The Federal Register (1994 to present)


Federal Register
Public notice of all government grant programs appear on this site once they are approved by Congress.

Funding priorities are a means of focusing a grant competition on the areas in which the agency is particularly interested in receiving applications. Priorities can be absolute, which the applicant must address in order to be considered for funding; competitive, which the applicant has the option of choosing whether or not to address and for which they may receive additional points, or invitational, which the applicant is encouraged but not required to address.

Grantee is an individual or organization that has been awarded financial assistance under one of the agency’s grant programs.

Grantor or Grant Maker agency, organization, etc. who is providing the grant This term is used in applications and instructions.

Grant Award Notification is an official document signed by the authorized official stating the amount and the terms and conditions of an award for a discretionary grant.

Indirect costs are costs an organization incurs for common or joint objectives that cannot be readily and specifically identified with a particular grant project or other institutional activity.

Indirect cost rate is a percentage established by a Federal department or agency for a grantee organization, which the grantee uses in computing the dollar amount it charges to the grant to reimburse itself for indirect costs incurred in doing the work of the grant project.

LEA (Local Educational Agency) – The district education department that applies for and oversees the grant

NOFA (Notice of Funding Availability) – Information on program’s purpose, eligibility requirements, application deadline, award amounts, etc.

OESE (Office of Elementary and Secondary Education) – One of six agencies under which grants are organized and authorized

OELA (Office of English Language Acquisition) – One of six agencies under which grants are organized and authorized

OSERS (Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services) – One of six agencies under which grants are organized and authorized

Private Sector Grants and Funding – Non-government, foundation and corporate grants that allocate funds to many different areas – arts, humanity, education, etc. These are usually community-impact based grants and are easier to obtain than federal or state government grants.

Program regulations implement legislation passed by Congress to authorize a specific grant program, and include applicant eligibility criteria, nature of activities funded, selection criteria under which applications will be selected for funding, and other relevant information.

Project period is the total amount of time during which FNS authorizes a grantee to complete the approved work of the project described in the application.

Replicability – Federal and state grantors often want to know if the project can be replicated in other places, as a condition of funding

RFA (Request for Application) – A call for grant applications— simpler format than RFP

RFP (Request for Proposal) – A call for grant proposals – more complex, narrative format than the RFA

SEA (State Educational Agency) – The state education department that applies for and oversees the grant

SSPOC (Single State Point of Contact) – A state contact that district must use when applying for certain federal grants.

Subgrants – formula or competitive grants made from a larger grant Ex. Technology, Literacy Challenge, and REA

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