The Funding Frontline Blog

Thompson Grants Lifecycle Support & Training

It is essential for federal grant managers to have a deep understanding of the grant lifecycle because it enables them to effectively manage every stage of the process, from grant application to closeout.

In federal grant management, the pre-award stage refers to the period before a grant is awarded. During this stage, potential grant applicants research grant opportunities, develop their grant proposal and submit their application to the funding agency. Thompson’s Federal Grants Development module is designed to help grant professionals find sources for federal funding, develop competitive proposals, and take the steps needed to comply with federal grant rules.

The post-award stage refers to the period after a grant is awarded. During this stage, grantees execute their program or project, manage the grant’s budget, and comply with all regulations and reporting requirements outlined in the Office of Management and Budget’s uniform guidance. Many grant professionals believe the post-award stage requires the most significant investment in staff training and development. This includes training on budget management, reporting requirements, compliance monitoring, and audit preparation. The Thompson Grants’ Federal Grants Management Module is designed to help your organization manage its grant awards, ensure they meet regulatory requirements, and manage their grants effectively.

For those seeking federal grants, it’s crucial to understand the grant lifecycle from start to finish. Luckily, Thompson Grants has been a trusted resource in grant compliance since 1972. With products and services covering the entire grants lifecycle, from pre-award planning to post-award management, we can help you navigate the tricky waters of federal grants. Understanding each process step and the requirements outlined in the uniform guidance is crucial to successful grant applications. Don’t let the complexity of the grants process keep you from securing funding — trust in Thompson Grants to help you succeed.

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

Effectively Training Your Higher Education Staff on Grant Rules and Regulations

Compliance with federal governmentwide grant requirements and awarding agency policies and directives are critical for institutes of higher education (IHE). These grants often provide institutions with essential funding for research, student support services, and more. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of these grants can potentially lead to severe consequences, including the repayment of funds and legal action. That’s why all staff members and faculty involved in grant management should undergo training and stay up-to-date to maintain compliance. IHEs often receive awards from multiple agencies, which necessitates keeping abreast of the requirements and policies of each funding agency. A comprehensive training program can offer both new and experienced members of your college or university the tools they need to succeed when implementing your programs using federal grant funding.

Be aware that managing a grant is not solely the responsibility of the IHE accounting or financial department or program officer. Numerous participants contribute to overseeing a grant-awarded project or program, including sponsored program administration, research administration, budget preparers, project managers, and more. In larger institutions, department chairs also hold a crucial role in determining the level of staff involvement in research and development. They also play a vital role in securing seed funding for faculty to compete effectively for external funding. In smaller institutions, academic deans often take on this responsibility. Ensuring compliance is a multifaceted effort that involves various departments. 

For IHEs that receive federal funding through Title IV, effectively overseeing financial reporting and recordkeeping can be a top priority. These funds significantly impact the institution’s budget because they represent a substantial source of revenue. They support various research projects, educational programs, and services, including student financial aid, academic support services, and institutional infrastructure. Failure to comply with Title IV regulations can lead to penalties, including fines, sanctions, or loss of access to these funds.

For IHEs that receive Department of Education grant funding, here are some key considerations and programs:

  • Drug-free schools and campuses regulations: IHEs must certify that they have implemented programs to prevent the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees.
  • Free inquiry rule: IHEs must offer First Amendment protections and take action to prevent discrimination.
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) program: Many IHEs received greatly needed COVID-19 emergency relief funding through HEERF and are continuing to take steps to manage these funds effectively.
  • Federal mandates: IHEs must comply with mandates from the Department of Education and other federal agencies under various laws.
  • Emergency Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education: This program provides emergency assistance to institutions and students and has its compliance requirements.
  • Title III Part A Programs – Strengthening Institutions: This program helps IHEs to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.
  • Predominantly Black Institutions Program: IHEs must meet basic and program-specific eligibility requirements to qualify for funding under this program.
  • Educator Preparation Program: IHEs offering educator preparation programs must comply with state-specific regulations, including licensure endorsement requirements.

Another vital agency that awards grant funds to IHEs is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is crucial in advancing scientific research and promoting educational opportunities for students. In addition to federal statutes, regulations, and appropriations acts, IHEs must adhere to ethical guidelines to ensure that research is conducted safely and responsibly and that the work is impactful and trustworthy.

Register for the Virtual Federal Grants Forum for Institutions of Higher Education: September 13-14, 2023

Various tools and resources help grantees stay in compliance, such as the HECA Compliance Matrix. This helpful tool highlights critical federal laws and regulations that colleges and universities must follow to ensure they operate within legal limits. Understanding the intricacies of these laws can be challenging, but with the Compliance Matrix, it’s all laid out in an easy-to-read format, complete with concise summaries of each requirement. Aside from online tools, customized training programs are the most effective way to ensure your institution maintains compliance. Through targeted grants training, teams can become more adept at understanding and adhering to complex regulations, enabling them to build more efficient systems and processes. Not only does this result in better compliance with grant guidelines, but it can also lead to more successful grant applications. Investing in customized grants training for your team can help you leverage these benefits and successfully manage your grants program.

By taking advantage of customized, expert-led grants compliance training for your IHE staff from our experienced consultants here at Thompson Grants, you can guarantee that your institute is one step ahead in meeting its obligations and furthering its mission. Our training provides an easy way to bring your employees up to speed on critical information, such as key requirements and guidance for compliance with applicable laws and regulations – all while providing support along the way.

1US Department of Education (ED). (2023, March 13). President’s FY 2023 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. Home.

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

Mastering Grant Compliance in 2023: A Must-Have Resource Guide and Training Opportunities for Federal Grant Managers

Federal grant management can be complex and challenging, requiring grant managers to juggle multiple tasks, follow strict guidelines, and stay current on the latest regulations. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, it’s essential to have access to the best resources to help you navigate this ever-changing landscape. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of some top resources for federal grant managers across all professional levels. From online training courses to networking opportunities, these resources will help you excel in your role and achieve great success.

  1. Grant management software: Grant management software is designed to help entities manage their grant-funded projects more efficiently. It provides tools and features for every stage of the grant lifecycle, from application and proposal writing to post-award reporting and compliance. Grant management software helps grant managers streamline budgeting, financial reporting, project tracking, and performance evaluation tasks. The software also helps organizations comply with grant regulations by providing tools for monitoring and reporting on grant activities. Overall, grant management software is a valuable tool that helps organizations optimize their financial and administrative processes and successfully oversee their programs and projects. Amplifund and eCivis are two grant management software available to help federal grant managers from all organizations and federal entities manage every phase of the grant management process.
  2. Grant management checklists: Grant management checklists are detailed lists of tasks and activities that grant managers must complete to ensure compliance with grant regulations and guidelines, successful project implementation, and timely reporting. These checklists may include specific deadlines, required documentation, and other essential details related to the grant. Thompson Grants has several checklists that can be helpful during all phases of the Grants lifecycle. You can use the proposal checklist, designed to help managers prepare for submission and avoid errors in the pre-award stage, and the audit checklist in the post-award stage, which can help promote a successful audit.
  3. Templates and sample documents: Templates and sample documents are vital to compliance success in federal grant management because they provide standardized formats and guidelines for creating grant-related documents such as budgets, project plans, progress reports, and compliance checklists. Using templates and sample documents can help ensure that grant managers produce high-quality, accurate, and compliant documents that meet the funding agency’s requirements. They also can save time and reduce the risk of errors by providing a pre-built structure for the document, eliminating the need to start from scratch. Several templates, worksheets, and other resources are available on the Thompson Grants tools and resources page.
  4. Professional networks: Professional networks are vital to encourage opportunities for networking, professional development, and access to industry-specific resources and information. By joining such a network, grant staff can connect with others in their field, share knowledge and best practices, and build relationships with potential partners, collaborators, and mentors. Some examples of these networks include the Grant Professionals Association (GPA), which provides networking opportunities, educational resources, and a certification program for grant professionals, and the National Grants Management Association (NGMA), which offers training, certification, and advocacy for grants managers and administrators. Other examples include local grant-writing associations, nonprofit management organizations, and online communities focused on grant management and fundraising.
  5. Training and professional development opportunities: Continuing education and professional development can help even the most seasoned grant managers stay up-to-date on best practices, new regulations, and emerging technologies. This may include attending conferences, webinars, or training sessions. Thompson Grants offers various in-person and virtual federal grants training programs that have helped thousands of recipient organizations protect their funding, stay in compliance and meet the requirements for federal agencies, pass-throughs, recipients, and sub-recipients.
  6. Grant management consultants: Grant management consultants provide specialized expertise and guidance to entities involved in the federal grant lifecycle. They can work with entities of all sizes and across various industries to help them develop and implement best practices for grant management, ensure compliance with regulations, and optimize their internal processes. Grant management consultants can offer various services, including grant writing assistance, program planning and development, financial management and reporting, performance measurement and evaluation, and compliance monitoring. In some cases, hiring a consultant may be the most efficient way for a seasoned grant manager to complete a project. Consultants like the Bruman Group, a nationally recognized federal grant management consultant, can provide specialized expertise, offer fresh perspectives, and help streamline processes.

In conclusion, staying compliant with federal grant regulations is essential for the success of any grant-funded project. Grant managers can benefit from various resources, including checklists, templates, professional networks, and grant management consultants. Additionally, Thompson Grants offers an extensive selection of resources that cover every stage of the grants lifecycle, from pre-award through closeout. These resources can help grant managers navigate the complex landscape of federal grants, identify funding opportunities that align with their organizational goals, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements throughout the entire grant lifecycle. By leveraging these resources, grant managers can optimize their processes, increase their chances of success and make the most of their awarded funding.

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award.

Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.


Unlocking the Secrets of the Uniform Guidance: The Often-Overlooked Allowable Cost for Federal Grants Training

Many nonfederal entities may focus on securing federal financial assistance and executing their grant-funded project. However, an often-overlooked cost principle in the uniform guidance can significantly impact an organization’s success in the grant award lifecycle – using grant funds as an allowable cost for staff training and professional development.

By investing in staff training, entities can improve their compliance with grant regulations, optimize their grant management processes, limit risks, and ultimately increase their chances of success in securing future grant funding. Let’s explore the importance of staff training as recipients aim to progress through the federal grants lifecycle successfully and how nonfederal entities can leverage federal grant funds to invest in their staff to serve the public through their grant-funded projects better.

According to the Subpart E cost principles of the uniform guidance (2 C.F.R. Part 200), the cost item provision for memberships, subscriptions, and personal activity costs at §200.454 states: ”the cost of a nonfederal entity’s subscription to business, professional, and technical periodicals are allowable,” adding that “the cost of training and education provided for employee development is allowable.”

Of course, you should check with your program director, finance officer, or awarding agency to ensure no restrictions in the approved grant budget or the award documents preventing such subscriptions or training. If subscriptions or training are not covered under your approved budget, you may request a budget amendment or check to determine if these costs can be included within your indirect costs pool.

Above all, consider that a better-trained staff can encourage improved award administration and fewer audit findings and/or risks of improper payments, which could threaten access to current or future federal funding for your programs.

In conclusion, this often overlooked provision related to training is pivotal for entities seeking to maximize their success in the grant award lifecycle. By leveraging federal grant funds to invest in staff training, organizations can improve compliance with grant regulations, optimize grant management processes, and enhance their capacity to secure future grant funding. With Thompson Grants, federal grant professionals can benefit from expert training options, including Federal Grants Forums, workshops, eLearning courses, webinars, and custom group training programs. These resources help your team stay compliant and provide valuable continuing education credits, allowing your organization to excel in the competitive world of grant funding. If you’re considering a Thompson Grants subscription or training program, remember that you can charge the cost to a federal grant, making it even more accessible for your organization. Don’t ignore this important provision; it can help you gain training opportunities to propel your organization to new heights in federal grant management.

Additional Resources:

Intro To Indirect Cost Recovery Webinar

The Dos and Don’ts of Cost Allowability

This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

Unpacking and Understanding Indirect Costs for Grants: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a grant manager, financial manager or program manager, you must understand the complexities of developing a negotiated indirect cost rate for your grant program and how indirect costs can impact your budgeting decisions. It’s easy to overlook them – they don’t always appear in an entity’s balance sheet – but understanding these hidden expenses is key to accurately forecasting funding needs. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of indirect costs. It sheds light on successful management strategies when applying for and administering grants so entities can remain efficient and productive.

What are indirect costs?

Indirect or facilities and administrative (F&A) costs help multiple projects and always go towards general overhead and operating expenses. Some indirect costs include utilities, human resources, and other services. 

Determining indirect costs is an essential element to consider when drafting grant proposals. Doing so helps protect the financial sustainability and integrity of the entity. It also helps secure adequate funding to cover all operational costs associated with the implementation of the project. Entities need to account for these costs to ensure they accurately estimate the project’s actual cost because not doing so can lead to budget shortfalls, financial strain, and potential compromise on the quality or scope of a project. Therefore, a thorough understanding and accurate representation of indirect costs in grant proposals are fundamental to any project or organization’s success and financial health.

Estimating and projecting indirect costs

Sometimes indirect costs are referred to as overhead. Estimating these costs involves identifying all the indirect expenses incurred by the entity and allocating them based on specific criteria, such as the proportion of direct labor hours or direct costs. Projecting indirect costs, on the other hand, is crucial for future planning and budgeting. This involves predicting how these costs might change due to inflation, business operations changes or, market environment shifts. It’s an essential part of financial forecasting, helping businesses prepare for potential overhead increases and allowing them to make strategic decisions to manage these costs effectively.

A critical procedure involving indirect costs is collaborating on a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA), a rate established between the federal government and a nonfederal entity. This rate is usually expressed as a percentage of the direct costs. Remember that some items might be exempt from these costs, so exclude those from your base amount when calculating.

It is important to understand that each federal agency may have its guidelines and requirements for managing and calculating indirect costs, so always refer to the agency’s specific grant guidance or consult the awarding agency.

Read more about Indirect Cost rates.

Assessing the different types of indirect cost categories

In federal grants management, indirect costs are typically classified within two broad categories:

  1. Facilities: This category includes expenses for maintaining and operating the physical space where the grant-funded work is performed. It might include costs for utilities, depreciation on buildings and equipment, operations and maintenance expenses, library expenses, and more.
  1. Administration: This category covers the administrative expenses supporting the organization’s overall operation but not directly tied to a specific project. These may include general administration and general expenses such as the salaries and expenses of executive officers, personnel administration, and accounting, among others.

Some entities also separate their costs into three basic categories: (i) General administration and general expenses, (ii) Fundraising, and (iii) Membership development.

Remember, each federal agency may have guidelines and requirements for managing and calculating indirect costs, so always refer to the specific grant guidance or consult the granting agency.

Defining and calculating allowable expenses

In grants management, allowable expenses are those costs eligible under a federal award according to the regulations outlined by the awarding agency. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides general guidance for determining allowable costs in the uniform guidance (§200.403).

To be considered allowable, a cost must meet several criteria. It must be necessary and reasonable for the performance of the federal award, allocable to the project, and conform to any limitations or exclusions outlined in the federal laws or the grant agreement. It also needs to be consistent with policies and procedures that apply uniformly to federally financed and other activities of the nonfederal entity and be accorded consistent treatment.

The calculation of allowable expenses depends on the specific cost principles provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). For example, direct costs such as salaries of employees who work on the grant-supported project, supplies and materials used for the project, and travel expenses incurred for the project are generally allowable. Indirect costs, like administrative expenses, are often calculated as a negotiated percentage of the direct costs.

Maintaining proper documentation of all costs is important in the case of audits. Any costs that do not meet the criteria or are not correctly documented may be disallowed and must be covered by the grantee organization.

Identifying potential sources of funding for indirect costs

Identifying potential sources of funding for indirect costs in federal grants management involves a few key steps:

  1. Understanding the Grant Guidelines: Each federal grant will have specific guidelines about what it covers, including whether it provides funds for indirect costs. Always carefully review the grant solicitation and award documentation to understand the funding provisions.
  1. Applying for an Indirect Cost Rate: Many federal agencies allow grantees to collaborate on the NICRA. Once you have an approved NICRA, you can use that rate for indirect costs in your budget proposals for federal grants.
  1. Exploring Other Federal Grants: Some federal grants, found at, specifically cover overhead or administrative costs.

Remember, it’s essential to ensure applying federal funding to cover indirect costs should comply with federal regulations and specific grant guidelines. Consult a grants management professional or the granting agency if you need more clarification.

Are you looking for grant opportunities? Check out GrantScape –  The most comprehensive resource of grants opportunities — From Foundations to Federal, State and, Local Governments

How to properly report and document your indirect cost activities

Proper reporting and documentation of indirect cost activities in federal grant management are critical to ensure compliance with grant requirements and for audit purposes. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Establish Clear Accounting Procedures: Your organization should have established accounting procedures that define how indirect costs are categorized and tracked. This includes defining what expenses are considered indirect costs and how they are allocated among various projects or grants.
  1. Maintain Detailed Records: Keep detailed records of all expenses, including receipts, invoices, and payroll records. This documentation clearly shows how each cost is associated with a specific grant and how it contributes to achieving its objectives.
  1. Use a Consistent Method for Allocating Indirect Costs: Apply a consistent method for allocating indirect costs to different projects or grants. This could be based on direct labor hours, direct costs, or another equitable distribution measure. This method should be documented and used consistently across all grants.
  1. Prepare Financial Reports: Regularly prepare financial reports detailing each federal grant’s direct and indirect costs. These reports should align with the accounting records and be prepared according to the grant’s reporting schedule.
  1. Review and Audit: Review your indirect cost calculations and allocations to ensure accuracy and compliance with grant requirements. Auditing your financial statements by an independent auditor is also a good idea.
  1. Retain Records: Federal grants often require records to be retained for several years after the grant period ends. Be sure you understand these requirements and have a system for retaining and accessing these records.
  1. Avoid “Double-dipping.” Ensure that your costs are defined as direct or indirect, and develop internal controls to prevent charging costs as both direct and indirect.

Remember, each federal agency might have specific requirements for reporting and documenting indirect costs, so always refer to the specific grant guidance or consult the granting agency.

Understanding how to calculate and report indirect costs can be challenging for entities applying for grant funding. However, with the right tools and resources, it is possible to properly research potential funding sources for indirect cost activities, establish accurate estimates and projections for such costs, and identify the specific types of allowable expenses included in each category. Knowing how to craft a precise grant proposal that includes these considerations is vital in securing the financial resources needed to ensure your organization meets its goals. If you are still confused about how this may all work together or need further guidance on understanding indirect costs – fear not! We at Thompson Grants offer detailed training courses with comprehensive instruction on evaluating indirect costs and other related components of successful applications. Check out our next workshop on indirect cost to ensure that your grant proposal includes all essential elements required by funder regulations today!

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

Preserving Trust and Accountability: The Importance of Grants Integrity for Every Grants Professional

Integrity is the foundation of any successful organization, especially in grants management. Grants are a critical source of funding for many nonfederal entities, and taking steps to oversee grants administration effectively is essential to ensuring that funds are used correctly, efficiently, and in compliance with all applicable regulations. When applying for a grant or cooperative agreement, nonfederal entities generally know their applications will be judged on recipient risk and the proposal’s merits. Recipient integrity is just as important when awarding agencies evaluate who will receive an award for financial assistance.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of maintaining grant integrity and the steps that program managers and grant managers can take to ensure they maintain proper program compliance integrity. Readers should be aware that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is considering potential revisions to the uniform guidance and other guidance within Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations during 2023, which could ultimately affect requirements related to program integrity once this year’s revisions become effective.

Upholding Ethical Standards: The first step in maintaining grant integrity is ensuring that your entity supports ethical standards in all operations. This includes adhering to the highest standards of conduct regarding financial reporting, recordkeeping, and hiring and training personnel. Ethical conduct is essential for maintaining the trust of donors and the public and ensuring that your organization follows all applicable regulations and guidelines.

Complying with Regulations: Grants are subject to a myriad of regulations and policies at the federal, state, and local levels. As a result, program and grant managers must stay current on these regulations and policies and take steps to ensure that their organizations comply with all applicable rules. Failure to comply with regulations can result in losing funding, negative press coverage, and even legal action.

Proper Governance: Organizations like non-profits must have appropriate governance structures to maintain grant integrity. This includes having a board of directors overseeing the organization’s finances, operations, and compliance with regulations. Good governance also requires that entities have a robust system of internal controls in place to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.

Grant Reporting: Accurate and timely reporting is a crucial component of grants management. Grant managers must ensure that all reporting requirements are met and that all financial and programmatic information is accurate and complete. Failure to meet reporting requirements can result in the loss of funding and can damage an entity’s reputation.

Ongoing Monitoring: Finally, maintaining grant integrity requires constant monitoring of an entity’s operations, finances, and compliance with regulations. This includes conducting regular internal audits and risk assessments and taking corrective action when necessary. By staying vigilant and taking proactive steps to maintain integrity, grant managers can help ensure that their entity uses grant funding for its intended purposes and comply with all applicable regulations.

In conclusion, ensuring grant integrity is crucial for any entity that receives grant funding. Upholding ethical standards, complying with regulations, implementing appropriate governance mechanisms, conducting accurate and timely reporting, and constant monitoring are all vital elements of maintaining grant integrity. To help grant managers maintain compliance and stay aware of the latest grant developments, visit to access our resources. Thompson Grants offers valuable tools and information to help organizations manage grants confidently and successfully. Explore our resources now and take your grant management to new heights!

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

Grants Management Made Easy: Understanding the Most Common Acronyms in the Grants World

Are you a new grants professional taking on the complex world of grants management? You may have encountered dozens of acronyms related to grants, but you may not know what they stand for. With such a wide variety of abbreviations used throughout federal financial assistance programs, it is essential to understand them to keep up with industry trends and regulations. Review some of the most important acronyms all federal grant professionals should know.

Common Acronyms

CAS – Cost Accounting Standards: The federal government promulgated 19 standards and rules to determine costs on negotiated procurements. CAS differs from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which applies substantially to all contractors, whereas CAS applies primarily to the larger ones.

CFR – Code of Federal Regulations: The codification of federal agencies’ general and permanent regulations promulgated. The CFR is divided into 50 titles representing broad areas subject to federal law. Title 2 of the CFR contains guidance for federal grants and agreements, including the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR Part 200.

F&A – Facilities and Administrative Costs: These are costs incurred by a grantee for common or joint objectives that cannot be explicitly identified with a particular project or program. These are also known as “indirect costs” or “overhead.”

FAC – Federal Audit Clearinghouse: The federal repository for receiving single audit reporting packages of thousands of recipients of federal assistance. It operates and maintains an online database of single audit information submitted by recipients in 1997.

FAR- Federal Acquisition Regulation: The primary regulation about federal contracts to acquire supplies and services with appropriated funds. The FAR also contains standard solicitation provisions, contract clauses, and various agency FAR supplements.

GAAP – Generally Accepted Accounting Principles: A standard of accounting rules, requirements, and practices issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). GAAP sets out to standardize the classifications, assumptions, and procedures used in accounting in industries across the U.S. The purpose is to provide clear, consistent, and comparable information on organizations’ financials. 

GAGAS – Generally Acceptable Government Auditing Standards: Also known as the “Yellow Book,” GAGAS is a guideline for audits created by the Comptroller General within the Government Accountability Office. These standards are the audit regulations followed by all federal and state, and local audit agencies.

GASB – Government Accounting Standards Board: The independent, private-sector organization that establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for state and local governments that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

MTDC – Modified Total Direct Costs: The base for indirect cost rates, including direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each sub-award. MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for rent, tuition remission, participants’ support costs, and the portion of each sub-award above $25,000. 

SAM – System for Award Management: The federal procurement database. All entities that want to do business with the federal government must be registered on

SEFA – Schedule of Expenditures for Federal Awards: A financial statement schedule prepared by an auditee’s management, as well as its auditor, that lists an organization’s expenditures of federal assistance for the fiscal year by a federal agency, grant number, and amount. It is a supplemental schedule that an organization is required to prepare its single audit reporting package.

USC – United States Code: The codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the U.S. It is divided by broad subjects into 53 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Code was first published in 1926. The next main edition was published in 1934, and subsequent main editions have been published every six years since 1934.

UEI – Unique Entity Identifier: The official name of the new, non-proprietary identifier that replaced the use of a DUNS number for each awarded entity. The UEI is assigned by the System for Award Management (

NDAA – National Defense Authorization Act: The name for a series of U.S. federal laws specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. Congress oversees the defense budget primarily through two yearly bills: the National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations bills.

In conclusion, a comprehensive understanding of federal grants terminology and their respective acronyms is crucial for anyone involved in grant management or applying for federal funding. These acronyms function as a common language among grant professionals and help improve communication clarity and effectiveness.

Don’t miss an opportunity to elevate your grants management and compliance knowledge. Start your free trial with our Compliance Expert today for 24/7 access to all Thompson Grants’ webinars, an easily searchable repository of government forms and regulations, and GrantScape, the most comprehensive source of grant opportunities. Take the first step towards becoming a grants management expert now!

Additional Resources:

Thompson’s Guide to Grants Terminology

Grant-related Priorities Under The Biden Administration

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

Stay Ahead of the Curve: Top Strategies for Meeting Grant Requirements and Maintaining Compliance in 2023

It is vital for recipients of federal financial assistance to meet regulatory requirements and ensure the effective and efficient use of federal funds for their intended purpose ― to benefit the public. While this can be daunting, non-compliance with the Uniform Guidance can result in costly penalties, such as the revocation or reduction of grant funding, and the potential suspension or debarment from federal funding opportunities in the future, which could damage an organization’s reputation. In this blog, we will explore the importance of successful compliance in managing federal grants and how to achieve it. 

Here are five key steps for successful grant compliance:

  1. Understand the Grant Agreement: Before managing any grant funds, it’s crucial to understand the grant agreement fully. The grant agreement is a legal financial assistance instrument between a federal awarding agency and a nonfederal entity. Before grantees accept award funds, they should carefully review the terms and conditions of the grant, including the reporting and compliance requirements and any potential exceptions under the grant program as allowed by federal statute. Understanding the grant agreement increases the likelihood that grant recipients will comply with the terms and conditions of the award and encourage program success.
  2. Implement a Compliance Plan: Once the grant agreement is understood, grantees should develop an internal compliance plan. A compliance plan, in writing, provides an overview of the grant requirements, the timeline for each requirement, personnel responsibilities, the importance of recordkeeping, how compliance will be monitored, and the potential consequences of an audit finding for noncompliance.
  3. Provide Regular Training: According to an annual grants managers’ survey conducted by REI Systems, NGMA, and George Washington University, grant management training remains a top priority for organizations. All employees involved in grant-funded activities should receive regular training on grant requirements and the organization’s compliance plan. Training should include reviews on overall grant compliance, financial management, procurement, sub-recipient monitoring, and record-keeping; this training is especially critical for new employees. Even highly experienced professionals in the field should regularly attend training to stay current with the ever-changing regulatory environment and to remain compliant.
  4. Maintain Accurate Records: Expenditures of federal funds require grantees to keep comprehensive records for all grant-related activities. Documents must be complete and detailed so the organization can efficiently respond to audits or requests for information from funding agencies. Additionally, accurate recordkeeping increases transparency and accountability in the grantee’s organization between agencies and the public.
  5. Conduct Regular Monitoring and Internal Audits: The Uniform Guidance at §200.501 requires nonfederal entities to have a system of internal controls to ensure compliance with federal regulations and the terms of the grant agreement. Although not required under the Uniform Guidance, internal audits can be a critical part of maintaining a robust internal control system, and organizations should consider conducting such internal reviews regularly to ensure the effectiveness of the control environment. Grantees should review the requirements outlined in the grant agreement and consider the organization’s risk assessment when determining the frequency of internal audits.

Complying with federal grant regulations is of utmost importance to ensure the success of a grant program. By following these five critical components outlined in this blog, grantees can better manage their federal funds and reduce the risk of penalties or serious single audit findings. It is important to remember to continuously plan, communicate effectively, conduct regular training, monitor progress and maintain accurate records throughout the grant’s lifespan. With over four decades of experience, Thompson Grants can assist your team by providing comprehensive and easily understandable compliance guidance. Learn how to manage your federal funding like a pro. Contact Thompson Grants today.

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.

What is 2cfr200? An Overview of Uniform Guidance | Thompson Grants

If you have any federal grant experience, you most likely have heard the term “Uniform Guidance. ” But even some experts need help properly understanding the requirements under the guidance. In December 2014, through the Code of Federal Regulations, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) implemented “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, And Audit Requirements for Federal Awards “ (2 C.F.R. Part 200). It was created to streamline and simplify the existing federal grant management process and replace and consolidate eight previously separate sets of federal grant guidance into a comprehensive set of rules. This simplification aims to reduce the administrative burden for recipients and improve consistency and transparency in federal grantmaking. By including reforms such as new procurement standards and clarified cost allocation rules, the Uniform Guidance also promotes effective and efficient use of federal grant funds. Finally, the Uniform Guidance also benefits the public at large through efforts to reduce administrative costs and improve efficiency for the grantor and grantee, ultimately enhancing stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Federal agencies have implemented the Uniform Guidance within their regulations in other sections of Title 2. The Uniform Guidance was revised in August 2020, and OMB plans to make more revisions in 2023. stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

This blog will help you understand the importance of guidance, how to keep your organization compliant, and best practices for staying aware of the ever-changing grants landscape and the Uniform Guidance.

To whom does the Uniform Guidance Apply?

The Uniform Guidance applies to entities that receive and administer federal grant funding, including state and local governments, tribal nations, nonprofit organizations, and higher education institutions. Compliance with the guidance is required to receive and maintain federal grant funding. Grant professionals must understand the rules and requirements, including financial management, procurement, and reporting standards, to ensure continued receipt of federal funding, avoid penalties and legal actions, improve risk management, reduce errors, and enhance reputation and credibility. 

What does the Uniform Guidance cover?

The Uniform Guidance covers several areas related to federal grant management, including:

  • Financial management: The Uniform Guidance outlines rules for managing federal grant funds, including how to budget, account for, and report on grant funds.
  • Procurement: The Uniform Guidance establishes requirements for grant recipients purchasing goods and services with federal grant funds.
  • Administrative requirements: The Uniform Guidance outlines various administrative requirements, including documentation and recordkeeping standards.
  • Cost principles: The Uniform Guidance determines the reasonable and allowable costs when using federal grant funds.
  • Audit requirements: The Uniform Guidance outlines the requirements for ensuring compliance with federal grant regulations, including Single Audit requirements.

How can organizations comply with the Uniform Guidance?

Grants professionals can help their organizations stay compliant with the Uniform Guidance by implementing the following:

  1. Familiarizing their staff with 2 C.F.R. Part 200 by conducting regular training sessions. This ensures your staff understands their roles and responsibilities under their guidance.  This reduces the risk of non-compliance, errors, and any legal repercussions. Many grantmaking agencies and third-party organizations offer training sessions on Uniform Guidance.
  2. OMB requires all nonfederal entities and organizations to have written policies. Your entity should implement internal policies and procedures to reflect the latest Uniform Guidance requirements and promote efficient grant management.
  3. Maintaining detailed records can help grantee entities identify potential compliance issues and errors early, enabling them to proactively address them and reduce risks. A focused effort on maintaining records can also enhance communication and coordination between team members responsible for managing grant activities leading to improved collaboration, reduced documentation duplications, increased accountability, and greater efficiency.
  4. Conduct regular internal audits to verify compliance with the Uniform Guidance. This can enable grantee organizations to take necessary corrective actions proactively, reducing the risk of financial mismanagement and non-compliance.
  5. Work with grantmaking agencies, professional organizations, or third-party consultants when providing additional guidance and support on issues related to the Uniform Guidance. Third-party consultants can offer technical assistance, conduct training or assessments, or even provide a one-stop shop for all the organization’s compliance needs.

How to stay updated with the latest changes to the Uniform Guidance?

Staying current with the Uniform Guidance is imperative but a necessary investment for grant professionals. Grants professionals can stay informed of the ever-changing grant landscape by:

  • Attending webinars or conferences lets you hear from federal grant management experts and earn CPE and GPCI CEU credits as needed. Attend sessions that feature guest speakers or presentations on the Uniform Guidance.
  • Joining groups or networks for grant professionals, such as NGMA, can offer a space to share updates, learn from others and ask questions about the Uniform Guidance.
  • Participating in professional development workshops, technical assistance, and compliance training can provide a wealth of resources to inform you on the latest Uniform Guidance.

In short, the Uniform Guidance is a comprehensive set of standardized guidelines that outlines fiscal management, procurement, and reporting standards. It applies to organizations that receive federal grant funding, and their adherence to these regulations determines their eligibility for additional funding in the future. Understanding and implementing these guidelines is crucial for successfully administering grants and minimizing the risk of penalties or lawsuits. At Thompson Grants, our experts deeply understand these regulations and their impact on federally funded organizations. Learn how we can help your organization maintain compliance with the Uniform Guidance.

Please note: This blog post is not official or legal guidance. Recipients should consult the federal awarding agency regarding whether the Uniform Guidance applies to a particular federal award. Subrecipients should consult with the pass-through entity. Thompson Grants is not a grantmaking organization and does not award grants.