Grants Management Handbook

Table of Contents

Part III. Forms and Other Helpful Information

G. Grant Terminology

ADMINISTRATIVE ACCEPTANCEAdministrative process toaccept grant awards that are less than $100,000 by college president, vice chancellors, chancellor or designees instead of by Governing Board approval.The Administrative Acceptance of Grant form is used to document award acceptance.

ALLOWABLE COST:  A cost for which an institution or agency may be reimbursed under a grant or contract with a governmental agency.  These are determined by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the funding source’s requirements, and/or District policy and administrative regulations.  OMB Circular A-21 defines allowable costs as those that are:  1) reasonable, 2) allocable to the project; 3) given consistent treatment by the generally accepted accounting procedures; and 4) conform to any limitation or exclusions set forth by the sponsored agreement or OMB Circular A-21.

AMENDMENT:  Modification of existing legislation (e.g. Older Americans Act of 1965 as amended 1973); contract; subgrant; budget etc.

APPROPRIATION:  Legislation enacted by U.S. Congress establishes a federal activity.  The legislation will sometimes set limits on the amount of money which can be appropriated for the activity.

AUDITReview ofFinancial transactions, documentation, accounting procedures and systems by external or internal auditors.  The most common external audit is the Single Audit that is required by law and by OMB Circular A-133, which is conducted annually by the State Auditor General’s Office.

AWARD:  Funds provided by an external funding source for support of a project.  This term applies to both the original award and supplements.

AWARD LETTER:  Written notification from the funding agency indicating that a project has been funded, start and end dates, and amount funded.

BOARD ACTION ITEMForm completed by project director or administrator to explain and obtain Governing Board approval.  In the case of grant awards, it is required for grant awards of $100,000 or more and for Intergovernmental Agreements.

BUDGET:  The spending plan for a proposal or award, submitted to and/or approved by the funding source.  After the award, the approved budget becomes a spending guide for the project.

BUDGET AMENDMENT OR MODIFICATIONAdministrative changes made to the project budget.  Amendments require grant accountant approval and frequently require funding source approval.

BUDGET CATEGORY:  A portion of the budget designated for certain types of expenditures such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, materials and supplies, participant support, subgrants or subcontracts, printing costs, indirect costs etc.

BUDGET CYCLE:  The annual fiscal year (for example, July 1 through June 30) which is important because it indicates when funding sources will make their grants.

CAPITAL EQUIPMENT:  An article of property that is not permanently attached to buildings or grounds and that has an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more (including sales and/or use tax, freight, and installation) and a life expectancy of one year or more.

CARRY FORWARD OR CARRYOVER:  An un-obligated balance from a prior Award period, which the funding source approves to be added to the subsequent Award budget.

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE (CFDA):  Contains information about Federal grant and loan programs available from Federal agencies to assist the American people in furthering their social and economic progress.  Each program is assigned a CFDA number.  This is used in the audit for grant identification purposes, so it must be accurate.

CERTIFICATIONS:  Awardees are required to provide signed assurance of compliance with certain grant requirements.  Federal grants, for example, require certifications related to conflict of interest, debarment and suspension, delinquent federal debt, drug-free workplace, lobbying, and misconduct in science.

COHORTPopulation such as Upward Bound students that participate together in a program.  Usually programs with cohorts involve tracking and reporting of individual member progress.

COLLABORATION:  partnership in which key personnel from different institutions have substantial involvement in the development and performance of the project and the funding source makes only one award.  The lead institution issues subcontracts or subgrants to the other collaborating institutions.

COLLGE FINANCIAL SYSTEM (CFS):  The District’s computerized financial recordkeeping system used for handling all fiscal records and reports.

CO-MINGLING OF FUNDSUnallowable mixing of funds from more than one source in the same grant budget account.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST:  Using a vendor that is a member of your family or a personal friend.  Transaction must be “arms length”.

CONSORTIUM:  A group of organizations sharing in the finances and/or administration of a single grant to accomplish that which no one can do as effectively as when working together.

CONSULTANT:  An individual whose expertise is required for the project. May be paid or unpaid contributor. 

CONTINUATION/RENEWAL PROPOSAL:  Additional funding increments for projects beyond the original grant period.  See funding source guidelines for submission requirements.

CONTRACT:  Agreement to acquire services that benefit the project.  Contracts normally contain the following elements:  1) detailed financial and legal requirements must be included with a specific statement of work to be performed; 2) specific set of deliverables and/or reports 3) separate accounting procedures are required; 4) legally binding contract clauses must be included; 5) benefits of the project accrue to the funding source and the college, and to the nation (in the case of federal grants).

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT:  An agreement over which the funding source has control and oversight of the work that is contracted.  Involves substantial involvement between the agency and the recipient.

COPYRIGHT:  A statement of legal control over a document (usually by its author) that requires anyone seeking to reproduce the document to first obtain permission of the copyright holder.

COST REIMBURSEMENT:  Agreement in which payments are based on actual allowable costs incurred in performance of the work.

COST SHARE:  Portion of project or program costs not borne by the funding source.  Acceptable cost sharing contributions 1) are not paid by the federal government directly or indirectly under any other award unless authorized by federal statute to be used for cost sharing or matching; 2) are not included as contributions for any other project or program; are necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of specific project or program objectives; 3) are directly identifiable with the sponsored project as outlined in the proposal budget and/or budget justification, and thus incorporated in the award notice; 4) are verifiable by college records.

DEADLINES:  Date and time by which applications for grants or contracts must be submitted.  Pay close attention to whether the deadline is "to be received at the agency" by the deadline or "postmarked" by the deadline and whether deadline is local time or time at the funding source’s location.

DIRECT COST:  Expenses which can be itemized by with a particular externally funded project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy (e.g. salaries. supplies, services,  travel, equipment etc.)

DISALLOWED COST:   Expenditures questioned in an audit as not allowable for the project  will not be reimbursed by the funding source.  Finding may result in repayment of funding source if reimbursement for expenditures already occurred.

DISSEMINATION OF PROJECT RESULTSStrategies to let colleagues or organizations know about the results of a grant project.  Examples include websites, publications, published articles, conference presentation, workshops etc.

DISCLOSURE OF SUBSTANTIAL INTERESTForm for reporting conflict of interest that employee or relatives may have in any MCCCD vote, decision, contract, sale or purchase.  Substantial Interest is any financial or ownership interest, direct or indirect that isn’t a remote interest. 

DUNS NUMBER:  Identification number required for some proposals.  Each college and the District have a unique DUNS number.

EFFORTThe amount of time, usually expressed as a percentage of the total, that a faculty member of other employee spends on a project.  Does not include work done for supplemental pay. 

EFFORT CERTIFICATION: Certification required by Federal regulations for all employees working on federally sponsored projects/grants.  The percentage of effort reported for the period serves to substantiate the salaries and wages charged to federal grants.

EQUIPMENT: See capital equipment.

EXTERNAL EVALUATORProfessional external to the project with the background and qualifications to conduct a high quality evaluation based on the project requirements.  Most external evaluators are external to MCCCD and are hired with a Professional Services Contract.  However some programs consider the evaluator to be external if they are external to the project.  In these situations, the external evaluator could be a MCCCD employee or a former employee.

EXPANDED AUTHORITY GRANTPolicy implemented by some federal granting agencies which delegates certain prior approval authorities to grantee institutions. This delegation allows for internal college approval of administrative and spending actions, thus avoiding delays in project progress.

Federal I.D. # or Federal Entity Number:  The District's number is 860185552.  Each college has a suffix.

FEDERAL REGISTER:  Contains proposed and final guidelines, and other administrative regulations of programs as announced by Federal agencies in precise wording of the law. 

FISCAL YEAR (FY):  Is designated by the calendar year in which it ends, e.g. FY 08 covers the period July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.  The Federal Fiscal Year is October 1 through September 30.

FORMATIVE EVALUATION:  Type of project evaluation that is conducted throughout the implementation of the project activities.  Results are used to assess progress, identify potential or actual problems, and formulate and implement corrective action.

FORMULA GRANTS:  Funds distributed by the Federal government (usually to state agencies) for use in specified projects.  The funds are awarded on the basis of demographic and economic data from which a formula has been computed.

FRINGE BENEFITS:  Benefits such as life and health insurance, retirement, unemployment compensation and workers compensation that are paid in addition to salary.  Benefit packages change yearly.

FULL TIME EQUIVALENT:  The amount of time spent or required in a less than full time activity divided by the amount of time normally spent or required in a corresponding full time activity during the regular school term.  (Also referred to as a regular budgeted position)

GOVERNING BOARD APPROVALApproval and acceptance of grant award by the District’s elected officials through approval of a Board Action Item for the project.  Governing Board Approval is required for all grants of $100,000 or more as well as Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs).

GRANTFunding award made on the basis of a submitted proposal, usually in response to application guidelines.

GRANT APPLICATIONThe proposal instructions developed by a funding source that must be followed by applicants developing  a proposal for consideration for funding.

GRANTEE:  Recipient of a grant. 

GRANT PROPOSAL:  Plan written about a project or program to secure funding to accomplish its objectives.  Typically, grant proposals are written in response to and in accordance with a grant application or set of instructions and must be submitted by a specific deadline.  Most grant competitions are very competitive.

GRANTOR:  Funding source that provides funds to carry out projects.

GRANT WRITERPrincipal author of a grant proposal.

HUMAN SUBJECTS RESEARCHResearch and grants projects involving human participants whose rights must be protected.  The protection of Human Subjects is overseen by the Institutional Review Board.

INDIRECT COSTS:  Overhead and administrative costs which cannot be identified specifically with a particular program, project, or activity.  They are costs that are incurred for several purposes which are necessary to the operation of the institution or agency; for example, library resources, building maintenance, and general administration.  Negotiated indirect cost approved by a cognizant federal agency is used for all federally funded projects, as allowed.

INFORMED ASSENTProcess of letting potential participant under 18 years of age know about the project as described in informed consent (see below) and obtaining their agreement to participate in the project.

INFORMED CONSENTProcess of letting potentialparticipants in grant-funded projects and research studies know the project purpose, methodology, risks/benefits, data confidentiality, withdrawal rights, contact information about project leaders etc. and obtaining their consent. If participant is under 18 years of age, parent or legal guardian must give consent.

INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB):   Federally mandated board appointed by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs to be responsible for Human Subjects Research protection by reviewing, making determinations, and certifying exempt and nonexempt grant funded projects and research studies. 

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENTAgreement between two governmental entities which has to have statutes in it required by law.

KEY PERSONNELPrimary leadership in a grant project such as Principal and Co-Investigators, Project Directors, Instructional Designers etc.

MATCHING FUNDS:  Cash or "in-kind" support contributed by the grantee to fulfill objectives of project.  Amount of needed matching funds varies with program.  Term often used interchangeably with “Cost Share”.

NEEDS ASSESSMENT:  A continuous, formal process for identifying and quantifying problems and critical areas.

NO COST EXTENSION:  A request to extend the grant period beyond the previously approved end of the grant and for which no additional funds are granted beyond what was previously approved for award.

OFFICIAL FUNCTION:  Expense such as food that needs justification as to the public purpose it produced to the funding agency or campus.  Institutional approval is required prior to the function.

PASS THROUGH AGENCY:  State or local agency that receives federal funds and conducts its own application and award process.

PRIME GRANTEE OR PRIME CONTRACTOR:  A single agency which has the overall responsibility for conducting a program usually involving subcontractors.

PROGRAM OFFICER:  The funding source representative who has the task of monitoring the project, providing technical assistance to the project, approving major changes, and insuring that the objectives are carried out within the framework of regulations.

PROPOSAL:  An application submitted to an external funding source that may lead directly to a funding award.  All proposals require institutional approval by an official with the authority to commit college and district resources.  Most proposals are provided by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.

PUBLIC LAW (PL):  Means of classification of laws passed by Congress, e.g. P.L. 88-269 Library Services and Construction Act 1964 is translated as a public law passed by the 88th Congress.

QUASI-SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH MODELEvaluation methodology used by some agencies such as the US Department of Education that requires comparison of program participants with a similar non-participating group.

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:  Performance and fiscal requirements set by the funding source.  The project director is responsible for the performance report and Grants Accounting is responsible for producing and submitting financial reports.
REVENUE SHARING:  Tax funds appropriated by Congress and distributed to local and state governments in sums determined by a complex formula.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP):  An announcement by an agency that it is accepting proposals to accomplish a specific objective.  The RFP typically contains detailed instructions related to the written proposal.

SPECIALLY FUNDEDProjects and personnel funded by external awards.  Employees whose positions are funded 50% or more by external funding and who are not regular governing board approved employees are governed by the Specially Funded Employee handbook.

STEWARDSHIPThe obligation to be responsible caretaker of public and private funding resources awarded to the colleges and the District. 

SUBGRANTA contract between institutions or partners for project participation in the prime grant.  The lead institution that received the award initiates the subgrant which is reviewed and signed by legal representatives of both institutions.

SUMMATIVE EVALUATIONFinal evaluation, including both quantitative and qualitative data, that is completed at the conclusion of the entire grant period.  It particularly focuses on whether project goals and objectives were accomplished and project success indicators. 

SUPPLANTING:  Illegal use of grant funds to pay for ongoing activities already budgeted or for the usual activities assigned to a position.

TITLE:  A major section of a piece of legislation, e.g. Title I Higher Education Act, 1965.

UNSOLICITED PROPOSALS:  Agencies may allow institutions to submit proposals which may or may not match the priorities of those agencies.  Proposal may be an offer to perform tasks which are not the results of an RFP announced by the agency.