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Grant Terminology: Home

Grant Terminology

During the project cycle you may encounter terms and processes that are unfamiliar. Having access to common terms, including frequently used acronyms, will add clarity and efficiency to communication among and between team members. The following terms will often be referenced in discussion when working with colleagues, the OGSP, and/or funding agencies.

Grant Terms

Activities describe what a program does with the inputs to fulfill its mission. Activities include the strategies, techniques, research, evaluation, and types of treatment that comprise a program's service and methodology.

Allowable/Non-Allowable Costs are charges deemed allowable or not allowable depending on the funding agency.

Audit is an independent financial examination of a project's accounts. An auditor will review the project's accounts in accordance with the specific terms and conditions of the relevant grant or contract. 

Award is the actual financial assistance that provides support to accomplish a purpose. Awards include grants and other agreements in the form of money or property by the grantor to an eligible recipient.

Contract is the written binding agreement between the awarding agency, recipient, or sub-recipients.

Direct Cost is specifically identified with a particular cost objective or program; charged directly as a part of the cost of the program.

Drawdown is a process whereby a request is made to receive funds, either as a reimbursement for expenses incurred or in advance of anticipated expenditure of funds. This term and process is typically used with federal grants. 

Fellowship is a financial award granted to graduate students designed to cover academic and personal expenses while working on advanced degrees. Fellowship responsibilities and conditions vary depending on the sponsor. 

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a notice in Grants.gov of a federal grant funding opportunity. There are other terms used to describe funding announcements, but this term is commonly used with federal opportunities. 

Fund Source is a unique fund source identifier, a numerical code, used to designate revenue sources and track expenditures.

Grant is a financial award given by the federal, state, or local government, or a private entity to an eligible grantee, usually with a defined scope of activities or program outcomes. Grants are not expected to be repaid by the recipient.

Grantee is the direct recipient of a grant award who is legally bound by the grantor's award or contract. 

Grantor is the primary awarding agency.

Indirect Cost is incurred by a grantee organization for common or joint objectives, and therefore cannot be identified specifically with a particular project or program.

In-kind is a programmatic match that does not involve a monetary transaction. 'In-kind' is the value of something received or provided, which is beneficial to the program, but for which no cash exchanges hands.

Letter of Interest/Inquiry precedes a full proposal and serves as an introductory document provided to a funding agency indicating an interest in seeking/requesting funding or program sponsorship.

Memoranda of Understanding is used to describe agreed upon terms between two parties. It is a binding document to be used in situations where a legally enforceable agreement (contract) is not necessary.

Notice of Award is an official letter/document issued to the grantee notifying that an award has been made and thus project funding is available.

Principal Investigator/Project Director are lead faculty/staff members who conduct the activities under a grant program and responsible for ensuring compliance with the academic, scientific, technical, financial, and administrative aspects, including day-to-day management of the project.

Project Period/Term represents the total time for which support of a funded project has been programmatically approved. A project period may consist of one or more budget periods.

Questionable Costs are charges that may not comply or be consistent with the requirements set forth in the regulations governing the allocation and thus may not be reimbursable.

Recipient is the legal entity to which an award is made. The university is designated as the sponsored program and awarded a contract or grant. The recipient is always the university, and shall not be an individual, department, or other unit.

Reimbursable Grant provides funding to recipients after expenses have been incurred. The grantee must follow a certain procedure to obtain the reimbursement for project expenditures.

Request for Application (RFAs) are typically one-time solicitation for grant applications addressing a defined research topic. 

Scope of Work is a document that describes work details required to complete a project, including but not limited to activities, outcomes, timeline, and pay structure.

Sponsor is the entity that is financing the research project or other sponsored activity. 

Sponsored Research is research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies.

Sub-recipient is the legal entity to which a sub-award is made, and which is accountable to the recipient for the use of the funds provided. Sub-recipient and sub-awardee are interchangeable terms.

Sub-award is an award of financial assistance, generally a monetary award, made to a sub-recipient as a result of an award made to a direct grant recipient.

Sub-grant or sub-contract is an award of financial assistance made under a grant by a direct grantee to an eligible sub-grantee.

Supplant means to "replace" or "take the place of." Federal law prohibits recipients of federal funds from replacing state, local, or agency funds with federal funds.