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Sponsor: US Department of Education (USDE)

United States Department of Education (USDE) (http://www.ed.gov/) mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. It engages in four major types of activities:

  1. Establishes policies related to federal education funding, administers distribution of funds and monitors their use.
  2. Collects data and oversees research on America's schools.
  3. Identifies major issues in education and focuses national attention on them.
  4. Enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive federal funds.

Upcoming Proposal Deadlines
Deadlines are found at the following websites:

  • Discretionary grant application packages lists most ED competitions that are currently open, with links to application information for each competition.
  • Most ED competitions are announced in Federal Register Notices which provide information on rules, deadlines, and how to apply.
  • IES funding opportunities provides information on research funding opportunities run by the Institute for Education Sciences, including funding for unsolicited grants.
  • Grants.gov lists discretionary grant competitions from across the federal government, including many ED competitions.

Forms & Instructions
Most announcements require online submission of proposals. Please read your request for proposal to determine whether e-Application, grants.gov or paper submission is required.

If e-Application is required, and you are a new user, you will need to register. From the e-Grants Portal Page , click on the continue button and click the register button on the right side of the next page. Select the e-Application module and click the next button. Please provide the requested information. Your e-Grants password will be sent to the e-mail address you provide. Once you receive the e-mail, enter your username and password and click the login button.

Please inform usda@osp.msu.edu that you are interested in applying for a proposal, and supply your username. OSP submission of proposals is required. By giving us your username, we can assign the proposal package to PI’s and department administrators. This allows OSP and the department to have access to the web-based electronic package.

**Tip – when filling out the electronic forms within the e-Application package, please remember to select save at the bottom of the form. This is regardless of entering information. Without doing this, it locks out other users from viewing the page.**

If grants.gov submission is required, please see information on how to prepare a package here.

USDE Use of Grant Funds for Conferences and Meeting


As provided by the USDE Office of the Chief Financial Officer in a memo dated June 2012:
The following information was extracted from this memo for ease of reference. You are receiving this memorandum to remind you that grantees must take into account the following factors when considering the use of grant funds for conferences and meetings:

Before deciding to use grant funds to attend or host a meeting or conference, a grantee should:

  • Ensure that attending or hosting a conference or meeting is consistent with its approved application and is reasonable and necessary to achieve the goals and objectives of the grant;
  • Ensure that the primary purpose of the meeting or conference is to disseminate technical information, (e.g., provide information on specific programmatic requirements, best practices in a particular field, or theoretical, empirical, or methodological advances made in a particular field; conduct training or professional development; plan/coordinate the work being done under the grant); and
  • Consider whether there are more effective or efficient alternatives that can accomplish the desired results at a lower cost, for example, using webinars or video conferencing.

Grantees must follow all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements in determining whether costs are reasonable and necessary, especially the Cost Principles for Federal grants set out at 2 CFR Part 225 (OMB Circular A-87, State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments), (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title2-vol1/xml/CFR-2011-title2-vol1-part225.xml); 2 CFR Part 220 (OMB Circular A-21, Educational Institutions), (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title2-vol1/xml/CFR-2011-title2-vol1-part220.xml); and 2 CFR 230 (OMB Circular A-122, Non-Profit Organizations) (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title2-vol1/xml/CFR-2011-title2-vol1-part230.xml).In particular, remember that:

  • Federal grant funds cannot be used to pay for alcoholic beverages; and
  • Federal grant funds cannot be used to pay for entertainment, which includes costs for amusement, diversion, and social activities.
    Grant funds may be used to pay for the costs of attending a conference.Specifically, Federal grant funds may be used to pay for conference fees and travel expenses (transportation, per diem, and lodging) of grantee employees, consultants, or experts to attend a conference or meeting if those expenses are reasonable and necessary to achieve the purposes of the grant.
  • When planning to use grant funds for attending a meeting or conference, grantees should consider how many people should attend the meeting or conference on their behalf. The number of attendees should be reasonable and necessary to accomplish the goals and objectives of the grant.

A grantee hosting a meeting or conference may not use grant funds to pay for food for conference attendees unless doing so is necessary to accomplish legitimate meeting or conference business.

  • A working lunch is an example of a cost for food that might be allowable under a Federal grant if attendance at the lunch is needed to ensure the full participation by conference attendees in essential discussions and speeches concerning the purpose of the conference and to achieve the goals and objectives of the project.
  • A meeting or conference hosted by a grantee and charged to a Department grant must not be promoted as a U.S. Department of Education conference. This means that the seal of the U.S. Department of Education must not be used on conference materials or signage without Department approval.

All meeting or conference materials paid for with grant funds must include appropriate disclaimers, such as the following:

  • The contents of this (insert type of publication; e.g., book, report, film) were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Grantees are strongly encouraged to contact their project officer with any questions or concerns about whether using grant funds for a meeting or conference is allowable prior to committing grant funds for such purposes.

  • A short conversation could help avoid a costly and embarrassing mistake.

Grantees are responsible for the proper use of their grant awards and may have to repay funds to the Department if they violate the rules on the use of grant funds, including the rules for meeting- and conference-related expenses.

USDE Indirect Costs Guidance USDE has provided some guidance related to budgeting indirect costs. The complete financial management memo can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/fund/guid/gposbul/financial-management-memo-2009.pdf

A grantee must have a current federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement to charge indirect costs to a grant.

Restricted Indirect Costs Rates - USDE imposes limitations on indirect cost rates for certain types of grants, depending on the nature of the grant or the program under which the grant was funded.

  • For example, grantees in specific programs with legislation containing “supplement-not-supplant” provisions are subject to a “restricted” indirect cost rate.
  • Restricted indirect cost rates are lower than the negotiated indirect cost rates because the restricted rate excludes certain general management and fixed costs that would otherwise be included in the standard indirect cost rate calculation.
  • Sections 75.563 and 76.564-569 in EDGAR describe how to calculate restricted rates in more detail.
  • The USDE program officer for any grant program can verify whether that program is covered by restricted rate requirements.
  • More extensive discussion of indirect cost rates and their relationship to USDE grants can be found on the website of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) at: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocfo/fipao/icgindex.html

Training Grants - Section 75.562 of EDGAR limits the indirect cost rate to 8% for training grants, regardless of the rate negotiated with the cognizant agency. The difference between the 8% limit and the grantee's negotiated rate may not be used for cost sharing or matching purposes, charged to direct cost categories, or charged to another Federal award. This 8% limitation does not apply to federally recognized Indian tribes or agencies of States or local governments.

Prohibition of Indirect Costs - Some programs contain prohibitions against recovery of any indirect costs. Under grants received from one of these programs, a grantee may not charge to a direct cost category in its budget a cost that would be treated as an indirect cost in other situations, nor may those unrecovered indirect costs be charged to other Federal awards.

Reporting and the Grant Performance Report - In connection with reporting indirect costs under a grant, grantees will need to review the cover sheet of the USDE Grant Performance Report (ED 524B). The section, “Indirect Costs,” contains four questions related to claiming indirect costs under a grant. Grantee personnel should be sure to answer these questions accurately so that the Department can exercise properly its responsibility for fiscal oversight of its grant awards.

MSU OPE (Office of Postsecondary Education) Number: 002290-00

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