Government Grant Policies and Resources

OMB Uniform Guidance

The Office of Management and Budget released the new “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards; Final Rule” on December 26, 2013 (2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Part 200, et al.).  The “Uniform Guidance” became effective on December 26th, 2014 for new awards and funding increments issued on or after that date.

On March 18, 2013, NSF transitioned all project reporting from FastLane to This means that Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs will now use to meet all NSF project reporting requirements, including submission of final, annual and interim project reports and the Project Outcomes Report. You can login to using your FastLane user ID and password.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Swarthmore College Instructions for Preparation/Submission of Electronic Grant Proposals is the central application and information resource for Federal grant programs. Be sure to read program announcements carefully (whether you find them on or an agency's own web site) to determine if submission via is required.

Important Notes:

  • In most cases, federal funding agencies require the College's Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to submit applications via (therefore, PIs do not need to register). Exceptions include the NEH Fellowship and Summer Stipend applications.
  • Send your completed application package to the Sponsored Programs office at least ten business days before the deadline, since your application must be validated by both and the agency. This also allows time to correct any error found after submission but before the deadline.

Install Software:

  •  has transitioned from PureEdge to Adobe forms for the electronic submission of grant applications. PureEdge applications are no longer accepted. Applicants should also make sure they are using the recommended versions of Adobe Reader.
  • View the latest system requirements and download software.

Find and Download the Application:

  • Go to and click on "Apply for Grants" in the left-hand column.
  • Use one of the search options to locate the Funding Opportunity Number (FON) and/or CFDA number of the grant opportunity in which you're interested.
  • Download the unique application package for your opportunity and enter the FON or CFDA number in the appropriate field.

Complete the Application Package:

  • An application package is composed of both mandatory and optional forms. Required fields that are standard for all agencies are highlighted in yellow; however, you must read the application instructions for your specific grant opportunity, which may indicate additional required fields that are not highlighted.
  • To work on a form, highlight it and then click "Open Form." Use the "Next" button to navigate forms with multiple pages.
  • Be sure to click the "Save" button as you add information since the application package does NOT automatically save changes.
  • When you complete a form, move it to the right-hand side under "Mandatory Completed Documents for Submission."
  • Click "Check Package for Errors" to see if you have failed to complete a required field.
  • Send the completed application to the Sponsored Programs office for submission.

NSF FastLane

NOTE: Read your program announcement carefully to determine whether your grant proposal should be submitted via FastLane or The Sponsored Programs office is the Sponsored Research Office (SRO), which submits all NSF proposals.

  • First step for first-time users: contact Tania Johnson (, x5713) to sign up as a new user to FastLane. This takes only a few minutes and will allow you access to the site. You can then choose a password to access your account, either as Principal Investigator or as Co-Principal Investigator.
  • To prepare your proposal on FastLane, log into the site and click on "Proposals, Awards, & Status." Then click on the "Proposal Preparation" link and follow the instructions.
  • In order for the Sponsored Programs office to submit your proposal, you must give us "SRO access" to the proposal. When you access the FastLane web site, at the "Proposal Forms Preparation" function, you will click on the "Allow SRO Access" button and choose the "Allow SRO to view, edit and submit proposal" access level. The system then sends Tania an email that lets her know you are ready to submit your proposal. (You can still edit your proposal after giving "SRO permission" to submit it.)
  • Make an appointment on the day you would like to submit your proposal. We will check to be sure all of the forms have been completed, and if everything is in order, will submit the proposal for you. After submission, we will notify the Provost's office, and they will sign electronically as "Authorized Organizational Representative." The newly submitted proposal will now be listed under "Submitted Proposals." A Proposal ID will be assigned, and e-mails will be sent to all SRO representatives, as well as the PI of the proposal. 

Unallowable Costs

Below is a list of expenses which are not reimbursable under the terms and conditions of federally sponsored agreements and/or those specifically identified as unallowable in Subpart E of the OMB Uniform Guidance. Questions about this policy should be directed to Senior Accountant Denise Risoli (

  • Advertising and public relations (unless for recruitment of employees or human subjects)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Alumni/ae activities
  • Bad debts
  • Commencement or convocation costs
  • Contingency provisions
  • Charitable contributions, donations, remembrances
  • Development/fundraising costs
  • Entertainment costs
  • Fines and penalties
  • Goods or services for personal use of employees (including gifts)
  • Housing and personal living expenses of college officers
  • Investment management costs
  • Lobbying
  • Losses on other sponsored agreements or contracts (cost overruns)
  • Preagreement costs, unless approved by the sponsoring agency or permitted under expanded authorities
  • Selling and marketing costs of any products or services of the institution
  • Student activity costs incurred for intramural activities, student publications, or student clubs
  • Travel: Commercial air travel costs in excess of the lowest available commercial discount airfare, Federal government contract airfare (where authorized and available), or customary standard (coach or equivalent) airfare. Note: Under the Fly America Act, you must fly with a U.S. carrier unless the non-US carrier is a subcontractor to a US carrier or there is absolutely no US carrier to your destination.
  • Trustee travel
  • Interest expense: Interest paid to external parties that is associated with the acquisition of equipment or other capital assets is generally allowable.