Educators are feeling the strain to acquire capital for technology, materials and research. Yet, schools seeking grant funds are in a highly competitive market.
There has been a shift toward performance-based fund distribution, and institutions must comply with new reporting regulations to be viable grant candidates.
As a whole, the education sector is being pressured to invest in bettering student outcomes. However, grantors are being more selective with whom they award funds—oftentimes, requiring schools to prove they are worth the money.
Once schools receive funding, data is typically stored in a variety of places and formats. This makes the data hard to process and analyze, let alone consolidate into required post-award reports. Schools are in need of streamlined processes and centralized data.
The Impacting Factors
Federal grant reforms are impacting schools all over the country. Three main reforms are driving the momentum toward open and transparent practices.
- The DATA Act was established in order to standardize, centralize and make all data public. It seeks machine-readable data to spike efficiency and accuracy.
- OMB Uniform Grant Guidance was issued to support the Obama Administration’s efforts to mitigate waste, fraud and abuse. Citizens are demanding government transparency, and UGG aids progress toward that goal.
- The Treasury “Do Not Pay” Initiative aims to reduce spending fraud. Federal agencies are required to confirm recipient eligibility before issuing payments.
These reforms have a direct impact on compliance requirements for schools. Most notably, they increase the focus on programmatic performance in post-award reporting and push for machine-readable data when submitting information.
Schools will be able to improve grant proposals, reporting, drawdown and more with updated grant management processes. Some guidelines to follow are below:
- Be specific. Consider the SMART goals framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) when applying for an award. Make strong connections back to this goal throughout your proposal.
- Offer up data. Whether or not frequent check-ins are required, offer to submit your program’s quantifiable progress at set intervals throughout the grant’s life.
- Track expenses in real time. Organizations often forfeit grant money by losing track of documents, receipts and expenses. Without the ability to prove where money was allocated, the grantor has no choice but to withhold funds.
- Prioritize compliance. Strengthened oversight means that a record of non-compliance counts against grant-seeking organizations.
Download our Grant Seeking and Grant Management in Education Ebook for more in-depth information and solutions.
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