The Alphabet Soup of Research Administration
An Index of Commonly Used Acronyms

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AAAH American Association for the Advancement of Humanities
AAALAC American Association of Animal Laboratory Accreditation Council
AAAS American Association for the Advancement of Science
AAC Association for American Colleges
AACD American Association of Counseling and Development
AACUO Association for Affiliated College and University Offices
ACC Application Control Center
ACE American Council on Education
ACLS American Council for Learned Societies
ACO Administrative Contracting Officer
ACS American Cancer Society
ACYF Administration for Children, Youth and Families
ADAMHA Administration on Drug Abuse, Mental Health and Alcoholism
AFDC Aid to Families with Dependent Children
AFOSR Air Force Office of Scientific Research
AHA American Heart Assocation
AID Agency for International Development
AOA Administration on Aging
ARI Army Research Institute
ARO Army Research Office
ASAP As soon as possible
AUTM Association of University Technology Managers
AVA American Vocational Association
BAA Broad Agency Announcement
BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs
BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics
CAS Cost Accounting Standards
CASB Cost Accounting Standards Board
CASE Council for the Advancement and Support of Education
CBD Commerce Business Daily
CFDA Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CIES Council for the International Exchange of Scholars
CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting
CO Contracting Officer
COP Certificate of Proposal
COS Community of Science
COGR Council on Governmental Relations
CURI College and University Resource Institute
CWS College Work Study
DA Departmental Administration
DARPA Defense Applied Resarch Projects Agency (formerly ARPA)
DC Direct Costs
DCA Division of Cost Allocation (HHS)
DCAA Defense Contract Audit Agency
DCE Direct Cost Equivalent
DEA Drug Enforcement Administration
DEAR Department of Energy Acquisition Regulations
DFAR Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations
(D)HHS Department of Health and Human Services
DOD Department of Defense
DOE Department of Energy
DOEd Department of Education
DOT Department of Transportation
EDGAR Educational Department General Administration Regulations
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
EEO Equal Employment Opportunity
EFT Electronic Funds Transfer
EO Executive Order
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
ERIC Education Resources Information Clearinghouse
ERA Electronic Research Administration
ERS Economic Research Service
ESEA Elementary and Secondary Education Act
ETA Employment and Training Administration
F & A Facilities and Administrative Costs (formerly Indirect Costs)
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulations
FDP Federal Demonstration Partnership
FIE Federal Information Exchange
FIPSE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
FMC Federal Management Circular
FOIA Freedom of Information Act
FR Federal Register
FSR Financial Status Report
FY Fiscal Year
FYI For your information
GA General Administration
GAO Goverment Accounting Office
GEPA General Education Provisions Act
GPRA Goverment Performance and Results Act
GPO Government Printing Office
GSA General Services Administration
GSL Guaranteed Student Loan
HEA Higher Education Amendment
HEARS Higher Education Administrative Resource Service
HED Higher Education Daily
HENA Higher Education and National Affairs
HHS Department of Health and Human Services
IACUC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
IACP Institutional Animal Care Program
IDC Indirect Costs (now called Facilities and Administrative Costs)
IG Inspector General
IHE Institution of Higher Education
IPATNT Intellectual Property Administration and Technology Transfer (at MSU only)
IRB Institutional Review Board
IR&D Independent Research and Development
IREX International Research and Exchanges Board
LAR Laboratory Animal Resources
LEA Local Education Agency
MTA Material Transfer Agreement
MTDC Modified Total Direct Costs
NA Not applicable
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NCES National Center for Educational Statistics
NCURA National Council of University Research Administrators
NEA National Education Association
NEA National Endowment for the Arts
NEH National Endowment for the Humanities
NFAH National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities
NIA National Institute on Aging
NIAAA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse
NIE National Institute on Education
NIH National Institutes of Health
NIHR National Institute for Handicapped Research
NRA National Rehabilitation Association
NRSA National Research Service Award
NSF National Science Foundation
OERI Office of Educational Research and Improvement
OFCC Office of Federal Contract Compliance
OMB Office of Management and Budget
ONR Office of Naval Research
OPRR Office of Protection from Research Risks
ORM Office of Regional Management
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSI Office of Science Integrity
OSTP Office of Science and Technology Policy
OTA Office of Technology Assessment
PA Program Announcement
PETA People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
PHS Public Health Service
PI Principal Investigator
RDA Recombinant DNA
RFA Request for Applications
RFP Request for Proposal
RFQ Request for Quotation
SBA Small Business Administration
SPA Sponsored Programs Administration
SPIN Sponsored Programs Information Network
SRA Society of Research Administrators
SRO Sponsored Research Office
SEA State Education Agency
SRA Society of Research Administrators
TDC Total Direct Costs
TGA The Grant Advisor
UBIT Unirelated Business Income Tax
USC United States Code
USDA United States Department of Agriculture

Glossary of Terms

Administrative Regulations.
Regulations that implement (1) guidance from the Office of Management and budget (OMB) contained in circulars that apply to the administration of all federal grants and cooperative agreements, (2) Presidential Executive Orders (where regulation is necessary), and (3) legislation that affects all applicants for or recipients of federal grants and cooperative agreements; see also EDGAR (defined below).

Application Control Center.
The area of the Department of Educational [in the Grants and Contracts Service (defined below)] that is officially authorized to receive applications for discretionary grants and cooperative agreements.

Application Notice.
A notice published in the Federal Register that invites applications for one or more discretionary grant or cooperative agreement competitions, gives basic program and fiscal information on each competition, informs potential applicants when and where they can obtain applications, and cites the deadline date (defined below), for a particular competition.

Application Package.
A package that contains the application notice for one or more programs and all the information and forms needed to apply for a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement.

Appropriations Legislation.
A law passed by the Congress to provide a certain level of funding for a grant program in a given year.

A listing of a variety of requirements, found in different federal laws, regulations, and executive orders that applicants agree in writing to observe as a condition of receiving federal assistance.

Audit Funding.
A conclusion about a monetary or nonmonetary matter related to an auditor's examination of an organization, program, activity, or function, which frequently identifies problems and provides recommendations for correction action in order to prevent their future recurrence.

Audit Resolution Process.
The process by which the Department determines whether costs under a grant that have been identified in an audit report as questioned or unsupported are actually allowable or unallowable and initiates action to have recipients return unallowable expenditures.

Audit Resolution Specialist.
The Department staff member who reviews audit reports on recipients' projects and develops the proposed recommendations to management for settling cases of expenditures not allowed under discretionary grants or cooperative agreements; these recommendations become the basis for decisions issued in the program determination letter (defined below).

Authorizing Legislation.
A law passed by the Congress that establishes or continues a grant program.

Budget Period.
An interval of time into which a project period is divided for budgetary purposes, usually 12 months.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.
Publication and database produced by the General Services Administration that lists the domestic assistance programs for all federal agencies and gives information about a program's authorization, fiscal details, accomplishments, regulations, guidelines, eligibility requirements, information contacts, and application and award process; also called the CFDA.

A statement, signed by an applicant or recipient as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds, that is (1) meets or will adhere to certain conditions and/or (2) will undertake or not undertake certain actions.

CFDA Number.
Identifying number for a federal assistance program, composed of a unique two letter prefix to identify the federal agency ("84" for the Department of Education), followed by a period and a unique three-digit code for each authorized program.

The process during which the Department determines that the recipient has performed all required work of a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement and undertakes all necessary administrative actions to make any final fiscal adjustments to a recipient's account.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Compilation of all final regulations issued by federal agencies and published annually by the National Archives and Records Administration; divided into numbered "Titles"; Title 34 contains the regulations of the Department of Education.

Competitive Review Process.
The process used by the Department of Education to select applications for discretionary grants and cooperative agreements for funding, in which applications are scored by subject-area experts and the most highly scored applications are recommended for funding.

Continuation Grant.
Additional funding awarded for budget periods following the initial budget period of a multi-year discretionary grant or cooperative agreement.

Cooperative Agreement.
A type of federal assistance; essentially, a variation on a discretionary grant (defined below), awarded by the Department when it anticipates having substantial involvement with the recipient during the performance of a funded project.

Deadline Date.
The date by which the Department must receive a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement application for it to be considered for funding.

Discretionary Grant.
An award of financial assistance in the form of money, or property in lieu of money, by the federal government to an eligible recipient, usually made on the basis of a competitive review process.

The acronym for the U.S. Department of Education (I.e., Education Department).

ED Board.
An electronic bulletin board service (BBS) of the Department of Education that gives information on discretionary grant, cooperative agreement, and contract opportunities at the Department.

EDGAR (Education Department General Administrative Regulations).
Administrative regulations governing ED discretionary grant and cooperative agreement programs found in Parts 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, and 86 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (defined above); a book issued by the Department that contains a reprint of these regulations.

Employer Identification Number (EIN).
The number the Internal Revenue Service assigns to every employer; used by the Department as the basis for the entity number (defined below).

Entity Number.
The number the Department creates, using the employer identification number (defined above), to identify a recipient (as distinct from the award itself) in its dealings with the Department; enables the Department to be able to establish an account and to identify the correct recipient to receive the funds awarded under a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement.

Federal Register.
Daily compilation of federal regulations and legal notices, presidential proclamations and executive orders, federal agency documents having general applicability and legal effect, documents required to be published by act of Congress, and other federal agency documents of public interest; prepared by the National Archives and Records Administration for public distribution by the Government Printing Office; publication of record for ED regulations.

Financial Operations Division (Accounting and Financial Management Service).
The administrative unit of the Department of Education that makes payments of federal funds to recipients of discretionary grants and cooperative agreements and receives recipients' completed SF-272 reports. (See financial report, below).

Financial Report.
A document the recipient sends to the Department showing the amounts and/or types of expenditures made under an ED discretionary grant or cooperative agreement; usually made on a federal form, SF-272; for some grants, the financial report is also made on another federal form, SF-269.

Formula Grant.
A grant that the Department is directed by Congress to make to recipients, for which the amount is established by a formula based on certain criteria (e.g., population) that are written into the legislation and program regulations; directly awarded and administered in the Department's program offices (defined on the next page).

Funding Priorities.
Activities, identified by the Department in advance of a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement competition, that applicants are asked to include in an application so as to receive preference in the review process; they include absolute priorities (the applicant must address them in order to be considered for funding), competitive priorities (the applicant can choose whether or not to address them and the application might receive additional points for doing so, depending how well the applicant addresses the priority), and invitational priorities (the applicant is encouraged to address the stated priorities, but the application does not receive extra points for doing so).

Grant Application Reviewer ('Reviewer').
An individual who serves the Department by reviewing new discretionary grant and cooperative agreement applications; also referred to as "field reader" or "peer reviewer."

Grant Award Notification.
Official document signed by the grants officer stating the amount and the terms and conditions of an award for a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement.

Grant Program.
For the purposes of this booklet, a program of discretionary grants and/or cooperative agreements administered by the Department of Education.

Grants and Contracts Service (GCS).
The organizational unit of the Department of Education that has authority for overseeing the Department's assistance (grants) and procurement (contracts) processes; holds responsibility for the related functions of establishing indirect cost rates and developing automated systems for processing grants and contracts.

Grants Division.
The administrative unit of the Grants and Contracts Service (defined above) responsible for negotiating, awarding, administering, and closing out all of the Department of Education's discretionary grants and cooperative agreements.

Grants Officer.
The only person in the Department of Education who has the authority to award its discretionary grants and cooperative agreements and to establish or revise their terms and conditions.

Grants Specialist.
The staff person in the Grants Division (defined above) who reports to the grants officer and who negotiates discretionary grants and cooperative agreements and handles the details of administering them on a daily basis.

Indirect Costs.
Costs of an organization incurred for common or joint objectives, which cannot readily and specifically be identified with a particular grant project or other institutional activity.

Activities undertaken by ED staff members to review and evaluate specific aspects of a recipient's activities under a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement; they include (1) measuring a recipient's performance; (2) assessing a recipient's adherence to applicable laws, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the award; (3) providing technical assistance to recipients; and (4) assessing whether a recipient has made substantial progress.

Preaward discussions conducted by the Grants Division (defined above) to establish the conditions and amount of a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement; based on recommendations from the cognizant Principal Office, a cost analysis of the applicant's budget, and a review of proposed activities.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
An announcement published in the Federal Register (defined on the preceding page) of proposed new regulations or modifications to existing regulations; the first stage in the process of creating or modifying regulations.

An entry made by a grants officer in the Department's automated accounting system that authorizes the Financial Operations Division (defined on the preceding page) to make payments of federal grant funds to a recipient.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars.
Administrative policy documents that give instruction to federal agencies on a variety of topics, including the administration of federal grants and cooperative agreements.

Payment Identification Number (PIN).
A number associated with a recipient's entity number (defined above), which enables the recipient to draw down cash payments authorized by a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement award.

Performance Report.
A report of the specific activities the recipient of a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement has performed during the budget period or the project period.

Principal Officer.
The Department official who is head of one of the six principal offices listed above; holds the rank of assistant secretary or its equivalent.

Program Office.
A subunit of a principal office that conducts the daily work of administering ED discretionary grant and cooperative agreement programs, including the review and ranking of applications.

Program Officer.
Program office staff person responsible for (1) developing program regulations (defined below), application notices, and application packages (defined above); (2) overseeing the review and ranking of applications submitted under their programs; (3) providing detailed funding recommendations to the Grants Division for applications; (4) participating in negotiations, as necessary; (5) providing technical assistance to applicants and recipients; (6) monitoring funded projects; and (7) making recommendations to the Grants Division about recipients' requests for revisions to project activities and budgets.

Program Determination Letter (PDL).
An official written notice from an authorized Department of Education management official to an audited recipient that sets forth the Department's decision on findings in an audit report, including all necessary actions and repayment of funds for which the recipient is responsible.

Program Regulations.
Regulations that implement legislation passed by Congress to authorize a specific grant program; they include applicant and participant eligibility criteria, nature of activities funded, allowability of certain costs, selection criteria under which applications will be selected for funding, and other relevant information.

Project Period.
The total amount of time (sometimes several years) during which the Department authorizes a recipient to complete the approved work of the project described in the application; project periods of more than one year are divided into budget periods.

PR/Award Number.
The identifying number for a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement award, composed of seven parts (e.g., H029A31234-01C):
  1. Principal office designator (H)
  2. CFDA numeric suffix of the program (029)
  3. Alphabetic subprogram identifier (A)
  4. Last digit of the fiscal year of the competition (3)
  5. Unique application identifier (1234)
  6. Fiscal year of the funding (01)
  7. Sequential order of the most recent funding action in a Fiscal Year (C)
The first five parts remain the same throughout the life of the project period while the last two parts change by budget period.

Federal rules of general applicability that are authorized by federal laws or other federal authority and contained in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The official list of recommended applicants and award amounts in a discretionary grant or cooperative agreement competition.

Standard Form 424 or SF-424.
A standard grant application form, sometimes referred to as the application "cover page," used by the Department of Education and other federal agencies.

Source: What Should I Know About ED Grants? (1995)
U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC