Grants - Frequently Asked Questions


How can I contact the Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects?
Contact Leslie Paige  at 785- 628-4349 or  lpaige@fhsu.edu. A voice mail or email message may be left for her at any time.

Where is the Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects?
The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects is located within the Graduate School, Picken Hall 306 D.

Will someone be able to help me once I get there?
Feel free to schedule an appointment and we will be happy to assist you.

I am thinking of writing a grant. How soon should I contact the Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects?
As soon as possible! Large proposals, or those involving significant institutional commitments of time, equipment, matching funds and/or personnel will require more lead time for review and approval. Even if we are not heavily involved in the proposal development, we may need to adjust schedules to be available WHEN you need specific services (such as submission, editing or review). Please consider that staff time may already be committed to other faculty members.

Do I need to contact the Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects before sending in a white paper, letter of intent, or similar inquiry?
Yes!  There are several reasons for this.  Some funders only allow one submission per organization.  Additionally, donor clearance my be required prior to contacting certain funding organizations.

Do you have information on proposal writing?
Yes-we can provide support in various ways, including print or electronic references, and 1:1 or group consultations.

Are there sample proposals available?
The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects maintains files of grant proposals. Current and past requests for proposals and information about funders are maintained on file.  We can also secure copies of funded proposals from the Grant Resource Center.

Can you help me locate grants?
The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects actively seeks information regarding potential funding sources. Several online grant database subscription services are available for faculty and staff.  Please contact Leslie Paige for information. 

How about help in writing or reviewing my proposal?
Please contact us as early as possible! We are here to assist faculty and staff.

Can someone help me with federal grant forms?
The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects can assist. Federal grants will need to be submitted by us. 

How do I find information about fringe benefits or travel rates for my grant budget?
The  Quick Reference Guide provides information. You may also contact the Personnel Office with specific salary questions.

What is an indirect cost rate?
Indirect cost rates are an agreement between the university and the federal government. Indirect rates are sometimes called administrative or facilities and administrative cost rates. Indirect rates are calculated as a set percentage of the salary plus fringe. This rate is 42% for on campus activities, and 21% if off campus. Some funders will allow a certain percentage of direct costs (for example, 8% of direct costs may be used to calculate the indirect costs), but this amount can NOT exceed 42% of salary and fringe.  If there are no payroll costs, we cannot request indirect expenses.

What is the difference between an indirect and direct cost?
Typical direct costs include salaries, fringe benefits, equipment and supply purchases, travel, consultant fees, etc. Direct costs are easy to track. Indirect costs are difficult to account for, and include the use of the facility, office space, heat, lighting, custodial services, business office time associated with grant bookkeeping, etc. Funders will frequently (but not always) allow a grantee to include these in the budget as an indirect cost.

Who needs to approve a proposal?
Principal Investigator/Project Director, Chair, Dean, Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects, Grant Accountant and Provost or Vice President for Administration and Finance. Please allow sufficient time for the proposal approval process. No grants may be submitted until internal approval has been provided.  Complete an approval form and send it to Leslie Paige with a final budget.

Who needs to sign a proposal?
The Authorized Organization Representative or signing official is typically the Vice President for Administration and Finance  or Provost. Sometimes the President's signature is required. The grant guidelines usually indicate the appropriate official.

How much paperwork is involved in the grant process?
In general, foundations have fewer application and reporting requirements than the federal government. Some large foundations have increased the amount of required paperwork, and are more interested in documentation of outcomes and activities. More foundations require electronic submissions than before. Small foundations have fewer staff and may prefer a letter rather than a full proposal. Federal grants typically involve more paperwork in applying, management, and reporting. The grants office can assist with the preparation of grant paperwork. Remember, all internal approvals must be secured prior to submission of a grant!

I want to write a National Science Foundation Grant. How do I register for FastLane?
All National Science Foundation (NSF) grants must be uploaded electronically using FastLane. Registration is easy. Contact us for the registration form.  The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects is responsible for the final submission.

How do I submit a grant through Grants.gov, NSPIRES, NIH, e-grants, or other federal websites?
All grants must be approved prior to submission. Federal grants using electronic submission processes require specific permissions from the Authorized Organizational Representative.  Many federal agencies require principal investigators to register prior to submission.  The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects is responsible for the final submission.  Contact us for assistance with the registration process.

Who funds grants?
The major sources of grant funds include:
Federal
State
Private Foundations
Corporate giving

How do I find out about federal grants?
Grants.gov is a one-stop shop for federal grant announcements, applications, and reporting. However, because announcements may occur 4-8 weeks prior to a deadline, it is more proactive to go to the agency websites to learn what will be funded in the future. Other federal sites to become familiar with include NSF, NIH, NEA, and NEH. The Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects can also assist with federal grant seeking. Be sure to check the InfoEd website.

I want to submit a proposal to a private foundation. What do I need to do?
Please read the Grant vs Gift policy document. If the proposal meets the criteria for a grant or agreement, contact us. If it is a gift, please contact  the FHSU Foundation.  

What is a foundation? Is it the same thing as a charity?
A foundation is a nonprofit corporation or a charitable trust, with the purpose of making grants to unrelated organizations or institutions or to individuals for scientific, educational, cultural, religious, or other charitable purposes.

What is the difference between private and public foundations?
Most funds for private foundations come from one source, such as a family, individual, or a corporation. Private foundations must pay out at least five percent of their value of their investment assets.
A public foundation receives its assets from multiple sources, such as individuals, private foundations, government agencies, and fees for service. In order to keep its status as a public foundation, they must continue to receive money from multiple sources.

Some foundations state that they will only fund 501(c)(3) or 170(b)(1)A organizations. Huh?
Nonprofit organizations must obtain recognition as a charitable organization from the IRS in order for contributions to it to be tax deductible. Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code covers organizations that are exempt from federal income tax, and for religious, charitable, scientific, public safety, literary, or educational purposes. An organization that meets the definition of IRS Section 501(c)(3) is a private foundation. The FHSU Foundation is in this category.
Organizations described as a 170(b)(1)A include churches, schools, colleges, etc.; hospitals, medical research institutes, etc.; support organizations to public colleges or universities; certain governmental units; and publicly supported organizations. FHSU is in this category.

What are 990-PFs?
The Internal Revenue Code requires all private foundations to file IRS Form 990 PF, which is made publicly available. This form shares valuable information about finances, board members, and grants. Form 990 PFs are posted on the Foundation Center website. The grants office also uses this information in a funding search.

How much time does it take to get a grant?
That depends. Some private foundations have monthly meetings to discuss applications; others may meet quarterly or annually. Many private and corporate foundations have specific guidelines regarding deadlines and grant making cycles. Decisions about federal grants may take 4–6 months or longer, depending on the number of applications and the federal agency.

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