GRANT DEVELOPMENT PROCEDURE
Section I: Grant Research Process
- The grant research process will be used to help support projects within the college that result from activities which are generated by compliance to the college strategic plan. The Grants Administrator will research opportunities for funding, critique potential funding sources, review guidelines, review/critique any applicable requests for grant proposals, and make recommendations concerning potential funding. Grant research will be an ongoing activity conducted primarily by the Grants Administrator, but may include any member of the college staff and faculty.
- Within the first month of the new Calendar Year, the Grants Administrator will compile a list of upcoming grants with summaries that are typically posted annually. The VP of Resource Development will request a grant review on the Cabinet agenda and the Grants Administrator will facilitate Cabinet discussion of the available known grants. The Cabinet will then decide which of the listed grants will be pursued for the upcoming year.
- During the year, when the Grants Administrator identifies available funding deemed appropriate for the college and in compliance with the strategic plan, he/she will review the funding guidelines to determine needed staff and resources.
- When a member of the faculty or staff elects to pursue available funding and submission of a new grant proposal, a discussion should occur between the person seeking the grant funds and supervisor(s) to discuss the merit of the project concept and to determine the need for grant funds to implement or enhance the project concept. If the project is viable, the project concept and any applicable deadlines should be submitted to the Grants Administrator. Submit the project using the Project Funding Request Form.
Section II: Determination Process
- When the grant and/or partnership is under $25,000, and the person submitting the project request has discussed the grant with the Grants Administrator and their supervisor, the individual may proceed with the grant application. The Grants Administrator will still provide a timeline and function as their interim and final phase editor. Should the grant timeline fall behind to the extent that the quality of the proposal or ability of executive staff to review and sign the proposal is compromised, the Grants Administrator will notify the Department Director or Division Dean.
- When the grant request and/or partnership is $25,000 or over, and requires financial reporting, the grant notice of funding (NOFA) will be included in a grant review process facilitated by the Grants Administrator. When a potential funding source is identified, either by the Grants Administrator or another employee of the College, the Grants Administrator will schedule a meeting consisting of the Vice-President of the division under which the funding project would occur, and other appropriately identified stakeholders who will review the funding criteria and make recommendations. At that time, if there is interest in pursuing the funding and a project is chosen that supports the college strategic plan, a Project Coordinator will be assigned. If the grant is identified by someone other than the Grants Administrator, a completed Project Funding Request Form (see copy attached) should be submitted to the Office of Grants Management by the person wanting to pursue the grant.
- When a feasible project has been identified and a Project Coordinator appointed, the Grants Administrator will complete a New Grant Summary form which will be submitted to the Cabinet for review.
- The Cabinet will review the New Grant Summary, Project Funding Request Form and any recommendations by the stakeholders, and may utilize the Grant Decision-Making Worksheet to determine if a grant application should be submitted. Approval to pursue the grant will require the signatures of the Project Coordinator, the Project Coordinator’s supervisor, the Division VP, the VP of Resource Development, VP of IERPA., VP of Business and Finance and the President on the Grant-Contract Approval Sheet.
- Upon approval to apply for the funding, the Grants Administrator will schedule a meeting with the assigned Project Coordinator and all other personnel who would have involvement in the grant project. A Project Team will be chosen consisting of a few people most closely associated with the project. The Project Coordinator and Project Team will be responsible for completing the grant application with the guidance and assistance of the Grants Administrator
- The Project Team will secure partnerships and acquire partnerships as early as possible with approval of their supervisor.
- If another organization asks that the college partner with them on a grant, the staff or faculty member who is contacted by the organization should send any documentation or information to the Department Head or Dean and the Grants Administrator. The Department Head/Dean will be responsible for making sure all information pertinent to any partnering on a grant is received by the Grants Administrator prior to a partnering agreement. The Grants Administrator will contact the organization for any additional needed information if required, and then circulate the information to the Cabinet members. When the Cabinet has reviewed the information and the college President approves the partnership, the Grants Administrator will inform the Department Head or Dean. No grant partnership will be pursued without the President’s prior approval. Once the partnership is approved, the grant will come under the same requirements as a grant that is being developed by the college.
- All letters of support provided to outside organizations that commit college staff time or resources must be approved by the VP of the division who is making the commitment to offer support and the President, regardless of who authors the letter. All letters of support that are provided to another organization for purposes of participating in a grant funded project must be copied to the Grants Administrator and the appropriate parties.
Section III: Proposal Development Process
- The grant writing process should begin as soon as approval is received from Cabinet. Grants under $25,000 and not requiring a budget and/or evaluation may be written by the Project Coordinator. For grants requiring specific goals, outcome measures, budgeting, and other more complicated pieces, the Project Coordinator and Project Team will meet regularly to complete the application. The Project Team will include any external partners who will be involved in the execution of the grant and have the required expertise to help ensure a well-developed grant application. For grant projects involving course development and academic programs, faculty will follow the College’s process for course development and academic programs. The Project Coordinator will be responsible for the completion of the grant application, with assistance from the Grants Administrator.
- AS THE FIRST STEP, the Grants Administrator will convene the Project Team and distribute a copy of the Grant Development Procedures to the Project Team. The Grants Administrator will also distribute a TIMELINE outlining an application submission plan with designated assignments for the Project Team. The team will first develop a preliminary project outline and corresponding budget listing the needs for the funded project.
- Once the budget draft has been completed, the Grants Administrator will schedule a meeting including the VP of Business and Finance, AVP of Business and Finance, accountants responsible for grants, and all other personnel whose department will be affected financially either directly or with required in-kind or matching funds. The budget will be thoroughly discussed for feasibility and questions before any further time is committed to the grant project. The VP of Business and Finance will then approve further development of the grant application.
- After the budget has been approved by the VP of Business and Finance, the Project Team will begin developing the full proposal. The grant proposal draft will be written by the Project Coordinator and other members of the Project Team, with ongoing assistance from the Grants Administrator. Once the proposal draft is completed, the Grants Administrator will review and edit.
- The Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator will consult with appropriate college departments and divisions who will be affected by the grant project, such as Human Resources for salary and benefit information; Institutional Effectiveness, Research, Planning and Assessment for data, survey instruments, statistics, etc.; IT for software and computer equipment requirements, Plant Operations for physical facility needs, and so on. All parties affected by the grant proposal will be notified by a phone call or email of the intent to enlist their services or expertise for the grant project and will be consulted in the development of the application.
- The Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator will finalize the funding budget.
- A copy of the completed grant application and forms will be distributed electronically and simultaneously, by the Grants Administrator, for review to the Project Coordinator’s supervisor, Division Vice-President, and Vice President of Business and Finance. This should be done 3 days prior to the grant deadline. When the electronic version has been approved by each party via email, the approving emails will be forwarded to the President and the original completed grant proposal and forms will be submitted by the Grants Administrator to each party whose signature is required by the funder’s grant guidelines (or RFP.) The Grants Administrator will then submit the original completed application to the President for a final signature.
- If the grant proposal involves a collaborative or consortia project in which VSCC is the lead applicant, the Grants Administrator and/or the Project Coordinator will develop a Memorandum of Understanding compliant with the grant guidelines and consult with the Purchasing Director for review. The Grants Administrator and/or Project Coordinator will ensure that the MOU and any letters of commitment/support are signed prior to submission of the grant proposal.
- The College President will approve ANY and ALL requests for funding that commit College resources, including staff time, facilities, on-campus activities, etc. regardless of the funding amount or lead applicant. The College President will also approve all Letters of Support or MOU’s requested by another entity that commits any college resources. College resources include staff or faculty time. If you intend to spend time on a grant during working hours, there must be prior approval.
- The Grants Administrator will duplicate the required number of copies and package for shipping or will submit electronically. All original files regarding newly submitted grants, continuation, pending, funded and non-funded grants will be maintained by the Grants Administrator.
Section IV: Grant Award Notification Process
- To ensure consistency in the receipt of grant award notification letters, contracts and grant checks, all information should be coordinated by, and all records maintained by, the Grants Administrator. The President’s Office or Project Coordinator will contact the Grants Administrator concerning receipt of an incoming grant award notification and will forward the letter/contract to the Grants Administrator.
- The grant contract will be reviewed by the Purchasing Department Director prior to signature. The Grants Administrator will notify all parties involved with the funded project, will ensure that the grant award contract is signed by the President or designee, and will copy the signed document and return original contract to the funding agency.
- Upon receipt of a fully executed copy of the grant agreement or contract, the Grants Administrator will distribute copies as follows:
- When Volunteer State is the single applicant, copies will be distributed to:
- Vice-President over division involved in grant
- Vice-President for Business and Finance.
- Dean, Director, and/or AVP over the department involved in grant
- Grant Accountant
- Project Coordinator
- When Volunteer State is the lead applicant, copies will be distributed to:
- Same as 1. above
- Project Coordinator(s) at partnering entity(s)
- Fiscal agent(s) at partnering entity(s)
- Grant Manager(s) at partnering entity(s) if applicable
- When Volunteer State is a partnering institution, copies will be distributed to:
- Vice-President over division involved in grant, and Vice-President over Business and Finance
- Dean, Director, and/or AVP over department involved in grant
- Grant Accountant
- Project Coordinator or Coordinator
- Designated contact for Lead Applicant
- When Volunteer State is the single applicant, copies will be distributed to:
- The Grants Administrator will contact the Public Relations Department to generate media distribution of the grant award notice. Funding entity requirements, if applicable, will be followed regarding signage and verbiage in any media distribution document or notice. (The Grants Administrator will post information regarding any award on the grant webpage when the page becomes available.)
GRANT ADMINISTRATION PROCEDURE
This plan describes steps for the administration of awarded grants and management of projects supported by external grant funding. The plan will be updated as necessary to achieve best practices in implementing and managing successful grant projects.
Section I: Post Award Administration Process
The Grants Administrator will schedule a meeting of the Project Team and others responsible for the project to review the grant contract, Scope of Service, Goals, Budget, Reporting Requirements, Project Timeline and Sustainability Planning, if required. This meeting will also include any representative partners.
- To ensure consistency in the administration and reporting requirements for awarded funds and contracts, the Grants Office will coordinate with the Business Office and the Project Coordinator to ensure that goals are achieved and filing requirements met. The Business Office will establish general ledger accounts and a process for receiving and expending funds based on the grant agencies’ methods of disbursement and accounting requirements. The Project Coordinator will work with the Business Office to reconcile expenditures with accounting records.
Section II: Maintain One Document Location for Original Copies
- All originals of the grant award letters or contracts, and the required grant progress reports will be filed with the Grants Office. The Grants Administrator will ensure that all appropriate documents are saved in an electronic format. Project Coordinators and the Business Office will electronically file all related emails. The Grants Administrator will scan all contract documents, officially signed documents, the complete grant submission, reports, and financial information and save to the appropriate grant file if not already available electronically.
- The Grants Administrator will send a copy of all completed contracts and the final approved budget to the appropriate personnel in Finance and Business Office.
- The Grants Administrator will create a calendar of reports and benchmarks and disseminate to the Project Coordinator, the Vice-President of the grant area, the VP of Resource Development and the Business Office. The master calendar will be maintained in the Grants Office.
Section III: Keep Current with Project Reports
- The Grants Administrator will monitor the submission of all program reports and will assist, with the completion and submission of Progress and Final Reports. The Project Coordinator will ensure that all grant reporting requirements are prepared and submitted timely and will request assistance from the Grants Administrator if needed.
- The Project Coordinator will prepare all required narrative reports and financial reporting. Financial reporting will be coordinated with the Business Office to ensure accuracy and timeliness of reporting. The Project Coordinator, upon completion of all required reporting, will provide signature approval and submit to the Grants Administrator for review and monitoring. All financial reporting will be reviewed and require signed approval by the VP or AVP of Business and Finance prior to submission to the funding entity.
- The Project Coordinator will maintain a log of project benchmarks and goals achieved, barriers encountered, and numbers served so that information is available for reporting. The Project Coordinator will adhere to all grant proposal timelines and will maintain regular and documented contact with all partnering agencies or sub-grantees. If funds are allocated to sub-grantees, the Project Coordinator will monitor the sub-grantees expenditures to ensure they are current with the specified grant timeline. If sub-grantees are required to submit invoices, they must be submitted with all necessary forms and contact information. The Project Coordinator will contact sub-grantees two weeks prior to an invoice being due.
- The Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator will review the guidelines/contract to make sure each goal, objective, and activity specified in the proposal is addressed in all required reporting. If there are unanticipated changes, or goals are not fully attained, the Project Coordinator will provide justification for the changes or exceptions to the grant plan.
- The Business Office has established procedures for creating general ledger funds and the process for receiving and expending funds. The Grant Accountant will establish a conversion spreadsheet to reconcile the general ledger expenses to the Grant expense categories. The Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator will work with the Business Office to reconcile expenditures with accounting records. All purchases and personal service contracts will comply with institutional policies.
- Fiscal reports will require the approval and signature of the Project Coordinator after reconciling with the Grant Accountant. It is essential that the Project Coordinator
- Review and approve fiscal reports prepared by the Grant Accountant on the funding agency’s reporting forms when provided.
- Allow extra time when compiling and writing reports. Expenditures should be monitored throughout the grant cycle to facilitate efficient reporting.
- Reconcile expenditures to the scope of the grant project to ensure that funds are being spent to accomplish what is set forth in the grant narrative and according to the grant timeline, if applicable.
- Obtain training in the use of Self Service Banner (or the current software package) to be able to constantly monitor online the grant expenditures. Then these expenditures will be input into the billing/financial reports prepared by the Grants Accountant and reconciled with the Project Coordinator to ensure the timely filing of the reports.
- Final fiscal reports may require completion of an Equipment/Software/Sensitive Item Inventory Form. The Business Office will be contacted at least five days in advance or any reporting due dates to obtain the Fixed Asset Inventory Report for each grant project. Fixed Assets purchased with federal grant funds must be kept permanently and can only be disposed or sold per the federal guidelines.
Section IV: Sustainability Planning
Most grant projects require a Sustainability Plan written at the time of application for funding. The Grants Administrator will schedule a Sustainability Planning meeting, at the minimum, half-way through the grant cycle. The meeting must include the Project Coordinator, VP of the Division under which the grant project falls, the VP of Business and Finance, Grant Director and Grant Accountant. The meeting may include other personnel as required. The outcome of the meeting should produce a successful plan to transition the grant funded project to be supported financially by the College for those activities required by the funder to be maintained beyond the funding cycle.
Section V: Conduct Interim Grant Management Conferences
A Grant Management Conference will be held quarterly to discuss and review grant progress, upcoming reports, and closeout procedures. The Grants Administrator will call the meeting and will determine the appropriate personnel to attend but at a minimum the Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator will meet. The Grant Accountant will be included if financial plans are being discussed.
Section VI: Close out the project and prepare for an Audit
- For all awards, unless otherwise specified by the funding agency, expenditures must be completed within the time frame of the grant project. The Education Department General Administration Regulations (EDGAR) Section 80.23 (b) stipulates that all funds must be obligated (encumbered and delivered) by June 30, 20xx and liquidated (paid) by September 30, 20xx, for a grant project that operates between July 1 and June 30. For other requirements, consult your grant project contract.
- Closing out the project involves making sure that all grant requirements described in the contract have been met. Three months prior to the project grant end date, the Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator will review progress on the project to ensure that all contracted activities are being conducted, and that project goals and objectives have been addressed By the conclusion of the grant, the Project Coordinator will ensure that
- All supply, material, and equipment purchases are completed (received, installed, and paid for);
- All project staff effort is documented and all staff are paid;
- Any consultant hired by the grant has submitted invoicing and has been paid;
- Formal project evaluation is completed;
- Institutional match and in-kind contributions are completed and documented;
- Final Fiscal report is completed.
- Fixed Asset and Sensitive Items Inventory is completed and verified by the Project Coordinator;
- Plans for any equipment disposal (sale, donation, return, etc.) have been finalized and executed.
- All program reports are completed and reviewed/approved at appropriate levels.
- The project log is up to date.
Section VII: Conduct a Close-out Conference
A close-out conference will be scheduled by the Grants Administrator to review project accomplishments, identify ways to strengthen the grants management process, and initiate next-steps for project continuation. Specifically, the conference attendees will:
- Review accomplishments and benefits of the project
- Review and finalize any remaining outstanding issues
- Ensure availability of materials and resources for an audit,
- Determine next-steps for institutionalizing effective project elements or for continuing the project.
Section VIII: Information Dissemination
All guidelines provided by the funder for information dissemination will be followed by the Project Coordinator and Grants Administrator.
Section IX: Document Retention
- Unless otherwise specified by the funding agency, the Grants Office will maintain both an original hard copy and an electronic copy during the cycle of the grant. At the close of the grant, the Grants Office will move all hard copies of the grant to a closed file folder which will be maintained in compliance with the grantor’s requirements and the institution’s records and retention policy, which is currently five years, in a designated storage area. Hardcopy and electronic files for awarded grants will be maintained for five years after the grant’s closing date, according to campus and state policy:
SW21: Grants – This RDA may apply to any Grant Files no covered by a specific RDA. Files included in this record series may include any documents pertaining to grants, such as applications, Contracts, Invoices, Asset Documentation, Monitoring Documentation, Evaluations, Photographs, Reports, Close-out Documentation and Correspondence.
At the end of the retention period, the grant documents will be appropriately destroyed.
- The Grants Office will maintain electronic copies of non-awarded or unrequited grant submissions for two years in order to reference material or to be revised and resubmitted at a later time or for another funding opportunity.
Section X: Reapplication
- If the grant is a multi-year grant which requires reapplication, or the program is eligible for reapplication with the funder, the Grants Administrator will inform the Project Coordinator when it is time to begin the re-application process.
- For multi-year grants that require annual reapplication, the Grants Administrator will assist the Project Coordinator in following the guidelines for application provided by the funder.
- For grants that are eligible for an additional round of funding but require the college to apply with a new application, the institution’s grant development procedures will be followed.