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Grants Glossary




Allowable Cost

A cost incurred by a grant recipient that is: (1) Necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award; (2) allocable; (3) in conformance with any limitations or exclusions set forth in the federal cost principles applicable to the organization incurring the cost or in the Notice of Award (NoA) as to the type or amount of cost; (4) consistent with regulations, policies, and procedures of the grant recipient that are applied uniformly to both federally supported and other activities of the organization; (5) accorded consistent treatment as a direct or indirect cost; (6) determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; (7) not included as a cost in any other federally supported award (unless specifically authorized by statute); and (8) adequately documented.

Assistance Listing Number (ALN)

The General Services Administration manages and administers a publicly available listing of Federal assistance programs referred to as assistance listings (formerly Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). An assistance listing number is a unique five-digit number assigned to identify a program within the assistance listings. The ALN is clearly identified in all award notices and is used for reporting, auditing, and tracking purposes.


A certification by an applicant, normally included with the application, indicating that the entity will abide by a particular requirement if awarded a federal grant.

Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)

The designated representative of the applicant or grant recipient organization with authority to act on the organization's behalf in matters related to the award and its administration. In signing a grant application, the AOR agrees that the organization will assume the obligations imposed by applicable federal statutes and regulations and other terms and conditions of the award, including any assurances, if a grant is awarded. These responsibilities include accountability both for the appropriate use of funds awarded and the performance of the grant-supported program or activities as specified in the approved application.


The provision of funds by SAMHSA, based on an approved application and budget or progress report, to an organizational entity to carry out a project or activity.

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Behavioral Health (BH)

The promotion of mental health, resilience, and well-being; the treatment of mental and substance use disorders; and the support of those who experience and/or are in recovery from these conditions, along with their families and communities.

Block Grant

A non-competitive, formula grant mandated by the U.S. Congress. Eligible entities must submit an annual application to demonstrate statutory and regulatory compliance in order to receive the formula-based funding. SAMHSA is responsible for two block grant programs: the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant (SUPTRS BG or SUBG) and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG).

Budget Period

The time interval from the start date of a funded portion of an award to the end date of that funded portion during which recipients are authorized to obligate the funds awarded, including any funds carried forward or other revisions. Budget periods usually are 12 months long; however, shorter or longer budget periods may be established for programmatic or administrative reasons. The Notice of Award (NoA) will show the total approved budget for the applicable budget period.

Business Official (BO)

An individual who has signature or other authority in the administration of a grant.

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The process by which an Unobligated Balance (UOB) of federal funds remaining at the end of any budget period may be carried forward to another budget period to cover allowable costs of that budget period. Carryover funds must be used for unmet project needs and to support the approved goals and objectives of the project. The intent of carryover is not to solely spend down the unobligated balance of funds.

Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)

CMHS leads federal efforts to promote the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)

The mission of CSAP is to improve behavioral health through evidence-based prevention approaches.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)

The mission of CSAT is to promote community-based substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services for individuals and families in every community.

Change in Scope

A change in scope occurs when a grant recipient proposes to change (or changes) the objectives, goals, or purposes identified in the approved application.


The process that takes place prior to and after the expiration or termination of the project period for a Federal award. During this process, SAMHSA determines whether all applicable administrative actions and work required under the award have been completed by the recipient.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

The codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.

Cognizant Agency for Indirect Costs

The Federal agency responsible for reviewing, negotiating, and approving cost allocation plans, or indirect cost proposals on behalf of all Federal agencies. The cognizant agency for indirect cost is not necessarily the same as the cognizant agency for audit.

Continuation Award

A continuation award continues the funding from one budget period into the next budget period for the same project.

Cooperative Agreement

An award is made as a cooperative agreement when SAMHSA expects to have substantial programmatic involvement in the oversight of the project.

Cost Principles

Cost principles establish the allowable costs of work performed by the non-Federal entity under Federal awards. These principles also must be used by the non-Federal entity as a guide in the pricing of fixed-price contracts and subcontracts where costs are used in determining the appropriate price. They provide general standards for the allowability of costs, provide detailed guidance on the cost accounting treatment of costs as direct or indirect costs, and set forth allowability principles for selected items of cost. Applicability of a particular set of cost principles depends on the type of organization making the expenditure.

Cost Sharing

The terms "cost sharing" and "matching" are often used interchangeably. "Cost sharing" refers to any situation in which the grant recipient shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching. "Matching" usually refers to a statutorily specified percentage, whether specified as a fixed or minimum percentage of non-federal participation in allowable project costs, which must be contributed by a grant recipient to be eligible for federal funding. If “Cost sharing” or “Matching” is required for a particular project the requirement would be listed in the NOFO.

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Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

The federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of Americans. SAMHSA is an agency within HHS.

Direct Costs

Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular final cost objective, such as a Federal award, or other internally or externally funded activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

Disallowed Costs

Charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or other terms and conditions of the award.

Discretionary awards

Awards for which SAMHSA exercises judgment (“discretion”) in selecting the recipient and the amount of the Federal funding awarded through a competitive process or based on merit of proposals.

Disparity Impact Statement (DIS)

A data-driven, quality improvement approach to advance equity for all. It is used to identify racial, ethnic, sexual and gender minority, and rural populations at the highest risk for experiencing behavioral health disparities.

Division of Grant Review (DGR)

The division within SAMHSA responsible for the managing the grant review process and selecting peer reviewers.

Division of Grants Management (DGM)

The division within SAMHSA responsible for all business management matters associated with the review, negotiation, award, and administration of grants. It also ensures that recipients comply with federal laws and policies.

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The individual responsible for the administration and management of grant activities in their organization. E-Biz POCs authorize representatives of their organization to submit grant applications through

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)

An approach to prevention, treatment, or recovery that is supported by research evidence.

eRA Commons

An online data platform managed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that allows applicants, award recipients, and federal staff to securely share, manage, and process award-related information.

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Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC)

The clearinghouse designated by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the repository of record where non-Federal entities are required to transmit the reporting packages required by 45 CFR Part 75 subpart F.

Federal Financial Report (FFR)

A statement of expenditures associated with an award. Recipients of federal funds are required to report these expenditures for each budget period on Standard Form 425 (SF-425).

Federalwide Assurance (FWA)

A document that must be filed by applicants proposing to involve human subjects in nonexempt research. The document must be filed (or have previously been filed) with the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) in HHS. The OHRP provides leadership in the protection of the rights, welfare, and well-being of subjects involved in research conducted or supported by HHS.

Financial Capability Review (FCR)

A review conducted by SAMHSA’s Office of Financial Advisory Services on new or prospective recipients to determine if they have financial management systems that conform to required federal standards.

Fiscal Year (FY)

The annual period established for government accounting purposes. The Federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. For example: FY 2024 started on October 1, 2023 and ends on September 30, 2024.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

A unit of measurement that indicates the workload of an employee in a way that makes workloads comparable across various contexts. An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to a full-time employee.

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Government Performance and Results Modernization Act (GPRA)

The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 updated some aspects of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, which established strategic planning, performance planning, and reporting performance as ways for federal agencies to communicate progress in achieving their missions.

Government Project Officer (GPO)

The SAMHSA official responsible for the programmatic, scientific, and/or technical aspects of assigned applications and awards. The GPO works in partnership with the GMS, including the review of progress reports, participation in site visits, and other responsibilities complementary to those of the GMS.


A grant or award is a financial assistance support mechanism providing money, property (or other direct assistance in lieu of money), or both, to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity that supports a public purpose. A grant is used whenever SAMHSA anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the grant recipient during the performance of the financially assisted activities.

Grants Management Officer (GMO)

The SAMHSA official who signs the Notice of Award (NoA). The GMO is responsible for the business management and other non-programmatic aspects of the award. The GMO ensures that both SAMHSA and recipient staff members fulfill the requirements of all laws, regulations, and administrative policies.

Grants Management Specialist (GMS)

The GMS works with the Grants Management Officer (GMO) on the day-to-day management of the award. The GMS is responsible for all business and financial management matters relating to the review, negotiation, award, and administration of awards. In addition, the GMS interprets and enforces grants administration policies and provisions. is a website that allows organizations to search and apply for federal funding opportunities. Federal funding opportunities published on are for organizations and entities supporting the development and management of government-funded programs and projects.

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Indirect Costs

Costs incurred by a grant recipient for common or joint objectives that cannot be easily identified with a specific project. These costs are also known as "facilities and administration” costs.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

An IRB reviews research studies to ensure that they comply with applicable regulations, meet commonly accepted ethical standards, follow institutional policies, and adequately protect research participants.

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Key Personnel

Key personnel include the Project Director and other individuals who contribute to the programmatic development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries under an award. The key personnel requirements are described in the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the program.

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Letter of Commitment (LOC)

A letter which outlines the involvement of a partner in a project and identifies the specific contributions they will make to ensure the project’s success.

Level of Effort (LOE)

The amount of work required to support a project’s activities. For example, a NOFO may indicate that a Project Director must have a Level of Effort of 1.0 FTE (full-time).

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The terms "matching" and "cost sharing" are often used interchangeably. "Matching" usually refers to a statutorily specified percentage, whether specified as a fixed or minimum percentage of non-federal participation in allowable project costs, which must be contributed by a grant recipient to be eligible for federal funding. "Cost sharing" refers to any situation in which the grant recipient shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching. If “Matching” or Cost sharing” is required for a particular program, the requirement would be listed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG)

The MHBG program makes funds available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and six Pacific jurisdictions to provide community mental health services.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

An agreement between two or more parties to collaborate on a project. It is a non-binding document that outlines the general terms and understanding of the collaborative relationship.

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National Advisory Council (NAC)

The NAC for each of the SAMHSA Centers (CSAP, CMHS, or CSAT) conducts a second level of review for grant projects that exceed a threshold of $250,000. The NAC does not review individual applications but votes (usually as a group) to agree or not with the peer review results.

National Outcome Measures (NOMs)

SAMHSA's NOMs are an effort to develop a reporting system that creates an accurate and current national picture of substance misuse and mental health services. The NOMs serve as performance targets for states and federally funded programs for substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion, early intervention, and treatment services.

Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA)

A formal written agreement to reflect the negotiated rate(s) between the cognizant Federal agency and recipient organization.

Non-Discretionary Award

An award made by the Federal awarding agency to specific recipients in accordance with statutory, eligibility, and compliance requirements, such that in keeping with specific statutory authority the agency has no ability to exercise judgement (“discretion”). SAMHSA’s block grants are non-discretionary awards.

Notice of Award (NoA)

The official, legally binding document, signed by the Grants Management Officer (GMO). It notifies the grant recipient of the award of a grant; contains or references all the terms and conditions of the award and federal funding limits and obligations; and provides the documentary basis for recording the financial and programmatic obligations.

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

An announcement of a funding opportunity which is posted on the SAMHSA website and on

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An objective is what is to be accomplished during a specific project period to move toward achievement of a goal. Objectives should be expressed in specific, measurable terms. For example: By October 30, 2023, decrease the percentage of alcohol sales to minors by 10% as measured by the rate of failed compliance checks (currently 25%).

Office of Financial Resources (OFR)

The office within SAMHSA develops and implements the policies and programs of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.

Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

The HHS office that monitors information concerning fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement under grants and cooperative agreements.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

OMB serves the President of the United States in overseeing the implementation of his or her vision across the Executive Branch. Its mission is to assist the President in meeting policy, budget, management, and regulatory objectives and to fulfill the agency’s statutory responsibilities.

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Payment Management Services (PMS)

A centralized grants payment and cash management system operated by the Program Support Center (PSC) within HHS.

Population of Focus (POF)

The specific group of individuals that you will provide services or training to during the course of the grant project.

Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD)

The individual, designated by the grant recipient, who is responsible for the scientific, technical, or programmatic aspects of the award and for day-to-day management of the project. The PI/PD is usually an employee of the grant recipient.

Prior Approval

A Grants Management Officer's (GMO) written consent or issuance of an award in response to a written request from a grant recipient to incur a specific direct cost or other action that requires such approval.

Project Period

The total time SAMHSA has programmatically approved a federal project for federal support. This does not constitute a commitment by the federal government to fund the entire project period. Each budget period within the project period is subject to the availability of funds and satisfactory progress of the project.

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The recipient, previously known as “grantee”, is the organization awarded a grant or cooperative agreement by SAMHSA. The recipient is legally responsible and accountable to SAMHSA for the performance and financial aspects of grant-supported projects or activities. The term recipient does not include sub-recipients or individuals that are beneficiaries of the award.

Risk Assessment

An assessment conducted by SAMHSA’s Office of Financial Advisory Services in evaluating risks posed by new or prospective recipients to determine if they have financial management systems that conform to required federal standards.

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System for Award Management (SAM)

The official U.S. government system that aids in managing the federal awards process. Information must be updated every 12 months for an organization's account to remain active.

SAMHSA’s Performance Accountability and Reporting System (SPARS)

An online data entry, reporting, technical assistance request, and training system to support recipients in reporting timely and accurate data to SAMHSA.


Financial assistance in the form of money (or property in lieu of money) provided under an award by a grant recipient to an eligible sub-recipient.


An entity that receives a sub-award from a grant recipient or another sub-recipient under an award of financial assistance. The sub-recipient is accountable to the grant recipient or other sub-recipient for the use of the federal funds provided by the sub-award.

Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Block Grant (SUPTRS BG or SUBG)

The SUPTRS BG (or SUBG) program provides funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, three Pacific jurisdictions, and one tribal entity to prevent and treat substance use.

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Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)

A unique number assigned to all entities (public and private companies, individuals, institutions, or organizations) who register to do business with the federal government. The UEI is assigned by

Unobligated Balance (UOB)

The portion of funds authorized by SAMHSA that has not been obligated by the grant recipient.

Unallowable Cost

An unallowable cost is specified by law or regulation, federal cost principles, or a term and condition of an award that may not be reimbursed under an award or cooperative agreement.

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Web Block Grant Application System (WebBGAS)

An online portal used by state mental and substance use disorder agencies to electronically submit block grant applications and reports.

Last Updated
Last Updated: 04/16/2024
Last Updated