OMB Seeks Public Input on Ideas for Federal Grants Reform

March 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

In an effort to address Administration priorities aimed at reducing administrative burden, improper payments, fraud, and abuse, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has worked with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) over the past year to convene meetings with federal and non-federal stakeholders to identify potential reforms to make the oversight of federal funds more effective and efficient. As a result, on February 28th, OMB published an advance notice of proposed guidance that outlines potential reform ideas for federal policies on cost principles and administrative requirements for grants and cooperative agreements.

The advance notice requests public input on the reform ideas outlined below as well as the idea of developing an integrated set of financial assistance guidelines that would be contained in a single circular and , and solicits any additional grants reform ideas that commenters would like OMB to consider.

Grants Reform Ideas

  • Reforms to Audit Requirements: Discusses changes to Circulars A-133 and A-50, including changes to the Single Audit threshold, streamlining the A-133 Compliance Supplement, and strengthening guidance on audit follow-up and resolution
  • Reforms to Cost Principles: Discusses changes to Circulars A-21, A-87, and A-133, including implementing a flat rate for indirect costs, exploring alternatives to time-and-effort reporting, expanding application of the utility cost adjustment, clarifying allocable administrative support as a direct cost, addressing allowable direct cost of computing devices, clarifying the threshold for allowable residual inventory, eliminating compliance requirements with no added value, and allowing for the budgeting of contingency funds
  • Reforms to Administrative Requirements: Discusses changes to Circular A-102, A-110, and A-89, including requiring pre-award consideration of each proposal’s merit and applicant’s financial risk, requiring agencies to provide 90-day notice of funding opportunities, and providing a standard format for announcements of funding opportunities

Comments on the reform ideas should be submitted by 5:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time March 29, 2012 through (!documentDetail;D=OMB_FRDOC_0001-0097). Public comments will assist in OMB’s consideration and development of specific grants-related reforms, which will be published for public comment later this year.

For information on the current grants-related OMB Circulars and other grants-related policies, visit


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