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Application Checklist for Section 1115 Grants

Published: July 12, 2011


  • Are you eligible to apply for a grant? Note that 1115 grants are open only to state or tribal IV-D agencies or their umbrella agencies.
  • Read the OCSE grant announcements carefully to determine if your proposed project is a good fit with the current year’s funding priorities. Information about grants and grant opportunities can be found on the OCSE Grants page.
  • Projects funded by OCSE must be designed to contribute to improvements in some aspect of child support administration.
  • To find grant opportunities, learn how to apply and track your application, register with http://www.grants.gov. Early registration may take more than a week.
  • Improve your grant proposal writing skills. There are many places to turn for advice: local junior or community colleges, community resources, on-line resources, and university websites.
  • Involve stakeholders, evaluators, and project partners at the beginning of the application process to ensure their roles and responsibilities will be fully and accurately represented. Early involvement helps to ensure buy-in and a smooth start-up if you are awarded a grant.
  • Review state or tribal agency procurement laws and human resources hiring guidelines to ensure project feasibility.
  • Consider assigning an experienced project manager to oversee the complete process. The process is more complicated than it may seem and a seasoned manager can prevent and overcome problems quickly.


  • Read the OCSE grant announcement closely. Create your own application checklist to ensure that all of the requested criteria are addressed in your application.
  • Before you begin writing, plan the project fully. Consider the project intervention strategy and its intended impact. Get a clear idea of the project’s objectives, goals, and activities.
  • Review and re-review your recruitment and retention strategies, and address them in the proposal. The success or failure of a project often hinges on the methods used to engage participants.
  • If an Institutional Review Board (IRB) will need to approve the evaluation, build in time for their review.
  • Develop a project timeline that addresses all steps of project implementation and evaluation.


  • Your application will be reviewed and rated by independent reviewers who are not familiar with your organization or your project. When writing the application, keep the reader in mind. Make sure that language is clear and understandable and the application flows logically (maintaining the order criteria). Consider asking another colleague to critique it.
  • When citing research or statistics, include a reference to the source and the year of publication. Use current data when it is available.


  • Include all other supporting documents, e.g. staff résumés.
  • Include letters of commitment from all project partners, including state and local government agencies, and community and faith-based organizations.


  • Section 1115 grant awards are eligible for FFP match. Both the 1115 award and associated FFP match must be allocated to the approved grant project. Your budget and narrative should include and justify the total of requested Section 1115 funding and the matching FFP funds.
  • Complete your forms accurately. You only need to detail the Section 1115 grant request on the SF-424 and SF-424A, even though your full budget and budget narrative should include totals and descriptions including FFP.
  • Be sure you do not exceed the Section 1115 project funding ceiling or your application will be rejected. The Funding Opportunity Announcement lists the funding ceiling for each program.
  • Consider the project’s cost-effectiveness in relation to project activities such as number of participants to be served and outcomes or results to be achieved.


  • Be sure to meet the application deadline to ensure timely receipt. A late application will be rejected. Electronic submissions can be timely, so start early.
  • Communicate with your stakeholders and partners during the waiting period to help enable a quick start if your application is awarded a grant.


  • Keep a log of ideas for projects you would like to try. Then match them to future grant opportunities.
Last Reviewed: March 18, 2020

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