FAQs on the ACF Application Process

Q 1. Is it possible to read the application(s) of organizations that have been successfully awarded funding from an ACF program office?

Q 2. What is the procedure for filing a FOIA request to obtain a copy of a successful, awarded application?

Q 3. Does ACF provide technical assistance (TA) in the development of applications?

Q 4. Who should I contact with questions regarding the Funding Opportunity Announcement?

Q 5. Under what circumstances can an applicant receive an exemption/waiver from electronic application submission?

Q 6.  In the event that an applicant experiences difficulty submitting their application to Grants.gov, what action should be pursued?

Q 7. Can my Congressman/Senator submit a letter of support?

Q 8. Can you please explain the two-file requirement?


Q 1. Is it possible to read the application(s) of organizations that have been successfully awarded funding from an ACF program office?

A 1. Yes. Applications funded by federal grant programs are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and are frequently requested under the FOIA.

ACF has posted some examples of successful applications funded by ACF programs in its online FOIA Reading Room. Prospective applicants may want to check periodically to see what information is available there. In the meantime, you may obtain applications by filing a FOIA request.

Q 2. What is the procedure for filing a FOIA request to obtain a copy of a successful, awarded application?

A 2. FOIA requests may be submitted online. For a listing of prior year ACF applications and more information.

Please note that there may be a charge associated with your request. The charge depends on several factors, which are discussed in HHS regulations at 45 CFR § 5.41-5.45.

For additional information regarding the FOIA process, please visit the ACF Freedom of Information Act.

Q 3. Does ACF provide technical assistance (TA) in the development of applications?

A 3.  ACF does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment to determine whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), and develop an application that addresses these requirements. Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1. of the FOA. The review panels will use the FOA as their principal guidance in the same way that it is the principal guidance for applicants.

Some program offices may provide a webinar on the FOA. Applicants should review the FOA for further information.

Q 4. Who should I contact with questions regarding the Funding Opportunity Announcement?

A 4.  If an applicant has a question related to the content of the FOA they are to refer the question to the appropriate federal staff contact. Questions that are financial in nature are to be directed to the grants management staff. Any questions related to the program are to be directed to the program specialist. Contact information for these staff can be found in Section VII. Agency Contacts of the FOA.

Q 5. Under what circumstances can an applicant receive an exemption/waiver from electronic application submission?

A 5.  To receive an exemption from required electronic application submission, applicants must submit a written request to ACF that states that the applicant qualifies for the exemption for one of the two following reasons:

  • Lack of Internet access or Internet connection, or
  • Limited computer capacity that prevents the uploading of large documents (files) at www.Grants.gov.

Please refer to Section IV.2 Application Submission Options, Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission for further instructions on how and when to submit the exemption.

Q 6.  In the event that an applicant experiences difficulty submitting their application to Grants.gov, what action should be pursued?

A 6.  Applicant’s experiencing issues with Grants.gov must contact the Grants.gov Contact Center immediately.  As noted under Application Submission Options in Section IV.2. of the FOA:

Electronic Submission via www.Grants.gov

  • Additional guidance on the submission of electronic applications.
  • If applicants encounter any technical difficulties in using www.Grants.gov, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at: 1-800-518-4726, or via email, to report the problem and obtain assistance. Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Grants.gov Contact Center is closed on federal holidays.
  • Applicants should always retain Grants.gov Contact Center service ticket number(s) as they may be needed for future reference.
  • Contact with the Grants.gov Contact Center prior to the listed application due date and time does not ensure acceptance of an application. If difficulties are encountered, the Grants Management Officer listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts will determine whether the submission issues are due to Grants.gov system errors or user error

Please refer to the ACF Policy for Applicants Experience Federal Systems Issues document for complete guidance for systems issues with Grants.gov, SAM, and/or other federal systems used by ACF.

Q 7. Can my Congressman/Senator submit a letter of support?

A 7.  Letters of support are optional for each FOA. If specified in the FOA in Section IV.2. The Project Description, all submissions should be included in the application package or by the application deadline. Any materials submitted separately from the application will not be read as part of the grant review.

Q 8. Can you please explain the two-file requirement?

A 8.  In Fiscal Year 2013 ACF implemented a new application upload requirement. Each applicant applying electronically via www.grants.gov is required to upload only two electronic files, excluding standard forms and OMB-approved forms. ACF established this requirement to simplify and streamline the processing of applications for review.

The new requirement went into effect on January 18, 2013, thus any FOA that was published on or after this date has the new the two-file requirement. In processing the application for review, ACF will ensure that an application adheres to the two-file requirement. No more than two files will be accepted for the review.  Additional files will be removed. Again, standard forms and OMB-approved forms are not considered additional files.

One file must contain the entire Project Description and Budget Justification (e.g., project summary/abstract, table of contents, project narrative, logic model, and budget); the second file must contain all documents required in the Appendices (e.g., organizational charts, third-party agreements, letters of support, resumes, and audit reports). Again, standard forms and OMB-approved forms are not considered additional files. Details on the content of each of the two files, as well as page limitations for each, are referenced in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the FOA.

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