Frequently Asked Questions: The Office of Grants Management
Q. What types of grants are available through the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)?
A. The NJDOE, through the Office of Grants Management (OGM) in collaboration with department program offices, is responsible for disseminating, primarily to school districts, federal and state funds for entitlement and discretionary grant programs. The available funds are allocated to support and enhance major educational initiatives throughout the state.
Q. What are entitlement (formula) subgrants?
A. Entitlement (formula) subgrants are awarded to eligible school districts and agencies for individual or consortium projects based on a specific formula prescribed in legislation or regulation for a specific education program. The formula is usually based on factors such as population, enrollment, per capita income or a specific need. All eligible school districts and agencies can begin to request reimbursement for payment of these entitlement grant funds once an application that is submitted through the Electronic Web-Enabled Grant (EWEG) system is given final NJDOE approval in accordance with published guidelines and timelines.
Q. What are discretionary subgrants?
A. Discretionary subgrants are made to eligible recipients for individual projects in accordance with legislation that permits NJDOE to exercise judgment in selecting the project, subgrantee and amount of the award. Thus discretionary grants are usually issued through a competitive process. Guidelines are published in the form of a notice of grant opportunity (NGO). Specific projects are selected and awarded in accordance with published criteria.
Q. How can an agency find out what grant programs are available from the NJDOE?
A. Information about available subgrant programs is posted on the NJDOE's Web site (http://www.nj.gov/education/grants/gropps.shtml) as soon as the program designs are approved and authorized for dissemination. Each program has an information page that provides the title; brief abstract; types of agencies eligible to apply; amount of funds available; approximate number of awards; and application due date. In addition, the information page links to the program's NGO, which contains specific application requirements and forms.
Q. Who is eligible to apply for a subgrant?
A. Eligibility is specific to each subgrant program. Eligible entities may include local education agencies (LEAs); charter schools; community-based organizations (CBOs); institutions of higher education; two-year postsecondary schools; community colleges; public libraries; and cabinet-level state agencies.
Q. What is the Electronic Web-Enabled Grant (EWEG) system?
A. The EWEG system is a fast and efficient grant application process that allows grant applications to be submitted, reviewed and approved electronically. States that have implemented similar systems have reported a faster turnaround time for review and approval of grants; a significant reduction in errors; more accurate record-keeping; fast retrieval of data for reporting, data collection and monitoring purposes; and a nearly "paperless" office.
Q. Is special software required to access the EWEG system?
A. No. Internet access and a Web browser are all that is required to access EWEG. However, please note that EWEG supports only Internet Explorer browser (Version 5.01 is minimum and 7.0 is maximum).
Q. How is the EWEG system accessed?
A. The EWEG system can be accessed by visiting NJDOE's Homeroom Web site at http://homeroom.state.nj.us/ and clicking on EWEG.
Q. Can the public access the EWEG system?
A. Yes. The public has "read only" access and may view any entitlement grant application after it has been submitted. The public may also view the application status to see if it has been submitted or approved. To maintain the integrity of the discretionary grant competitive process, a discretionary grant application may be viewed by the public only after all awards are complete for that grant program.
Q. When do LEAs receive entitlement allocations?
A. All entitlement allocations are sent to eligible school districts and agencies after the formulas have been run. This usually occurs during the spring of each year for awards that start July 1 for the following school year.
Q. How can an agency apply for an entitlement subgrant?
A. An agency may submit an online application for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Carl D. Perkins grant programs through the EWEG system.
Q. If an agency receives an entitlement award notification, when can it expect to receive the awarded funds?
A. All grant payments are made through the payment component of the EWEG system using the reimbursement method. Upon approval of an entitlement grant application, the LEA may begin to submit reimbursement requests through the EWEG system for grant expenses the LEA has incurred. For a discretionary grant program, the LEA must also submit a Grant Acceptance Certificate (GAC) through the EWEG system before reimbursement requests may be created. Payments are processed once a month.
Q. How do agencies know when to apply for a discretionary subgrant?
A. As each NGO is distributed to eligible agencies, it is posted on the NJDOE's Web site at http://www.state.nj.us/education/grants/discretionary/. A listing of the programs, eligibility requirements, application due dates and application forms are available on the site.
Q. How are discretionary grant applications constructed?
A. Most discretionary applications are created in the EWEG system, although there are a few programs that are still created and submitted on paper. The method of submission is outlined in the NGO document specific to an individual grant program. Both types of applications (paper and electronic) are accepted in the NJDOE's application control center. The NGO document contains the parameters by which the program should be constructed. An agency creating an application for submission should begin in general by conducting a needs assessment based on educational status and community needs. The program should be well designed; have clearly constructed goals and objectives; contain defined student outcomes and results; and present a clearly defined budget. Consult the NGO for specific application requirements.
Q. How does the department decide which discretionary grant applications to fund?
A. In the majority of its discretionary grant programs, the NJDOE cannot fund all proposals or applications submitted; therefore, it must select for funding only those projects that meet the highest standards. Applications are reviewed by an evaluation panel as part of the competitive process, and applications that are of the highest quality are funded to establish and promote programs with the greatest chance of success. In its role as guardian of public funds, The NJDOE is responsible for selecting for awards only those applications that demonstrate the greatest need; provide the most comprehensive plan to address the need; provide a clear, competent and professional presentation of the proposed project; provide an appropriate basis for all costs necessary to sustain the project; and, consequently, offer the best chance of success in achieving the NJDOE's goal(s) for the grant program.
Q. Does the NJDOE offer assistance for preparation of discretionary grant applications?
A. During the time allocated for preparation of a discretionary grant application, the program office will provide a technical assistance workshop. Questions of a general nature can be answered at the workshop, but questions specific to an applicant agency cannot be addressed. Since most technical assistance sessions are optional, those applicants not attending would be at a disadvantage if specific information were to be provided.
Q. If an agency receives a discretionary grant, when can it expect to receive the awarded funds?
A. Most discretionary programs are paid through reimbursement requests (RRs) that are submitted by the grantees in the EWEG system. The discretionary grantee may begin submitting RRs as soon as the application has been approved and the GAC has been completed in EWEG.
Q. Is technical assistance available to help the NJDOE award recipients manage successful grant projects?
A. Yes. Program technical assistance is provided on an ongoing basis by designated staff members from the appropriate program office. Additionally, the department offers technical assistance to grant recipient agencies through the posting on its Web site of application guidance, grant management guidelines and manuals. Correspondence with grant recipient agencies, periodic training workshops and regulatory guidance are routinely offered to provide ongoing information to agencies managing grant awards.
Q. What additional information is available on the NJDOE's grants Web site?
A. A variety of information can be found on the grants Web site to assist agencies with application development, grant administration and grant management, including:
Q. Where can information be found on grant opportunities available from sources other than the NJDOE?
A. Individuals and agencies seeking funds to support special projects that are not eligible under the NJDOE's available grant opportunities should contact federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education (http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml), and private funding sources.