Education pushes grants online

Federal Register notice of new regulation

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Grants.gov portal

Accepting grant applications online will soon become a standard way of doing business for Education Department officials.

Beginning Aug. 9, a new regulation will make the Internet the department's preferred means for receiving grant applications. Applying online for grants will save citizens time and money, said Kevin Taylor, management analyst in the department's grants policy office. The new online policy, he said, will also prepare Education officials for greater participation in Grants.gov, a governmentwide portal for citizens interested in applying for government grants.

"We're moving more toward that," Taylor said, adding that "it's the government's goal to have everything funneled through Grants.gov."

Each year Education officials award $4.8 billion in discretionary grants.

Not everyone will be required to follow the new standard. Applicants who have older computers and slow Internet connections "might have difficulty with their machine locking up if they try to upload an application," Taylor said. Those citizens can apply for a waiver and mail in a paper application. "The application will be reviewed the same as an electronic one," he said.

Although the new regulation will effectively eliminate paper applications, application reviewers will continue, at least for now, to make print copies of the electronic applications, Taylor said.

"Most of the time our readers want to read hard copy," he said, "but we're moving electronically into that area as well."

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