Administering a Grant

Once a grantee receives a Notice of Grant Award, it is the grantee’s responsibility to comply with all grant policies and regulations. This includes meeting all listed deadlines, maintaining financial and programmatic records with supporting documentation, submitting payment requests based on approved budget costs and allowable activities, and submitting required reports. The following sections provide an overview of these processes as well as useful links and tips for best practices. Additional training, handbooks, and other guidance can be found on TEA’s Grant Resources page.

Grant guidelines, deadlines, and other pertinent information are kept up-to-date on the TEA Grant Opportunities page. It is the applicant’s responsibility to periodically check the webpage for any posting of errata notices that correct errors or identify significant changes to the grant program. Please note that changes affecting multiple grants may be provided as a Universal Errata notice.

Compliance

Grant recipients are subject to all statutory and regulatory requirements and policies, as well as specific grant guidelines. To ensure compliance with all terms and conditions, TEA monitors and reviews grantee activities. Additionally, TEA conducts annual risk assessments and may perform on-site visits or audits. Such duties are carried out by TEA’s Federal Fiscal Compliance and Reporting (FFCR) and Federal Fiscal Monitoring divisions. Should a grantee fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant program, the grantee may be subject to Corrective Action.

The following resources provide general information regarding regulations and compliance.

  • The Guidelines, Provisions, and Assurances page provides information regarding general, fiscal, or programmatic guidelines as well as required provisions and assurances. The General and Fiscal Guidelines are applicable to all grants administered by TEA and describe standard grant processes and requirements, as well as guidance for distribution and management of grant funds. Review these guidelines for additional information on such topics as obligation of funds, procurement, equipment acquisition and disposition, direct administrative and indirect costs, programmatic reports, equitable access, and more.
  • A grant’s Program Guidelines, accessible through the TEA Grant Opportunities page, identify requirements for that specific grant program.
  • The EDGAR Materials and Resources page provides an overview of the regulations governing federal education grants.

Payment Requests and Expenditure Reporting

Grantees use the electronic expenditure reporting (ER) system to record allowable expenditures by class/object code and request payment for those expenditures. This system allows grantees to attach related documents, provide required narrative justification, or submit refund payments. Grantees are encouraged to request payment for expenditures regularly to indicate to TEA that they are spending funds and carrying out activities according to the approved application and established timelines. To access the ER system, grantees must log into their TEA Login (TEAL) account. Payment requests must be certified and submitted by an authorized grant official.

For additional cash management information, visit Expenditure Reporting, the Expenditure Reporting (ER) Quick Reference Guide, or additional Grant Resources. For further information regarding either expenditure reporting or the process for requesting an expenditure report deadline extension, please submit an inquiry to TEAExpenditures@tea.texas.gov.

Forms for Prior Approval, Disclosure, and Justification

EDGAR requires local educational agencies (LEAs) to request approval or provide justification to the state educational agency before taking certain actions involving grant funds. Visit Forms for Prior Approval, Disclosure, and Justification to find the forms TEA has developed for LEAs to use in requesting approval or providing justification.

Time and Effort Reporting

Documentation of time and effort is required to support payroll costs for personnel whose salaries are paid in whole or in part with federal funds or are used to meet a cost share/match requirement. Please visit TEA’s Substitute System of Time and Effort Reporting page for additional information.

Other Reports

Grant recipients are required to provide other programmatic and fiscal reports according to the General and Fiscal Guidelines and program guidelines as listed in the TEA Grant Opportunities page. Reporting requirements vary depending on the grant. Additionally, grantees must respond to any audit requests or other questions from TEA.

Fund Reallocations and/or Carryover

Formula-grant funding amounts may be recalculated if there are changes to the amount of grant funding made available by USDE or when population data and statutory formulas are finalized. Additionally, many federal grants authorize unobligated funds remaining at the end of a grant period to be carried forward to the next budget period. This allows grant recipients to use unexpended balances from the prior fiscal year to cover allowable costs in the current grant budget period. Should funding amounts change, it may be necessary for grantees to adjust their budget schedules through an amendment process.

Amending an Application

Should a grant recipient need to make changes to the grant program described and budgeted in an application already approved by TEA, it may be necessary to submit an amendment for approval. Amendments must also comply with all applicable grant requirements and are subject to negotiation for approval. This process is described more fully in Amending an Application.

Best Practices for Administering a Grant

  • Get organized early with a management plan. Have a comprehensive system for collecting programmatic and financial data, managing and documenting costs, and ensuring internal controls. Create a timeline to allow time to gather data and submit reports before deadlines.
  • Identify all administrative responsibilities. This can help determine appropriate resources and personnel needed to meet them. These responsibilities should be communicated clearly and in writing. As applicable, be sure that necessary staff have access to the TEA Login (TEAL) system with the appropriate role assigned.
  • Have clear, written policies and procedures. Communicate them to staff. Be sure to review and update the policies and procedures regularly to adjust to current needs and to ensure compliance with federal regulations.
  • Use a system of checks and balances and dual sign-offs for fund requests. The applicant must maintain effective control over and accountability for all funds, property, and other assets. One person should not be solely responsible for cash management.
  • Revisit the grant’s program guidelines regularly. Review program guidelines, timelines, and errata notices on the TEA Grant Opportunities page.
  • Request payment regularly and accurately. Grantees should request payment regularly to indicate that grant activities are being implemented. Only expend funds according to the approved grant budget. Correct mistakes quickly if found. Maintain documentation that permits the tracing of funds to establish that funds have been used in accordance with the approved application.
  • Get prior approval before conducting activities that specifically require it. Refer to the program guidelines and grant application to note what activities require prior approval. Use the forms provided by TEA and follow submission requirements.
  • Maintain good financial and programmatic records, as well as documentation, and submit timely reports. By accepting grant funds, grantees agree to submit all required activity, progress, evaluation, and expenditure reports during the project by listed deadlines and in the format specified by TEA.
  • Monitor activities and records. Conduct regular, careful monitoring of time, money, and records to catch discrepancies and make adjustments to meet the goals and objectives of the grant.
  • Amend the application if changes are needed. Not all changes require an amendment, but funds should only be expended according to the approved grant application.
  • Respond quickly to corrective action and audit resolution requirements. Noncompliance can affect a grantee’s risk assessment.
  • Seek support from your regional Education Service Center (ESC). Your ESC is a resource for additional training and guidance related to grants and grant requirements.
  • Contact the appropriate TEA division as early as possible should there be any concerns or problems.