The Department of Education administers grant funding programs that fulfill the Department's mission to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness, to foster educational excellence, and to ensure equal access.
Discretionary grant funds are awarded through a competitive process based on program eligibility to:
- State Educational Agencies,
- Local Educational Agencies (e.g., school districts, including public charter schools that operate as a local educational agency),
- Tribes and Tribal organizations,
- Institutions of Higher Education (including Tribal colleges and universities),
- Non-profit organizations,
- Other entities (e.g., community-based organizations, public agencies, etc.).
Content last reviewed: July 22, 2022
How to Apply
Watch the Department's training webinar for an introduction to the discretionary grant application process.
Register your organization with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) and obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). The SAM registration process usually takes approximately 7 to 10 business days, but can take longer, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data provided. SAM.gov will issue a UEI when you complete the registration process. You must continue to maintain an active SAM registration while the Department reviews your application and if you receive a grant award.
Register for an account on Grants.gov, a clearinghouse for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. To complete your registration, you must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) from SAM.gov, a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the Internal Revenue Service and designate an E-Business Point of Contact (E-Biz POC) and Authorized Organization Representative (AOR).
Search for Grant Opportunities, including signing up for alerts announcing new competitions.
Read the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA), which provides information about a grant competition's program purpose, application requirements and deadlines, competition priorities, and selection criteria. Review the Applicants Resources section provided on this webpage and on the competition's Program Office website.
Submit your application package electronically using Grants.gov. Applicants generally have between 30 to 60 days to apply. A competition's closing date can be found on the NIA.
Search for Grant Opportunities
The Department's grant competitions open roughly between November and April. The number of discretionary grant opportunities depends on available funding from Congress, program competition cycles, and other program-specific factors. Grant competitions are not guaranteed to run annually.
- Sign up for an account on the Federal Register website
- Hover over the Search tab at the top of the page. Select "Advanced Document Search"
- Under "Agency", enter "Education Department"
- Under "Document Category", select "Notice"
- Click the search button at the bottom of the page
- After a new page loads, click the Subscribe button, adjacent to the search bar
- Under "Via Email, Notify When" select "Published". Click "Subscribe"
Note: You will receive notifications for all notices published by the Department. Grant competition notices generally begin with "Applications" in the title.
Understanding NIAs: Review a glossary of key terms found in a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA), including information on competition priorities, evidence, performance measures, and selection criteria.
Grantmaking at ED: Read a non-technical summary of ED's discretionary grant lifecycle with detailed answers to frequently asked questions.
Check Program Office Websites: Some program offices host pre-application webinars and post competition resources on their program webpages. Please note: Program offices do not provide substantive guidance on an individual application that would give an unfair advantage over other applicants in the competition.
Previous Successful Proposals: Examples of successful abstracts, applications, and technical review forms can be found on some program webpages, such as the Education Innovation Research program page and the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network program page. Note: application requirements and competition priorities may change annually. Refer to the most recent Notice Inviting Application (NIA) for current competition information.
Grants.gov Support: Refer to the Grants.gov How to Apply for Grants webpage for technical support with submitting an application.
General Questions: Direct inquiries to the Program Contact Person listed under the "For Further Information Contact" section of the grant competition's Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) or the program contact listed on the program webpage.
Program Office Websites
Many program offices post competition resources, including links to competition webpages, relevant application guidance, examples of previous successful abstracts, and access to pre-application webinars and materials, on their program sites. Applicants may use the Department's Grants Forecast Tool to identify a competition's program office.
Peer Review and Award Notification
Peer Review Process
After a competition closes, the Department convenes a panel of education professionals, called peer reviewers, to evaluate, provide written feedback, and score applications against program-specific criteria. Peer reviewer scores and evaluative feedback are used to inform the Secretary's funding decisions.
If interested in becoming a peer reviewer, please click here.
The Department will send a Grant Award Notification (GAN) to applicants selected for funding. The grant competition's program team will also schedule post-award conferences with grantees. Program teams will offer grantees post-award support to achieve project outcomes and to adhere to compliance requirements.
The Department will also notify unsuccessful applicants that their applications were not selected for funding.
All applicants will receive a copy of the Technical Review Form completed by their peer reviewer panel. The form contains scoring information and identified strengths and weaknesses to improve future applications.