The Education Department rolls out a new centralized funding website that puts links to all of the department’s most important grants web pages, like the ED funding forecast and active competitions, into one place – simplifying a grant seekers search.
Now, you don’t have to go scrolling through the ED’s massive website to find funding information with the new page. Getting updates was a particular problem, specifically with the ED grant forecast page, which often would be predicting a future date for a competition after it had already been released on Grants.gov and the Federal Register.
ED officials say they used Sharepoint, a Microsoft file management system, and developed an automated process to gather and transform data from Grants.gov in an accurate daily update on the new page. It will significantly reduce the amount of time that program officers and forecast staff must spend to update information, they said.
The forecast page still seems to lag a bit. For example, the department released on Grants.gov and the Federal Register the NOFA for the Model Demonstration Projects to Improve Adolescent Literacy for Students with Disabilities in Middle and High Schools (CFDA Number: 84.326M), but it was still being listed on the forecast page as a TBD solicitation.
The Open Grant Competitions page was also not updated, missing the Model Demonstration competition. However, the page is nicely laid out and puts all the important grant information, like deadlines, eligibility and funding levels in one place, which is a vast improvement over previous ED pages.
ED promises to continue making improvements for grant seekers. ED intends to:
- Provide an API (application programming interface) for developers and others to easily access program data.
- Offer a program-finder tool that matches grant seekers with opportunities in their area of interest and eligibility.
- Align with the Digital Government Strategy initiative and Open Data Policy.
“Providing information on the Department’s grant opportunities is one of the core functions of our website,” according to Kate Devine and Alan Smigielski, staffers in the ED Office of Communications and Outreach. ED “works year-round to share relevant, timely details about grant opportunities. We are re-engineering, streamlining, and automating publishing grant information and related documents.”
Interestingly, the page does not address matching grants. An entire industry has grown up over the last few years to help grant-seekers meet the various matching grants requirements of the numerous ED competitions.