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Frequently Asked Questions About Grants

Why must I receive institutional approval before applying for grants?
There are two reasons for this requirement. First and foremost due to College and State Board of Community College policies that limit signature authority to the Board of Trustees and the College President as their designee. A grant is a legal contract between the institution and the grant sponsor therefore only the individual authorized may sign grant applications on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Secondly, there could be instances in which more than one person, department or program is applying for a grant competition. Some grant competitions limit the total number of applications an institution may submit- sometimes to only one. Should more than the allowable number be submitted, all applications would be disqualified from consideration resulting in a lot of your effort for no return and diminishing Southwestern’s reputation with the sponsor!
What is the difference between a grant and a gift?
A grant is a sponsored award that generally requires a formal proposal, has a specified performance period or completion date and an expectation for reporting on a specific deliverable or outcome to the sponsor. A gift is a voluntary donation of funds, services or goods for which there is no expectation of reporting and no specific performance period. 
What or who is a “Principal Investigator”?
Principal Investigator (P.I.) is the terminology used by some grant sponsors to describe the individual who is to lead the project or program and report the results. This is most often found within research and related grants as the project director is “investigating” a research question.
How do I find funding for my project?
The Office of Institutional Development has resources with which to conduct funding searches among private, state, federal and foundation grant sponsors. Please review the Step-by-Step guide and contact April Olson for assistance with your funding search.
What are Indirect (or Facilities and Administrative) Costs?
Most grants will not allow you to charge everyday operating costs such as secretarial support, paper, ink cartridges and office furniture to your project proposal. These are costs that should be covered through a negotiated rate agreement for Indirect or Facilities and Administrative Costs that may be allowable in your proposal budget. Southwestern has a negotiated Indirect Rate Agreement and must charge these costs to grants as permitted by the sponsor in order to pay for the services and expenses that you cannot otherwise pay through your grant budget. (While this may seem confusing, April Olson in the Office of Institutional Development will assist you with determining what is allowable in your project and with formulating your budget to ensure that all costs are covered within regulations.)
Can I waive Indirect Costs on my project?
Some grant sponsors will prohibit charging Indirect Costs in your budget so you must read guidelines very carefully. If you wish to waive charging Indirect Costs to your grant budget in which the recovery of these costs are permitted, you must seek appropriate institutional approval. Please contact April Olson in the Office of Institutional Development for specifics.
How do I find a partner for my project?
Many grant sponsors look for innovation and collaboration when considering projects for awards. If you have a project or program idea and would like to strengthen it through bringing partners into the proposal OR if the grant sponsors requires collaboration/partnerships, please contact April Olson in the Office of Institutional Development. She will assist you with the identification of potential partners.
For any other questions and all of your grant needs, please contact our staff.

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