Issue Brief 13-13
May 3, 2013

On February 1, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published proposed guidance in the Federal Register that outlines specific reforms for federal policies relating to grants and cooperative agreements involving state and local governments as well as universities and nonprofit organizations. The reforms cover a wide range of areas, including administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements.

This guidance builds on the reform ideas OMB published last year in an advanced notice of proposed guidance (ANPG), which resulted in more than 350 responses from the grant community. The reforms are a result of several executive orders to reduce administrative burdens and increase flexibility, while at the same time targeting improper payments and improving program performance. Moreover, they reflect some of the ideas from OMB’s collaboration with federal, state, and local representatives and other key groups to evaluate potential federal grant reforms.

The proposed guidance seeks to streamline requirements from eight existing OMB circulars into one document—Proposed OMB Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards—that would apply to grants and cooperative agreements made to state, local, and tribal governments, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit entities. It also would make several modifications to existing requirements. OMB is seeking comments on the proposed guidance by June 2, 2013 (extended from the original deadline of May 2, 2013).