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Glossary of Terms and Acronyms for SAMHSA Grants

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The glossary of terms and acronyms for SAMHSA grants.



Allowable cost

An allowable cost is a cost incurred by a grant recipient that is: (1) reasonable for the performance of the award; (2) allocable; (3) in conformance with any limitations or exclusions set forth in the federal cost principles applicable to the organization incurring the cost or in the Notice of Award (NoA) as to the type or amount of cost; (4) consistent with regulations, policies, and procedures of the grant recipient that are applied uniformly to both federally supported and other activities of the organization; (5) accorded consistent treatment as a direct or indirect cost; (6) determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; and (7) not included as a cost in any other federally supported award (unless specifically authorized by statute).


The authorized organization representative (AOR) is the designated representative of the applicant or grant recipient organization with authority to act on the organization's behalf in matters related to the award and its administration. In signing a grant application, the AOR agrees that the organization will assume the obligations imposed by applicable federal statutes and regulations and other terms and conditions of the award, including any assurances, if a grant is awarded. These responsibilities include accountability both for the appropriate use of funds awarded and the performance of the grant-supported project or activities as specified in the approved application.


An assurance is a certification by an applicant, normally included with the application, indicating that the entity will abide by a particular requirement if awarded a federal grant.


An award is the provision of funds to carry out an approved program or project (based on an approved application or progress report).

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"Behavioral health" is a general term that encompasses the promotion of emotional health; the prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders; and treatments and services for mental and/or substance use disorders.

Block grant

A block grant is a noncompetitive, formula grant mandated by the U.S. Congress. Eligible entities must submit an annual application to demonstrate statutory and regulatory compliance in order to receive the formula-based funding. SAMHSA is responsible for two block grant programs: the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant (SUBG) and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG).

Budget period

Budget periods usually are 12 months long; however, shorter or longer budget periods may be established for programmatic or administrative reasons. The Notice of Award (NoA) will show the total approved budget for the applicable budget period.

Business official

A business official is the individual responsible for the financial aspects of the grant.

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A carryover is an unobligated balance (UOB) of federal funds remaining at the end of any budget period that may be carried forward to another budget period to cover allowable costs of that budget period (whether as an offset or additional authorization). Obligated but unliquidated funds are not considered carryover.

CC or CoC

A certificate of confidentiality (CC) protects grantees from having to comply with subpoenas, court orders, and state reporting laws requesting names or other personally identifiable information (PII) that would personally identify participants in the evaluation of a grant, project, or contract.


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) is an online database of all federal programs. Federal programs are assigned a number in the CFDA, which is referred to as the "CFDA number." The CFDA is available to state and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally recognized Indian tribal governments; territories and possessions of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, private profit, and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.


The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.

Change in scope

A change in scope occurs when the grant recipient proposes to change (or changes) the objectives, goals, or purposes identified in the approved application.


Closeout is the process by which SAMHSA determines whether all applicable administrative actions and all work required under the award have been completed by the grant recipient and the awarding office.


The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) leads federal efforts to promote the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.

Continuation grant

A continuation grant continues the funding from one budget period into the next budget period, for the same project.

Cooperative agreement

When SAMHSA expects to be substantially involved in carrying out a project or program, it awards a cooperative agreement rather than a grant. Substantial involvement pertains to programmatic involvement rather than administrative oversight.

Cost principles

Cost principles establish general standards for the allowability of costs, provide detailed guidance on the cost accounting treatment of costs as direct or indirect costs, and set forth allowability principles for selected items of cost. Applicability of a particular set of cost principles depends on the type of organization making the expenditure.

Cost sharing

The terms "cost sharing" and "matching" are often used interchangeably. "Cost sharing" refers to any situation in which the grant recipient shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching. "Matching" usually refers to a statutorily specified percentage, whether specified as a fixed or minimum percentage of non-federal participation in allowable program or project costs, which must be contributed by a grant recipient to be eligible for federal funding.


The mission of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is to improve behavioral health through evidence-based prevention approaches.


The mission of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is to promote community-based substance use treatment and recovery services to individuals and families.

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Data Collection, Analyses, and Reporting (DCAR) is a centralized resource for substance misuse prevention data and analyses. It ensures substance misuse initiatives adequately address the nation's needs and promotes science-based strategies and activities for particular populations.


The Division of Grants Management (DGM) is responsible for all business management matters associated with the review, negotiation, award, and administration of grants. The DGM also ensures that grantees comply with federal laws and policies.


The Division of Grant Review (DGR) is responsible for the grant review process and selects peer reviewers.

Direct costs

Direct costs are costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

Disallowed costs

Disallowed costs are charges to an award that the awarding agency determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable federal cost principles or other terms and conditions contained in the award.

Discretionary grants

Discretionary grants are those for which SAMHSA exercises judgment ("discretion") in determining the grant recipient and the amount of the award. Discretionary grants may be further categorized by purpose, such as research, training, services, construction, and conference support. Generally, these awards are made following a competitive process.


Data, outcomes, and quality (DOQ) is a resource that provides information about substance use and mental health problems and trends at the state level and some smaller geopolitical areas. DOQ is produced by SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ), the primary source of national data on the prevalence, treatment, and consequences of substance misuse in the United States.


Payments for grants awarded by SAMHSA are made through the Division of Payment Management (DPM), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) is a proprietary system developed and regulated by Dun & Bradstreet that assigns a unique number (a "DUNS number") to a single entity. A DUNS number is required for all organizations applying to the federal government for grants.

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An E-Business Point of Contact (E-Biz POC) is responsible for the administration and management of grant activities in his or her organization. E-Biz POCs authorize representatives of their organization to submit grant applications through

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The Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) operates on behalf of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Its primary purposes are to distribute single audit reporting packages to federal agencies; support OMB oversight and assessment of federal award audit requirements; maintain a public database of completed audits; and help auditors and auditees minimize the reporting burden of complying with Circular A-133 audit requirements.


Federal regulations governing SAMHSA grants (45 CFR Part 74 and 45 CFR Part 92) provide standards for financial management systems of grantee organizations. SAMHSA's financial advisory services officers (FASOs) perform Financial Capability Reviews (FCRs) on new or prospective grantees to determine if they have financial management systems that conform to the required federal standards.

FFR or Standard Form 425

Required for each budget period, grantees must submit federal financial reports (FFRs) on an annual basis.


Use SAMHSA's Request for Applications (RFA) number as the Funding Opportunity Number (FON) when applying on

Full-time appointment

The number of days per week and/or months per year representing full-time effort at the applicant or grantee organization, as specified in organizational policy. The organization's policy must be applied consistently regardless of the source of support.


Applicants proposing to involve human subjects in nonexempt research must file (or have previously filed) a written Federalwide Assurance (FWA) with the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) of HHS. The OHRP provides leadership in the protection of the rights, welfare, and wellbeing of subjects involved in research conducted or supported by HHS.


Fiscal year (FY) is the annual period established for government accounting purposes. A fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. For example: FY2011 started on October 1, 2010 and ended on September 30, 2011.

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The grants management officer (GMO) is the SAMHSA official who signs the Notice of Award (NoA). The GMO is responsible for the business management and other non-programmatic aspects of the award. The GMO ensures that both SAMHSA and grantee staff members fulfill the requirements of all laws, regulations, and administrative policies.


The grants management specialist (GMS) works with the grants management officer (GMO) on the day-to-day management of the grant. The GMS is responsible for all business and financial management matters relating to the review, negotiation, award, and administration of grants. In addition, the GMS interprets and enforces grants administration policies and provisions.


The government project officer (GPO) is also referred to as the "program official" (PO). The GPO is the SAMHSA official responsible for the programmatic, scientific, and/or technical aspects of assigned applications and grants. The GPO works in partnership with the GMO on many activities, including review of progress reports, participation in site visits, and other responsibilities complementary to those of the GMO.


The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 updated some aspects of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, which established strategic planning, performance planning, and reporting performance as ways for federal agencies to communicate progress in achieving their missions.


A grant is a financial assistance support mechanism providing money, property (or other direct assistance in lieu of money), or both, to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity that supports a public purpose. A grant is used whenever SAMHSA anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the grant recipient during performance of the financially assisted activities.


The grantee, also known as the "federal grant recipient," is the organization awarded a grant or cooperative agreement by SAMHSA. The grantee is legally responsible and accountable to SAMHSA for the performance and financial aspects of grant-supported projects or activities.

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of Americans. It provides essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. In support of its mission, HHS awards grants for more than 300 programs, making it the largest grant-awarding agency in the federal government. SAMHSA is an agency within HHS.

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Indirect costs

Indirect costs are incurred by a grant recipient for common or joint objectives and cannot be identified specifically with a particular project or program. These costs are also known as "facilities and administrative costs."


An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that performs ethical review of proposed research.

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Key personnel

Key personnel are the principal investigator or program director and other individuals who contribute to the programmatic development or execution of a project or program in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries or compensation under a grant.

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A lead evaluator (LE) is an employee of the grant recipient or an external individual responsible for conducting behavioral health research during the evaluation period of a grant.

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The terms "matching" and "cost sharing" are often used interchangeably. "Matching" usually refers to a statutorily specified percentage, whether specified as a fixed or minimum percentage of non-federal participation in allowable program or project costs, which must be contributed by a grant recipient to be eligible for federal funding. "Cost sharing" refers to any situation in which the grant recipient shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching.


The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) program makes funds available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 6 Pacific jurisdictions to provide community mental health services.

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In addition to the first level of peer review, grant programs that exceed a grant threshold of $150,000 are subject to review by the SAMHSA National Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC does not review individual applications but votes (usually en bloc) to agree or not with the peer review results.


The Notice of Award (NoA) is the official, legally binding document, signed by the grants management officer (GMO). It notifies the grant recipient of the award of a grant; contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and federal funding limits and obligations; and provides the documentary basis for recording the financial and programmatic obligations.


SAMHSA announces grant funding opportunities through Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs). Each NOFO contains all the information necessary to apply for a grant.


SAMHSA's National Outcome Measures (NOMs) are an effort to develop a reporting system that creates an accurate and current national picture of substance misuse and mental health services. The NOMs serve as performance targets for states and federally funded programs for substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion, early intervention, and treatment services.

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An objective is what is to be accomplished during a specific project period to move toward achievement of a goal. Objectives should be expressed in specific, measurable terms. For example: By October 30, 2016, decrease the percentage of alcohol sales to minors by 10% as measured by the rate of failed compliance checks (currently 25%).


SAMHSA Office of Financial Resources (OFR) evaluates acquisition, grant, and contracting policy and practices.


The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) monitors information concerning fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement under grants and cooperative agreements.


The core mission of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is to serve the President of the United States in implementing his vision across the Executive Branch. OMB is the largest component of the Executive Office of the President.

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The principal investigator (PI) or program director (PD) is the individual, designated by the grant recipient, responsible for the scientific, technical, or programmatic aspects of the grant and for day-to-day management of the project or program. The PI/PD is usually an employee of the grant recipient.


HHS Payment Management System (PMS) is a centralized grants payment and cash management system, operated by the Program Support Center (PSC), Division of Payment Management (DPM) of HHS.


Sometimes referred to as a "government project officer" (GPO), the program official (PO) is the SAMHSA official responsible for the programmatic, scientific, and/or technical aspects of assigned applications and grants. The PO works in partnership with the grants management specialist (GMO) on many activities, including review of progress reports, participation in site visits, and other responsibilities complementary to those of the GMO.

Prior approval

Prior approval is a grants management officer's (GMO) written consent or issuance of an award in response to a written request from a grant recipient to incur a specific direct cost or other action that requires such approval (as specified in Part II of the HHS Grants Policy Statement).

Project period

The project period is the total time SAMHSA has programmatically approved a federal project for federal support. This does not constitute a commitment by the federal government to fund the entire project period. Each budget period within the project period is subject to the availability of funds and satisfactory progress of the project or program.

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The Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant (SUBG) program provides funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 6 Pacific jurisdictions, and 1 tribal entity to prevent and treat substance abuse.


The Services Accountability Improvement System (SAIS) is a web-based data entry and reporting system that provides a data repository for Center for Substance Abuse and Treatment (CSAT) program performance measures for grantees and program officials/government project officers.


The System for Award Management (SAM) is the official U.S. government system that aids in managing the federal awards process. Information must be updated every 12 months for an applicant's account to remain active.


A sub-award is financial assistance in the form of money (or property in lieu of money) provided under an award by a grant recipient to an eligible sub-recipient.


A sub-recipient is an entity that receives a sub-award from a grant recipient or another sub-recipient under an award of financial assistance. The sub-recipient is accountable to the grant recipient or other sub-recipient for the use of the federal funds provided by the sub-award.

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An unobligated balance (UOB) is the portion of funds authorized by SAMHSA that has not been obligated by the grant recipient.

Unallowable cost

An unallowable cost is specified by law or regulation, federal cost principles, or a term and condition of an award that may not be reimbursed under a grant or cooperative agreement.

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The Web Block Grant Application System (WebBGAS) is where state mental health authorities and single state agencies electronically submit block grant applications.

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