What Is the OMB’s ‘Uniform Guidance’ for Grants?

With a name like Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called “Uniform Guidance”), you’re unlikely to mistake this government publication for a comic book or romance novel. But, unless you’re a federal grants expert, you may have some difficulty pinning down the Uniform Guidance’s main goal.

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In plain English, the Uniform Guidance is simply a set of authoritative rules and regulations about federal grants from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This “guidance” is designed to keep everyone in the federal grants community – Congress, grant-making agencies, and applicants – on the same page.

The Uniform Guidance was officially implemented in December 2014 by the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR).

‘Reducing Administrative Burden and Waste’

A White House blog post announcing the Uniform Guidance projected that the “measures will reduce the total volume of financial management regulations for Federal grants and other assistance by 75%, and reduce administrative burdens and risk of waste, fraud, and abuse for the approximately $600 billion in Federal grants expended annually.”

What makes the OMB’s Uniform Guidance particularly important is that the “government-wide framework for grants management” synthesizes and supersedes guidance from earlier OMB circulars.

In discussing the Uniform Guidance’s main objectives in our grant policies section under the Learn Grants tab, we note that (among other things) the OMB’s Uniform Guidance:

  • Removes previous guidance that is conflicting and establishes standard language
  • Directs the focus of audits on areas that have been identified as at risk for waste, fraud and abuse
  • Lays the groundwork for Federal agencies to standardize the processing of data
  • Clarifies and updates cost reporting guidelines for award recipients

Want to learn more about the Uniform Guidance?  You can read the document in full on ECFR.gov.

2 thoughts on “What Is the OMB’s ‘Uniform Guidance’ for Grants?

  1. The “Uniform Guidance” is really necessary to prevent abuse and to have a single standard for data processing. Implementation started more than 2 years ago, was there significant decrease in fraud, waste, abuse?


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