What Is a Contract? 5 Differences between Grants and Contracts

All tray tables and seat backs must be in an upright and locked position prior to take off. We expect turbulence on this blog post, so the author has turned on the fasten seat belt light.

This seemingly simple question requires a complex answer, so we have simplified it to four sections: (1) basic definitions, (2) five differences between grants and contracts, (3) examples of a grant and contract to illustrate these differences, and (4) resources for more information.

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Gil Tran on What Is Coming Up for the OMB Uniform Guidance in 2018

While telling a story about a vacation to Venice, Italy, Gil Tran, Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), described Venice as a beautiful and unique city where, “you’re always going to get lost when you’re in it.” Despite its layout, he said, “When you get lost, that’s when you discover all the gems.”

According to Tran, this is how grant professionals ought to dive into and enjoy the OMB Uniform Guidance (or the “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” for those who prefer its full name). Immerse yourselves and get lost, only to discover the wonderful “nuggets” of regulations governing your federal award experience.

While many of you may have a less enchanted, more pragmatic approach to grant administration, you nonetheless need to know the latest about the Uniform Guidance.

OMB's Gil Tran, Senior Policy Advisor, presenting at the OGAPA Grants Management Conference

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What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Grants?)

What is blog series logoThe Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is an Executive Branch office that oversees the implementation of the President of the United States’ vision across government agencies (WhiteHouse.gov – OMB).

This relates to the grant programs implemented by federal agencies, how they are managed, their budgets, and the forms applicants complete when applying for a grant.
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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.

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