August 17, 1984
TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
SUBJECT: Federal Domestic Assistance Program Information
7. Action Requirements
8. OMB Responsibilities
9. Information Contact
10. Sunset Review Date
The information system established by this Circular is designed to assist in identifying the types of Federal domestic assistance available, describing eligibility requirements for the particular assistance being sought, and providing guidance on how to apply for specific types of assistance. In addition, it is intended to improve coordination and communication between the Federal Government and State and local governments.
General Services Administration (GSA), OMB, and executive branch agencies that administer domestic assistance programs are to carry out their statutory responsibilities under the Federal Program Information Act.
Executive branch agencies shall submit to OMB on a timely basis and in accordance with instructions provided by GSA, information on all domestic assistance programs and activities that are federally funded and that are administered by such agency.
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance will be the single, authoritative, Government-wide comprehensive source document of Federal domestic assistance program information produced by the executive branch of the Federal Government. The Catalog is a guide to all domestic assistance programs and activities regardless of dollar size or duration. Specifically, these programs include general purpose aid to States and localities (general revenue sharing and shared revenues); payments in lieu of taxes; assistance to State and local governments to finance essential public services and productivity efforts; indirect assistance or benefits resulting from Federal operations; and automatic payments for which no application process is required. Any other executive branch publication that describes a group of Federal domestic assistance programs is considered a specialized catalog. Publications containing comprehensive descriptions of individual programs that specify application guidelines, administrative requirements, and other details, and pamphlets or leaflets containing conventional public information of a generalized nature are not considered specialized catalogs. Unless otherwise required by law, specialized catalogs may be published only when specifically authorized and developed within the following guidelines and criteria:
b. "Assistance" or "benefits" refers to the transfer of money, property, services, or anything of value, the principal purpose of which is to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute. Assistance includes, but is not limited to grants, loans, loan guarantees, scholarships, mortgage loans, insurance, and other types of financial assistance; provision or donation of Federal facilities, goods, services, property, technical assistance, counseling, statistical, and other expert information; and service activities of regulatory agencies. It does not include provision of conventional public information services.
c. Federal agency means any agency as defined by Section 551(1) of Title 5, United States Code.
d. Administering office means the lowest subdivision of any Federal agency that has direct operational responsibility for managing a Federal domestic assistance program.
In particular, the head of each executive department and establishment shall be responsible for assuring that information on each domestic assistance program administered by such agency is collected, maintained, and submitted to OMB. This includes narrative and financial program information on all funded programs as defined and outlined in special reporting instructions transmitted by GSA to the agencies and departments.
Toward this end, each agency or department shall:
b. Designate a single office within the department or agency to:
-- maintain a complete inventory of all funded programs that is derived from the basic program data of the individual agency or department information system.
This inventory shall include information on one-time programs and programs of short duration, as well as on continuing programs; and
-- assure that all new and amended program information shall contain the official GSA program number and title when published in the Federal Register as any type of Federal assistance program announcement. This includes but is not limited to entries published as final regulations and amendments under the Rules and Regulations Section, as well as notices of any kind pertaining to ongoing programs.
c. Request prior approval for the preparation, publication, and distribution of all specialized catalogs or supplements, except where there is statutory authorization for such catalogs or supplements. Any proposed specialized catalog format must be as nearly identical to the Catalog format as possible in order to eliminate inconsistencies in program data reporting. Anticipated continuous need for a particular type of information will be conveyed to GSA for consideration of Catalog reformatting to accommodate such requirements.
a. Issue detailed reporting instructions to Federal agencies and departments governing the collection of information needed for the Federal assistance information data base.
b. Maintain an information data base of Federal domestic assistance programs and activities.
c. Provide information to the general public through a printed catalog and electronic media on all Federal domestic assistance programs.
d. Plan and make improvements in the information data base and continue to seek ways to disseminate the information.
e. Provide information to Congress through printed media on all Federal domestic assistance programs that employ a formula.
For each Federal domestic assistance program, the data base will include but not be limited to the following information:
b. Popular name, if applicable.
c. Federal department/agency or independent agency and primary organizational subunit administering the program.
d. Authorizing legislation, including popular name of the act, titles and sections, public law number, citation to the United States Code, and statute.
e. Objectives and goals of the program.
f. Type(s) of financial and nonfinancial assistance offered by the program.
g. Uses and restrictions placed upon a program.
h. Eligibility requirements, including applicant eligibility criteria, beneficiary eligibility criteria and required credentials and/or documentation.
i. Application and award processing, containing pre- application coordination; application and award procedure; application deadlines; range of approval/disapproval time; appeal procedure; and availability of a renewal or extension of assistance. Most circular coordination requirements are included in this section.
j. Assistance considerations, including an explanation of the award formula and matching requirements and the length and time phasing of the assistance.
k. Post assistance requirements, including any reports, audits, and records that may be required.
l. Financial assistance, containing the 11-digit account identification code; obligations for the past fiscal year and estimates for the current fiscal year and for the budget year; and a range and average of financial assistance.
m. Program accomplishments (where available), describing quantitative measures of program performance.
n. Regulations, guidelines, and literature containing citations to the Code of Federal Regulations and other pertinent informational materials.
o. The names of persons to be contacted (or telephone number) for detailed program information at the headquarters, regional, and local levels.
p. Programs that are related based upon objectives and uses.
q. Examples of funded projects to indicate proposals that are acceptable under particular programs, and
r. Criteria used in selecting proposals for award, i.e., additional information on application review and award procedure.
The Catalog will contain but will not be limited to the following:
b. A comprehensive indexing system that categorizes programs by their agency, eligible applicant, application deadlines, function, popular name, and subject area.
c. Listings showing the programs that have been deleted from or added to the Catalog and the various program number and title changes.
d. Program descriptions that will contain the information included in the Federal domestic assistance information data base.
e. Comprehensive appendices showing Federal assistance programs that require coordination through the system of Federal circulars, legislative and Executive Order authority for each program, commonly used abbreviations and acronyms, agency regional and local office addresses, and sources of additional information contacts.
required by the Law, GSA distributes free copies of the Catalog to Federal, State, and local government offices. At the national level, copies are provided to: Members of Congress, congressional staff, and executive branch agencies. At the State level, copies of the Catalog are provided to: Governors, State coordinators of Federal-State relations, Directors of State Departments of Administration and Budget Offices, Directors of State Departments of Community Affairs, Directors of State Planning Agencies, State clearinghouses, Directors of State Agricultural Extension Services, State Municipal Leagues, State Association of Counties, chief State school officers, and State Employment Security Agencies. At the local level, copies are provided to: Mayors, County Chairmen, Chairmen of Boards of Commissioners, and city planners. Copies are also provided to the Federal Information Centers, Federal Regional Councils, Federal Executive Boards, Federal Depository Libraries and appropriate field, and area offices of most Federal agencies. The Catalog is also provided to other agencies of State and local governments.
The Catalog is sold on a subscription basis to private individuals and organizations not specified above. The purchaser is entitled to issues at a subscription rate determined by the Public Printer. The Catalog is distributed by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, as required by Section 1902 of Title 44 of the United States Code.
The Federal Assistance Programs Retrieval System (FAPRS) is an electronic medium of information dissemination, a computerized retrieval system that provides access to the data base of programs that are in the Catalog. The purpose of this system is to help the public identify sources of Federal assistance.
FAPRS operates on a question and answer format to retrieve information on applicable programs. It does this by matching the characteristics of a community and its needs (which are supplied by the prospective applicant) with Federal programs (identified by title and number) that might provide assistance to meet those needs. FAPRS serves as a research tool to help reduce the manual effort required (when using the Catalog) to identify Federal programs useful to a potential applicant.
David A. Stockman