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Grants 101

Types of Funding

OJP offers the following funding programs:

Open funding opportunities are found on OJP’s Web site.

Formula Grants
Formula grants are funding programs that you do not compete for, even though you must submit an application and meet other specified requirements. They ensure that designated recipients will receive funds, and are usually administered and managed by State Administering Agencies. Exactly how funds are distributed is most often governed by statutes or congressional appropriations acts that specify which factors are used to determine eligibility, how the funds will be allocated among eligible recipients, as well as the method by which an applicant must demonstrate its eligibility for that funding.

Each grant award amount is calculated by a formula, and actual funding amounts vary. Award calculations may consider factors such as population, census data, violent crimes reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the annual appropriation provided by Congress.

Formula grant programs can be for a specific purpose (e.g., assisting juvenile offenders) or can support public safety operations in general. Examples of this type of OJP grant are the BJA Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, OJJDP Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program, and the OVC VOCA Victim Compensation Formula Grants.

Congressionally Directed Awards
A congressionally directed award, or earmark, directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects or directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees. Congressionally directed awards do not mandate additional government spending, but allocate approved spending for specific purposes. Congressionally directed awards can be satisfied through a grant or cooperative agreement.

Discretionary Grants
Discretionary grants are awarded directly by OJP to eligible recipients, most often on a competitive basis. Applications undergo a preliminary review process to ensure that they are complete and meet the eligibility requirements. Eligible applications are then reviewed and scored by a panel of subject matter experts. Strengths and weaknesses are noted based on the selection criteria outlined in the grant solicitation.

Cooperative Agreements
A cooperative agreement, typically a discretionary award, is a legal instrument that permits OJP to transfer money or something of value to accomplish a public purpose of support authorized by federal statute. This type of award is used when it is anticipated that substantial involvement will be required by the Federal Government.

Payment Programs
Payment programs fund participating jurisdictions for designated purposes, but do not involve post-award activities. The State Criminal Alien Assistance ProgramBulletproof Vest Partnership are examples of such programs.

Date Created: January 21, 2020