Policy Guide

The NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide (i.e., the Policy Guide) describes the statutory and regulatory responsibilities of NIFA federal-fund recipients. Although the document is available for download, we continue to solicit stakeholders’ input so that it can be revised further to address users’ concerns. The Policy Guide is a single document for information formerly provided by a variety of manuals; a single document is much more user-friendly for NIFA staff and grantees.

The Policy Guide provides comprehensive guidance on:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Application and review processes
  • Award notification and administration procedures
  • Award terms and conditions
  • Uniform administrative requirements
  • Allowable costs
  • Reporting requirements
  • Close-out procedures
  • Audit requirements

Download the NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide (version dated Oct 2014).


  1. We revised the 2014 NIFA Federal Assistance Policy guide to incorporate changes from the Uniform Guidance, NIFA terms and conditions, NIFA policies and procedures, and stakeholder feedback. We are requesting feedback on the updated draft which is now available for review and comment.

    Download the Draft 2018 NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide

  2. All comments must be submitted via email to policyguide@nifa.usda.gov by 5:00pm ET on Monday, July 30, 2018.

  3. Updated July 2, 2018:  We conducted two webinars (one focusing on competitive grantees and the other on capacity grantees) to provide an overview of where the proposed changes to the Policy Guide are located. Both webinars will cover: the new structure, enhanced navigability features, labeling of sections for audience applicability, and new sections and information (e.g., allowable costs). The Competitive grantee webinar will also review the pre-award application and evaluation sections. The Capacity grantee webinar will also cover added definitions and the enhanced capacity grants matrix that details formulas, use of funds, limitations, reporting requirements, matching requirements, and carry-over provisions. 

  4. NIFA encourages stakeholders to collaborate and compile reviews based on existing groups, such as regional organizations, as the Policy Guide is 214 pages in length.

  5. After receiving feedback, NIFA will review submissions and make updates to the Policy Guide as necessary. The final updated Policy Guide is expected to be published in September 2018 in which case you can anticipate it being incorporated into new NIFA awards and those NIFA awards receiving an increment of funding on or after October 1, 2019. The actual implementation dates will be provided when the final update is published.