Table of Contents
- Eligibility Questions
- Program Policy Questions
- Program Area Questions
- Fund Matching Questions
- Application Questions
- Project Type Questions
- Additional Questions? Contact: sm.fn.GusNIP@usda.gov, Mallory M. Koenings, Ph.D., RDN, Pascale Jean, Ph.D., RD.
- Request for Application (RFA), please visit the Funding Opportunity page.
- For additional information about GuSNIP, please visit our home page.
Can a university/university extension apply as the primary applicant for the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program?
Eligibility to apply for a GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program grant is limited to governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.
Institutions of higher education that are local, county, tribal, territory, or state government agencies must provide documentation in support of eligibility as a governmental agency. Please upload this documentation in Field 12.
The definition of a non-profit organization in 2 CFR Part 200 as follows:
Nonprofit organization means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including Institution of Higher Education, that:
- Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest;
- Is not organized primarily for profit; and
- Uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.
I am interested in applying for GusNIP and I noticed information on priorities around Underserved Communities and Underrepresented Geographies, my agency does not meet this criterion. Are we eligible to apply?
Yes, all applications that meet the initial screening criteria in the RFA will be considered for funding. Where proposals are found to be equally meritorious, based on peer review, selection for funding will be weighed in favor of proposals aligning with and advancing the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program purpose and priorities as described in Part I.B. of the RFA including focus on any underrepresented geographies and/or underrepresented communities. All GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program priorities are given equal consideration.
We are part of State Cooperative Extension at a land-grant university, what documentation is needed supporting our eligibility as a governmental agency?
This varies by organization. Documentation needs to provide clarity on the structure of the organization within a governmental agency, such as a State, U.S. Territory, Tribe, or County. Examples of documentation could be documents that clearly identify that the university or Cooperative Extension is designated as an entity within the governmental structure, such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Public Health, etc.
Program Policy Questions
I am putting together a proposal for the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program and need to fulfill the requirement of a letter of support from our State SNAP office. I don't have a contact there yet, how do I get connected with the appropriate person?
State SNAP Agency office contacts are available on the FNS SNAP State Directory web page: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory.
Do grocery stores participating in GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program projects have to source a percentage of produce locally or regionally?
No, providing locally and regionally produced fruits and vegetables is one of the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program priorities, but it is not required.
Do farmers markets have to be open 40 hours a week to participate in GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program projects?
No, farmers markets do not have to have extended hours. GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program priorities include involving firms with extended hours and days of operations, but it is not required.
Do GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program project proposals have to have a produce-for-produce design? Meaning that a SNAP/NAP shopper must buy produce to earn an incentive benefit to buy produce?
The GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program allows incentives to be earned when a SNAP/NAP participant purchases fruits and vegetables, or a SNAP/NAP eligible food. The GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program allows the use of incentives for fruits and vegetables, or a SNAP/NAP eligible food. A purchase is required, thus a “no purchase required” mechanism and non-financial incentives are not allowable.
The three allowable incentive models are as follows:
- Fruits and vegetables for fruits and vegetables: SNAP/NAP participants purchase fruits or vegetables using their SNAP/NAP benefits and then receive incentives that are redeemable only for the purchase of fruits or vegetables.
- Any SNAP/NAP eligible food for fruits and vegetables: SNAP/NAP participants purchase any SNAP/NAP eligible food using their SNAP/NAP benefits and then receive incentives that are redeemable only for the purchase of fruits or vegetables.
- Fruits and vegetables for any SNAP/NAP eligible food: SNAP/NAP participants purchase fruits or vegetables using their SNAP/NAP benefits and then receive incentives that are redeemable for the purchase of any SNAP/NAP eligible food.
A GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program project must incentivize the purchase of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are defined as any variety of fresh, canned, dried, or frozen whole or cut fruits and vegetables without added sugars, fats, or oils, and salt (i.e., sodium).
Can applications include the cost of vehicles to be used as mobile farmers markets? Can existing vehicles in our organization be modified to be used as a mobile farmers market?
Vehicles to be used as mobile markets may be an allowable expense depending on the proposed project design and objectives. Applicants must clearly explain and justify 1) why the item is needed, 2) if inventory exists elsewhere, and if so, can it be used instead of purchasing new inventory, 3) if there is a less expensive alternative to purchasing (i.e., leasing), and 4) what percentage of the cost is prorated among the activities to benefitted. As part of NIFA’s pre-award review process, cost(s) will be thoroughly vetted. You may be asked to submit a financial analysis, documented procurement procedures, detailed quote(s), and/or other items as requested. If approved, the procurement, inventory confirmation, use and disposition of equipment must in accordance with 2 CFR 200.313, award terms and conditions and NIFA policy.
Modification of a vehicle may be an allowable expense depending on the proposed project design and objectives. Applicants must clearly explain and justify that the cost is ordinary and necessary for the proper and efficient performance of the project. Additionally, applicants must consider and justify if the cost to modify the vehicle involves a significant deviation from established organizational practices.
How do I know if the retailer I want to partner with is SNAP/NAP authorized?
It is required to partner with SNAP/NAP authorized retail firms to conduct a nutrition incentive project. Types of SNAP/NAP firms include grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, and direct-marketing farmers (CSAs and farm stands). Before a firm can participate in a GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program project, the applicant/grantee organization must confirm the firm is authorized. The names and addresses of SNAP/NAP authorized firms are available to the public and can be obtained via the SNAP/NAP Retailer Locator map or the GusNIP Incentive Locator map. If the firm is on the map, that means the firm is authorized. The map is updated every two weeks. Once the applicant/grantee organization has confirmed that the firm is SNAP/NAP authorized, the grantee may move forward with the firm’s participation. Information on the eligibility requirement and process for SNAP/NAP authorization can be found at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/apply-to-accept
For any question regarding the status of a firm’s SNAP/NAP authorization, the firm’s owner should contact the SNAP/NAP Retailer Service Center at 1-877-823-4369.
What information must be included in an MOU with a participating SNAP/NAP authorized retailer (firm)?
Before a firm can participate in a GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program project, the applicant/grantee organization and the partner firm must execute a signed MOU. The MOU provides grantees with a means to ensure that partner firms understand their roles and responsibilities and to hold firms accountable for following GusNIP policy and SNAP/NAP rules and regulations. If the grantee is working with a chain of centrally owned and operated firms, then one MOU that includes all relevant information on every participating firm location will be sufficient. The applicant/grantee organization should keep the original MOU in their records and be able to present it in the event of an audit. The Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE) is available to provide applicants/grantees with assistance in developing the terms and conditions of the MOU.
Grantees are required to have a Data Use Agreement or a MOU with each firm or sub-grantee that guarantees each firm will provide information required for the core firm-level program data set and to complete an outlet survey of firms to be conducted by the NTAE center.
Are incentives for evaluation allowed (e.g., farmers market consumers completing surveys)? If so, should that be included in the evaluation budget, or the grantees budget?
Proposed projects cannot provide cash or cash value items to incentivize the behavior of potential participants. Participants can, however, be reimbursed for their time and effort if they independently choose to complete an evaluation survey. Applicants may include compensation of participant time and effort under participant support costs, other direct costs, or the evaluation budget depending on who will administer the reimbursement.
Who are participant surveys directed towards?
Surveys are intended for any participant. However, the sample size is intended to be yearly.
Is 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sugar or salt (sodium) eligible? Ex: 100% apple juice, 100% carrot juice made with GusNIP eligible apples and carrots.
Yes, 100% fruit and vegetables juices with no added sugars, fats, or salt are eligible. Fruit punch or fruit or vegetable juices less than 100% fruit juice or 100% vegetable juice do not qualify.
Are peanuts, raw, shelled, unsalted eligible fruits and vegetables? What about sunflower seed and pumpkin seeds with no added sugar, salt, or fat?
Edible seeds (e.g., sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds), fresh herbs, traditional subsistence fruits and vegetables, or wild edible and medicinal plants are considered fruits and vegetables for the purpose of the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program fruit and vegetable incentive. Beans, mushrooms, peas, and lentils, classified as vegetables by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 are also considered fruits and vegetables. Peanuts or hazel nuts are not considered fruits and vegetables for the purpose of the GusNIP fruit and vegetable incentive. However, peanuts and hazel nuts are SNAP eligible foods whose purchase may allow a shopper to earn a fruit and vegetable incentive via the ‘any SNAP/NAP eligible food for fruits and vegetables’ model from question 4. Include the products eligible to be purchased to earn the incentive and the products eligible to be purchased when the incentive is redeemed in the Specific Program and Incentive Information section of the project narrative. Additional questions about whether specific food items meet the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program definition of fruits and vegetables may be sent to Sm.fn.GusNIP@usda.gov or to the National Program Leaders.
When budgeting, should applicants budget for travel to any USDA-sponsored conferences or workshops? If so, how much should be budgeted and for what?
During the grant period of performance, GusNIP PDs must attend the NIFA Community Nutrition PD meeting each year. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the progress, outputs, outcomes, and impacts of their projects; opportunities for collaborative efforts; and to enhance award management and reporting. NIFA recommends budgeting reasonable travel expenses for the PD to attend annual NIFA Community Nutrition PD meetings in the application’s budget under travel expenses.
Community Nutrition PD Meetings will be virtual in even years and in-person in odd years. The NIFA Community Nutrition PD meeting format spans 4 days, bringing together PDs from three competitive community nutrition program portfolios: (1) Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP), (2) Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP), and (3) GusNIP.
What are USDA’s expectations for GusNIP awardees?
Grantees and their participating firms are expected to comply with all award terms and conditions as well as policies and requirements laid out the RFA document and any GusNIP or SNAP/NAP policies or requirements further clarified in Q&As, memoranda, or other relevant USDA documents (including all applicable provisions of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 278). Grantees will be notified in writing of instances of noncompliance and will face serious repercussions for repeated instances of noncompliance.
Examples of such noncompliance include, but are not limited to, failure to timely report a change of Project Director (PD), failure to provide required evaluation data to Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE), allowing unapproved firms to participate in a project, and/or incentivizing ineligible products, or exchanging incentives for cash.
First Instance of Noncompliance. If the grantee or the grantee’s firms fail to comply with GusNIP or SNAP/NAP rules and this is the first instance of noncompliance associated with that grantee, then the USDA will notify the grantee of the issue in writing and establish a timeline for corrective action. The general timeline for such corrective action is 30 calendar days, although the timeline may be extended or shortened depending on the nature and extent of the issue at hand at the discretion of the USDA. If the grantee fails to take required corrective action within the established timeline, then the USDA will immediately suspend that grantee’s access to grant funds. Access to grant funds will be restored when corrective action has been taken.
Second Instance of Noncompliance. If the grantee or the grantee’s firms fail to comply with GusNIP or SNAP/NAP rules and this is the second instance of noncompliance associated with that grantee, then the USDA will immediately suspend that grantee’s access to grant funds, notify the grantee of the issue in writing and establish a timeline for corrective action. The general timeline for such corrective action is 30 calendar days, although the timeline may be extended or shortened depending on the nature and extent of the issue at hand at the discretion of the USDA. Access to grant funds will be restored when corrective action has been taken.
Third Instance of Noncompliance. If the grantee or the grantee’s firms fail to comply with GusNIP or SNAP/NAP rules and this is the third instance of noncompliance associated with that grantee, then the USDA will immediately suspend that grantee’s access to grant funds, notify the grantee of the issue in writing and establish a timeline for corrective action. In addition, the USDA will rescind 10% of the total Federal grant funding. The general timeline for such corrective action is 30 calendar days, although the timeline may be extended or shortened depending on the nature and extent of the issue at hand at the discretion of the USDA. Access to the remaining grant funds will be restored when corrective action has been taken.
Further Instances of Noncompliance. If the grantee or the grantee’s firms fail to comply with GusNIP or SNAP/NAP rules and more than three such instances of noncompliance have already been documented, then the USDA will rescind the remaining Federal GusNIP grant funds in their entirety.
Considering a History of Noncompliance during Application Evaluation. A history of noncompliance with GusNIP or any other USDA grant policies and requirements will be considered during the grant application evaluation process as detailed in Part V. B, Evaluation Criteria.
Program Area Questions
GusNIP was appropriated $56M in FY2023. Why is available funding listed in the FY2023 Nutrition Incentive Program RFA $36.3M?
The annual mandatory appropriations of $56M in FY2023 are for the entire GusNIP portfolio, nutrition incentive projects ($36.3M), produce prescription projects ($5.3M), NTAE ($7M), USDA administrative expenses ($4.2M), and Presidential sequestration order ($3.2M).
Must State SNAP agencies sign off on any GusNIP grant application?
All nutrition incentive program applications must include at least one letter of support from applicable SNAP State Agency(ies) and/or NAP Territory Agency(ies). This letter must explain the specific role of the agency, including any activities the agency is expected to conduct in support of the project such as identifying SNAP/NAP participants, and/or sending them any correspondence related to the project. The letter must also identify any State/Territory Agency systems, including EBT systems, required to implement the proposed project along with an acknowledgment of who will bear the costs associated with any activities or system changes if applicable.
Is there technical assistance provided before and/or after the grant is awarded?
The Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE) provides support at no charge to both potential applicants and grantees for nutrition incentive projects. The GusNIP (NTAE) is led by the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. In partnership with Fair Food Network, they created the Nutrition Incentive Hub, a coalition of partners including the Farmer’s Market Coalition, National Grocers Association Foundation, Michigan Farmers Market Association, and Ecology Center. The Nutrition Incentive Hub coalition of partners support nutrition incentive projects.
The GusNIP NTAE’s Nutrition Incentive Hub provides free one-on-one support - including templates, checklists, webinars, and other resources -- to all GusNIP grantees and applicants. Applicants are highly encouraged to take advantage of these technical assistance resources and services. Please visit the resource page at: https://www.nutritionincentivehub.org/resources/resources
The Nutrition Incentive Hub also offers several resources specifically developed to assist with the Request for Applications (RFA). These resources can be found here: https://www.nutritionincentivehub.org/resources/resources/gusnip-request-for-applications/past-rfa-resources-2022
For specific questions related to proposal development or implementation, the technical assistance team may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For specific questions related to reporting and evaluation, please contact email@example.com.
Who is the GusNIP NTAE Center? Is there more than one?
The current GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE Center) is led by the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. In partnership with Fair Food Network, they created the Nutrition Incentive Hub, a coalition of partners including the Farmer’s Market Coalition, National Grocers Association Foundation, Michigan Farmers Market Association, and Ecology Center. The Nutrition Incentive Hub coalition of partners support nutrition incentive projects. Currently there is only one GusNIP NTAE Center. The 2023 GusNIP NTAE request for applications is available at: https://www.nifa.usda.gov/grants/funding-opportunities/gus-schumacher-nutrition-incentive-program-nutrition-incentive-program
The GusNIP NTAE’s Nutrition Incentive Hub provides free one-on-one support - including templates, checklists, webinars, and other resources -- to all GusNIP grantees and applicants. Applicants are highly encouraged to take advantage of these technical assistance resources and services. Please visit the resource page at: https://www.nutritionincentivehub.org/resources.
The Nutrition Incentive Hub also offers several resources specifically developed to assist with the Request for Applications (RFA). These resources can be found here:
For specific questions related to proposal development or implementation, the technical assistance team may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For specific questions related to reporting and evaluation, please contact email@example.com.
What information needs to be included in a letter of support?
See question "Must State SNAP agencies sign off on any GusNIP grant application?" for State/Territory SNAP/NAP agency letter(s) of support. Letters of support from any other key organizations involved in the project acknowledging their support, contributions, commitment, and matching commitment documentation should be attached here. Title the single attachment ‘Key Organization Support’. Provide evidence of broad community involvement in both planning and decision-making. This section is limited to two (2) page letters of support from each key organization.
Do GusNIP standard projects (FIP) need to test new technologies?
No, GusNIP Large Scale Project (FLSP) proposals must test new technologies to increase fruit and vegetable purchases. Nutrition incentive GusNIP Standard Project (FIP) proposals must use available effective and efficient SNAP/NAP benefit redemption technologies. FIP proposals may include testing new technologies, but it is not required.
Fund Matching Questions
Is it allowable to use a pro-rated amount for office space as a form of qualifying match for nutrition incentive program grants?
Yes. Rental costs may be pro-rated and the portion of use charged to the award, either under the Federal funds or matching, if that is the normal procedure for that organization. The Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200.403 states that all costs should be accorded consistent treatment. Therefore, if other funding is provided the organization, or they participate in other projects which use their facility, those projects should also be charged their fair share of the rent. If the organization receives funding from other sources for projects, and those projects are not charged rent fees, then this grant project should not be charged. They should be sure to document how the pro-ration was determined, and to keep records accordingly for audit purposes. Please refer to the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200.465 for specific information on rental costs.
Exactly what match verification is to be included with a GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program grant application?
While you should obtain matching commitment letters from each of your third parties which explain the dollar amount of the match, the period of time the matching will be provided, and how it can/will be spent on the project, these do not need to be included in the application. You must keep these on file for audit purposes. You should include in the application a listing of matching sources to include the name of the organization, the dollar amount of the matching, and provide a budget breakout on how these funds will be spent.
Applicants are instructed to include a list of matching sources that includes the identification of entities providing match and the total dollar amount being pledged. The applicant should also provide a breakdown of matching by budget categories (via the SF424 R&R Fed/Non-Fed budget or the budget justification as appropriate) and a justification for such costs (via the budget justification).
Although you should obtain matching commitment letters from each of your third parties to be available upon audit, individual matching support letters are not required as part of the award process. The documentation standards for grantees in meeting matching requirements is not reduced; match requirement must still be met per the standards of 2 CFR Part 200.306.
Can Federal funds be used as match?
Understanding the legislative authority and applicable use of the proposed Federal funds is crucial. In accordance with 2 CFR Part 200.306(b)(5), any matching funds including cash and third-party in-kind contributions must not be paid by the Federal Government under another Federal award, except where the Federal statute authorizing a program specifically provides that Federal funds made available for such programs can be applied to matching or cost sharing requirements of other Federal programs. Should an authority allow funds to be used as match, please provide evidence of allowability in the budget justification.
An example of allowable Federal fund as match includes funds from the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, Pub. L. No. 93-638. When considering tribal Trust and/or fee lands as an in-kind match, applicants are advised to check with BIA, when applicable, for the specific land use for program purposes in case special conditions apply to that land.
Tribal agency applicants may use funds provided to the Indian Tribe or the Tribal agency through a Federal agency (including the Indian Health Service) or other Federal benefit to satisfy all or part of the non-federal share described if such use is otherwise consistent with the purpose of such funds. Examples may include funds provided through the Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program, the 1994 Extension Program, or the 1994 Equity Program.
SNAP/NAP State/Territory Agencies pay for 50% of the administration of SNAP/NAP and the Federal government pays for the other 50%. This 50% State SNAP/NAP administration cost cannot be used as matching funds for a Nutrition Incentive Project.
Examples of qualifying matching contributions in the RFA include in-kind or direct costs for land where a farmers’ market is to be held. What documentation is required to demonstrate the value of the land? (For NI)
Rental of land for garden plots, use of farmer’s markets and/or other project activities is an allowable project expense per 2 CFR § 200.465 and therefore is an allowable match. The value of the land should be prorated to project use and not exceed the fair rental value of comparable land as established by an independent appraisal of similar land in the area. The amount should not be based on the for-sale appraisal value. Documentation, including ownership information, the charge per acre (or other rate charged), number of acres or market spaces, and the total charge should be included in the budget justification. Upon request, the applicant may be asked to produce additional supporting documentation during the pre-award review, including a letter from participating markets and/or an independent appraisal for rental value.
Can match be from in-kind sources?
Yes, in-kind contributions are an allowable source of match in accordance with 2 CFR Part 200.306(b) when such contributions are verifiable from records, are not includes as contributions for any other Federal award, are necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project objectives, are an allowable cost item, and are provided for in the approved budget.
In-kind contributions include the value of non-cash contributions of property or services. Examples may include use of facilities or donation of equipment, supplies, and other non-expendable property specific to the GusNIP project.
Is match from for-profit entities unallowable?
GusNIP legislation 7 USC 7515 limits, for a for-profit entity, the non-Federal shared shall not include services of an employee, including salaries paid or expenses covered by the employer. In-kind logistical services or supplies would be an allowable source of match. Applicants must include in the budget justification attestation of non-profit status for partners and collaborators services, salaries, and expenses.
Can organizations submit more than one application?
Yes, the same organization may submit a Produce Prescription Program proposal and a Nutrition Incentive Program proposal. Applicants are encouraged to think critically about their organization’s capacity to complete the work proposed.
When is the estimated start date for funded applicants?
The start date of the grant must be no later than September 30, 2023.
Is there a separate page limit for charts and tables or can they be woven throughout the project narrative
Charts and tables are included in the project narrative.
For GusNIP Pilot Project (FPP) proposals the project narrative may not exceed 10 pages, 1.5 spaced including written text, figures, and tables with 1-inch margins. The font size for text and tables should be no smaller than 12 points, Times New Roman. There is no limit to the number of pages an applicant may dedicate to figures, tables, or charts within the overall 10-page limit. Figures, tables, or charts may be woven throughout the narrative, it is not required for them to be at the end of the narrative following the text. We have established this maximum (10 pages) to ensure fair and equitable competition. Applications exceeding these limits may be administratively declined without review.
For GusNIP Standard Project (FIP) and GusNIP Large Scale Project (FLSP) proposals the project narrative must not exceed 15-pages, 1.5 spaced including written text, figures, and tables with 1-inch margins. The font size for text and tables should be no smaller than 12 points, Times New Roman. There is no limit to the number of pages an applicant may dedicate to figures, tables, or charts within the overall 15-page limit. Figures, tables, or charts may be woven throughout the narrative, it is not required for them to be at the end of the narrative following the text. We have established this maximum (15 pages) to ensure fair and equitable competition. Applications exceeding this limit may be administratively declined without review.
There used to be a recommendation that a table of activities to achieve the project goals be no more than 3 pages. Is this recommended for the 2023 RFA?
In 2023, it is recommended to include a table with implementation details in the Activities to Achieve the Goals section of the project narrative. A recommended length has been removed. Applicants may determine the length appropriate to best communicate their proposed project.
What is the difference between the tables and figures in project narrative compared to the appendix
Information required in the project narrative must be included in the project narrative. The appendices to the project narrative are where applicants may provide Specific Program Incentive Information, items 12-14. Appendices are limited to 7 pages and should be uploaded to Field 12.
Should the names, addresses, and FNS numbers of all participating firms/retailers be included in the application and counted towards the project narrative page limit?
Applicants may provide Specific Program Incentive Information, items 12-14 in an appendix. This will not count towards the project narrative page limit. Appendices are limited to 7 pages and please do not make the font size any smaller than 10 points.
Based on the information from the RFA, this sounds to us like we can submit our indirect cost rate that we have calculated from audits (but is not a federally negotiated rate yet), and if awarded we will go through the process of submitting the indirect rate package for review. Does this sound accurate?
You may calculate an indirect cost (IDC) rate to serve as the basis for requesting IDC in your application and indicate on the budget and justification that the rate is pending negotiation. If awarded, you will be required to submit a complete IDC proposal package to obtain a negotiated rate and recover IDC. Please note, it may take six to nine months to negotiate a rate if NIFA is your cognizant negotiating agency. The funds for the indirect costs will not be released for payment until the rate has been approved. Please see NIFA Indirect Cost Information for additional guidance.
Is pre-award spending allowable?
NIFA authorizes award recipients to incur project costs up to 90 calendar days before the Federal award start date. Expenses more than 90 days pre-award require prior approval from NIFA.
Costs incurred, may be reimbursed after the Federal award start date, but are at the risk of the recipient. NIFA is not required to reimburse costs if for any reason the: (1) award is not made; (2) award is less than anticipated; or (3) award is inadequate to cover such costs. If charged to the award, these costs must be charged to the initial budget period of the award, unless otherwise specified by NIFA.
Is there any subaward restriction?
The RFA Sub-award Restrictions require no more than 33% of the budget be sub-awarded without prior NIFA approval from the National Program Leaders.
Can subawards collect indirect costs?
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 200.332(a)(4), if the subrecipient has an approved federally recognized indirect cost rate negotiated between the subrecipient and the Federal Government, that rate may be applied. If no approved rate exists, the pass-through entity must determine the appropriate rate in collaboration with the subrecipient which is either: a negotiated rate between the pass-through entity and the subrecipient or the de minimis indirect cost rate. The pass-through entity must not require use of a de minimis indirect cost rate if the subrecipient has a Federally approved rate.
Are grants eligible for advance payment?
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 200.305(b), grantees may be paid in advance, provided that they maintain or demonstrate the willingness to maintain both written procedures that minimize the time elapsing between the transfer of funds and disbursement, and financial systems that meet the standards for fund accountability. The timing and amount of advanced payments must be as close as is administratively feasible to the actual disbursement for direct program or program costs and the proportionate share of any allowable indirect costs.
If a grantee cannot meet the criteria for advance payments, NIFA may determine that reimbursement is the preferred method and will set reimbursement as a specific term of the award.
Is the maximum award amount, also known as the budget ceiling, for each year of the project or for the entire project period?
The maximum award amount is for the entire project period. For example, a GusNIP Standard Project (FIP) may be proposed for up to four years in duration and $500,000 total in Federal funding. The $500,000 would be spread across the project years but need not be equal across all years.
Where on the research and related budget form should costs associated with nutrition incentives be placed?
Total fruit and vegetable incentive dollars from both Federal and Non-Federal funds must be summarized in the Budget Justification with clear affirmation of which budget category or categories were used to calculate totals. For example, a project design may necessitate incentives are included in F.8 Other Direct Costs and F.5 Subawards/Contractual Costs, however, the Budget Justification should clearly describe that total fruit and vegetable incentives are a sum of F.8 and the portion of F.5 specified as incentive.
Project Type Questions
What are some expected outcomes for FIP grants?
All FIPs must involve SNAP/NAP participants. All FIP proposals must include an evaluation of whether the project met its goals and objectives. All FIP grantees will be required to participate in the GusNIP comprehensive program evaluation, collect core participant-level and firm-level metrics, cooperate with, and contribute core participant-level and firm-level data to the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Centers (NTAE).
The required Comprehensive GusNIP Program Evaluation is based on a cluster evaluation model that builds on the collaboration and coordination of individual project assessments and an overall program evaluation. It consists of four components: a process analysis to describe project implementation and support future replication of successful approaches, an outcome analysis to assess the effectiveness of each FIP and FLSP grantee project, a comparative analysis to integrate results across sites and approaches, attempting to answer the question of what works best (and when or where), and technical assistance to support consistent implementation of evaluation protocols used by grantees/researchers/evaluators.
All FPP, FIP, and FLSP grantees will be required to cooperate with the NTAE center by:
- Supporting implementation of evaluation requirements;
- Meeting periodically with staff from NIFA, FNS, the NTAE centers, and other GusNIP grantees to review project plans, evaluation objectives and methods, data collection and reporting requirements, and analysis and reporting of results;
- Facilitating access to or providing documentation of project implementation, operations, costs, and outcomes; and
- Facilitating site visits and interviews with project staff, partners, and program participants if necessary.
FIP and FLSP grantees will be required to periodically provide the NTAE centers a core program data set to ensure common program tracking and enable meaningful comparisons across all projects. A defined number of cross-sectional (i.e., single time point) surveys are required to be collected from this subsample for each active grant year of a grantee’s project. The NTAE will work with each grantee on an individual basis to determine the sample size and sampling plan. For additional information on the core program data set firm-level and participant-level metrics, visit the GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program RFA Resources page.
Grantees are required to have a Data Use Agreement or a MOU with each firm or sub-grantee that guarantees each firm will provide information required for the core program data set and to complete an outlet survey of firms to be conducted by the NTAE center.
Comprehensive GusNIP Program Evaluation
Program Area Code: FPP
- Project Evaluation: Process evaluation
- Comprehensive Program Evaluation: 1)Required to participate. 2)Participation includes conducting a project self-assessment and providing self-assessment data to the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, & Information Center (NTAE)
Program Area Code: FIP
- Project Evaluation: Process & outcome evaluation
- Comprehensive Program Evaluation: 1)Required to participate. 2)Collect minimum core data set. 3)Collaborate with the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE). 4)Contribute minimum core data set to the NTAE
Program Area Code: FLSP
- Project Evaluation: Process & outcome evaluation
- Comprehensive Program Evaluation: 1)Required to participate. 2)Collect minimum core data set. 3)Collaborate with the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE). 4)Contribute minimum core data set to the NTAE.