Student Grant Money: Online Availability
The United States Congress allocates free grant money to 57 federal agencies including the Department of Education. The Federal Department of Education is part of a government-wide effort to streamline the online grant application process with several measures of their own. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is one measure to facilitate the free grant money application to students. The website www.Grants.gov is another measure.
The website was launched in October 2003 as an online database where grant seekers would be able to view federal agency offerings. As of late April, only about 80% of the department’s opportunities had been placed on the website. This amounted to 32 of the 40 grant packages the department had intended to have available online. Some agencies had not gotten involved at all in the online process at this point, while others had exceeded their goals. Numerous agencies had exceeded their goals to the point that on average, they were providing 14 percent more opportunities for free grants than they had planned for.
The Department of Education’s progress was very slow toward their goals, with no real explanation. It had initially expected around 1500 free grant applications on the website, but had only received 469 to that point, representing 31 percent. The Federal government had received only 23 percent of the applications it had expected to that point. The grants website has shown signs of growing. The first year and a half brought in 2751 free government grant applications. One of the reasons for the lagging grant applications on the website is considered to be the change in process. Grant seekers have been adjusting to the new delivery format while the grant community is slowly getting the word out and providing instructional information to grant seekers. A resistance to change is considered another source of the lagging applications, as users are required to register through a system-to-system process. It should be noted that the website application process was not built to facilitate Mac use in making online applications.
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