Resources for Building Capacity for Environmental Literacy applicants

Resources for applicants to the 2023 Building Capacity for Environmental Literacy competition

The following resources and frequently asked questions are intended to assist applicants in preparing applications for the Office of Education's 2023 Building Capacity for Environmental Literacy competition. Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for official instructions.


Activities offsite link funded under current Office of Education 5-year cooperative agreement with the North American Association for Environmental Education

Budget Examples

Budget Table Model (.pdf)

Budget Narrative Model (.pdf)

Example SF-424a Form (.pdf)

Click on the link and select "download" to save an editable version. If your requested budget includes matching funds, please contact for additional instructions on how to complete this form. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQs section topics:

Required project components and areas of emphasis

Q: What types of project activities are allowed?

A: NOAA will consider funding for project activities that support NOAA's mission in the areas of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, weather, and climate sciences and stewardship as defined by the goals of the NOAA Education Strategic Plan 2021-2040

Applicants will be assessed on their ability to do all of the activities in section 1.A.2 of the funding opportunity, not just a subset of them. Those activities include all of the following: facilitate partnerships and support networks; manage and support STEM-focused competitions, such as science fairs and grants; evaluate NOAA-supported programs’ impacts on the communities served; develop professional development opportunities for educators; develop opportunities for youth; and develop education and outreach materials. 

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Q: How do I get registered for

A: Get registered right away! Getting started with is easy, but it can take up to 3 weeks to complete the registration process. Go to and click on "Get Started". We recommend going to the "Get Registered" site that explains the steps involved in the registration process.

Please note: requires applicants to register with the system prior to submitting any application. This registration process can take several weeks and involves multiple steps. In order to allow sufficient time for this process, applicants should register as soon as they decide they intend to apply, even if they are not yet ready to submit their pre-applications. will not accept submissions if the applicant has not been authorized or if credentials are incorrect. Authorizations and credential corrections can take several days to establish. Please plan accordingly to avoid problems with the submission process. For further information please visit the SAM web portal or Grants.Gov’s “Organization Registration” page.

Q: I am registered with NSF's FastLane. Do I also need to register with

A: Yes, you need to register separately with Registration with NSF's FastLane does NOT constitute registration with

Q: How do I fill out an application in

A: application process information can be found on this page.

Q: How do I access the application package in

A: The application package is now available in You can search for it using the funding opportunity number: NOAA-SEC-OED-2023-2007805.

Q: Is my version of Adobe Reader compatible with

A: To determine if your version of Adobe Reader is compatible with, use their application test package.

Q: I am having technical problems submitting my application through What do I do?

A: Go to the resources FAQ for additional support. For documentation purposes, if you are experiencing difficulties with your submission, we recommend that you contact the help desk and record and save your ticket number.

Q: When are the applications due?

A: The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm EDT April 3, 2023. After this deadline passes, there is no way to submit an application via and NOAA’s Office of Education will only accept applications submitted via In addition, potential applicants must notify NOAA of their intent to submit an application by March 3, 2023. Failure to submit a notification of intent will result in an application not being reviewed. Please note: Office of Education staff will only be available to answer questions Monday through Friday until 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

Q: Are original ("wet") signatures required on any part of the application?

A: When submitting through, the final electronic submission by the authorizing official is equal to an original ("wet") signature.

Q: May I submit an application by mail, email, or fax?

A: No. NOAA’s Office of Education will only accept applications submitted through

Q: What if or my institution's Internet connection is unavailable at the submission deadline?

A: Please avoid this problem by submitting early. If you choose not to submit until the last minute, you do so at your own risk.

Q: Can I request an extension of time to submit an application?

A: No.

Q: I submitted my application to, but later discovered a mistake or missing element in my application. What should I do?

A: As long as the problem was discovered before the posted application deadline, you may re-submit the corrected application to Please notify the Office of Education's grants team at that you have submitted an updated version of the application. Once the application deadline has passed, submitted applications may not be corrected or updated.

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Eligibility requirements

Q: What types of applicants are allowed to apply to this funding opportunity?

A: Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations. For-profit organizations, individuals, state, local and Indian tribal governments in the United States, foreign institutions, foreign organizations and foreign government agencies, and institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply, but may be partners. Federal agencies are not eligible to receive federal assistance under this announcement, but may be non-funded partners.

Q: Who may serve as a PI or a co-PI?

A: Principal Investigators (PIs) are required to be employees of the organization submitting an application. Principal Investigators (or Project Directors) should have a vested interest in the outcome of the project, and are typically subject matter experts in the field being studied/addressed, and must have financial and programmatic control of the project on behalf of the applying organization. Because consultants or contractors of an organization do not typically have this level of authority, they cannot serve as PIs. Also, federal employees cannot serve as PIs or co-PIs for this solicitation. For co-PIs, there are no restrictions for this funding solicitation. However, many applicant organizations have restrictions about who can serve as co-PIs. PIs should check with the sponsored projects office or equivalent to inquire about possible restrictions.

Q: May a federal employee serve as a PI or co-PI?

A: Federal employees may not serve as PIs or co-PIs on any application; however, they may be included as key personnel or project partners.

Q: May NOAA personnel (both federal employees and contractors) serve as co-PIs?

A: No, NOAA personnel (both federal employees and contractors) cannot serve as co-PIs, but can be listed as project partners.

Q: Are individuals unaffiliated with an institution allowed to apply?

A: No, individuals are not eligible to apply; only institutions may submit applications.

Q: May foreign (non-US) or for-profit institutions apply?

A: No, foreign institutions or for-profit institutions are not allowed to apply to this funding opportunity. However, they may serve as project partners.

Q: May graduate students serve as PIs for this funding opportunity?

A: No; however, they may serve as co-PIs or key personnel.

Q: How many applications can an investigator or institution submit to this funding opportunity?

A: It is strongly encouraged that an individual serve as a PI on only one application submitted to this funding opportunity. Institutions may submit more than one application and individuals may serve as co-PIs or key personnel on more than one application.

Q: Can federal agencies apply for funds?

A: Federal agencies cannot apply for funds nor may federal employees receive funding through these awards, even if project partners.

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Application preparation

Q: The required application elements listed in the Notice of Federal Funding (NOFO) are not consistent with what is listed in the mandatory and optional documents sections in the "Grant Application Package" of Which list do I follow?

A: A complete application will include all of the elements and forms listed in the NOFO regardless of what is shown in You can upload forms and documents into even if they are not listed as mandatory or optional documents of an application.

Q: Will you enforce the page limits on applications?

A: Yes. There are page limits only for the project description (15 pages) and resumes (3 pages each). The page limit on the project description is inclusive of figures and other visual materials.

Q: Does the list of references cited in the application count against the 15-page limit on the project description?

A: No. References, budget information, resumes, and letters of commitment are separate components of the application and are not included in the 15-page project description limit.

Q: Can I submit letters of commitment as part of my application? If so, how?

A: Yes, letters of commitment should be included as part of the application submitted through They will not count against the 15-page project description limit. 

Q: Can additional letters of commitment be submitted after the application deadline?

A: No. All letters must be included as part of the original application submitted through before the application deadline.

Q: May I submit appendices to the project description with additional information on the proposed project activities?

A: No, you may not submit any appendices beyond the required application elements listed in the NOFO. Any non-requested elements submitted as part of an application package will be removed from the application prior to merit review.

Q: What is our requested federal share on the SF-424 and SF-424a?

A: The federal share is the amount that you are requesting from NOAA.

Q: What do I put down under items #16a and #16b on the SF-424 for the Congressional district if there is more than one district for the applicant and/or project or if my state only has one district?

A: If the applicant has several offices in different districts, use the district with the largest population. If the project will take place in multiple districts, all districts involved may be used. The SF-424 requires that you enter numbers only. To find your Representative's district go to If your state only has one representative (e.g. Alaska) or a delegate instead of a representative (e.g., District of Columbia), enter a zero.

Q: On the SF-424, I do not know what is meant by "Applicant Identifier", "Federal Entity Identifier", "Federal Award Identifier", and "State Identifier" (items 3, 4, 5a, 5b, 6, and 7). Where do I find this information?

A: These items on the SF-424 do not apply to applications in this call for applications, so please leave them blank. (Note: The boxes in the SF-424 on are not highlighted in yellow, which is an indication that providing this information is optional.)

Q: On the CD-511 form, the field for "Award Number" is required. What should I put in this field?

A: Please write "N/A" in the Award Number field.

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Budget information

Q: What is the total amount of funding for which I may apply?

A: The total federal amount requested from NOAA for each project must be no less than $4,000,000 and no more than $7,000,000 for all years of the project, including direct and indirect costs. Any project requesting total federal support from NOAA of less than $4,000,000 or more than $7,000,000 for all years combined will not be reviewed or considered for funding.

Q: Should I include matching funds in my total funding request?

A: Matching funds are not required nor will the proposed project be evaluated on that basis. If matching funds are included voluntarily, the applicant will be required to provide that match as part of the terms of their award.

Q: May equipment be included in the budget?

A: Yes. Equipment that is necessary to carry out the proposed project may be requested and should be justified in the budget table and narrative.

Q: Are sub-awards allowed?

A: Yes. The project description and budget justification should clearly state why there is a need for a sub-award, what the sub-awardee will do, the organization(s) or individual(s) to which the sub-awards will be made or describe the process that will be used to select the sub-awardee (if not named in the project). Additionally, if any funds are planned for a sub-awardee, you must describe and provide the funding amounts in the same level of detail as is provided in the overall budget, i.e., you should provide the same category break-down as for the overall budget for the sub-awardee budget, for all the categories that apply.

Q: Should I provide documentation for my institution's negotiated indirect cost agreement?

A: Yes, if you include indirect costs (other than the de minimis 10% rate, see below for more information) then you must provide documentation of the negotiated indirect cost agreement. Please upload this document to with the other budget information you will provide.

Q: What if my institution does not have a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement?

A: If an applicant does not have a current or provisional indirect cost rate with a federal agency, they may choose to negotiate a rate with the Department of Commerce or use the de minimis indirect cost rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (as allowable under 2 C.F.R. §200.414). The negotiation and approval of a rate is subject to the procedures required by NOAA and the Department of Commerce Standard Terms and Conditions. The NOAA contact for indirect or facilities and administrative costs is:

Raishan Adams
NOAA Grants Management Division
1325 East West Highway, 9th Floor
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

If your institution does not have an indirect cost rate agreement with a cognizant federal agency you may list those indirect costs as direct costs in the budget narrative and SF-424A and leave the indirect cost rate at 0%.

Q: What categories should be included in the budget table and narrative?

A: Categories should match those in the SF-424A.

Q: Is there a cap on the amount I can allot for any particular budget category?

A: As long as the costs are justified in the project description and budget narrative, there is no cap on any budget category.

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Q: My question is not on this list and is not answered in the NOFO. What should I do?

A: Contact the Office of Education grants team at

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