Challenge: Complex and Diverse Grant Mechanisms
Federal grants to state and local governments for various purposes provide funding to address vital needs in
areas such as health care, transportation, education, and social services. Outlays for these grants have
increased since 1980.
Growth in both the number of grant programs and level of funding has created diversity and complexity in
the federal grants management process. This complexity could make it more difficult to coordinate and
consolidate grant programs or compare grant administrative costs across different programs and draw meaningful
conclusions about the overall effectiveness of grants in helping to achieve results.
In addition, many grant-making agencies have not closed out expired grants in a timely manner. As of the end
of fiscal year 2015, expired grant funds in the Payment Management System—a grant management system—alone were
worth almost $1 billion that could be redirected to other projects or returned to the Treasury.