USED & White House
OMB Announces New Final UGG
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In an event Thursday, the White House and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revealed its new final regulations for grants management, known as the “Uniform Grants Guidance” or UGG.  In remarks, OMB officials discussed the overhaul as an effort to “maximize impact” across the reach of federal programs, government-wide, especially as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  A memorandum accompanying the release discussed efforts to reduce burden in the administration of federal financial assistance.


Specific changes highlighted in the event included an increase in the default indirect cost rates, clearer labor standards for federally funded projects, increasing thresholds for certain administrative requirements, and allowing the use of federal funds to gather data and examine the impact of funds.  Officials also stated the guidance is now written “in plain English” to make it accessible to everyone, and clarifying language so that agencies have the same understanding – and interpretation – of federal rules. 


Other updates include an increase of the disposition thresholds under which equipment and unused supplies may be disposed of without further obligation to the federal government from $5,000 to $10,000 in aggregate value.  The threshold at which a recipient is required to conduct a single audit or program-specific audit will increase as well.


The final regulations also include changes to organization costs at 2 CFR 200.455 and direct costs at 200.413 to allow “program evaluation costs” like “evidence reviews, evaluation planning and feasibility assessment, conducting evaluations, sharing evaluation results, and other personnel or materials costs.”  Federal agencies would also be required to engage stakeholders and encourage applicants to engage during the design phase to ensure that grant programs are accessible to a larger group of participants.


Agencies are instructed to apply the new standards no later than October 1, 2024 but may apply them earlier – this means that the U.S. Department of Education may choose to implement these rules alongside a new round of federal grant awards on July 1, 2024.  A prior version of the guidelines was last updated in December of 2013.

About the Author

Julia Martin is an attorney with the Washington, DC law firm The Bruman Group, PLLC. Established in 1980, the Firm is nationally recognized for its federal education regulatory and legislative practice, providing legal advice regarding compliance with all major federal education programs as well as the federal grants management requirements, including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). In addition, they work with agencies on federal spending flexibility, allowability, policies and procedures, audit defense and resolution and legislative updates. The Firm provides government relations services for the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA).