Step 2: Submit Through NEA-GO

Fill out and submit to NEA-GO the NEA Grant Application Form and Upload Items 


  1. Submit your materials to NEA-GO prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.
    • Most problems can be solved by changing your browser. If that doesn't work, change devices.
    • NEA staff will not be available to help you after 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on the day of the deadline.
  2. Don't forget to hit the "Submit" button when you are ready to submit your application.

  3. NEA-GO closes at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on the day of the deadline. Be sure you have finished uploading your materials and hit the "Submit" button prior to that time.

  4. Some special characters, such as ampersands, quotation marks, and apostrophes, take up more character counts than others in webforms, including the Grant Application Form. This is because certain characters are translated into HTML code which takes up more than one character space. If you notice a higher than expected character count when you enter information directly into the Grant Application Form or copy and paste from your word processing program, here are a few tips:

    • Transfer your text into a text-only utility like Notepad before pasting it into the Grant Application Form. This will delete hidden HTML code to ensure the proper capture of your text. However, any formatting you had will be deleted.

    • Use a solution other than special characters. For example, instead of using quotation marks for titles of works, put them in italics and that won't affect character count.

    • Use only one space after the end of sentences. Single spaces after punctuation marks (periods, commas, colons, etc.) only reduce the character counter by one character. If you enter two spaces after a period, HTML coding adds extra spaces.

      Also, save character space by limiting the use of tabs.

You will use the NEA GrantsOnline™ System (NEA-GO), which is being administered for the NEA by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). This will proceed as follows:

  1. You will complete the SF-424 process by the deadline of record as detailed in Step 1.

  2. Log in to On the left of the screen under Applicant Actions, click on Check My Application Status. Click the Search button, and all of your submitted applications will appear. In the column for Agency Tracking # and Notes, click on the number. There you will see information about how to access NEA-GO. There will be a notes box with a link to NEA-GO and information about when it will be open. Your User Name for NEA-GO will be your Tracking Number and your Agency Tracking #/NEA Application Number will be your password. You can begin accessing this information on 1-2 business days after you submit your SF-424, but no earlier than 10 days before the application deadline.

  3. NEA-GO will be open for you to submit application material and work samples beginning on November 4, 2014. You will have until 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on November 18, 2014, to upload, preview/check, and submit your application material and work samples electronically.

  1. The NEA-GO system is optimized for use with the following web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Internet Explorer will also work, but you must have at least version IE 8.

For specific help on how to complete your application, please review the instructions in these guidelines including the Frequently Asked Questions, or contact the Research staff at

Grant Application Form

The Grant Application Form and the information that it collects can be seen here. You will not have access to the Grant Application Form until NEA-GO opens for you to submit your application material on November 4.

You will submit a substantial part of your application through the Grant Application Form, including:

  • Answers to narrative questions about your organization and project.
  • Financial information about your organization and project.
  • Bios of key individuals.

You should prepare your responses and material well in advance of the deadline and have them fully ready to upload once NEA-GO opens for you. The version of the form that you can link to now will let you know what is required and any specifications about your material (e.g., character limits for narrative responses).

See the instructions below for the following items (some instructions are provided on the form itself).

Part 1. Organizational Information

Organization Budget

Provide the requested information for your organization for the most recently completed fiscal year, the previous fiscal year, and two years prior. If you are a parent organization, provide this information for the independent component on whose behalf you are applying (e.g., for a university project, provide the information for the independent component, not the entire university). For independent components, you may use the space to discuss the fiscal health of your organization to explain the relationship that the independent component has with the larger entity (e.g., "museum guards and utilities paid for by university"). If your organization is a smaller entity that exists within a larger organization (such as literary organization housed at a college or university), submit information for the smaller entity and follow the instructions for parent organizations and independent components.

This is intended to show your organization's fiscal activity as it relates to operations. Do not include activity related to a capital campaign (such as raising money for a new facility, an endowment fund, or a cash reserve fund). The Arts Endowment may request additional information to clarify an organization's financial position.

Use the following definitions when completing this form. Unaudited figures are acceptable.


Earned: Revenues that are received through the sale of goods, services performed, or from investments. Examples: ticket sales, subscription revenue, contractual fees, interest income.

Contributed: Gifts that are received which are available to support operations. Examples: annual fund donations, grants for general operating or project support, in-kind contributions.


Artistic Salaries: Costs that are directly related to the creation, production, and presentation of art work. Examples: fees for dancers, choreographers, actors, curators, artistic directors, contributors to literary publications. Include arts personnel that are on your staff as well as those that are paid on a contract or fee basis.

Production/exhibition/service expenses: All program or service delivery costs, excluding artistic salaries and fees that are listed above. Examples: research expenditures; presentation costs; costs of sets, costumes, and lighting; publication costs of catalogues or literary magazines.

Administrative expenses: All other costs that are incurred during the normal course of business. Examples: outside professional non-artistic services, space rental, travel, marketing, administrative salaries, utilities, insurance, postage.

NOTE: The figures are subject to verification by the Arts Endowment.

Part 2. Project Information

Major Project Activities: Please organize your response a), b), c), etc. and use the boldfaced language in the instructions as a heading for each item. Be as specific as possible about the activities that will take place during the project period. (30,000 character limit)

Major Project Activities:

  1. Research motivation. Provide detailed information on the topic that will be studied, its significance to the value and/or impact of the arts, a review of any relevant literature with citations to provide evidence of the unique potential contribution of this research, and one or more concise research questions the project seeks to answer, along with the hypothesis or hypotheses. Priority will be given for theory-driven research questions.

  2. Research design. Provide a clear and detailed research design, including proposed methodologies, and justification for the proposed design.

  3. Data source(s) and sample(s). Clearly describe the dataset(s) to be used, including information about the year(s) the data were or will be collected, the sampling design, the response rate, the demographics of the sample and/or subsample and the specific variables that will be used in the analysis. If the project involves analyzing variables from more than one data source concurrently, discuss the appropriateness of establishing any relationships between the variables and/or data sources in question. Describe how the data lend themselves to addressing the proposed research questions, and discuss any significant limitations posed by the data.

  4. Data analyses. Describe the data analysis procedures. Provide information about the types of statistical and/or qualitative analyses that will be conducted. If applicable, specify the statistical model (i.e., relationships between independent and dependent variables) and hypotheses, and explain any measures that will be used to operationalize the model.

  5. Outline for research paper. Provide a draft outline for the research paper that will be submitted at the end of the grant period. (See “Administrative Requirements” for additional information.)

  6. Works cited or references of literature cited.

Data management plan (5,000 character limit): Describe the types of raw data and meta-data to be generated by the project, and address any plans for sharing those data with other researchers and the public. The data management plan will be evaluated by panelists as part of the application review. At a minimum, data management plans should address:

  • Types of raw data (e.g., results of data collection) and meta-data (e.g., data collection instruments, codebooks) to be produced in the course of the research project.
  • Standards to be used for raw- and meta-data format and content. Where existing standards are absent or inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies.
  • Policies for sharing the raw- and meta-data with researchers and the public, including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements. To the degree possible, explain factors that may affect making the data publicly available. If appropriate, explain the lowest level of aggregated data that will be shared with others.
  • Plans for archiving the raw- and meta-data, and for ensuring continuous access to them beyond the project period. Describe physical and virtual resources and/or facilities that will be used for data preservation. Include any third-party data repositories. Explain changes to any roles and responsibilities that will occur if the project leaders leave the applicant organization or project.

A valid data management plan may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification.

Descriptions (e.g., abstracts) about relevant prior research (5,000 character limit) conducted by you or by key personnel. Include the types of methodology used and project outcomes, and, if available, links to publications and other products.

Part 3: Project Budget:

NOTE: Organizations may not receive more than one Arts Endowment grant for the same expenses. This budget cannot include project costs that are supported by any other federal funds or their match.

Your Project Budget should reflect only those costs that will be incurred during the "Period of Support" that you have indicated for your project. Any costs incurred before or after those dates will be removed. Round all numbers to the nearest $100.

Combine like costs if necessary to make rounding more realistic. Applicants whose grants are recommended for less than the amount that is requested may be asked to revise the project budget.

While the Project Budget on the Grant Application Form will allow unlimited characters in the line items descriptions, please use the character maximums listed in the instructions below. If you go beyond the character maximums, your expanded information will not be seen by NEA staff or reviewers.


  1. AMOUNT REQUESTED FROM THE ARTS ENDOWMENT: You may request $10,000 to $30,000.

  2. TOTAL MATCH FOR THIS PROJECT: The Arts Endowment requires each applicant to obtain at least half the total cost of each project from nonfederal sources. For example, if you receive a $30,000 grant, your total project costs must be at least $60,000 and you must provide at least $30,000 toward the project from nonfederal sources. Matches of more than dollar for dollar are encouraged. These matching funds may be all cash or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions as detailed below. Be as specific as possible. For projects that include additional partners, indicate on the form the portion of the match that is being contributed by each participant. Asterisk (*) those funds that are committed or secured.

    Cash match refers to the cash donations (including items or services that are provided by the applicant organization), grants, and revenues that are expected or received for this project. Limit your descriptions to 100 characters maximum. Do not include any Arts Endowment or other federal grants that are anticipated or received. Identify sources. The Arts Endowment allows the use of unrecovered indirect costs as part of the cash match or cost sharing. Your organization must have a federal negotiated indirect cost rate agreement to include unrecovered indirect costs.

    In-kind: Donated space, supplies, volunteer services are goods and services that are donated by individuals or organizations other than the applicant (third-party). Limit your descriptions to 100 characters maximum. To qualify as matching resources, these same items also must be listed in the project budget as direct costs. The dollar value of these non-cash donations should be calculated at their verifiable fair-market value. Identify sources. Reminder: Proper documentation must be maintained for all items noted as "in-kind."

  3. TOTAL PROJECT INCOME is the total of "1. Amount requested from the Arts Endowment" and "2. Total match for this project."


DIRECT COSTS are those that are identified specifically with the project. Be as specific as possible (e.g., show costs that relate to festival programming if your project is for a festival). For projects that include additional partners, indicate on the form the portion attributed to each participant.

  1. DIRECT COSTS: Salaries and wages cover compensation for personnel, administrative and artistic, who are paid on a salary basis. (Funds for contractual personnel and compensation for artists who are paid on a fee basis should be included in "3. Other expenses" on Page 2 of the Project Budget form, and not here.) Indicate the title and/or type of personnel (40 characters maximum), the number of personnel (30 characters maximum), the annual or average salary range (40 characters maximum), and the percentage of time that will be devoted to the project annually (30 characters maximum). List key staff positions, and combine similar functions. Where appropriate, use ranges. If the costs for evaluation and assessment are part of staff salary and/or time, separately identify those costs.


    Title and/or type of personnel

    Number of personnel

    Annual or average salary range

    % of time devoted to this project







    Executive Director (most of project)


    $40,000 per yr.



    Executive Director (evaluation only)


    $40,000 per yr.





    $20-25,000 per yr.



    Support Staff


    $15-20,000 per yr.



    Salaries and wages for performers and related or supporting personnel must be estimated at rates no less than the prevailing minimum compensation as required by the Department of Labor Regulations. (See "Legal Requirements" for details.) Salaries and wages that are incurred in connection with fund raising are not allowable project expenses; do not include them in your budget.

    Fringe benefits are those costs other than wages or salary that are attributable to an employee, as in the form of pension, insurance, vacation and sick leave, etc. They may be included here only if they are not included as indirect costs.

  2. DIRECT COSTS: Travel must be estimated according to the applicant's established travel practice, providing that the travel cost is reasonable and does not exceed the cost of air coach accommodations. Limit your descriptions to these character maximums: # of Travelers = 20 characters; From = 50 characters; To = 50 characters. Include subsistence costs (e.g., hotels, meals) as part of the "Amount" listed for each trip, as appropriate. Foreign travel, if any is intended, must be specified in this section and must conform with government regulations, including those of the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control. If Arts Endowment funds are used for foreign travel, such travel must be booked on a U.S. air-carrier when this service is available.

  3. DIRECT COSTS: Other expenses include consultant and artist fees, contractual services, promotion, acquisition fees, rights, evaluation and assessment fees, access accommodations (e.g., audio description, sign-language interpretation, closed or open captioning, large-print brochures/labeling), telephone, photocopying, postage, supplies and materials, publication, distribution, translation, transportation of items other than personnel, rental of space or equipment, and other project-specific costs. List artist compensation here if artists are paid on a fee basis. Limit your descriptions to 100 characters maximum.

    Television broadcast projects and educational/interpretive videos must be closed or open captioned. Applicants should check with captioning organizations for an estimate.

    If you intend to purchase any equipment that costs $5,000 or more per item and that has an estimated useful life of more than one year, you must identify that item here. Provide a justification for this expenditure either in this section of the Project Budget form or in your narrative.

    Group similar items together on a single line, with only one total cost. List consultant and artist fees or contracts for professional services on consecutive lines; do not scatter them throughout the list. Specify the number of persons and the applicable fee, rate, or amount of each. For other types of line items, provide details of what is included in each item. See the “Administration” example below.


    Artists (5 @ $300-500 per week/30 weeks)


    Consultants (2 @ $150 per 1/2 day/1 day per mo./10 mos.)


    Access accommodations (sign-language interpretation and audio description)


    Costumes, props


    Project supplies


    Administration (rent -- $4,500, telephone -- $300, copying -- $200)


    Do not include fund raising, entertainment or hospitality activities, concessions (e.g., food, T-shirts), fines and penalties, bad debt costs, deficit reduction, cash reserves or endowments, lobbying, marketing expenses that are not directly related to the project, audit costs that are not directly related to an A-133 audit, contingencies, miscellaneous, or costs incurred before the beginning of the official period of support.

  4. TOTAL DIRECT COSTS is the total of all direct cost items listed in "1. Salaries and wages" (from Page 1 of the Project Budget form), "2. Travel," and "3. Other expenses."

  5. INDIRECT COSTS are overhead or administrative expenses that are not readily identifiable with a specific project. (The costs of operating and maintaining facilities and equipment, depreciation or use allowances, and administrative salaries and supplies are typical examples of indirect costs.) Indirect costs are prorated or charged to a project through a rate negotiated with the Arts Endowment or another federal agency (limit your description of Federal Agency to 50 characters). If you do not have or intend to negotiate an indirect cost rate, leave this section blank. You may claim administrative costs or overhead as direct costs under "3. Other expenses." If you have a negotiated rate and would like to include indirect costs, complete the information requested in this section. For additional information, see "Indirect Cost Guide for NEA Grantees."

  6. TOTAL PROJECT COSTS is the total of "4. Total direct costs," and, if applicable, "5. Indirect costs." NOTE: "3. Total project income" (from Page 1 of the Project Budget form) must equal the "Total project costs." Your project budget should not equal your organization's entire operating budget.

Items to Upload

There are three types of required items:

1. Operating history list

2. Statements of support

3. Special items

You will access NEA-GO for detailed instructions and to upload your items. You should prepare your items well in advance of the deadline and have them fully ready to upload once NEA-GO becomes available to you.


Below are the required items to upload to NEA-GO. These are a critical part of your application and are considered carefully during application review.

Operating History List

Submit a representative list of your organization's operating history for the past three years. (Submit no more than three pages; Excess pages will be removed and not be reviewed.)

Submit a selective representative list, in chronological order, of your organization's programming or activities for the following years: 2012, 2013, and 2014.

This list should demonstrate eligibility (i.e., your organization's three-year operating history) and the artistic excellence and merit of your organization. Where applicable, include research/evaluation programming that has a relationship to the project for which you are requesting.Use the bullets below as a guide to possible column headings for your list; adjust them as appropriate for your organization.

  • Year: 2012, 2013, and 2014.
  • The titles of the event, program, or project.
  • Key Personnel. Include the project head and key personnel involved.
  • The location of the activity.
  • Dates of the activity and the number of activities.


A university might fill out its representative list as follows:


Activity/ Project Head

Key Personnel





Research project on the impact of festivals on youth learning

John Smith

University research lab

Jan 2012 – January 2013



Festival A/Festival Director

Jane Doe

Civic Theater

Jan 27-31, 2013



Research project on an arts intervention for cancer patients

Richard Jones,
Robert Hall

University medical hospital

April 2014 – December 2014


Statements of Support

You must submit at least one statement of support that is directly related to the proposed project. Submit a maximum of three one-page statements of support that demonstrate commitment from any combination of key individuals, organizations, or communities that you wish to highlight. Statements of support are used by reviewers to assess the level of commitment of project participants and the impact of project activities. Do not provide general statements of support for your organization. Each statement should include the name, affiliation, phone number, and e-mail address of the individual who provided it.

Special Items

Submit separate PDF files for each of the items specified below that are relevant to your particular project.

  • Examples related to the data collection, such as survey instruments, sampling design, relative excerpts from or links to codebooks, and other relevant information about the data collection methods. Only include information that is relevant to the project in this item.

  • Information that documents your organization’s right to access the dataset(s) and/or collect the data specified in your application. Include all documentation that applies:

    • Evidence that the dataset(s) is in the public domain.

    • Written permission that grants you the right to access the dataset(s) specified in your application. The written permission must explicitly identify the holder of the access and the date of consent, and, if applicable, time restrictions for accessing the data and the cost of the dataset(s).

    • If you will be including the purchase of the dataset(s) in your Official NEA Project Budget, evidence that guarantees that you will have the right to access the dataset(s) upon purchase. Detail the process that you will use, the date by which you will purchase the dataset(s) and secure access rights, and the cost of the dataset(s).

    • Applicants who include primary data collection as a proposed project activity are required to provide documentation regarding whether or not IRB approval is needed to execute the project. If the documentation states that IRB approval is required, then applicants also must indicate the measures they have taken or plan on taking to gain IRB approval.

      If IRB approval is needed, then you should begin working with an IRB office as soon as possible. If you are awarded a grant, you will be expected to submit a confirmation letter on the status of your IRB submission.

    The Arts Endowment may contact you for documentation of access, IRB status, and human ethics research training at any time.

  • Human Ethics in Research Training: If the proposed project involves primary data collection from human research subjects, evidence of ethics training must be included for each key personnel involved with participants and/or involved with human subjects data. Evidence can be demonstrated by providing a certificate of completion from the Protecting Human Research Participants free training module offered through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or from a comparable training program sponsored by another U.S. federal agency or department.

Information About Uploaded Items

For each item that you upload, you will find a descriptive field into which you will enter the following information, as appropriate:

Title box:

This title must not contain an apostrophe (if you use one your item will not upload). Title each item with a unique name.

  • For your operating history list, statements of support, and special items, simply state the type of item.

Description box:

For your operating history list, statements of support, and special items, simply state the type of item.