Circular No. A-89
August 17, 1984
HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
Domestic Assistance Program Information
7. Action Requirements
8. OMB Responsibilities
9. Information Contact
10. Sunset Review Date
1. Purpose. This revised circular supersedes Circular A-89,
dated December 31, 1970. It provides the basis for a systematic
and periodic collection and uniform submission of information on
all federally financed domestic assistance programs to the Office
of Management and Budget (OMB) by Federal agencies. It also establishes
Federal policies related to the delivery of this information to
the public, including through the use of electronic media. The policies
and responsibilities established by this Circular apply to all executive
departments and agencies as defined by Section 551(1) of Title 5,
United States Code.
system established by this Circular is designed to assist in identifying
the types of Federal domestic assistance available, describing eligibility
requirements for the particular assistance being sought, and providing
guidance on how to apply for specific types of assistance. In addition,
it is intended to improve coordination and communication between
the Federal Government and State and local governments.
2. Rescissions. This revised Circular supersedes OMB Circular
No. A-89 dated December 31, 1970, and Transmittal Memorandum No.
1, dated June 25, 1980.
3. Authority. The Federal Program Information Act (Public
Law 95-220) was signed into law in December 1977. This Act provided
for the efficient and regular distribution of current information
on Federal domestic assistance programs. The Act was amended in
October 1983 by Public Law 98-169 to give the Administrator of General
Services the responsibility for carrying out this function. The
Act outlines the duties of the Administrator of General Services
and the Director of OMB. It also directs Federal agencies to furnish
information on their domestic assistance programs and serves as
the compelling mandate for collection and distribution of current
information on Federal domestic assistance programs.
4. Background. The requirements contained in this Circular
are a revision of those prescribed by OMB Circular No. A-89, dated
December 31, 1970. This Circular prescribes the manner in which
Administration (GSA), OMB, and executive branch agencies that administer
domestic assistance programs are to carry out their statutory responsibilities
under the Federal Program Information Act.
5. Policy. Comprehensive information on all Federal domestic
assistance programs will be maintained by the GSA. Using that information
as the source, a Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance will be
prepared and issued annually and updated periodically, and a computerized
retrieval system, presently the Federal Assistance Programs Retrieval
System (FAPRS), will be maintained and updated by the GSA.
branch agencies shall submit to OMB on a timely basis and in accordance
with instructions provided by GSA, information on all domestic assistance
programs and activities that are federally funded and that are administered
by such agency.
of Federal Domestic Assistance will be the single, authoritative,
Government-wide comprehensive source document of Federal domestic
assistance program information produced by the executive branch
of the Federal Government. The Catalog is a guide to all domestic
assistance programs and activities regardless of dollar size or
duration. Specifically, these programs include general purpose aid
to States and localities (general revenue sharing and shared revenues);
payments in lieu of taxes; assistance to State and local governments
to finance essential public services and productivity efforts; indirect
assistance or benefits resulting from Federal operations; and automatic
payments for which no application process is required. Any other
executive branch publication that describes a group of Federal domestic
assistance programs is considered a specialized catalog. Publications
containing comprehensive descriptions of individual programs that
specify application guidelines, administrative requirements, and
other details, and pamphlets or leaflets containing conventional
public information of a generalized nature are not considered specialized
catalogs. Unless otherwise required by law, specialized catalogs
may be published only when specifically authorized and developed
within the following guidelines and criteria:
for the development and publication of any specialized catalog
of Federal domestic assistance programs will be submitted to the
General Services Administration for approval in the conceptual
planning stages. The request for clearance will include full justification
of the need for such a specialized catalog and will clearly indicate
why the particular need cannot be adequately served by the currently
available Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.
feasible, justifiable ad hoc needs of an agency will be satisfied
by the development of specialized user guides or supplements to
the material contained in the currently available Catalog of Federal
Domestic Assistance in lieu of developing completely separate
catalogs. Continuing needs for this type of information will generally
be met by changes to the indexing schemes or substantive content
of the Catalog. Agencies will advise the General Services Administration
of their needs and proposed efforts in this area.
6. Definitions. For the purpose of this Circular, the following
definitions shall apply:
- A "federal
domestic assistance program" is any function of a Federal agency
that provides assistance or benefits for a State or States, territorial
possession, county, city, other political subdivision, grouping,
or instrumentality thereof; any domestic profit or nonprofit corporation,
institution, or individual, other than an agency of the Federal
Government. A Federal domestic assistance program may in practice
be called a program, an activity, a service, a project, a process,
or some other name, regardless of whether it is identified as a
separate program by statute or regulation. It will be identified
in terms of its legal authority, administering office, funding,
purpose, benefits, and beneficiaries.
or "benefits" refers to the transfer of money, property, services,
or anything of value, the principal purpose of which is to accomplish
a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal
statute. Assistance includes, but is not limited to grants, loans,
loan guarantees, scholarships, mortgage loans, insurance, and other
types of financial assistance; provision or donation of Federal
facilities, goods, services, property, technical assistance, counseling,
statistical, and other expert information; and service activities
of regulatory agencies. It does not include provision of conventional
public information services.
agency means any agency as defined by Section 551(1) of Title 5,
United States Code.
office means the lowest subdivision of any Federal agency that
has direct operational responsibility for managing a Federal domestic
7. Action Requirements. The head of each executive department
and establishment shall establish internal policies, procedures,
and responsibilities to implement the policies contained in this
Circular and shall provide overall direction for establishing a
mechanism for collecting, coordinating, and submitting current program
the head of each executive department and establishment shall be
responsible for assuring that information on each domestic assistance
program administered by such agency is collected, maintained, and
submitted to OMB. This includes narrative and financial program
information on all funded programs as defined and outlined in special
reporting instructions transmitted by GSA to the agencies and departments.
end, each agency or department shall:
procedures of administrative control to assure the adequacy and
timeliness of program information collected and submitted.
a single office within the department or agency to:
and coordinate the federally funded domestic assistance program
information of the agency or department;
a complete inventory of all funded programs that is derived from
the basic program data of the individual agency or department information
shall include information on one-time programs and programs of short
duration, as well as on continuing programs; and
that all new and amended program information shall contain the official
GSA program number and title when published in the Federal Register
as any type of Federal assistance program announcement. This includes
but is not limited to entries published as final regulations and
amendments under the Rules and Regulations Section, as well as notices
of any kind pertaining to ongoing programs.
prior approval for the preparation, publication, and distribution
of all specialized catalogs or supplements, except where there
is statutory authorization for such catalogs or supplements. Any
proposed specialized catalog format must be as nearly identical
to the Catalog format as possible in order to eliminate inconsistencies
in program data reporting. Anticipated continuous need for a particular
type of information will be conveyed to GSA for consideration of
Catalog reformatting to accommodate such requirements.
GSA is responsible
for maintaining an efficient and effective program information system.
Toward this end, GSA shall:
- Issue detailed
reporting instructions to Federal agencies and departments governing
the collection of information needed for the Federal assistance
information data base.
an information data base of Federal domestic assistance programs
information to the general public through a printed catalog and
electronic media on all Federal domestic assistance programs.
- Plan and
make improvements in the information data base and continue to
seek ways to disseminate the information.
information to Congress through printed media on all Federal domestic
assistance programs that employ a formula.
For each Federal
domestic assistance program, the data base will include but not
be limited to the following information:
number and title.
name, if applicable.
department/agency or independent agency and primary organizational
subunit administering the program.
legislation, including popular name of the act, titles and sections,
public law number, citation to the United States Code, and statute.
and goals of the program.
of financial and nonfinancial assistance offered by the program.
- Uses and
restrictions placed upon a program.
requirements, including applicant eligibility criteria, beneficiary
eligibility criteria and required credentials and/or documentation.
and award processing, containing pre- application coordination;
application and award procedure; application deadlines; range of
approval/disapproval time; appeal procedure; and availability of
a renewal or extension of assistance. Most circular coordination
requirements are included in this section.
considerations, including an explanation of the award formula and
matching requirements and the length and time phasing of the assistance.
- Post assistance
requirements, including any reports, audits, and records that may
assistance, containing the 11-digit account identification code;
obligations for the past fiscal year and estimates for the current
fiscal year and for the budget year; and a range and average of
accomplishments (where available), describing quantitative measures
of program performance.
guidelines, and literature containing citations to the Code of Federal
Regulations and other pertinent informational materials.
- The names
of persons to be contacted (or telephone number) for detailed program
information at the headquarters, regional, and local levels.
that are related based upon objectives and uses.
of funded projects to indicate proposals that are acceptable under
particular programs, and
used in selecting proposals for award, i.e., additional information
on application review and award procedure.
will contain but will not be limited to the following:
- An introductory
section that contains Catalog highlights, an explanation of the
Federal Assistance Programs Retrieval System, a section on how to
use the Catalog, an explanation of the Catalog and its contents,
and suggested proposal writing methods and grant application procedures.
- A comprehensive
indexing system that categorizes programs by their agency, eligible
applicant, application deadlines, function, popular name, and subject
showing the programs that have been deleted from or added to the
Catalog and the various program number and title changes.
descriptions that will contain the information included in the Federal
domestic assistance information data base.
appendices showing Federal assistance programs that require coordination
through the system of Federal circulars, legislative and Executive
Order authority for each program, commonly used abbreviations and
acronyms, agency regional and local office addresses, and sources
of additional information contacts.
is issued as a complete looseleaf document in the spring of each
year and updated periodically to accommodate subsequent changes
in specifically selected information. As required by
the Law, GSA distributes free copies of the Catalog to Federal,
State, and local government offices. At the national level, copies
are provided to: Members of Congress, congressional staff, and executive
branch agencies. At the State level, copies of the Catalog are provided
to: Governors, State coordinators of Federal-State relations, Directors
of State Departments of Administration and Budget Offices, Directors
of State Departments of Community Affairs, Directors of State Planning
Agencies, State clearinghouses, Directors of State Agricultural
Extension Services, State Municipal Leagues, State Association of
Counties, chief State school officers, and State Employment Security
Agencies. At the local level, copies are provided to: Mayors, County
Chairmen, Chairmen of Boards of Commissioners, and city planners.
Copies are also provided to the Federal Information Centers, Federal
Regional Councils, Federal Executive Boards, Federal Depository
Libraries and appropriate field, and area offices of most Federal
agencies. The Catalog is also provided to other agencies of State
and local governments.
is sold on a subscription basis to private individuals and organizations
not specified above. The purchaser is entitled to issues at a subscription
rate determined by the Public Printer. The Catalog is distributed
by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
as required by Section 1902 of Title 44 of the United States Code.
Assistance Programs Retrieval System (FAPRS) is an electronic medium
of information dissemination, a computerized retrieval system that
provides access to the data base of programs that are in the Catalog.
The purpose of this system is to help the public identify sources
of Federal assistance.
on a question and answer format to retrieve information on applicable
programs. It does this by matching the characteristics of a community
and its needs (which are supplied by the prospective applicant)
with Federal programs (identified by title and number) that might
provide assistance to meet those needs. FAPRS serves as a research
tool to help reduce the manual effort required (when using the Catalog)
to identify Federal programs useful to a potential applicant.
OMB Responsibilities. OMB is responsible for collecting and
reviewing information on Federal domestic assistance programs and
providing such information to GSA. Also, the Director shall be responsible
for assuring that the Administrator of GSA incorporates all relevant
information received on a regular basis.
9. Information Contact. Further information may be obtained
by contacting the Federal Program Information Branch at the General
Services Administration or by contacting the Budget Review Division
at the Office of Management and Budget.
10. Sunset Review Date.The provisions of this Circular are
effective upon issuance. The policies promulgated in this Circular
will be reviewed no later than three years from date of issuance.
David A. Stockman
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