FAQ on NEH Current Operations and Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

(March 18, 2019)


What is NEH’s current operational status?

Using funds appropriated for the current fiscal year, NEH is continuing its normal operations and will be announcing its latest round of FY 2019 grants this spring following the meeting of the National Council on the Humanities in March 2019.

For FY 2020, which begins on October 1, 2019, President Donald J. Trump has requested that Congress appropriate approximately $38 million to NEH to meet matching grant offers and to cover administrative expenses for closure. The President’s proposed budget, however, is only the first step in a long budget process. Ultimately, Congress will decide whether and to what extent to fund NEH for FY 2020, and the President will decide to sign or veto the relevant appropriations bill.

Is NEH closed to new applications?

NEH will continue to accept grant applications for FY 2019 and FY 2020, according to its established deadlines, and will continue to operate as usual unless and until the President and Congress require otherwise. NEH staff are actively working with potential applicants and current grantees every workday. Please review upcoming grant deadlines on our website.

Can NEH ever advocate for its budget?

As an agency of the Executive Branch of the Federal government, NEH answers to the President and must support his proposed budget.

Since Congress created NEH in 1965, the agency has issued more than 65,000 grants, totaling more than $5.7 billion. This public investment has led to the creation of award-winning books, films, museum exhibits, spurred innovative research and discovery, and ensured the preservation of significant cultural resources in all 50 states. Congress may well consider these achievements and seek additional information directly from NEH in considering the agency’s value and whether to fund the agency for FY 2020 and beyond.

For grantees:

What if I have already received an NEH grant award or an offer for a grant award?

NEH has set aside the full funding amount for grants awarded, as is reflected in the Notice of Action and other grant documents you have received. NEH will continue to provide funds under awards as requested and as appropriate.

What if I have a grant offer, but have not yet completed the paperwork to receive the formal award?

You should submit your paperwork as soon as possible so that formal awards can be made. These funds are already set aside, and ready to be obligated (i.e., formally funded) as soon as the process is completed and the Notice of Action generated.

May I “front load” a payment?

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations and NEH award-governing documents limit advance payments to the grantee’s immediate cash requirements to carry out an approved program or project.  

I’m a grantee who is supposed to receive matching funds—how are those funds affected?

If you are a grantee funded through Challenge Grants or other types of matching funds, as your notices and other grant documents indicate, you will receive the full amount of the award once the matching funds have been received and certified. 

For applicants:

Should I still apply for an NEH grant? 

Yes.  We are continuing to do the important work of our agency for the humanities community, and therefore plan on running full competitions for all grant programs that are now posted on the website.

For panelists:

Am I still needed to serve as an NEH panelist?

Yes.  We will continue accepting applications, holding panel meetings, reviewing recommendations, and preparing for presentation of recommendations to NEH’s advisory group, the National Council on the Humanities.