Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education

Division of Education Programs

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

$25,000 for Exploration, $60,000 for Development

Funding Opportunity for


Expected output

Community Partnerships;
Faculty Development;
Teaching Resources

Period of performance

Exploration: up to one year, Development: up to two years

Application available (anticipated)

Next deadline (anticipated)

Expected notification date

Project start date

The Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education program supports the exploration and development of small projects that would benefit underserved populations through the teaching and study of the humanities at small and medium-sized colleges and universities. NEH invites applications from two- and four-year institutions of higher education, as well as from nonprofit organizations and state, local, or Native American Tribal governments aiming to advance the humanities at these institutions.

The program supports activities including but not limited to curricular or program development, expert consultations, speakers’ series, student research, creation of teaching resources, and community engagement. Projects may benefit students, faculty, the institution or organization, and/or the community.

The Spotlight program features a simplified application. You may request support at one of two levels: Exploration or Development.

What’s New for 2023:

Intended Applicants

  • “Small or medium-sized colleges and universities” is now defined by specific undergraduate enrollment numbers (for two-year institutions: below 5,000; for four-year institutions: below 10,000).
  • These institutions should also meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Community colleges
    • Minority-serving institutions (MSIs)
    • Rural colleges and universities
    • Colleges and universities enrolling a majority (greater than 50%) of students receiving Pell grants
    • Institutions that have not received funding from the NEH Division of Education Programs since 2018
  • If your institution is an eligible nonprofit organization or state or local government, your Spotlight project must benefit students and/or faculty at small and medium-sized colleges and universities that meet at least one of the criteria above.
  • You will  provide an organizational profile (Attachment 2) to establish that the institutions supported by the project are small or medium sized and meet at least one of the criteria above. Sample organizational profiles are available under “Step 1” below.

Sample application narratives from past successful proposals are now available under “Step 1” below.

If Spotlight is not an appropriate program, you may wish to consider other NEH funding opportunities. You can find brief information about several other programs (including Humanities Initiatives, Humanities Connections, and Preservation Assistance Grants) under Related Funding Opportunities in section H of the NOFO and full information for all our funding opportunities through the Grants section of the NEH website.

Spotlight Webinar 2023

Live Q&A Session: Thursday, August 24, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Click here to participate or call in (audio only): +1 202-600-8430, meeting code 452 925 151#

Optional Draft Review: Submit draft materials to @email by September 6, 2023 to receive feedback from program officers before the final deadline. You do not need to have a fully developed program idea or near complete application to submit materials for review and feedback.

If you have not already done so, you must create a user account to register and log in to SAM and

Ensure your and registrations and passwords are current. It may take up to one month to register with and NEH will not grant deadline extensions for lack of registration.

Step 2 Register for a SAM number and an account on

When you are ready to apply, register for an account with and; both are required. If you already have completed the registrations, make sure they are current. 

Step 3 Complete your application package

Follow the instructions outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. 

Step 4 Complete your application package

You will receive a confirmation from when you’ve successfully submitted your application. Subsequently, you will receive up to five more notices confirming different stages in the application process. Verify that you have received all confirmations. Note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder. 

Program Statistics

For the 2022 competition, NEH received
140 applications
NEH made
30 awards
This grant has a
21% funding ratio