National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Application Instructions has identified an issue with the compatibility of Adobe Reader’s latest version – Adobe Reader XI.  If you receive the following message when trying to submit your application packages:

"At least one required Field was empty. Please fill in the required field (highlighted) before continuing." advises you to download an older version of the Adobe Reader software – which can be accessed here:

These application instructions apply to all NHPRC grants. Before you apply, make sure you understand all applicable requirements and regulations, including:

All institutions applying for an NHPRC grant should apply via, the government-wide grants portal.

  • You will no longer have to send in multiple paper copies of your applications.

  • The easy way to begin is by printing out the specific NHPRC Grant Opportunity and these instructions and have them handy as your prepare your application.

First Time Using

Everyone who uses to apply for a grant must complete these one-time-only steps:

  1. Register yourself and your organization as users. (At larger organizations, a Grants Administrator might register for the entire organization.)
    • Once registered, your organization can apply for any government grant via (See Getting Started for more information.)
    • Allow two weeks before application deadlines for your registration to be processed.
    • If you have problems registering, call the Help Desk:   1-800-518-4726
  2. Download and install the free Adobe Reader.
    • This software allows you to view and fill out the application forms for any Federal agency.
    • If you have a problem installing the Adobe Reader, it may be because you do not have permission to install a new program on your computer. Contact your System Administrator.
  3. Once you are registered, you can find and apply for grant opportunities through or through the Grant Opportunity announcements on our site.

Download the Application Package and NHPRC Budget Form

You may download the application package from at any time after you install the Adobe Reader. (You do not have to wait for the registration process to be complete.) A link from the NHPRC Grant Opportunity announcement will take you directly to the page from which you may download the appropriate application. You must use the application package associated with the grant announcement under which you are applying.

Save the application package to your computer's hard drive or network. You do not have to be online to work on it. You can save, open and edit, and share with others as you draft your application.

You must also download and complete the
NHPRC Budget Form (located at After saving a copy of this form to your local computer or network, you will be able save and edit your entries.

If you require an accessible version of the Budget form, please contact the Grants Workflow and Information Coordinator at 202-357-5022.

You can save your application package at any time by clicking the "Save" button at the top of your screen.
Tip:   If you choose to save your application before you have completed it, you may receive an error message indicating that your application is not valid if all forms have not been completed. Click "OK" to save your work and complete the package at a later time.
Caution:   If you fail to save before closing the Adobe Reader software, or if you click your browser's Back button, you will lose your changes.

The application package contains mandatory forms that you must complete in order to submit your application:

  1. Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF-424) - the basic information required for Federal grants (see instructions)
  2. Lobbying Form - self-explanatory
  3. Attachments - including the Project Narrative and other information required by NHPRC (see instructions)
  4. Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B) - self-explanatory

In addition, one Optional Document (SF-LLL) is required if your organization engages in Lobbying Activities.

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How to Fill Out the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance SF-424

Before you open the SF-424, determine if you are applying as an individual. If so, check the box on the Grant Application Package marked "I will be submitting applications on my behalf, and not on behalf of a company, state, local or tribal government, academia, or other type of organization."

Select the SF-424 from the menu then click the Open Form button.

  1. All submissions are considered a New Application (question 1 and 2). Questions 3-7 will be filled in automatically (or left blank intentionally) by

  2. Applicant Information:   In Section 8, please supply the name of the applicant organization, address, employer/taxpayer identification number (EIN/TIN), and DUNS number of the applicant. (If applying as an individual, enter your name in item 8(a) and your social security number in item 8(b). Item 8(c), Organizational DUNS, is auto-filled.)

    All institutions applying to federal grant programs are required to provide a DUNS number, issued by Dun & Bradstreet, as part of their application. Project directors should contact their institution's grant administrator or chief financial officer to obtain their institution's DUNS number. Federal grant applicants can obtain a DUNS number free of charge by calling 1-866-705-5711.

    If the project is going to be undertaken by an organizational unit of a larger institution, please provide that information is 8 (e). In the next subsection 8 (f), please list the Project Director and relevant contact information. The Project Director is the individual who will manage the day-to-day operations of the project and serve as contact with the NHPRC. Section 9 will provide a drop-down menu of Applicant Types. Please select the most appropriate categories. (If applying as an individual, Select P. Individual, from the drop-down.) Sections 10-12 will be filled in automatically by Ignore Section 13. Please list in Section 14 the geographic areas affected by the project.

  3. Project Information:   Provide the title of your project in Section 15. Your title should be concise, substantive and informative to a non-specialist audience.

    In Section 16 (a), list the Congressional District where the applicant is located. If, for example, it is located in the 5th Congressional District of New York, put a "5" in the box. In section 16(b), list the primary Congressional Districts served by the project; you may use up to six alphanumeric characters to represent ranges of districts. You may attach a list of additional Districts to the next box.

    List the starting and ending dates for your project in Section 17. All NHPRC projects start on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month.

  4. Budget Information:   Section 18 requires applicants to provide estimated total project costs with projected levels of support. To accurately estimate these costs, you should first prepare a full budget (see instructions).

  5. Executive Order 12372: Section 19 requires applicants to determine whether or not their application is subject to State review under Executive Order 12372. A table of contact information for the respective State offices is available at the White House Grants Management - Intergovernmental Review (SPOC List) page.

  6. Authorities, Representations, and Signatures:   Provide, in section 21, the contact information for the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) who is submitting the application on behalf of the institution. This person, often called an "Authorizing Official," is typically the president, vice president, executive director, provost, or chancellor. In order to become an AOR, the person must be designated by the institution's E-Business Point of Contact. For more information, please consult the Grants.Gov user guide, which is available at: (If applying as an individual, repeat your personal name and contact information in item 21. You are the Authorized Representative.)

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How to Prepare Your Project Budget

Download the official NHPRC Budget Form. Save a copy of the form to your local hard drive or network.

Applicants should review the relevant NHPRC Grant Opportunity announcement for particular cost-sharing requirements, the kinds of funding available, and any restrictions on the types of costs that may appear in the project budget. Your budget should include the project costs to be charged to grant funds as well as those supported by applicant or third-party cash and in-kind contributions.

All of the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or cost-sharing contributions, must be reasonable, necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable in terms of applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the grant period. Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to written policies and established practices of the applicant organization.

The NHPRC Budget form calculates some, but not all, of the values in the budget. You may copy and paste values from a desktop calculator, and from one field to another within the form to ensure accuracy.

Budget Form

Complete the top of the form with the name of the Project Director and the Organization applying.

Input the dates of the requested grant period for your project. Grant periods being on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month. All project activities must take place during the requested grant period.

Projects with grant periods up to 18 months should show total expenses in each of the categories under Section A - Year#1. If the proposed grant period is 18 months or longer, project expenses for each 12-month period must be developed and listed separately. You may need to fill some fields with zero until the data from all pertinent periods are entered.


Complete the beginning and ending dates for this project period.

Complete each line of each budget category as necessary. You should distribute the costs among NHPRC (column a) and Cost Share (column b) and input the Total (column c). The subtotals for each of the categories are auto-filled.

If there is insufficient space for all of your budget lines in any category, create a budget overflow document (name it BudgetAttach.pdf) and attach it directly after the NHPRC Budget Form on the Attachments Form. Your budget overflow form should be a table or a series of tables; it may be created with a word processing or spreadsheet program, but it must be converted to PDF before it is attached. The table should replicate the form for each relevant category and be clearly labeled with the budget period and category. Reserve the last line in the category for the sum of the lines listed in the Budget Overflow. (For example, if a category on the Budget Form has 6 lines, but you need 7 or more, enter the first 5 lines on the Budget Form and enter the sum from the Overflow on the line 6 with the note: See Overflow Document. This is necessary to ensure that totals on the Budget Form include the figures on the Overflow form.)

Total Direct Costs are calculated (the sum of subtotals of categories 1 through 7) automatically.

Total Indirect Costs are overhead costs incurred for an organization's common or joint objectives which cannot be readily identified with a specific project or activity. Typical items of indirect costs are salaries of an organization's executive officer, costs of operating and maintaining facilities, local telephone service, office supplies, and accounting and legal services. Indirect costs are computed by applying a percentage rate to a distribution base (usually the direct costs of the project).

Care should be taken that expenses included in the organization's indirect cost pool are not charged to the project as direct costs.

The NHPRC does not require formal negotiation of an indirect cost rate, provided the charge for indirect costs does not exceed 10 percent of direct costs, up to a maximum of $5,000 per year. (Applicants who choose this option must maintain documentation to support overhead charges claimed as part of project costs.) If you choose this option, select the fourth option under Indirect Costs and enter the appropriate rate under Item B.

The NHPRC will recognize other indirect cost rates already negotiated between its applicants and other Federal agencies. Choose the first, second, or fifth option under Indirect Costs and complete Item A and B, as necessary.

Total Project Costs are calculated (the sum of Items 8 and 9) automatically.


The Summary Budget is auto-filled with data from each of the completed budget periods.

In the Requested section under Project Funding for Entire Grant Period, please be sure that you have not exceeded the percentage available from the NHPRC, usually up to 50 percent of total project costs, for the particular Grant Opportunity announcement. Check that the amount equals the total of NHPRC funds requested on Section A of the form and on the SF424.

Budget narrative (optional)

If needed, prepare a brief supplement to the narrative explaining projected expenses or other items in the financial information provided on NHPRC's budget form. The budget narrative may be single-spaced and included with other attached documents.

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How to Prepare and Submit Attachments

Use a computer word processing system, following the instructions in the Grant Opportunity announcement, to prepare the following attachments:

  • Project Summary
  • Project Narrative
  • Participants' Résumés & Job Descriptions
  • Budget Narrative
  • Appendices.

Use the NHPRC Budget Form to prepare your budget.

Your attachments must be in Portable Document Format (.pdf). We cannot accept attachments in their original word processing or spreadsheet formats. If you don't already have software to convert your files into PDFs, there are many low-cost and free software packages available. To learn more, go to PDF Conversion Programs (

Select Attachments from the menu then click the Open Form button to open it. Only one document may be attached under each attachment button. Be sure not to leave blank spaces between attachments. Attach the documents using this order:

  1. Project Summary
  2. Project Narrative
  3. Participants' Résumés and Job Descriptions
  4. NHPRC Budget Form
  5. Budget Overflow Document
  6. Budget Narrative
  7. Appendices

Use the remaining buttons to attach any additional materials (if appropriate). Please give these attachments meaningful file names and ensure that they are PDFs.

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Complete All Other Required Forms

Select each form from the menu then click the Open Form button to open it. In most cases, these forms can be completed by filling a few highlighted fields.

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Uploading Your Application to

When you have completed all forms, use the right-facing arrow to move each of them to the "Submission" columns. Once they have been moved over, the "Save and Submit" button will activate. You are now ready to upload your application package to

During the registration process, your institution designated one or more AORs (Authorized Organization Representatives). These AORs typically work in your institution's Sponsored Research Office or Grants Office. When you have completed your application, you must ask your AOR to submit the application, using the special username and password that was assigned to him or her during the registration process.

To submit your application, your computer must have an active connection to the Internet. To begin the submission process, click the "submit" button. A page will appear asking the AOR to sign and submit your application. At this point, your AOR will enter his or her username and password. When the AOR clicks the "sign and submit application" button, your application package will be uploaded to Please note that it may take some time to upload your application package depending on the size of your files and the speed of your Internet connection.

After the upload is complete, a confirmation page, which includes a tracking number, will appear indicating that you have submitted your application to Please print this page for your records. The AOR will also receive a confirmation e-mail.

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How to Submit Supplementary Materials

Send any supplementary materials (those that cannot be submitted electronically) to:

Supplementary Application Materials
[Add the tracking number here]
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
National Archives
Room 114
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408

NHPRC continues to experience lengthy delays in the delivery of mail by the U.S. Postal Service, and in some cases materials are damaged by the irradiation process. We recommend that supplementary materials be sent by a commercial delivery service to ensure that they arrive intact by the receipt deadline. If you wish to have the materials returned to you, please include a self-addressed, pre-paid mailer.

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PDF files require the free Adobe Reader.
More information on Adobe Acrobat PDF files is available on our Accessibility page.

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