The following is a list of frequently asked questions about writing grants. If you can't find an answer here, contact G&SP Office at bayers@winona.edu or call 507.457.5519.


Electronic Applications


    If I can apply myself, do I still need to get signatures of approval on my application before I submit?

    Yes! You still need to complete a Grant Transmittal Form (PDF) before you submit a grant application online. Grant writers use the form to secure the signatures of those committing release time or funds to the project, if needed. G&SP will sign off and secure the signatures of the budget director, president or vice president.


    What is grants.gov and do I need to register to use it?

    The Grants.gov website is the centralized electronic system for finding and applying for federal grants. All program announcements are posted there. WSU is registered as a grants.gov user. Individual grant writers do not have to register separately. However not all agencies use grants.gov for electronic applications.

    Check application information carefully and let G&SP know if you will be using a different application system.


    What is NSF (National Science Foundation) Fastlane and do I need to register to use it?

    NSF has a Fastlane application system. You can only become a registered user by contacting G&SP.


    What is ERA Commons and do I need to register to use it?

    ERA Commons is the National Institutes of Health electronic grants processing system. When you apply to NIH through grants.gov, the application is transferred to ERA Commons for additional verifications. If there are application errors, you will need to login to ERA Commons to find out what they are. Contact G&SP to create an account.


    What is the HRSA Electronic Handbook?

    The handbook is the Health Resources and Services Administration electronic grants processing system. Self-register to access the system to validate applications submitted through grants.gov.


    Do other federal agencies have separate electronic systems?

    It varies from agency to agency. Some simply use grants.gov. The best rule of thumb is to check what electronic application system is involved as soon as you find an opportunity and contact G&SP well in advance of applying. Plan on submitting proposals early because these systems can get bogged down with last-minute submissions.


    Grants & Special Projects


      Will the G&SP Office help me write a grant?

      Absolutely! We'll help you find funding sources, provide institutional information, assist in budget preparation and provide editorial advice.


      Can I sign a grant proposal and submit it on my own?

      No. Applications must be signed by someone who has the legal authority to sign contracts on behalf of the university. That authority is vested in the president and the president's designees. The G&SP director reviews applications on their behalf and secures their signatures.


      Can I sign off on a fellowship request on my own?

      There are some funding sources that award fellowships directly to individuals, rather than the university. Check with the G&SP Office or funding source directly if you have questions.


      How do I get my grant application approved?

      Use the Grant Transmittal Form (PDF). Grant writers need to secure the signatures of those committing release time or funds to the project, if needed. G&SP will sign and secure the signatures of the president or vice president.


      What's the difference between a grant and a gift?

      In a nutshell, grants are written contracts with terms and conditions of awards. Gifts are generally irrevocable transfers of assets. For a more formal definition see WSU Definition of Grants vs. Gifts.


      Facilities and Administrative Costs (a.k.a. indirect or administrative costs)


        What is our federally negotiated indirect cost rate?

        It is 39.95% of salaries, wages and fringe benefits (provisional as of 7/1/19 until amended). The federal government basically sets the rate based on financial information we provide.


        When was our rate last approved?

        June 20, 2016 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services representative Theodore Foster. His phone number is 214.767.3261. Colleges and Universities Rate Agreement (PDF).


        How does WSU distribute the indirect costs received?

        15% - Department of the Principal Investigator or Project Director
        10% - College of the Principal Investigator or Project Director
        15% - Library
        25% - Administration (Business Office)
        35% - Grants & Sponsored Projects


        Institutional Data and Documents

        Institutional Numbers


          What is our CAGE number?

          OEAX7. CAGE ( Commercial And Government Entity) numbers certify contractors with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Canadian Department of National Defense and allows contractors access to unclassified technical data with military or space applications.

          Numbers are assigned jointly through the US-Canada Joint Certification Program. CAGE numbers may also be used by other federal agencies.


          What is our DUNS number?

          806782405. A Dun & Bradstreet DUNS Number is a unique nine-digit number recognized as the universal standard for identifying a business entity.


          What is our EIN (Employee Identification Number)?



          What is our federal entity number?



          What is our TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number)?



          What is the difference between a EIN number, a TIN number and a federal entity number?

          Nothing. EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. TIN:stands for Taxpayer Identification Number. (To make it more confusing, it is sometimes referred to as federal entity number.) It's issued by the IRS and is like a Social Security Number for businesses.


          What is our research misconduct IPF (Institutional Profile File) number?

          1053806. The Institutional Profile File number is assigned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to track institutional grants activity. The Public Health Service also uses the IPF number to track whether or not an institution has established an administrative procedure for responding to allegations of research misconduct.


          What is our human subjects Federalwide Assurance (FWA) number?

          FWA00000275. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Human Research Protections assigns an FWA approval number to each campus of a university.


          What is our human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) HRRC (Human Research Review Committee) registration number?

          IRB00001133. Every IRB on a campus is registered upon filing for a Federal Wide assurance number and each IRB is assigned an IRB (HRRC) number.


          What is our human subjects IORG Identifier number?

          IORG0000776. The IRB Organization (IORG) number identifies the organization when it files or updates its Federalwide Assurances (FWA).


          What's the difference between a human subjects IORG, an FWA number and an IRB HRRC registration number?

          The IORG number identifies the institution. The university has only one IORG number. FWA (Federalwide Assurance) numbers identify the branch campuses that have filed assurances that they will comply with the federal regulations covering the protection of human subjects.

          Each branch campus has an FWA number. (WSU has one FWA number. WSU-Rochester is not technically a branch campus.) The IRB HRRC number is the registration number identifying each IRB on campus. Institutions may have multiple IRBs.


          What is our animal care and use Assurance Identification Number?

          D19-01055, effective on April 12, 2019. The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) reviews and approves Winona State’s assurance of compliance with the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.


          What's our USDE OPE (U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education) number?

          00239400 or 002394-00. The number is assigned by the U.S. Department of Education to identify schools eligible to participate in federal student financial assistance programs under Title IV.


          What are our national and state legislative districts?

          First U.S. Congressional District
          Minnesota State Senate District 31
          Minnesota State Senate District 31A


          Salaries and Fringe Benefits


            How do I determine salary figures in grant proposals for current faculty and staff?

            For current employees, contact Human Resources for base salary figures and (assuming the grant funding period will be for the next fiscal year) add 2%. For new positions, Human Resources can supply a figure based on the type of position involved. In multi-year proposals, increase the annual salary by 2% each year.


            For release time, do I request salary for myself or for an adjunct replacement?

            The funding sources establish what they will allow. If they will pay your salary and you have an academic year teaching load of 24 credits, each credit hour release is equal to 1/24 of your annual base salary. Adjunct pay rates are established in the faculty contract.


            How do I calculate duty day pay for faculty?

            Divide the base salary by 168 days.


            What are fringe benefits and how do I determine a rate for faculty and staff?

            In addition to payroll deductions, WSU contributes to employees' FICA (social security and Medicare), retirement accounts and health insurance benefits. Rates vary according to individual employees' health insurance needs.

            For current employees, we can contact Fiscal Affairs for individual fringe benefit rates. For new employees or for a single rate to cover more than one employee, use 36% of salaries and wages. Different rates apply for faculty pay in the summer and for adjunct salaries. In multi-year proposals, increase the fringe benefit rate by 1% each year.


            Are fringe benefit rates different for faculty during the summer?

            Yes. Because most faculty choose to be paid on a twelve-month basis, extra health insurance benefits are not deducted during the summer. Use a rate of 16.5%.


            What fringe benefit rate do I use for faculty duty day pay?

            Since this is above the base, use 16.5%.


            What fringe benefit rate should I use for adjunct salaries?

            If they will be teaching less than 6 hours, use 7.65% to cover FICA.


            What do I pay student workers?

            Work study students are paid $9.85 an hour. Student help may be paid more depending upon the qualifications required. If the student works less than 60 hours per pay period and is enrolled for at least six credits (undergraduates) or three credits (graduate), no fringe benefits are paid.

            In the summer, if the student is not enrolled in classes or is working more than 60 hours per pay period, use 7.65% to cover FICA (although this may change as the Affordable Care Act is implemented). If the student is taking at least 3 credits and working less than 60 hours per pay period, no fringe benefits are needed.


            WSU Information


              What is our official address?

              Winona State University
              175 W. Mark Street, P.O. Box is 5838
              Winona, MN 55987-3384


              When were we first authorized to award degrees?



              When were we first accredited?

              1913 by NCACSS. Current accreditation is the Higher Learning Commission.