Applies to:

All grants and cooperative agreements


Sometimes referred to as the 'notice of financial assistance award', 'notification of award', or 'award letter', the notice of award (NOA) is the legal instrument [1] setting forth the terms and conditions of the financial assistance award.[2]


Department Policy

The NOA (called the "grant agreement" or "cooperative agreement" in DOI policy [3]) is structured to 

  1. adequately describe the relationship based upon the degree of involvement of the parties, and
  2. define and allocate respective responsibilities, obligations, rights, and accountability as appropriate to the particular project.

The NOA sets forth the respective rights and obligations of the parties in such areas as

  • project performance and management.
  • partial or total termination of work.
  • changes in scope of work.
  • period of performance.
  • application of funding and resources.
  • title to property.
  • records maintenance and access.
  • liability.
  • etc.

DOI policy mandates that the NOA is clear and concise and will include terms agreed upon between the parties. In order to achieve this, the NOA will include, at a minimum, the following items:

  1. Federal identifier and/or revision number.
  2. Names, titles, addresses, and phone numbers of both Recipient and bureau/office.
  3. CFDA or program code and a brief description of the project purpose.
  4. Basic funding information.
  5. Project performance period.
  6. Responsible bureau/office.
  7. Appropriate statutes and regulations.


Service Policy

The FAPO Office requires bureaus/offices to use the Notice of Award Letter Template to generate a project-specific NOA.[3] Additionally, FAPO guidance notes that NOAs should be unique to the Recipient/project, eliminating unneeded information (e.g. standard or special terms/conditions included on the template but not applicable to the specific grant agreement or cooperative agreement). The template notes assist the bureau/office in determining what text to remove in these cases.

Service NOAs require the signature of an authorized Service representative only. Recipients are NOT required to sign the NOA or any other award document [4]


Frequently Asked Questions

If the Recipient is not required to sign the NOA, how then is acceptance of the award detemined?

As per DOI standard award terms and conditions, the recipient's acceptance of a financial assistance award is defined as the start of work, drawing down of funds, or accepting the award via electronic means. 

Can a bureau/office use the PRISM-generated Grant and Cooperative Agreement Cover Page form in lieu of the FAPO NOA template?

Current FAPO guidance (here) allows for the use of the PRISM-generated cover letter, provided the bureau-office modify it according to FAPO guidance. 



 [1] 505 DM 2.6.

[2] CFR 200.38(b); 2 CFR 200.210.

[3] 505 DM 2.10 "Grant Agreement and Cooperative Agreement Structure and Contents".

[4]  516 FW 3.9B.