Senator Cornyn

Cornyn, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Increase Transparency of Federal Grant Application Process

July 13, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Thune (R-SD), and Gary Peters (D-MI) yesterday introduced the Grant Transparency Act, which would require government agencies to provide competitive grant applicants with more information about their selection criteria and evaluation process:  

“Applicants often don’t understand why they are not awarded a competitive grant even though they meet all of the listed criteria,” said Sen. Cornyn. “The Grant Transparency Act would require government agencies to shine a light on how they decide between applicants behind closed doors, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

“All grant applicants should have a level playing field when applying for federal funding, but too often there is little transparency from federal agencies about how applications will be evaluated,” said Sen. Hassan. “This bipartisan legislation will help small towns and organizations in particular more easily access federal assistance, so that they can best serve the people in their communities.”

“State and local leaders work hard to develop a strong application process for federal funding,” said Sen. Thune. “This legislation would require agencies to increase transparency of the grant application process, which would help ensure that funding is truly based on merit, not political favoritism.” 

“Federal grants provide vital support to communities in Michigan and across the country, but agencies can do more to provide transparency of how these applications are considered,” said Sen. Peters. “This straightforward, bipartisan bill will ensure applicants can better understand what criteria is being evaluated in the application process so state and local governments can better assess how they can access federal grants that help fund important programs.”


 The Grant Transparency Act would require the Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) for competitive grants to include:

  • A description of any rating system, evaluation, and selection criteria the agency uses to assess applications for the competitive grant;
  • A statement of whether the agency uses a weighted scoring method and a description of any weighted scoring method the agency uses for the competitive grant, including the amount by which the agency weights each criterion; and
  • Any other qualitative or quantitative merit-based approach the agency uses to evaluate an application for a competitive grant.