- Report Published -
|Review of Virginia's Activity in Maximizing Federal Grant Funding|
|Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission|
|In July 2002, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) directed staff to review Virginia’s activities in maximizing federal grant revenues. The Commission specifically directed JLARC staff to develop an inventory of grants awarded to Virginia and also to assess the potential to use more Medicaid funds for school health programs, special education services, and after-school programs. This report presents findings from that review.|
During federal fiscal year (FFY) 2002, federal government expenditures and obligations for grant programs accounted for approximately $412 billion. Of that amount, entities in Virginia, including State and local governments, colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations received about $7.7 billion from more than 600 different federal grant programs. Nonetheless, Virginia has ranked between 47th and 50th among the states in terms of per-capita receipt of federal grant awards since FFY 1995. The State’s ability to increase its share of federal grant revenues appears to be affected by several factors, including the availability of State matching funds, current spending levels for some programs, and the availability of staffing and resources to effectively pursue federal grant funding.
Cooperative efforts by the departments of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) and Education have increased the ability of local school divisions to bill the federal government for Medicaid-eligible special education services. These changes include adding coverable services and creating an easier billing process, among others. According to DMAS staff, only 68 of the State’s 134 eligible school divisions billed for Medicaid reimbursements during the 2003 school year.
JLARC staff identified 32 grants potentially worth an estimated $18 million for which Virginia’s State agencies and post-secondary institutions were eligible, but had not received an award. Moreover, the State might be able to retain an additional $1.4 million in federal homelessness funding by coordinating with local homeless assistance programs and groups in Virginia’s non-metropolitan areas.
Virginia’s current approach for identifying and applying for federal grant funding is decentralized. However, some State entities are beginning to address grants-related needs collectively, in light of a growing federal initiative requiring greater intra-state coordination of applications. In addition, Virginia is trying to increase its relatively low share of federal funding for academic research and development activities. An expanded effort by the Department of Planning and Budget to assist State agencies with their federal grants efforts may be beneficial.