How FAIN is used to Identify Federal Grants

What is FAIN?

FAIN (Federal Award Identification Number) is the unique identifying number assigned to all federal finance awards. Since October of 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has required all Federal Agencies to issue a FAIN to all financial assistance awards or grants.

What Does FAIN Do?

The grant’s FAIN is issued to track and identify the award individually. This unique numbering system makes it easier to search for and locate grant information. Serving as a tracking number, any actions or reports associated with the grant or any sub-grants can easily be tracked, stored, and accessed for later analysis.

For example: any reporting or modifications to the initial grant will be recorded and tracked so that any search of the FAIN will return all the data available about the grant itself. Anyone can search for federal awards by simply visiting the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) and searching the FAIN to find any information available about any federal award.

Keeping Up with FAIN Numbers

The FAIN number is a standard field in the grant management software systems used by most organizations that receive a significant number of federally sponsored projects.

FAIN Requirements

It is important to keep the integrity of the system intact, and therefore there are requirements for each Federal Agency which include:

  • Only one FAIN per federal award
  • The FAIN can never be changed or adjusted after it has been established
  • The number must be labeled on all Federal Award documents
  • The number on each sub-award under the Federal Award must be documented

How Does FAIN Improve Data Quality?

FAINs provide accuracy, transparency, and structured tracking. They were introduced as a means to create an open and reliable tracking system for federal spending data. Additionally, since November of 2014, all organizations that are awarded federal sponsorship must ensure that the data they provide regarding accepted grants is complete and accurate. These are small steps to a future where federal spending will be completely accurate, transparent, and well structured.

How Do I Find the FAIN Number?

Follow the link to find your FAIN numbers and other award details on USASpending.gov.