The Hidden Expenses of Grants

With more than three decades of experience in education, Michael Kuzniewski, EDD, leads J.S. Morton High School District 201 as superintendent. Dr. Michael Kuzniewski recently wrote an article entitled “All That Glitters Is Not Gold” for Update, a magazine published by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, which discusses the hidden expenses of grants.

When applying for and using grant funds, educational institutions should consider the following expenditures to determine the grants’ real value.

Preparation costs: Schools may not be able to afford full-time grant writers, which then requires staff members to research, plan, and write the applications. This takes employees away from fulfilling their primary job functions. Ultimately, a school is paying an employee to perform a different job function without any assurance that the grant will be approved, and other areas of operations may suffer from lack of attention.

Management expenses: Educational institutions often overlook the necessity of grant management. As a result, administrators and clerical support personnel tend to take on that responsibility. Despite being overburdened, these individuals may require a stipend to complete the task.

Evaluation and reporting fees: Many grantors require grantees to list goals they have accomplished. Hiring an evaluator to collect the data and write the report is an additional expense, and it is not uncommon for institutions to lack budget.