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Frequently Asked Questions

Grants are competitive monetary awards given from a funding agency (Federal, State, and/or other sources) for specific projects and purposes allowed by grant application guidelines. College of the Canyons regularly applies for grants where identified college needs and goals overlap with funder priorities. When a grant is successfully awarded, COC must follow the restricted grant guidelines and the dedicated purposes of the grant as approved by the funder. To learn more about grants, what they are, what they are not, how they are used, and how to get involved, please review the following helpful FAQs below. The Grants Development team is ready to assist you with any questions:

  • In the context of COC, a grant is a financial award for a specific amount and a specific period to the College for a pre-determined purpose. Grants generally come from a federal, state, or local agency or a private funder such as a corporate foundation.

  • The Grant Development Office will guide faculty and staff through the process of applying for grant funds.  Together, we will identify possible funding sources for your idea. Once a potential granting agency is identified we will help you with the entire application process. All federal, state, and other grants issued in the name of the Santa Clarita Community College District or College of the Canyons (COC) must be submitted through the Grants Development Office. The COC Foundation can assist you with grants requiring an entity with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
  • Grants Development at COC partners to support college program needs and strategic goals in close collaboration with areas such as Instruction, Business Services, Student Services, among many more. This vital District function enhances access, engagement, and success and the generalized process below summarizes the approach to achieve these goals. Much additional detail is available online, including a useful Frequently Asked Questions document. Specific questions and/or comments can be sent to the Director, below:

    • Grants starts with the identification of either a project idea or funder lead.
    • The opportunity is discussed with the prospective project director and area supervisor to review and initially pursue or not.
    • If determined viable overall, grant proposal development meetings commence as part of the collaborative Grants Development process.
    • The prospective project director is the subject matter expert responsible to inform project development details.
    • Pre-Award Process: Grants Development supports coordination & completion of the application, working with info from the project director to craft a proposal, guide submission, communicate outstanding elements, edit, and help enhance competitiveness. 
    • Business Services (Grants Accounting) supports development of the project budget and approves prior to submittal.
    • Admin, including the appropriate Dean and EC member, affirm draft grant submission and impacted areas are kept in the loop along with regular updates from Grants Development.
    • Overall pre-award coordination ensures smooth transition upon award and all grants submitted run through the Grants Development Office.
    • All grants under development, pending, and/or awarded are tracked meticulous and available online to promote ongoing awareness and engagement.
  • Grant funds may support both small and large projects, typically including the following expenses:

    • Student Support and Services
    • Curriculum Development
    • Salaries and Benefits
    • Programming
    • Equipment
    • Supplies
    • Marketing


    Grant funds cannot support the following requests:

    • Supplanting regular activities and operating expenses of the college 
    • Paying salaries other than those associated with grant activities
    • Providing a permanent funding source for a project or program
    • Supporting individual students
  • After identifying a potential funder, the Grants Development Office will work with you to assemble and submit an application. Your expertise about the subject matter and commitment to providing information in a timely fashion will play a key role in success of your proposal. Common elements of grant applications include the following items:

    • Need for the Project (or Problem Statement)
    • Goals and Objectives
    • Workplan and Activities
    • Evaluation Plan
    • Budget and a Budget Narrative
    • Sustainability Plan Post-Grant
  • The Grants Development Office can help you find grants for your projects. If you would like to conduct a preliminary search prior to contacting the office for assistance, here are some common websites:

  • Existing grant funding is already allocated and dedicated to the particular purposes of the grant as approved by the funder. This means that grant funds must be used for approved purposes of the awarded grant. Programs seeking external funding are welcome to work with Grants Development to identify opportunities relevant to their areas.

    • Competitive grants, by definition, require an application that is critically reviewed and scored by a funding agency with not all applicants receiving funding. Funding agencies may be federal, state, and/or local. Grants are delimited to a specific award period and specific approved use.
    • Categorical funds, by contrast, are allocated to a college or college program without competitive application by the California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) and/or at the behest of the legislature. Categorical funds have specific criteria for their use, similar to a grant, and operate according to state programmatic direction.
    • Use of grant or categorical funds requires adherence to designated program criteria. College areas with questions about competitive grants can contact Grants Development and direct questions about categorical funding to Grants Accounting.
  • When considering whether a project is suitable for a grant, here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:

    • Does the proposed project align with college goals?
    • Who is involved or could be involved in this project?
    • How has this need been shared? Through Program Review? With your supervisor? Other venues?
    • Is there capacity to manage the grant award once received?


    These are just a few of the many important questions to consider when looking at a new grant idea. The Grants Development team is here to assist and guide you through the development process and assist you in the prospective identification of appropriate, eligible funding for your program needs.

  • Grants Development has a monthly workgroup meeting, which is an excellent opportunity to discuss your needs and prospective grants. Contact Director Amber Cole for additional details. The Grants Development team has access to a variety of powerful grant search and research tools that can support the identification of funding opportunities. Your own personal networks are also a great resource, as community college listservs and various professional organizations may periodically share news of upcoming funding opportunities as well. Have a question? Please contact Grants Development.

  • Congratulations! As all competitive grant applications run through the Grants Development office, you have already worked with the team on many of the important steps to support your grant success. Other important considerations include:

    • Continue to provide subject-matter expertise to grant deliverables
    • Coordinate with Grants Accounting (Business Services) to establish your new grant budget and monitor expenditures and reporting.
    • Track and update pertinent parties on grant activities, status, and deliverables.
    • Ensure ongoing compliance with all funding guidelines, District policy and procedures, and applicable regulations including Federal or State guidelines.
    • Coordinate grant deliverables per the successful grant application.
    • Complete required reporting milestones as directed by the funder.


    Your successful grant application and execution of grant deliverables can lay the foundation for future grant proposals.

  • We are happy to help! Please feel free to connect with us:

    Amber Cole, CFRE
    Director of Grants Development
    (661) 362-3644
    BONH 225

    Eric Smith
    Strategic Grant Writer/Developer
    (661) 362-3644
    BONH 225A

Additional information about current/upcoming awards is also available here: