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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): What It Was


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) was a comprehensive database of federal programs that provided financial and non-financial assistance to individuals, organizations, and state and local governments. The catalog aimed to improve access to and understanding of federal assistance programs. In 2019, the CFDA was transitioned and integrated into the new Assistance Listings on beta.SAM.gov, creating a unified platform for accessing information on federal assistance programs.


Kætəlɔg əv Fɛdərəl Dəmɛstɪk əsɪstəns (CFDA): wət ɪt wʌz

Key Takeaways

  1. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) was a comprehensive resource that provided information on all federal assistance programs, including grants, services, and other forms of support. It aimed to help users identify the appropriate programs for their needs and facilitate access to financial assistance.
  2. CFDA contained detailed descriptions of individual programs, including the program objectives, eligibility requirements, types of assistance, application and award processes, and contact information. This made it easier for users to understand how each program worked and who they needed to contact for more information or support.
  3. Although the CFDA was a valuable tool, it has been replaced by the newer Assistance Listing, which is now the official source of federal financial assistance program information. Users can access the Assistance Listing through SAM.gov, which consolidates multiple government databases into one platform for improved access and usability.


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) is a crucial resource in the business and finance sector as it provides a comprehensive and centralized list of federal financial and non-financial assistance programs available to various entities, including state and local governments, non-profit organizations, individuals, and businesses. By detailing the specific objectives, eligibility criteria, application procedures, and benefits of each assistance program, CFDA helps stakeholders efficiently identify and access the appropriate federal resources needed for their initiatives, thus promoting economic growth, social welfare, and overall development. The significance of CFDA lies in its capacity to streamline federal support, reduce redundancy, and ensure the effective allocation of funds, while fostering transparency, accountability, and collaboration among agencies, applicants, and beneficiaries.


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) served as an essential resource designed to facilitate federal grant applicants and recipients in identifying and applying for relevant governmental financial assistance programs. Its primary purpose was to streamline and consolidate information regarding the vast array of funding opportunities under one umbrella, enabling users to access, understand, and navigate through the federal grant landscape. By providing a comprehensive and user-friendly database, the CFDA ensured that prospective grantees such as state and local governments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and individuals could identify, apply for, and manage federal financial assistance most suited to their needs.

In addition to offering a centralized repository of federal grant opportunities, the CFDA played a significant role in promoting transparency and accountability in the allocation and management of federal financial assistance programs. The platform enabled grant applicants to access vital information such as eligibility criteria, application procedures, deadlines, and contact details of agency personnel overseeing specific programs, thereby reducing potential discrepancies and enhancing the efficiency of the process. Furthermore, the CFDA ensured that grant recipients, policymakers, and other stakeholders had easy access to crucial data on the programs’ performance and progress, enabling them to monitor and evaluate the programs’ effectiveness.

Overall, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance played a critical role in ensuring that federal financial assistance was deployed in a manner that aligned with the interests of citizens and promoted the efficient utilization of public resources.


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) was a comprehensive database of federal assistance programs, grants, and services available to various organizations and individuals in the United States. It was established in 1965 and later integrated into the Assistance Listings on beta.SAM.gov in 2020. Here are three real-world examples of how the CFDA played a role in providing specific federal assistance:

1. Head Start Program (CFDA #93.600): The Head Start program is a federal program designed to provide comprehensive early childhood education, health, and nutrition services to low-income children and their families. Organizations and local governments could search the CFDA for financial assistance for their Head Start programs. The CFDA provided detailed information about the program, eligibility, application requirements, and resources to guide applicants through the process.

2. Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CFDA #66.458): The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a program under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that provides financing for water quality improvement projects in the form of low-interest loans and grants. Local governments, nonprofits, and municipalities could use the CFDA to find and apply for assistance, ensuring that their communities have safe and clean water resources.

3. Pell Grants (CFDA #84.063): Pell Grants are federal financial aid grants provided to low-income undergraduate students to pursue a higher education. The CFDA played a vital role in helping students and institutions look for federal grant programs and understand the requirements and application process. The CFDA listed specific information on eligibility criteria, award amounts, and guidelines on how to apply for a Pell Grant.These examples reflect the essential role that the CFDA had in helping organizations and individuals identify appropriate federal programs and successfully navigate the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)?

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) was a government-wide directory of all federal assistance programs, which included financial assistance and other services provided by federal agencies to various beneficiaries such as individuals, local governments, and non-profit organizations.

What was the purpose of CFDA?

The purpose of the CFDA was to provide a comprehensive and centralized source of information about federal assistance programs, making it easier for beneficiaries to identify suitable programs and apply for assistance.

Who managed the CFDA?

The CFDA was managed by the General Services Administration (GSA) in partnership with various federal agencies that provided assistance programs.

What information could be found in CFDA?

The CFDA provided detailed information about federal assistance programs, including their objectives, eligibility requirements, application procedures, types and amounts of assistance available, and agencies responsible for administering the programs.

Has the CFDA been replaced or updated?

Yes, the CFDA has been replaced by the Assistance Listings at SAM.gov (System for Award Management). The Assistance Listings provide similar information on federal assistance programs and can be accessed through the website, SAM.gov.

How do I search for a specific assistance program in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)?

Although CFDA is no longer operational, you can search for a specific assistance program on the Assistance Listings at SAM.gov. You can search using the assistance program’s name, CFDA number (for programs that existed in the CFDA), or several other filters provided on the website.

What types of federal assistance programs were listed in the CFDA?

The CFDA listed a wide range of federal assistance programs, including grants, loans, loan guarantees, scholarships, direct payments, insurance, and many other forms of assistance provided by federal agencies.

Who could use the information provided in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)?

The CFDA information was useful for various beneficiaries, such as individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and state and local governments looking for financial and non-financial assistance from the federal government.

Related Finance Terms

  • Grants Management System (GMS)
  • Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS)
  • Federal Financial Report (FFR)
  • Federal Grant Application Process
  • Uniform Administrative Requirements

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