Submitting RFA Applications Using HED’s Online System

HED has a new online process for all Requests for Applications (RFAs) released after March 1, 2012. A sample online application is available for review. 

To begin an application, click the “Apply Now” button on the RFA announcement. Clicking the “Apply Now” button will allow you to register and begin the application process. If you have previously registered on the HED website to receive the HED newsletter or other information, your existing HED username and password will enable you to sign in.

To start an application:

  1. Navigate to the Funding Opportunities landing page
  2. Choose the desired RFA announcement
  3. Click “Apply Now”
  4. Complete the registration form
  5. Sign in as a registered user
  6. Complete the application

registered users can log in from any page on the HED site

Once you are a registered user, simply sign in with your email address and password. In addition, registered users can log in from any page on the HED website by clicking the “Log In” button at the top right-hand corner of every page. Applicants may complete the form in one sitting, or save the form in progress and return to complete it at a later time. To log out of the HED website, click the “Log Out” button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

The submission deadline for online RFAs is 11:30 p.m. EDT/EST on the date specified in the RFA. HED recommends that applicants allocate plenty of time to complete the form and upload the required documents. If an applicant is working on an application at 11:30 p.m. on the deadline date and attempts to submit the application, the application will not be accepted and cannot be eligible for consideration.

Potential applicants may find the following FAQs helpful.

Question 1: How do I save my application and return later to complete it?
Answer 1:
Once in the application, click “Save Application” anytime to update the HED RFA database and ensure all information is saved. To leave the online application, click the “Log Out” button. To return to your application, click “Log In” at the top of any HED website page. Once a logged-in user has a saved application in the system, the relevant RFA page will display a button that reads “Continue Application” instead of “Apply Now.” By clicking this button, the user can return to the application in progress.

Q-2: Can I complete my application all at once?
Certainly. Collect all the required documents and contact information for all the proposed partners. When you are ready to submit the application, click “Submit” at the bottom of the page. Please note that no changes can be made once the application has been submitted.

Q-3: How do I obtain copies of the required documents?
Click the links to the required documents in the RFA announcement to download the documents to your computer. For items such as resumes and letters, HED provides a page containing guidelines for those items. Once all the required documents are complete and ready for insertion into the application, the applicant can use the upload tool in the final section of the online application form.

Q-4: How do I submit the required documents?
uploadmystuffA-4: Applicants submit the required documents by uploading them to their online application. At the bottom of the RFA application form, there is a table that lists the required documents and their upload status.

  1. Click “Browse”
  2. Locate on your computer the document that you wish to upload
  3. Using the drop-down menu, indicate the type of form you are uploading
  4. Click the “Upload” button

The application will display the file name of the document you have uploaded and its category. If an error is made, the applicant can delete the file and upload it again into the correct category.

Please Note: Applicants will not be able to submit an application that does not contain all the required documents.

Q-5. Are there limits on how many documents I can upload with my application?
Yes. HED’s online application system will permit you to upload only one PDF or Excel file for each file category. Within these parameters, the applicant may, for example, assemble a number of resumes within a single PDF, or a number of worksheets within one Excel document. Applicants should note and adhere to any page limits specified within the specific RFA to which they are applying.

Q-6. Is there someone with whom I can speak about the process of completing the online application?
HED has made available a direct phone number and email address for inquiries related to the process of uploading an application. For technical assistance between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EDT Monday-Friday, please call (202) 677-4277. You may also send inquiries to

Q-7. I have been having trouble creating a password in the online application system. Am I doing something wrong?
Probably not. Please note that HED requires a strong password to safeguard your application. The password needs to include a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, at least one numeral and at least one special character. These special characters include ~ ! @ # $ % & * ( ) _ + = . , . The password must be at least six characters long.