CHALLENGE AMERICA: Part 2: Submit to Applicant Portal

These are expired guidelines. New guidelines will be posted in December.

Fill out and submit the NEA Grant Application Form and upload items to the Applicant Portal.

You will use the NEA’s Applicant Portal to complete Part 2 of the application process. You must first have successfullycompleted Part 1 (submitting to by the application deadline of record.

Challenge America Application Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to April 11, 2019 by 11:59, Eastern Time
Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens
Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal April 16, 2019 at 9:00 a.m., Eastern Time to April 23, 2019 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, we strongly recommend that you register/renew your registration by at least March 20, 2019 and submit to by at least April 2, 2019.

Do not attempt to complete Part 2 before the Applicant Portal becomes available to you on these dates. Your log on credentials will be created for you.

1. Access the Applicant Portal:

  • User Name = Tracking Number

    (Example: "GRANT12345678")

  • Password = Agency Tracking Number/NEA Application Number

    (Example: "1234567")

The User Name and Password are meant to be used by one person at a time in the Applicant Portal. If multiple people use the User Name and Password at the same time to work on an application, it could result in the loss of data.

How do I find my tracking number? Your tracking number is assigned to you by at the time you submit your application. A confirmation screen will appear once your submission is complete. Your tracking number will be provided at the bottom of this screen. Remember to save this number.

How do I find my Agency Tracking #/NEA Application Number? The NEA assigns the number to your application 1-2 business days after you submit your application. Log on to with your Username and Password. Under Grant Applications, select Check Application Status. Once in the Check Application Status feature, look for your tracking number and select Details under the Actions column. You’ll be taken to the Submission Details screen to find your Agency Tracking#/NEA Application Number. NOTE: Check Application Status is a separate feature from Track My Application at

For specific help on how to complete your application, please review the instructions in these guidelines or contact the discipline staff that is appropriate to your project (see "Agency Contacts").

2. Fill out the Grant Application Form

You will submit a substantial part of your application through the Grant Application Form (GAF) in the Applicant Portal, including:

  • Answers to narrative questions about your organization and project.
  • Financial information about your organization and project.
  • Bios of key individuals.
  • Work samples.

Click below to see the application questions, instructions, and information about required application materials that you will submit through the Grant Application Form in the Applicant Portal. For your application to be considered complete, every item that is required MUST be included in your application.


You should prepare your responses and material well in advance of the deadline and have them fully ready to upload once the Applicant Portal opens for you. You will not have access to the Grant Application Form until the Applicant Portal opens for you to submit your application materials on the dates noted above.

Note: We strongly urge you to complete and submit the Grant Application Form and upload materials outside of the hours of heaviest usage, generally 8:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on the day of the deadline.

3. Submit the Grant Application Form in the Applicant Portal:

  • Hit the "Submit" button when you are ready to submit your application. If you do not hit the "Submit" button, your application will not be received.

  • After submitting your application, you may log back into the Applicant Portal and make modifications to your submission up until the system closes at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on the day of the deadline.

  • Once you have submitted your application, you will NOT receive an email confirmation. To confirm that your application was received, log back in to the Applicant Portal. On the first screen it will say “Submitted” if your application has been received. If your application has not yet been received, it will say “In Progress.” You can maintain documentation of your successful submission by taking a screenshot.

  • You may print a copy of your application at any time, whether in draft or final form, for your records.


  1. Submit your materials to the Applicant Portal prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.

  2. NEA staff will not be available to help you after 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on the day of the deadline.

  3. When in doubt, contact staff.

  4. Some special characters (such as ampersands, quotation marks, apostrophes, and angle brackets) take up more character counts than others in webforms, including the Grant Application Form. This is because certain characters are translated into HTML code which takes up more than one character space. If you notice a higher than expected character count when you enter information directly into the Grant Application Form or copy and paste from your word processing program, here are a few tips:

    • Transfer your text into a text-only utility like Notepad before pasting it into the Grant Application Form. This will delete hidden HTML code to ensure the proper capture of your text. However, any formatting you had will be deleted.
    • Use a solution other than special characters. For example, instead of using quotation marks for titles of works, put them in italics and that won't affect character count.
    • Use only one space after the end of sentences. Single spaces after punctuation marks (periods, commas, colons, etc.) only reduce the character counter by one character. If you enter two spaces after a period, HTML coding adds extra spaces.
    • Save character space by limiting the use of tabs.
  5. View the Grant Application Form Tutorial for other helpful tips to assist you in completing the online form.