NEH Shutdown: What We Know

As the partial government shutdown moves into its fourth week, the National Endowment for the Humanities remains closed. We have had a number of conversations with NEH grantees and applicants who are concerned about the status of the agency and upcoming deadlines. At this point, here is what we know:

NEH staff have been furloughed. They are unable to respond to inquiries or maintain regular business in any way.

We have no clear guidance on grantee reporting requirements, though the reporting portal is currently down. There is no harm in emailing reports to your program officer, who will see it on their return. We would also advise looking for updates on this front as soon as the government reopens.

The NEH is still accepting grant applications. The NEH twitter feed recently confirmed that the usual submission process using is still in place.

You should assume that grant application deadlines remain the same.  If you are applying for an NEH grant, you should plan to submit grant applications as well as draft applications for program officer feedback by the previously-set deadlines. With no end to the shutdown in sight, however, it is impossible to say whether or not program officers will be able to review drafts.

Some grant programs have new guidelines. Project directors applying for 2020 NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for K–12 Educators and Higher Education Faculty, as well as for NEH Landmarks Workshops, should be advised that the program guidelines have been substantively revised. Please take close note of these guidelines as you develop your applications.

Payments from the NEH will remain in limbo. Many grant recipients are awaiting funds that should have been awarded at the beginning of the year. While you should expect to receive these funds eventually, awards will not be processed until the agency reopens.

The shutdown may also be affecting your local humanities council. All state and territory humanities councils receive significant funding from the NEH. As a consequence, many councils are considering options for managing their operations and grant-making as those funds continue to be unavailable.

Follow the NEH (@NEHgov) and the National Humanities Alliance (@humanitiesall) twitter feeds for updates.

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