Why I now hate the asterisk: and its relationship to Grants.gov

Poor little asterisk. 

Where it once had my affection for a variety of reasons — its cute little shape; its ability to be a wildcard when searching for files; the way it can act as a buffer so that you don’t have to actually spell out curse words; and even for its use in Excel equations — now I want to curse its mere existence.

Always a good tip.  When an agency advises you to submit in Grants.gov prior to the deadline, do it. 

Here’s an example of why.  Earlier this year, I submitted a U.S. Department of Education grant through the Grants.gov system, only to find out later that it was not actually accepted.  I’m admitting up-front that I did wait until pretty much the last minute, which is never a good plan.  I wasn’t too concerned as I (supposedly) had all of my ducks in a row, so to speak, and was only delayed due to the late-arrival of a required document from a partner that had to be attached to the application package.

Before signing and submitting the application, I used the Grants.gov “check package for errors” validation option, and was sent forward by the system to the queue for submission. I then received confirmation, receipt, and validation emails, as anticipated — none of which noted any problems with my submission. It was only AFTER the deadline had passed (of course) that I received new, heart-stopping, ‘Rejection Notice for Application’ emails stating that my application contained errors and could not be forwarded to the granting agency. 


Going back through the emails received, I realized that the agency retrieval notice was not among them.  To make a long story short, after much back and forth with tech support, it was determined that an asterisk in a file name that was attached to the package is what had caused the agency system to reject the application.  :-/

Hence my new-found animosity towards the asterisk. 


I guess you really do learn something new every day.


Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level.  – Peter Drucker

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.  – Keri Russell

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