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General Information on Making FOIA and Privacy Act Requests

National Science Foundation policy is to make the fullest possible disclosure of information, subject to restrictions imposed by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act, to any person who requests information, without unnecessary expense or delay.

Most NSF documents are readily available to the public. Please check our link to Documents Online to browse, search, and retrieve electronic copies of available NSF publications. Among the documents available online are program announcements, policy statements, agency bulletins, administrative staff manuals, and other instructions that affect the public. Press releases, text of speeches, and other public affairs documents are available from the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.

Abstracts of all NSF awards made since 1989 are available through FastLane or through the Grants and Awards page. Information about older awards is available - contact the appropriate program office or the FOIA Officer. Copies of awarded proposals are available upon request from the appropriate program office (personal and proprietary information will be removed from the records before they are released).

Contracts and other financial records are available upon request from the Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management, subject to the restrictions of the FOIA and Privacy Act, and other relevant regulations.

Making a FOIA request

If you wish to make a FOIA request for records, NSF regulations (published at 45 CFR, Part 612) describe the agency policies in detail. At a minimum, requests should:

  1. be in writing, (regular mail, electronic mail, and facsimile requests are accepted);
  2. be clearly identified as a FOIA request, this should be indicated in the text, and on the envelope if the request is sent by regular mail);
  3. clearly describe the records sought, the more information provided - name(s), date(s), specific subject area(s) - the easier it will be to determine if the records you are seeking exist; more specific and limited requests generally result in quicker responses and lower (or no) fees); and
  4. state willingness to pay applicable fees (fees for search, review and duplication may be applicable, depending upon the identity of the requester).

Include the mailing address to which records should be sent. If you include your telephone number, we can contact you if there is any question about the scope of your request, possible fees, etc.. You will not be charged if applicable fees are less than $25, but you may wish to include a maximum dollar amount you are willing to pay.

Please remember that the FOIA applies only to existing agency records. It does not require agencies to create records, or to answer questions. However, NSF will attempt, in all cases, to provide the information desired.

Mail: National Science Foundation Phone:
FOIA Officer (Rm 1265) (703) 306-1060
4201 Wilson Blvd Fax:
Arlington, VA 22230 (703) 306-0149
Email: foia@nsf.gov

Coming soon:

  • FOIA Guide
  • Annual Report on FOIA
  • Frequently Requested Records
  • Electronic Request Forms
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Making a Privacy Act request

If you wish to make a Privacy Act request for personal information about yourself, NSF regulations (published at 45 CFR 613) describe the the agency policies in detail.

Requests should be in writing, and either notarized, or submitted under 28 USC 1746 (Unsworn declarations under the penalty of perjury).

Mail: National Science Foundation Phone:
Privacy Act Officer (Rm 485) (703) 306-1243
4201 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22230

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The National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: 703-306-1234 ~ TDD: 703-306-0090

Last Modified: Nov 17, '97