The Department of Education is replacing its G5 grants management system over the next five years with an open and flexible cloud-based system following an increase in grant awards due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The modernization effort will be led by Innosoft Corporation and include tech from Red Hat and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as rely on IBM Consulting as project architect, after being awarded a $50 million blanket purchase agreement.

“As we carry out our mission, it’s imperative that we have the technology to support the best outcomes for our grant programs,” Drew Sanzenbacher, deputy assistant secretary for business operations at the Department of Education, said in a press release. “By working with IBM, Red Hat, AWS, and Innosoft, we’ll now have the ability to uncover opportunities for performance improvement and execute best-in-class grant program management.”

The G5 grants management system supports the entire lifecycle of the department’s grant-making business process, including processing payments for Federal Student Aid programs like Pell Grants and campus-based aid.

Following the pandemic and increasing educational needs, Sanzenbacher said grant programs have expanded, and its community “needs the ability to answer questions, access funding, and collaborate across the spectrum.”

By modernizing the G5 system, the agency will be able to refine its grant management process and improve the experience for department staff, applicants, and grantees. The new system will ease grant communication and management efforts, monitor performance, and review outcomes.

Human-centered design and agile software development will improve the user experience, while machine learning and AI tools – based on the IBM Watson framework – will help agency leaders make better-informed grant decisions.

“AWS is honored to support the U.S. Department of Education’s mission to deliver equal access to education through modernization of their grants management system,” said Dave Levy, vice president of U.S government, nonprofit, and health care businesses at AWS.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.