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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act

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. Information is provided here on how to make FOIA and Privacy Act requests for NSF records and how to contact the FOIA and Privacy Act offices at NSF.

Most NSF documents are readily available to the public. The NSF Library (Reading Room) is located on the second floor (Rm 225) at the agency location of 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA. Please check our link to Online Document System 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 Award Search page. Information about older awards may be available (after a certain period of time records are transferred to the ownership of National Archives and Records Administration). Contact the appropriate program office or the FOIA Officer. Copies of awarded proposals are available upon request, there may be applicable fees. Personal and proprietary information will be removed from the proposal documents before they are released.


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
FOIA Officer (Rm 1265)
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-8060
Fax: (703) 292-9041


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
Privacy Act Officer (Rm 1265)
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-8060



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