Grants Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I do when I am awarded a grant?
Read your award notification carefully! Make sure you understand and agree with all the terms and conditions you are given in exchange for the grant funds.
Inform Rose Pandolfo in the grants administration office at extension 2870 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send her the award notification you have received as well as any payment received up front.
If you need any signatures for acceptance of the award, Rose can take care of acquiring the proper approvals for you.
If you plan to hire personnel to work on your project, you should contact Human Resources at extension 2100 before taking any steps to post the position, interview, or hire.
It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to adhere to the regulations, spending restrictions and performance requirements under their grant award. Please review the following terms & conditions under Federal awards:
OMB Circular A:
21 (Cost Principles) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a021_2004
OMB Circular A:
110 (Administrative Regulations) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a110/a110.html
OMB Circular A:
133 (Audits) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133/a133.html
- How will the accounting work on my grant?
After you have submitted your award notification to the grants accounting office, you should receive notification of your new WFS Smartkey for your award. Use this 10-digit number for all charges under the award.
Please note that a WFS smartkey will not be created until official notification of the award has been received.
Please make note of all reporting requirements. Most granting agencies pay the University on a reimbursement basis. Missed deadlines could result in the loss of payment.
Your WFS smartkey will show a budget balance available equal to the amount of funding awarded and broken down into budget categories based upon the budget submitted with the original proposal.
The office of financial services will make available to you monthly reports through WFS Wesleyan Reports and daily balances through WFS inquiry so that you may closely monitor both the charges to youraccounts as well as the balance remaining. For questions on how to access WFS, please contact Susan Pavis at extension 2839 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Anyamounts spent over and above the award amount will be the responsibility of the Principal Investigator.
- What types of expenditures are allowable on my grant?
For all Federal grants, you must follow the guidelines detailed in OMB Circular A-21 (Cost Principals)
Below is a list of the main unallowable costs taken from part J of Circular A-21. For more information, please refer to the full text of the Circular.
- Alumni activites
- Bad debt expense
- Commencement costs
- Defense and prosecution expenses
- Entertainment (exception would be a meal where business is conducted in the interest of time)
- Fines and Penalties
- Goods and services for personal use
- Investment management fees
- Losses on other sponsored projects
- Student activity costs
In most cases the same cost principals that apply to Federal grants will apply to state, local and private grants.
Under federal regulations, no contract shall be made to parties listed on the General Service Administration's (GSA) "List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement or Non-Procurement Programs."
- What are indirect costs (F&A) and what is included in them?
Indirect costs or Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A) are calculated as a percentage of the direct costs of your project and are used to cover the university’s overhead on your grant.
Please note that items such as depreciation, office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, memberships and administrative support are not to be included as direct costs on your grant. These items are covered under our indirect cost rate.
Our rate is negotiated with the Federal government every 3 years. The current rate agreement is dated June 14, 2011 and will be in effect until June 30, 2014. The University has two approved rates. One is for on campus work and the other is for off campus work. The off campus rate is only to be used when more than 50% of the project work will be performed off-campus. The current on campus rate is 64.1% and the off campus rate is 24.2%.
These rates are to be included under all proposals unless the granting agency has either disallowed indirect costs or only allows a percentage lower than our approved rate. There will be no waivers of indirect cost. If you wish to appeal for a waiver of indirect cost as a method of cost share under your proposal, you will need the approval of both the Division Dean and the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
The rate is calculated on a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) basis. MTDC includes all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subcontract.
MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subcontract in excess of $25,000.
Equipment means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.
- What are cost transfers and how do they affect my grant?
Cost transfers are more commonly known as journal entries. They represent the act of transferring expenses from one account to another.
Cost transfers can include payroll or non-payroll expenses.
At the federal level, cost transfers are extremely sensitive. Under OMB Circular A-21 it states that costs "may not be shifted to other sponsored agreements in order to meet deficiencies caused by cost overruns or other fund considerations, to avoid restrictions imposed by law or by terms of the sponsored agreement, or for other reasons of convenience."
When auditors review transactions under sponsored research accounts, they will closely review cost transfers for proper documentation, timeliness, and allowability. Any deficiencies in these areas may result in a denial of payment or need to return funds to the sponsor.
All cost transfers, payroll and non-payroll, must be approved by the grants accounting office before being processed.
All cost transfers must be submitted within 90 days of the original charge in order to be considered timely.
Cost transfers must be accompanied by a detailed explanation of why the transfer is taking place.
Proper documentation of the specific costs being transferred must accompany the cost transfer request. This would include the date of the original charge, copies of invoices or accounts payable vouchers. The grants accounting office needs to ensure that actual, identifiable expenditures are being transferred, not just lump sum amounts.
Expenditures being transferred to a sponsored program account must be directly accountable to the research being performed and have occurred within the grant start and end dates.
Remaining balances on sponsored research projects may not be transferred to any other account. Federal regulations require remaining balances to be returned to the funding agency when the grant ends.
- How do I request summer salary?
Summer salary is calculated on a monthly basis. A faculty member may request summer salary in the months of June, July and August equal to 1/9 of their academic year salary for each month.
The request must be approved by the grants accounting office before processing.
For summer salary to be requested, the principal investigator must be working on the grant to which the salary will be charged during the month that the salary will be charged.
- What is a Time & Effort report?
The Federal government requires recipients of grant awards to maintain time and effort reports that reflect effort levels by employees on grants.
Wesleyan sends out monthly time and effort reports to all principal investigators with salaries charged to their grants.
It is the responsibility of the PI to review these reports to ensure that all time being charged to the project is accurate.
If time is being committed to the project but the associated salary dollars are not (ex. faculty time devoted during the academic year) the PI should write in the percentage of effort on the report.
A faculty member’s effort may never exceed 100%.
Once the report has been reviewed, the PI must certify the information on the report by signing the bottom of the report and returning it to the grants accounting office or to their department assistant.
Annual reports are also sent out for the PI to certify and return to grants accounting. Grants accounting maintains the originals of these forms in their office for the annual A-133 audit.
- What is a no-cost extension and how do I request one?
Under expanded authorities for Federal grants, PI’s are able to initiate a one-time extension of the expiration date of the award of up to 12 months.
This one-time extension may not be exercised merely for the purpose of using unobligated balances.
The extension will not allow for additional funding.
All requests for no-cost extensions on sponsored research should be made to the grants accounting office.
No cost extensions are usually due to the granting agency 30 days prior to the end date of the grant.
In order to ensure adequate time to request a no-cost extension, please submit your request to the grants accounting office no later than 45 days prior to the end date of the grant.
All requests for no-cost extensions should be accompanied by an explanation for why the investigator needs additional time.
- How long do I keep my records?
Federal - OMB Circular A-110, Sub-part C, section_.53 outlines the Federal Government's record retention policies for sponsored research awards as follows, "Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records and all other records pertinent to an award shall be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, for awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, as authorized by the Federal awarding agency." Federal contracts as opposed to Federal assistance awards require a longer retention period, generally six years or as specified in the contract regulations.
State - Retention requirements are often longer than those imposed by the Federal government. Generally seven years or as specified in the awarding document regulations.