General Advice to Principal Investigators
- When administering a grant, retain copies of all requisitions, charge documents, journals and other backup for properly reconciling and balancing Expense Statements. (The term “Expense Statement” is used synonymously with the term “Transaction Register”).
- Balance charges, etc., to expenses that appear on the Expense Statement. Investigate and correct inconsistencies immediately. The OGA is available to assist in investigating charges.
- Make a list of all known or anticipated expenses that may occur during the term of the grant that affect the budget; for example, mid-year personnel hires, salary increases, etc.
- Review commitments to determine potential impact and accuracy.
- Review expense categories and determine whether grant should be rebudgeted (check sponsor guidelines for allowability).
- If someone other than the PI is responsible for managing and administering the grant, that individual should provide the PI with documentation regarding the status of the account. Include, when possible, a forecast through the end of the grant.
Administrative Treatment of Over-expended Accounts
It is the responsibility of the PI to ensure that their sponsored program account is not overspent. On occasion expenditures for a particular project may exceed the funds received or awarded. In such instances, the PI must take appropriate action to address the overdraft condition, and to provide the OGA with an explanation of how the overdraft will be corrected
The purpose of this procedure is to limit the amount of overdraft on a sponsored project account and to outline administrative procedures covering special situations.
- Fifteen days after end of month when project account becomes over-expended:
The OGA will send notification to SPRS indicating the amount of over-expenditure and the possibility of the account being closed. Such notification should prompt immediate response by SPRS to inform the OGA of additional funding or extension. SPRS shall forward copies of all correspondence to the PI.
- Sixty days after end of month when project account becomes over-expended:
If the account remains over-expended after sixty days and it is verified through SPRS that no additional funding or extension is forthcoming, the account will be closed. This action will prohibit posting of additional expenditures to the account. Should expenditures be attempted, they will be automatically charged to the operating budget of the home department or the established cost share account.
If acceptable verification is not received by SPRS or OGA and the PI wishes to have the account remain open, he or she must submit a memo signed by their Dean, Director or Vice President addressing the over-expenditure and indicating a plan and time frame for covering the over-expenditure. The Vice Provost for Research will make the final determination as to whether an over-expended account can remain open.
Over-expenditures remaining in an account at the end of the approved time period will be charged to the operating budget of the Department, Dean, Director or Vice President, or the appropriate cost share account.
Post Award Changes
Principal Investigators often need to make budget changes or deviate from the approved proposal. Under these circumstances, it may be necessary to request the sponsor’s prior approval. In other instances (example: most federal agencies), SPRS can grant approval under the sponsor’s “Expanded Authorities.”
The level at which prior approval may be granted depends upon the type of grant or contract and the sponsor's specific policies for that type of grant or contract. For simplicity, this section will delineate the types of grants as either federal or non-federal. Please contact SPRS for specific questions or assistance on any post award changes.
Note: In some instances sponsor will correspond directly with PI. Should this be the case, PI should forward approval or correspondence to OSPR.
Scope of Work:
Both federal and non-federal sponsors generally require that they be informed of changes
affecting the scope of work. Such changes can include absence or change of PI, change of
grantee institution, change in objective or emphasis of the project, applying a new technology, transferring substantive programmatic work to a third party, change of key personnel or a change in the approved use of animals or human subjects
Sometimes it becomes necessary to re-budget funds. Reasons may include a need to
accommodate unexpected expenses, a personnel change, etc. Most agencies approve this
type of action as long as the project’s scope is not altered. Before considering a change to the approved budget, review the agency's re-budget guidelines. Many sponsors require that prior approval be obtained before making changes to the original budget, while other sponsors allow SPRS prior approval authority. Be mindful of any monetary limits imposed by the sponsor, such as for travel or equipment. Significant re-budgeting (25% of total grant award or $250,000 whichever is less; or changes that affect indirect costs and/or release time) also requires the prior approval of the PI’s chair and dean.
Prior Approval Procedure
When the sponsor requires prior approval for budget changes, such requests should be made in advance of the expenditure. Make the request, in writing, to SPRS (OSPR@csuohio.edu).
SPRS will contact the sponsor to request the change. Requests for retroactive approval reflect poorly on the university and the PI, are less likely to be approved, and should be avoided. Requests for budget revisions should be signed by the PI and counter-signed by the SPRS authorized official. Include justification relative to the what impact the change makes on the scientific progress of the project, if any. Budget changes are not enacted by SPRS until sponsor approval (or SPRS approval in the case of Expanded Authorities) is granted.
If grant guidelines allow for internal re-budgeting without agency approval, send a written
request, including justification, to the SPRS Budget Analyst. The budget change will be booked into the university’s accounting system. The PI and OGA are informed of the approval. Check with the unit fiscal officer to determine if additional approvals are required prior to the request being made to OSPR.
Significant re-budgeting occurs when the cumulative amount of transfers among direct cost
categories for the current budget period exceeds 25 percent of the total amount awarded or
$250,000, whichever is less. Significant re-budgeting is an indicator of a possible change in
scope. If significant re-budgeting is necessary, PI should consult with SPRS for a decision on
whether the re-budgeting constitutes a change of scope. Significant re-budgeting generally
requires prior approval of the PI’s chair and dean.
For guidance send an e-mail or call Teri Kocevar(email@example.com)Ext. 4567)