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Grants and Contracts Procedures Manual (GCPM)
Stephen F. Austin State University

Effective: February 2005 - Last Revised: August 29, 2014
Adopted by SFA policy 8.3

Download PDF version (2/19/2013)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. General Information

A. Overview: of Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) Services
B. Definitions

  1. Types of Sponsored Projects
  2. Research and Development
  3. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance - CFDA
  4. Restricted Giftsrevised

II. Standard Proposal Information

A. Important Information (Addresses, EIN, DUNS, etc.) revised
B. Fringe Benefit Calculationsrevised
C. Indirect Cost Calculationsrevised
D. Tax Exempt Status: SFA and the SFA Foundation, Inc., Gifts vs Grants

revised

III. Description and Purpose of General Forms

A. PCF - Proposal Clearance Form with REQUIRED PI/PD Assurance Supplementrevised
B. CSB - Cost-share Detail Form
C. SUB - Subawardee Certification for Federal Projects Form
D. ICW - Request for Indirect Cost Reduction or Waiver Form
E. ACV - Additional Compensation Eligibility Verification Form
F. REF - Request to Establish a Banner Fund (grants & contracts)
G. PIN - Program Income Notification Form Form
H. BUD - Budget Set-up and Revision Form
I. CTR - Cost Transfer Request Form
J. RCF - Revision Clearance Form
K. RGN - Research Gift Notification and Statement of Compliance Form
L. CRF - Contract Request Form
M. PTR - PI/PD Transfer of Project Responsibility Form
N. FPR - Fixed-price Agreement Close-out and Certification Form
O. FCOI - Conflict of Interest Disclosure Formrevised
P. RAF - Report Approval Form

IV. Compliance and Safety in Research - Requirements, Training, and Forms

A. Introduction: Ethics in the conduct of sponsored projects
B. RCR - Responsible Conduct of Research
C. FCOI - Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form revised
D. IRB - Protection of Human Research Subjects
E. IACUC - Animal Care and Use
F. Export Control Regulations
G. Biosafety and Select Agents
H. Environmental Safety and Health/Radiation
I. CITI Research Ethics Training Programs (including IRB, IACUC, RCR, FCOI)

V. Regulations, Policies, and Procedures

A. Role of University Offices in Sponsored Projects
B. ORSP and Grant-related Procedures
C. Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD)
D. SFA Policies Governing External and Internal Funding revised
E. Federal and State Regulations

VI. Internal Grant Funding

A. REP - Research Enhancement Programrevised
  1. FRG - Faculty Research Grants
  2. MG - Minigrants
B. RDP - Research Development Program
C. URC - University Research Council

VII. Find External Funding

A. Benefits of External Funding
B. How to Find External Funding (federal, state, and private; PIVOT)revised
C. Evaluating Funding Opportunities

VIII. Apply for a Grant

A. Proposal Processing and Submission Procedures, & PI/PD eligibility guidelines
B. Contracts to SFA: Development, review, and approval
C. Tips for Project Planning and Proposal Writing
D. Special Proposal Requirements: Current/pending support, data management, mentoring, subawardee certifications
E. Develop a Budget
  1. Direct and Indirect Costs
    * Salaries and wages (including descriptions of common grant-funded positions)
    * Additional compensation
    * Fringe benefits
    * Subawards and vendor contracts
    * Equipment
    * Supplies and materials
    * Travel
    * Participant costs - scholarships and stipends
    * Other direct costs
    * Indirect costs
  2. Matching and Cost-sharing Commitments
  3. Budget Justifications

IX. Manage a Project

A. Award Process: Establish a fund, award orientation
B. Budget Management: Banner funds, budget revisions, invoicing, cost transfers, insufficient funds/overruns
C. Project and Budget Amendmentsrevised
D. Subawards, Participant Agreements, and Contracts for Services: Development, approval, and management
D.1 Contract Templates
E. Cost-sharing and Matching: Documenting expenses
F. Personnel Policies and Procedures
G. Effort Certification (Time and effort reporting)
H. Technical Reports and Other Deliverables
I. Program Income and Other Credits revised
J. Sponsorship Acknowledgement and Disclaimers
K. Intellectual Property and Publications
L. I'm leaving. Can I take my grant with me?

X. Project Close-out

A. Close-out Proceduresrevised
B. Disposition of Supplies, Materials, and Equipment
C. Records Retention, Inquiries, and Audit Considerations

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I. General Information

A. Overview of ORSP Services

The principal responsibility of Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) to sponsoring agencies or individuals is to ensure that projects are conducted and funds are spent according to the award terms and conditions, applicable state and federal regulations and guidelines, and university policies and procedures. To facilitate these processes and to help ensure successful project outcomes, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) provides the following services and activities:

Administration of Internal Grant Programs

Pre-award Technical Assistance

Post-award Technical Assistance

Data Collection and Reporting

Professional Development and Networking

Committee Service

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B. Definitions

1. Types of Sponsored Projects - The term "sponsored projects" encompasses externally funded research, scholarly, and public service activities supported by entities outside the University. They result from proposals submitted by SFA or the SFA Foundation, and/or contracts offered to SFA, and funded by external organizations. Sponsors may be a federal, state, local, or foreign unit of government, a foundation, an association, a commercial entity or an individual.

Per university policy and procedure, all types of sponsored projects must be routed through and submitted by ORSP.

Sponsored projects are solicited and/or accepted for purposes that are consistent with and enhance the teaching, research, and public service mission of SFA. Sponsored projects usually include a defined scope of work or set of objectives, and technical and/or financial reports are usually required by the sponsor.

Sponsored project award agreements vary and usually follow one of the formats described below.

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2. Research and Development means all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are supported at the university.

The term "research" also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Circular A-110, Appendix A, Subpart A.2.dd).

Curriculum development projects may be considered "R&D" when the primary purpose of the project is developing and testing an instructional model through appropriate research methodologies (i.e., data collection, evaluation, dissemination, and publication). (Standards and Accounting Methods, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board).

A project is classified as "restricted research" if:

The use of the funds is restricted - Restricted funds are funds for which some external entity has restricted how the funds can be spent. When a federal agency provides a grant for a specific purpose, the grant would be considered restricted. A contract from a private sector company would typically be considered restricted. When a donor provides a gift for a specific purpose or for creation or addition to an endowment fund (the income from which is for a specific purpose), the funds expended would be considered restricted funds.

The purpose is primarily research - The primary purpose will normally be demonstrated by the sponsor's statement of purpose or other documented evidence, such as the funding announcement or CFDA purpose. For projects with multiple goals, this may be demonstrated by more than half of the funds (equal to or greater than 50%) budgeted for research.

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3. CFDA is the acronym for the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, a compendium of federally funded programs. The CFDA is required for federally funded projects (and federal pass-through funding) on the Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) and is used for grant applications and reporting purposes. CFDAs are assigned to a grant competition and award by the federal awarding agency. CFDA

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4. Restricted Gifts are targeted contributions made to the university for which the donor receives no direct benefit and provides the support with minimal requirements (i.e., limited terms or conditions, no obligations, no authorized signature required, no financial or programmatic reports required, and no intellectual property, confidentiality, or publication conditions). Gifts do not require specific deliverables.

Gift letters and checks should be forwarded to The Office of Development for processing. Unrestricted gift funds are generally placed in "various donors" gift accounts. ORSP should be notified of all gifts designated for research to aid in accurate reporting of research expenditures.

***Do not disclose confidential donor information to ORSP.

If you are not certain if an award is a gift, contact ORSP for input. Some "gift" awards must be processed internally as grants. See Section II. D.

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II. Standard Proposal Information

A. Important Information

The following information is needed for the submission of some grant applications. Contact ORSP if you need any information not provided below.

OFFICIAL ADDRESS*
REQUIRED for federal applications
Submitting Organization (Applicant)

(*for DUNS, CCR, and SAM)

Stephen F. Austin State University
1936 North Street
Nacogdoches, Texas 75965-3940

For applications REQUIRING 501(c)(3) status [Please contact the Office of Development or SFA Foundation staff.]

Stephen F. Austin State University Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 6092, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962-6092

Address for Official Correspondence

Stephen F. Austin State University
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
PO Box 13024
Physical address: 1936 North Street OR 404 Aikman Drive
Liberal Arts North, Room 421
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

Type of Organization

Public Institution of Higher Education

U.S. Senate
U.S. Congress
Texas Senatorial District
Texas House of Representatives District

Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz
Congressional District 1 - Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-001)
Senate District 3 - Senator Robert Nichols
House District 11 - Representative Travis Clardy

Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) - signatory authority for all proposals, certifications, and contracts

Baker Pattillo, President
or his designated authority

Financial Contact


Mailing Address for Checks

Dora Fuselier, Controller
Phone: 936.468.2303

Office of the Controller
P.O. Box 13035, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

Contact for Contractual Matters

Dr. Carrie H. Brown, Director
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
P.O. Box 13024, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962
Phone: 936.468.6606

Principal Investigator or Project Director

Faculty Name (or investigator to serve as project contact if there are co-investigators)

SFA Employer ID Number (IRS EIN)
System for Award Management - SAM (CCR)
DUNS Number (parent location)
CAGE Code
FICE Code
TEA County-District Number (CDN)
SFA Charter School CDN
State Agency Number
Federal Non-Profit Status

75-6002514
Valid until August 19, 2014; POC - Dr. Carrie Brown
073894727
3EXP9
362400
174-501
174-801
755
Governmental entity, Section 170, IRS Code, 1986

Fringe Benefit Rates (estimates for FY14)
See fringe benefit rate table (below) for additional information and rates for part-time employees, retirees, and additional compensation

29% of salaries or wages (faculty and staff)
2% of salaries or wages (all students)

Indirect Cost (IDC) Rates
Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA)

Use for all grants and contracts (unless a different rate is required by the sponsor)

New rates effective 9/1/2013
31% MTDC (on-campus); 10% MTDC (off-campus)

*MTDC excludes capital equipment items >/=$5,000, scholarships, fellowships, and the portion of each subgrant or subcontract in excess of $25,000.

Cognizant Agency: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
Date of agreement: 9/4/2012
Effective dates of agreement: 9/1/11 - 8/31/17 or until amended
Type of Rate: Predetermined

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B. Fringe Benefit Calculations

For each dollar paid as salary or wages to an employee, the university incurs associated costs for non-optional fringe benefits. These benefits include F.I.C.A., worker's compensation, unemployment compensation, retirement matching, and health insurance. SFA Human Resources Benefits

Fringe benefits are treated as a direct cost to a sponsored project and are shown as a separate entry in the budget. The actual costs for fringe benefits are charged to a sponsored project fund at the time the costs are incurred. The amount charged is based on salary, the selected benefit package, and other variables applicable to the individual employee. Calculations for full-time employees include withholding taxes, retirement contributions, and health insurance.

When developing budgets, determine benefits using an estimated calculation based on the table, below.

The table below outlines rates for each benefit category.

Fringe Benefit Breakdown - FY 2014

Description of Benefit (paid by SFA)

Regular Employee

Graduate
Assistant**

Student
Assistant

Health Insurance (portion paid by SFA)

100%
$503.14/mo. employee only
$1,079.18/mo. employee + spouse
$888.86/mo. employee + children
$1,464.90/mo. employee + family

50%
$251.57/mo.

0

FICA/Medicare

7.65%

0

0

Retirement Matching

6.8%, TRS; 6.6% ORP; (8.5%)*

0

0

Unemployment Insurance

1%

1%

1%

Worker's Compensation

1%

1%

1%

* Non-TRS employees hired before 1996 receive 8.5%. All others receive 6.8% (TRS) or 6.6% (ORP) as of 9/1/13.
**Graduate assistants must pay half of their insurance premium if they elect to be covered by SFA.

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C. Indirect Cost (IDC) Calculations – aka Facilities and Administration, F&A, Overhead Costs

All proposals and contracts submitted on behalf of the University must include indirect costs at the maximum rate allowed by the sponsor.

In addition to costs directly related to a project, the University incurs costs that are indirectly related to all projects. These costs include:

In other words, indirect costs encompass all elements that support sponsored activities that cannot be directly associated and charged to a specific grant or contract. The recovery of these costs is essential because these costs don't go away, and if unrecovered, are paid for by tuition and other non-grant sources.

Indirect costs are allowable, necessary and expected. Sponsors that allow indirect costs DO NOT preferentially fund proposals that request less than the maximum allowed IDC rate and including indirect costs in a budget does not negatively affect the outcome.

Indirect cost rates are determined for each institution using a standardized, detailed cost accounting procedure. Representatives of the federal government (the cognizant agency) audit and approve IDC rate calculations.

SFA’s current negotiated indirect cost rates and effective dates for all programs are:

To calculate IDC on MTDC (refer to the NICRA for additional exclusions):

IDC must be included using SFA's federally-negotiated rates unless the sponsor has a written policy that specifically limits IDC for all applicants. Sponsor guidelines or policies that document limitations on IDC must be included with the Proposal Clearance Form (PCF). Requests for voluntary IDC reduction must be approved by SFA administration before a proposal or contract budget is presented to a sponsor. These requests must be justified using a Request for Indirect Cost Reduction or Waiver Form (ICW) and submitted with the PCF.

Only the President of SFA can waive or reduce indirect costs (SFA policy 8.5). Any under-recovery of indirect costs due to grantor restrictions must either be treated as cost-sharing on behalf of the university or supplied from other funds.

Program income is assessed the same indirect cost rate as the program that generated the income. For example, if a project is restricted to 8% MTDC by federal agency regulations, any income earned as a direct result of the project will also be assessed at the 8% MTDC rate.

IDC Recovery and Distribution: After IDC is charged to sponsored projects based on the approved rate, the resulting revenue is placed in a campus fund for distribution by campus administration based on SFA's IDC policy. Any questions about the collection and distribution of recovered IDC may be directed to ORSP.

Indirect Cost Distribution Formula - as of January 2011 (new formula to be posted for FY 14)

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D. Tax Exempt Status and the SFA Foundation, Inc.

SFA is a state agency and therefore is a tax-exempt, non-profit institution; however, SFA does not have IRS 501(c)(3) status.

The Stephen F. Austin State University Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization; therefore, proposals that require submission by a 501(c)(3) organization must be submitted by the SFA Foundation rather than ORSP. These applications require that a Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) be routed by the SFA Foundation.

If you are seeking a gift, you should contact the Office of Development. Gifts are defined as:

The table below provides guidance regarding "gifts vs. grants."

If one or more of the
following apply:

Process through:

ORSP

Development

A specific program of work or research is proposed to, or required by, the sponsor.

check
Proposal Clearance Form
Request to Establish Grant Fund

 

The sponsor requires an authorized institutional signature.

check
Proposal Clearance Form
Request to Establish Grant Fund

 

The sponsor requires or expects one or more progress reports, a final report, financial reports, and/or formal accounting of how the funds were expended, and/or a return of any unexpended balance.

check
Proposal Clearance Form
Request to Establish Grant Fund

 

There are intellectual property, confidentiality and/or publication conditions associated with the receipt of funds.

check
Proposal Clearance Form
Request to Establish Grant Fund

 

Grant proposals are submitted through the SFA Foundation [501(c)(3)].

check
Request to Establish Grant Fund

check
Proposal Clearance Form

If none of the above apply:

Process through:

ORSP

Development

Cash gifts are designated for research activities or endowed chairs.

Research Gift Notice Form*

check

Unrestricted or other cash gifts

 

check

Donations of equipment and other non-cash items

 

check

Not sure? Contact ORSP or call ext. 6606

*To ensure that ORSP accurately completes a Current Year Award Checklist to capture all research expenditures for reporting purposes (to ensure maximum Research Development Funds from the state).

Gift or Grant? Brochure :: Research Gift Notification and Compliance Information Form

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III. Description and Purpose of General Forms

ORSP Forms

A. Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) and the REQUIRED PI/PD Assurance Supplement - Used to route pre-proposals, proposals, collaborative grant applications, and contracts from external sponsors for administrative signature approvals. All applications for funding and contracts from SFA and the SFA Foundation (regardless of the source of funds) should be approved in advance of submission by the appropriate chair(s), dean(s), vice president(s), and president.

A Conflict of Interest Form (FCOI) is now REQUIRED for all proposals.

Deans and academic chairs/directors are responsible for reviewing grant proposals and contracts and for assuring that the proposed commitments of unit resources are feasible and realistic and that they support the mission of the university. This includes confirming that the following are appropriate, as applicable: (1) faculty and/or staff time commitments; (2) cost-share or matching commitments; (3) use of university facilities; (4) required facility modification or remodeling; and (5) overall cost of equipment to be purchased, including shipping, set-up, and maintenance.

ORSP reviews, routes, and submits all grant applications except those that require submission by a 501(c)(3) tax exempt entity. These applications are reviewed, routed, and submitted by the SFA Foundation.

The completed PCF should be submitted for routing with:

To ensure that all required signatures can be obtained before the proposal deadline, the completed PCF and related materials should be submitted to ORSP (or the SFA Foundation, as applicable) for review and routing at least three working days before the submission deadline. Note that for application packages requiring an in-depth review by ORSP or the SFA Foundation, materials are needed a minimum of 10 working days prior to the submission deadline.

Neither ORSP or the SFA Foundation can guarantee submission of a proposal that does not adhere to this time line.

The Proposal Clearance Form documents the following:

Only the president has the authority to make commitments for the university and its employees. Only the CEO of the SFA Foundation has the authority to make commitments for the Foundation. No proposals will be submitted or contracts executed without the approval and/or signature of the president or delegated authority (or the CEO of the Foundation or delegated authority, as applicable).

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B. Cost-share Budget Detail Form (CSB) - Used to provide detailed information on cost-shared, matched, and/or in-kind contributions to a sponsored project. In addition, completion of the form provides the SFA source of funds to be used to account for the cost-share commitment. Completed CSB forms should be submitted to ORSP.

Signatures are not required on the CSB. Administrative signatures on the Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) confirm that, upon award, SFA finance departments are authorized to transfer committed funds to a cost-share FOP (fund, organization, program) specific for a grant. Cost-shared expenses, such as salaries and purchases, are subsequently pulled from that FOP. This clearly delineates and documents cost-shared expenditures.

Note that Electronic Personnel Action Forms (EPAFs) for cost-shared salaries must be completed for all individuals who are cost-sharing salary (using the cost-share FOP).

For more information on cost-sharing and matching, see section VIII D2.

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C. Subawardee Certification for Federal Projects Form (SUB) - Used to obtain standard proposal information and to pre-certify potential subrecipients for federal and federal pass-through awards at the pre-award stage. This ensures that the subawardee listed in an SFA grant application has provided information required for federal awards, including federal assurances, program compliance, and A-133 audit requirements. Pre-certification streamlines development and execution of subawards (or subcontracts for contract awards).

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D. Request for Indirect Cost Reduction or Waiver Form (ICW) - Used to request a reduction or waiver of the indirect cost (IDC) rate applied to a proposal or contract when the reduction/waiver is voluntary, rather than the result of a sponsor-imposed limitation. The principal investigator (PI) or project director (PD) must justify the request for IDC reduction/waiver and the resulting loss in IDC revenue to the university. The ICW automatically calculates the financial loss to SFA.

IDC reduction/waiver requests with adequate and compelling justification may be recommended by the director of ORSP and the provost/VPAA, but must be approved be the president.

ICW forms are not required if sponsor guidelines limit IDC. Attach a copy of the sponsor's IDC guidelines in lieu of this form.

If an IDC reduction/waiver is granted for a fixed-price award, the amount of reduced/waived IDC will be deducted from any balance remaining at the end of the project period based on university policy 8.5.

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E. Additional Compensation Eligibility Verification Form (ACV) - Used to confirm that requests for SFA employees to receive payments in excess of their base salary meet the terms of the sponsor and university policies and guidelines; outline specific terms for payment in sponsor-approved grant applications or contract terms or in subsequent documents from the contracting official; and provide sufficient detail to confirm sponsor approval of extra pay for specific activities performed by SFA employees.

Federal and state sponsors have strict regulations concerning additional compensation. For specific language, refer to Federal OMB Circular OMB A-21, Section J.10.a.&d., and the State of Texas Uniform Grant Management Standards (UGMS), Attachment A, Section A.3.

For more information, refer to SFA policy 12.1, Compensation from Grants, Contracts, and Other Sponsored Agreements and SFA policy12.16, Salary Supplements, Stipends, and Additional Compensation.

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F. Request to Establish Banner Fund Form (REF) for grants and contracts - Required to set up a Banner fund. After receiving notice of award and/or receipt of funds, an REF must be submitted to ORSP for routing through the Controller's Office. ORSP must have a copy of the award notice, grant terms and conditions, and a detailed budget (either agency approved or internal for fixed-price awards) before the REF will be processed.

The REF also serves as a vehicle for the PI/PD to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the programmatic and fiscal management of the grant or contract. These are outlined in Section V.C., Responsibilities of the PI or PD.

As soon as the PI/PD completes a new award orientation session with ORSP staff (as needed) and receives the grant FOP number, funds may be expended within the grant period and according to the sponsor and SFA-approved budget. The PI/PD will receive a copy of the completed form after all signatures have been acquired.

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G. Program Income Notification Form (PIN) - Used to notify ORSP that program income is reasonably expected from a sponsored project, and to document the types of income expected and the rate schedule to be used. ORSP then determines the type of fund that needs to be established to record and track sponsored project income. For more information on program income, refer to section IX.I.

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H. Budget Set-up and Revision Form (BUD) - Used in two instances: 1) to set up an initial project budget using SFA account codes; and 2) to request a budget revision during the grant period. The form aids in translating the budgets submitted to the sponsor into SFA budget categories. They also detail budget revision requests and accompany a Revision Clearance Form (RCF) for any budget changes.

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I. Cost Transfer Request Form (CTR) - Used to request the transfer of allowable and allocable charges to/from one grant or contract fund to another university fund. Acceptable purposes may include clerical errors, inappropriate charges, late awards or pre-award costs, or transfers among interrelated projects. Not all transfer requests are appropriate or allowable. Incomplete forms or forms with inadequate justification or documentation will be returned to the PI/PD or other fund manager. For more information, refer to Budget Management. Sample Completed CTR Form

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J. Revision Clearance Form (RCF) - Used to obtain ORSP review and approval of project and budget revisions or amendments that require internal review and/or sponsor approval. ORSP must review all amendments that require sponsor approval or that will require budget modifications. If you are not sure if sponsor approval is required, please contact ORSP.

The following revisions are typically required for federally funded projects and must be reviewed by ORSP before they are submitted to the sponsoring agency (ORSP submits most amendments to the sponsor):

For any budget change, ORSP must receive the revised budget as approved by the sponsor so that the changes can be entered into the Banner accounting system and coordinated with grant accountants.

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K. Research Gift Notification and Statement of Compliance Form (RGN) - Used to notify ORSP that a gift designated for research purposes has been received by the Office of Development. This notification helps to ensure that SFA is accurately recording and reporting research expenditures, which in turn increases state research funding to the university from the State of Texas Research Development Fund. The form is also used to inform gift recipients of potential compliance requirements associated with research conducted using a gift award.

***Do not provide confidential donor information to ORSP.

All gifts must be coordinated through the Office of Development.

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L. Contract Request Form (CRF) - Used to request assistance from ORSP to develop a grant-related subaward or contract. The form requests standard information that is needed to complete an SFA contract template. Alternately, a PI/PD may select a contract template (see link below) and develop the contract themselves. Regardless of who develops the contract, ALL contracts must be reviewed and routed to the university's general counsel by ORSP. (Refer to section IX. D. Developing Subawards and Subcontracts.)

Contract Templates

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M. PI/PD Transfer of Project Responsibility Form (PTR) - Used to acknowledge the transfer of responsibilities for a sponsored project from one PI/PD to another and includes required federal disclosures. Must accompany a Revision Clearance Form (RCF) and a Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) disclosure form (for all federal and federal pass-through awards).

The PTR form does not substitute for formal requests or notifications required by a sponsor for any change in PI/PD. Contact ORSP to confirm appropriate procedures for a specific award/sponsor). ORSP will review award terms and contact sponsors for approval, as required.

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N. Fixed-price Residual Close-out and Certification Form (FPR) - Used to facilitate compliance with SFA policy A-51 (Indirect Cost Recovery, Distribution and Use, and Fixed-Price Agreements), for the proper distribution of any unspent funds.

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O. Conflict of Interest Form (FCOI) - Used at the application stage, and as needed thereafter, to identify and mitigate any potential finacial conflicts of interest with grant applications, including family relationships.

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P. Report Approval Form (RAF) - Required for reports to external sponsors that require university certification (programmatic and/or fiscal reports) and/or ORSP submission. Should be used for all financial reports not prepared by the COntroller's Office.

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IV. Compliance and Safety in Research - Requirements, Training, and Forms

A. Introduction: Ethics in the conduct of sponsored projects

As stated in policies A-31.5 and A-80, SFA strives to create a climate that promotes faithful adherence to high ethical standards in the conduct of scientific research, scholarship, and creative activities without inhibiting the productivity and creativity of the academic community.

Faculty scholars and other personnel at SFA are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards for all research and scholarly work. It is the responsibility of every research investigator to maintain the integrity of research projects, including maintaining an auditable record of experimental protocols, data, and findings.

Misconduct in research or scholarly/creative activity is a major breach of the relationship between a faculty or staff member and the university. Co-authors on research reports or scholarly/creative works of any type must have a bona fide role in the research or scholarly work and must accept responsibility for the quality of the work reported.

Misconduct in science and allegations of such behavior will be handled promptly and confidentially. The university's policies regarding research integrity include: SFA Policy 7.19, Misconduct in Scholarly or Creative Activities and SFA Policy 8.7, Misconduct in Federally Funded Research

A Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) should have no conflict of interest that would affect the conduct of a project.

SFA's policy requires that an employee of the university who applies for grants or cooperative agreements from any sponsor for research or other sponsored activities, or otherwise submits a proposal for sponsored activities to any entity, ensures that there is no reasonable expectation that the design, conduct, and reporting of research will be biased by any significant financial interest of a PI/PD responsible for the research or other sponsored activity. Based upon federal regulations and the university's objectives to maintain an environment that promotes faithful attention to high ethical standards, this policy relating to conflicts of interest is to be administered in conjunction with Texas laws setting forth standards of conduct.

Texas Government Code, Chapter 572, and SFA Policy 8.2, Financial Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities

SFA has subscribed to the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program. Training modules (CITI) for Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) and Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) are available, as well as training modules for IRB and IACUC members, faculty, and students. For more information, see section I, below.

Compliance and safety in research also applies to research activities funded by gifts.

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B. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

In compliance with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) policy, as well as other federal agencies, in response to provisions of the America COMPETES Act, SFA developed a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in federally funded research.

Training is applicable to all new NSF awards applied for and/or received after January 1, 2010, and all other federal awards as detailed in award documents and specific agency guidelines.

Each individual subject to this requirement will be required to complete the free, online RCR course offered by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). For more information, see section I, below.

CITI web site
RCR Training Verification Form
RCR Training Plan Procedures

The Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate topic(s) for the on-line training program are completed in a timely manner and that the appropriate documentation is forwarded to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for record retention.

RCR training covers: research misconduct; data management; conflict of interest; and responsible authorship (all four REQUIRED); and collaborative science; mentoring; peer review; lab animals; and human subjects (Optional, to be added based on their applicability to the specific research). Discipline-specific topics to choose from include: biomedical; social & behavioral research; physical sciences; humanities; engineers; and administrators.

The PI/PD is encouraged to provide mentoring to students in the following areas as applicable to the specific research or program design in addition to the online program and to refer the student to applicable resources (SFA policies, procedures, committees, etc.):

ORSP Compliance Contact: Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

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C. Conflicts of Interest (FCOI)

To protect the credibility and integrity of SFA and ensure the public trust and confidence in the university's research and sponsored activities, actual or potential conflicts of interest must be identified, and then managed, reduced, or eliminated prior to the university's expenditure of any funds under an award, and if required by a sponsor, certify to the funding agency what actions have been taken or report conflicts that cannot be satisfactorily managed, reduced, or eliminated.

All investigators are required to disclose any significant financial interest that could directly or indirectly affect the design, conduct, and/or reporting of research and/or affect professional judgment in the conduct of sponsored activities.

Conflicts of interest include: (1) a significant, related financial interest for a project as defined below; and (2) family relationships related to a project.

Additional requirements pertain specifically to Public Health Service (PHS) sponsored research and to research sponsored by other federal agencies with similar financial conflict of interest regulations. For PHS supported research, resolution of any potential or actual conflicts of interest shall not be required until after funding has been approved and prior to any expenditure under the PHS award. Prior to the expenditure of any funds under a PHS-funded research project, the Institutional Official at SFA shall develop and implement a management plan that shall specify the actions that have been and shall be taken to manage the financial conflict of interest.

For pending or active research or other sponsored activities, a significant financial interest that must be disclosed by an investigator consists of one or more of the following: interests of the investigator, and/or the investigator's spouse and dependent children, or any other financially interdependent individual in the household; which reasonably appears to be related to the investigator's institutional responsibilities; and was received, obtained, or held during the twelve (12) months preceding the disclosure:

Training in FCOI is required for all NIH awards applied for and/or received after August 24, 2012. For more information, see section I, below.

CITI web site

Additional requirements are outlined in SFA policy A-11.5.

Financial Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities (policy 8.2)
Nepotism (policy 11.16)
Disclosure of Substantial Interest Form (SFA, general) - Due annually in November and when circumstances change
FCOI Disclosure Form (ORSP, grant specific) - Due at the time of application with the PCF and when circumstances change.

ORSP Compliance Contact: Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

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D. Protection of Human Research Subjects (IRB)

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for reviewing and approving research involving the use of human subjects, including surveys. Principal Investigators (PIs) proposing research using human subjects at any level should review related policies and are encouraged to communicate with and submit the appropriate application to the chair of the IRB early in the process. This includes research conducted by students.

Many agencies require documentation of IRB approval, or that the IRB process has been initiated, in the funding application.

Copies of IRB approval letters and/or e-mails for all externally funded projects must be provided to ORSP.

Stephen F. Austin State University's IRB IORG number is: IORG0000733.
IRB Committee
IRB-H Application Form - Application for Approval of Research Involving Human Subject
SFA Policy 8.4, Human Research Subjects Protection
SFA Policy 8.8, Payments to Human Research Subjects

IRB Chair: Dr. Pauline Sampson (effective June 1, 2011)
Phone: 936.468.2908, SFA Box 13018, sampsonp@sfasu.edu

ORSP Member: Dr. Carrie Brown
Phone: 936.468.6606, brownch@sfasu.edu

ORSP Compliance Contact:Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

U.S. Department of Education's web site on protection of human subjects in research.

Training for SFA affiliates: CITI web site

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E. Animal Care and Use (IACUC)

All projects involving the use of live vertebrate animals must be reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to the initiation of any research. Precautions must be taken to protect the user as well as the particular animal species involved. Only properly trained personnel are allowed to handle and dispose of animals. Radioactive animals receive special handling according to federal, state, and campus guidelines on radiation safety; see the section which follows (Section IV. H.). The use of radioactive materials in animal research must be approved prior to submission of a research protocol to the IACUC.

Most federal agencies require that protocols using animals be reviewed and approved by the IACUC prior to proposal submission.

IACUC Committee
IACUC Application - short form - Application for Approval of Research Involving Animal Subjects; abridged protocol
Animals in Research Protocol - Application for Approval of Research Involving Animal Subjects; full protocol
SFA Policy 8.6 - Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Committee Chair: Dr. Brent Burt
Phone: 936.468.3601, dbburt@sfasu.edu

ORSP Member: Dr. Carrie Brown
Phone: 936.468.6606, brownch@sfasu.edu

ORSP Compliance Contact:Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Eighth Edition, NIH
Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) web site, Public Health Service
IACUC.org web site for guidance on the protection of animal subjects in research

Training for SFA affiliates: CITI web site

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F. Export Control Regulations

Export control regulations are federal laws that prohibit the unlicensed export of certain goods, products, or information for national security and to protect trade. The interpretation of these regulations requires a certain level of expertise because they require classification of commodities, and export and licensing determinations.

Export controls are usually associated with the destination of the export (country, organization, etc.) and the potential use of the export (military or economic use). Exports can occur through shipping, oral communications, written documentation (including e-mails), and visual inspections of any technology, software or technical data to any non-U.S. citizen, whether in the U.S. or abroad. For further information, refer to the EAR or ITAR regulations.

Travel outside the U.S. also can present export control issues for SFA employees, specifically if you take items from work such as lap tops, data, technology, blueprints/schematics, and similar items. The destination country and the individuals or entities you interact with also may present export control issues and may require a license from the Departments of Commerce, State, or Treasury. Shipping certain items outside the U.S. also could require a license.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR) - U.S. Department of Commerce
http://www.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/ear_data.html  (Commerce Control Database or List)

International Traffic In Arms Regulations (ITAR) – U.S. Department of State
http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar_official.html (Defense-related items/services)

Most, if not all, research activities at SFA are exempt from export control regulations because the results meet the definition of fundamental research (e.g., the results will be in the public domain, and published or otherwise shared broadly in the scientific community).

However, you must contact SFA’s General Counsel to determine if you have an export control issue if one or more of the following applies to your research:

General Counsel: Damon Derrick
Phone: 936.468.4305, derrickdc@sfasu.edu

ORSP Contact: Dr. Carrie Brown
Phone: 936.468.6606, brownch@sfasu.edu

ORSP Compliance Contact: Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

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G. Biosafety and Select Agents

Select agents include biological agents and toxins that have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety or pose a potential threat to animal and plant health or to the safety of animal or plant products. These items are regulated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Select Agents and Toxins List

Biosafety Committee - Research involving biohazards, such as novel recombinant DNA, blood-borne pathogens, and carcinogens (including select agents) requires protocol review in compliance with National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines prior to the submission of a proposal or the start of the research.

Contact Chair: Ronald Havner
Phone: 936.468.3601, havnerronal@sfasu.edu

ORSP Contact: Dr. Carrie Brown
Phone: 936.468.6606, brownch@sfasu.edu

ORSP Compliance Contact: Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

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H. Environmental Safety and Health/Radiation

The University's Radiation Safety Officer is responsible for ensuring the effective use of safety measures relating to radioactive materials and radiation devices, consistent with the Radiation Control Program of the Texas Department of Health, the Texas Radiation Control Act, and the Federal Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968. This Radiation Safety Officer regulates the receipt, possession, use, transfer, or acquisition of any source of ionizing or non-ionizing radiation or radiation-producing device. Compliance is required regardless of the source of funds used to support the research.

There are two additional safety officers that can provide information regarding environmental safety, emergencies, and the handling and disposition of hazardous materials.

Radioactive or Radiation-Producing Materials or Equipment policy 13.17
Contact Officer: Dr. Bea Clack
Phone: 936.468.6908, bclack@sfasu.edu

Health and Safety policy 13.10
Emergency Operations Plan policy 13.8
Contact Officer: Jeremy Higgins
Phone: 936.468.4514, higginsjkg@sfasu.edu

Hazardous Materials and Chemical Removal
Contact Officer: Matt Romig
Phone: 936.468.6034, romigmatt@sfasu.edu

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I. CITI - Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (Research Ethics Training Programs)

SFA has subscribed to the CITI Program, which provides research ethics education courses in the areas of Human Subjects Research (HSR), Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI), and Animal Care and Use (ACU).

All SFA faculty, staff and students are encouraged to create a CITI account and register for applicable CITI courses for the purpose of their research, activities and coursework.

Each CITI course contains a set of modules, and most modules are typically 20 minutes in length and contain a quiz. The number of modules in each course varies.

Once a course has been started, the learner can leave and re-enter the course at any time. To pass a course, the learner must receive an average of 80% on module quizzes. If needed, module content can be revisited, and quizzes can be retaken to achieve a higher score until a passing score is achieved. If the learner needs to submit proof of completion to a supervisor, Project Investigator or professor for course credit, he/she has the ability to print out a completion report directly from his/her account.

List of available CITI courses of most interest to SFA:

Human Subjects Research (HSR) courses. Courses include: Biomedical Research Investigators; Social & Behavioral Research Investigators; IRB Members; Students – class projects; Research with Data of Laboratory Specimens Only.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) courses. Courses include: Biomedical RCR; Social & Behavioral RCR; Physical Science RCR; Humanities RCR; Research Administrators RCR.

Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) course

Animal Care and Use (ACU) courses. Courses include: Working with the IACUC for Investigators, Staff and Students; Essentials for IACUC Members; Working with Mice; Working with Amphibians; Working with Rats; Working with Hamsters; Working with Gerbils; Working with Guinea Pigs; Reducing Pain and Distress in Laboratory Mice & Rats.

Informational Flyer

CITI website (https://www.citiprogram.org)

CITI Website Registration Instructions

ORSP Administrative Contact: Shawn Fischer
Phone: 936.468.1151, fischers@sfasu.edu

ORSP Compliance Contact: Terri Ford, Federal Compliance Coordinator
Phone: 936.468.6606, fordto@sfasu.edu

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V. Regulations, Policies, and Procedures

A. Role of University Offices in Sponsored Projects

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B. ORSP and Grant-related Procedures

The following are procedural categories related to the processing of grants, contracts, and other types of external awards with the relevant ORSP staff. Each is linked to the appropriate indexed section(s) of this manual.

  1. Proposal Processing and Submission Procedures
    Primary ORSP contact: Beverly Morehouse or Shawn Fischer

  2. Contracts to SFA
    Primary ORSP contacts: Jennifer Hanlon and Carrie Brown

  3. Award Process: Request a fund and award orientation
    Primary ORSP contacts: Beverly Morehouse (award orientation) and Carrie Brown (grant funds)

  4. Project and Budget Amendments
    Primary ORSP contacts: Jennifer Hanlon and Carrie Brown

  5. Subawards, Participant Agreements, and Contracts for Services
    Primary ORSP contacts: Jennifer Hanlon and Carrie Brown

  6. Budget Management
    Primary Controller contact: Letitia Hamilton; Primary ORSP contact: Jennifer Hanlon

  7. Effort Certification and Training (time and effort reporting)
    Primary ORSP contacts: Jennifer Hanlon and Carrie Brown

  8. Internal Grants (Faculty Research Grants and minigrants)
    Primary ORSP contact: Shawn Fischer or Carrie Brown

  9. Federal Compliance (IRB, IACUC, BSC, RCR, FCOI, export control)
    Primary ORSP contact: Terri Ford or Carrie Brown

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C. Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator (PI) / Project Director (PD)

Awards from external sources (grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and other instruments) are made to SFA, not the PI or PD who prepared the proposal.

The president of SFA, or his/her designated signature authority, is the only individual who can commit the university to the terms of a sponsored agreement, as indicated by the approved signature on a proposal or a contract.

Pre-award: A PI or PD should notify ORSP as early as possible in the application/proposal phase so that ORSP staff can assist with the proposal. Specifically, the PI/PD should complete the following prior to project submission:

Post-award: The PI/PD has overall responsibility for the successful conduct of the project, including the responsibility to:

Close-out: The PI/PD has the responsibility to:

The language that follows is found on the Request to Establish a Banner Fund for Grants and Contracts (REF), which is signed by the PI/PD:

Principal Investigator (PI)/Project Director (PD) Acceptance of Responsibility

The Principal Investigator/Project Director is responsible for the programmatic management of the grant or contract and conducts the project activities as approved by the funding agency to meet project goals and objectives while adhering to sponsor guidelines and policies and procedures of the University.

My signature below acknowledges that I understand I am responsible for ensuring:

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D. SFA Policies Governing External and Internal Funding

Research and sponsored project funds awarded to and administered by SFA must conform to university policies and guidelines, as well as those of the sponsor. When SFA is a subawardee, projects are subject to applicable policies of the prime sponsor, as well as whatever other terms and conditions are specified by the entity that provides the funds to SFA.

Relevant University Policies (see the University Policy Manual for a complete listing of policies)

8.1
8.3
8.2
8.7
7.19
8.11
8.5
8.4
8.8
8.10
8.6

Effort Reporting and Certification for Sponsored Activities
Grants and Contracts Administration (incorporates this manual by reference)
Financial Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Activities
Misconduct in Federally Funded Research
Misconduct in Scholarly or Creative Activities (non-federal/non-research)
Research Enhancement Program
Indirect Cost Recovery, Distribution and Use, and Fixed-Price Agreements
Human Research Subjects Protection

Payments to Human Research Subjects
Research Development Program
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

1.3
3.26
17.6
3.16
3.17
17.8
17.22
3.12
17.12
2.7
3.18

Contracting Authority
Receipts and Deposits
Food Purchases
Gift Reporting
Gifts, Loans, Endowments, and Bequests
Interagency and Interlocal Contracts
Purchasing Ethics and Confidentiality
Establishing a New Departmental Account: Fund - Organization - Program (FOP)
Professional and Consultant Services
Fraud
Gifts, Prizes and Awards

9.4
2.9

Intellectual Property
Records Management

12.16
11.16
11.19
2.6
12.1

Salary Supplements, Stipends and Additional Compensation
Nepotism
Outside Employment
Ethics
Compensation from Grants, Contracts and Other Sponsored Agreements

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E. Federal and State Regulations

Prevent grant fraud, waste, and abuse

When a sponsor provides federal funding for a project, either directly or indirectly as pass-through funds, there are specific compliance requirements.

Federal Regulations - The University and the PI/PD, in accepting an award from a sponsoring agency, assume the responsibility for the financial, technical, and administrative aspects of the award. There are five principal sets of federal regulations that provide guidance in the financial and programmatic management of awards to universities:

2 CFR Part, 220 (OMB Circular A-21), Cost Principles for Educational Institutions - Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions - (Note that A-21 applies to contracts and to subrecipients performing work under federal awards.)

2 CFR Part, 215 (OMB Circular A-110), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations - (Note that federal contracts are subject to Federal Acquisition Regulations rather than A-110).

OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, March 2011 Compliance Supplement

EDGAR - Administrative regulations for the U.S. Department of Education grants.

FAR - Federal Acquisition Regulations are the primary regulations used by federal sponsors to govern contracts for supplies and services, including research services. FAR incorporates OMB Circular A-21 for the purpose of defining allowable costs. FAR is not applied to grants and cooperative agreements that are governed by OMB Circular A-110, agency grant regulations, or Federal Demonstration Project (FDP) terms and conditions (FDP is not applicable to SFA). Federal contracts typically incorporate all of the FAR clauses applicable to a given project.

OMB Circular Side-by-Side Allowable Expenditures - (published by TEA)

Allowable, Allocable, and Reasonable - Quick decision guide to allowability of federal expenditures

State Regulations and Guidelines - Each state agency provides regulatory guidance in requests for proposals, in award documents, and/or in contract terms. In addition, the Governor's Office has adopted standards that apply to most grants and contracts awarded by state of Texas agencies. In practice, they apply OMB Circular A-21 to universities.

UGMS - State of Texas Uniform Grant Management Standards (UGMS)

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VI. Internal Grant Funding

A. Research Enhancement Program (REP)

The purpose and guidelines for the management of the Research Enhancement Program (REP) are outlined in SFA policy 8.11. REP funds are managed by the director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Guidelines for the award of REP funds are developed by the University Research Council (URC, see section VI.C).

Research proposing the use of human subjects, laboratory animals, or hazardous materials must be submitted to the appropriate university committee for approval prior to the initiation of the research project. In addition, projects awarded through the REP must conform to all other applicable SFA policies and guidelines, and local, state, and federal regulations.

There are two categories of REP awards: 1. Faculty Research Grants (FRG, annual competition) and 2. Minigrants (MG, open submission).

To assess effectiveness of awards, each recipient should provide notification to ORSP any time there is a presentation, publication, or grant that is a direct result of a Research Enhancement Program award.

Sample Reporting format

1. Faculty Research and Creative Grants (FRG)

Faculty Research Grants provide substantive support for research and scholarly/creative activities. The Faculty Research Program has been revised to provide more options for faculty and to decrease the time between applications and awards. FRG applications are reviewed by the University Research Council.

New categories for FRG awards are as follows:

Research/Creative Activities (RCA):

Effective: FY 2015
Award limit:
$10,000 + salary
Deadline: Fall semester 2014 (October 31, 2014)
Application Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria: Application Cover Page (form-fillable PDF), Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria, Deadlines, Checklist

RCA grants are intended for larger faculty research and creative projects that require more support and time. RCA awards are not for the development or evaluation of curricular materials or instructional support. The annual RCA competition is held during the fall semester, and funded proposals are carried out in the in the spring and summer semesters (January – August). The URC reviews RCA proposals and awards approximately 5-7 awards a year. Applications will be divided into two categories – (1) Research and (2) Creative Activities – and evaluated based on separate criteria. In addition to a 6-week summer salary, funding of up to $10,000 is allowable to support travel to collect data (non-student), minor equipment, supplies and materials, hourly student assistant wages, and specific services (i.e. contract services, sample analysis, translator, etc.). RCA funds do not support GA appointments and should not supplant other funding sources (i.e., department, state, federal).

Research Grant Development (RGD):

Effective: FY 2014 (pilot stage)
Award limit:
$5,000
Deadline: Fall, spring and summer semesters
Application (PDF), Guidelines, Deadlines, and Evaluation Criteria

RGD grants provide support of up to $5,000 to assist faculty, who have the potential for obtaining significant funding from an external sponsor, to develop a fundable research proposal. Faculty applying for an RGD grants must target a specific grant solicitation and deliver a complete, submission-ready proposal by the end of the award period. Eligible faculty may apply for a RGD grant in the fall, spring or summer semesters. RGD proposals are reviewed and awarded by the URC. Under the RGD grant, faculty may request reassigned time (one course release) where ORSP will reimburse the department for the actual cost of the faculty replacement or a summer salary payment of $5,000 for the equivalent of one summer session on campus at 50% effort. Faculty members are expected to work with ORSP throughout the award period to ensure the end product meets both university requirements and sponsor guidelines.

Research Pilot Studies (RPS):

Effective: FY 2014 (pilot stage)
Award limit:
$3,000
Deadline: Fall, spring and summer semesters
Application (PDF), Guidelines, Deadlines, and Evaluation Criteria

RPS grants provide support of up to $3,000 to assist faculty in initiating pilot projects to generate data for a specific project for extramural funding. Successful RPS awards must be tied to a specific research objective. Eligible faculty may apply for the RPS grant in the fall, spring or summer semesters. The URC reviews all RCA proposals and awards approximately 5 awards per competition (up to 15 a year). Allowable costs include travel to collect data (non-student), supplies and materials, minor equipment, and hourly student assistant wages.

FRG Guidelines effective FY2014

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2. Minigrants (MG)

There are two minigrant programs at SFA.

The first is managed by the Provost/VPAA, and provide support that targets innovation in instruction and research involving undergraduate students and excellence and innovation in assessment: Click here for a link to the Provost's minigrant guidelines and application process.

The second is administered by ORSP using Research Enhancement funds.

Minigrant awards from ORSP are provided to help faculty members with unforeseen expenses in creative and scholarly work, to enhance research opportunities for faculty members by supporting innovative research, and to serve as seed money to increase a faculty member's competitiveness in the acquisition of external funds. MG applications are reviewed by ORSP staff.

The Minigrant Program has been revised to provide more options for faculty and to decrease the time between applications and awards. New categories for MG awards are as follows:

Project Support (PS):

Effective: FY 2014
Award limit:
$1,500
Deadline: Rolling, 9/1 - 8/31
PDF application

PS grants provide support of up to $1,500 to faculty for a specific research project, exhibit or creative activity. PS funds are available in accordance with the fiscal year (Sept 1 – Aug 31) and eligible faculty members may apply year round. PS applications are reviewed by ORSP. Allowable costs include supplies and materials, minor equipment, hourly student assistant wages, costs associated with exhibitions and performances, and specific services (i.e. contract services, sample analysis, translator, etc.). This grant is not intended to support instruction or the development or evaluation of curriculur materials. Applicants are limited to one PS minigrant per fiscal year.

Publication Support (PUB):

Effective: FY 2014
Award limit:
$750 - 50% match required
Deadline: Rolling, 9/1 - 8/31
PDF application

PUB grants provide support of up to $750 per article to assist faculty with publication expenses. Successful PUB grants must be tied to a specific accepted publication and require a 50% match from the college, department, or applicant. PUB funds are available in accordance with the fiscal year (Sept 1 – Aug 31) and eligible faculty members may apply year round. An individual may receive a maximum of $750 in funding per fiscal year from this minigrant category. PUB applications are reviewed by ORSP. Allowable costs include page charges and publication fees related to papers accepted by peer-reviewed (refereed) journals. Applicants are limited to one PUB minigrant per fiscal year.

Travel Support (TS):

Effective: FY 2014
Award limit:
$750/trip, $1,500 a year (unlimited number of requests)
Deadline: Rolling, 9/1 - 8/31 - MUST BE SUBMITTED AT LEAST THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE DATE OF TRAVEL
PDF application

TS grants provide support of up to $750 each trip to assist faculty with travel associated with smaller research, creative, and scholarly projects and to present research findings. TS funds are available in accordance with the fiscal year (Sept 1 – Aug 31) and eligible faculty may apply year round. An individual may submit multiple applications in a fiscal year for a total of $1,500 from this minigrant category. Funds are not intended to replace departmental professional development travel funds. TS applications are reviewed by ORSP. Allowable costs include travel to present research data at professional conferences (concurrent or poster sessions), travel to exhibit or perform, travel to collect data, travel to participate in collaborative grant writing, and travel to meet with a sponsor's program officer regarding a specific grant funding opportunity. This grant is not intended to support instruction or the development or evaluation of curriculur materials.

NOTE: Requests for travel to present research must be accompanied by: 1) proof of acceptance of the presentation; and 2) an abstract of the published research OR an overview of your presentation that clearly demonstrates that it will cover the results of a systematic research study conducted using appropriate research methodologies. Requests submitted without these two items will not be considered for funding.

Minigrant Guidelines Effective FY14 (Revised 8/11/14)

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B. Research Development Program (RDP)

The purpose of the Research Development Program and guidelines for the management of Research Development Funds are outlined in SFA policy 8.10. RDP funds are managed by the director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Priorities for the award of RDP funds are based on a Research Development Program plan developed with input from deans, chairs, faculty, and members of the University Research Council (URC, see section VI.C).

The Research Development Fund, created through HB 3526 (78th Regular Texas Legislative session), provides funding to promote increased research capacity at Texas academic teaching institutions.

This purpose of these funds differs from the Research Enhancement Program in that they are used for new, emerging, and innovative research and interdisciplinary collaboration< with individuals or entities that increase the University’s ability to obtain outside research funding. Requests for RDP funds must address the purpose of the Research Development Fund; therefore, proposals which would benefit or address only the research interests of a single individual will not ordinarily be considered for funding.

How do I request RDP funds? Faculty members should submit ideas and/or requests for RDP funding to the dean of their college. Equipment purchases that benefit multiple research faculty and lines of inquiry, and that support the Research Development Plan for the University, have the greatest potential for funding.

Please submit questions about the RDP funds to brownch@sfasu.edu.

* All RDP awards are contingent on appropriation of funds by the Texas Legislature.

RDP Award Reporting Form

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C. University Research Council (URC)

The University Research Council (URC), chaired by the director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, is responsible for recommending policies and procedures to encourage research activities and to improve the research environment of the university; developing and recommending university research policies based upon state and federal laws and regulations; recommending adjudication to variances to policies and procedures; and developing guidelines for and recommending awards of university Faculty Research Grants.

Of the ten URC members, six members, one from each of the academic colleges of the University, are elected from the full members of the graduate faculty. One member represents the Library. The remaining three members are appointed from the full members of the graduate faculty by the chair of the Council, subject to the principle of proportionate representation from each academic college on the basis of full and associate members of the graduate faculty in the respective colleges, and subject further to the approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Both elected and appointed members of the Council serve three year terms. Upon expiration of a term, the council member is ineligible for re-election or reappointment to the Council for three years. A vacancy on the Council is filled either by election or appointment, whichever is applicable to the position vacated.

The URC meets approximately six times a year to advise ORSP on research-related topics and to evaluate and award Faculty Research Grants.

URC Committee Information and Roster

URC Orientation Manual - Contains definitions, examples, and other helpful information regarding the Research Enhancement Program

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VII. Find External Funding

A. Benefits of External Funding

Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek external funding for research and sponsored projects undertaken to further the mission of SFA in teaching, research and public service.

Sponsored projects enhance and expand the educational opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students at the university, permit research, scholarly inquiry, and the development of new knowledge, and contribute to the academic achievement and stature of SFA.

The primary responsibility for the development of proposals rests with the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD). All proposals are expected to be relevant to the interests and expertise of the PI/PD and consistent with the mission of SFA.

Externally funded grants and contracts provide a number of benefits to individual faculty members, as well as to SFA. These benefits include:

In addition, grants bring recognition and prestige to SFA and to faculty members and provide support for and evidence of research, scholarly/creative, and/or service activities for faculty tenure and promotion.

External funding can help faculty members accomplish their professional goals in several ways.

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B. How to Find External Funding

Locating funding and matching your project ideas to a funding agency's needs can be a challenge. There are a variety of online publications, searchable databases, and funding notice listservs that can be useful in a grant opportunity search.

1. Federal Resources

There are a number of federal grant resources. The web site, www.Grants.gov, offers a listing of opportunities by agency and is a centralized site for downloading grant application packages for submission in the Grants.gov system. There are subscription listservs open to anyone that can be personalized to an individual's interests.

In addition, federal agencies post grant information and grant guidelines specific for grants they fund on their websites. Here is a partial listing of federal agencies that offer sponsored project opportunities:

American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Funding

2. State Resources

Several resources are available for state funding opportunities. Many agencies post grant information and grant guidelines specific for grants they fund on their websites and some offer listservs for grant notifications. Here is a partial listing of state agencies that offer sponsored project opportunities:

3. Private Resources

If you are seeking cash gifts designated for any type of research, unrestricted cash gifts, or donations of equipment and other non-cash items used in research, you should contact the Office of Development.

If you are seeking private grant funding from individuals, foundations, and/or corporations, contact ORSP for assistance. Note that some foundations limit the number of applications that can be submitted from an institution, so coordination is essential. Also, some proposals are best submitted by the SFA Foundation rather than the University. ORSP can help you with that decision.

For help finding potential sources of private grants, contact:

Office of Development/SFA Foundation
(936) 468-5406
Development Staff

4. PIVOT

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is pleased to offer Pivot, a valuable search tool from Community of Science (COS) for locating external funding opportunities and collaborators. Pivot combines the most comprehensive, editorially maintained database of current funding opportunities worth an estimated $33 billion with a unique database of 3 million scholar profiles. SFA faculty and interested staff are encouraged to register for an account where Pivot's proprietary algorithm matches your customized profile to funding opportunities and potential collaborators.

For more information, click here or contact:

Shawn Fischer
(936) 468-6606

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C. Evaluating Funding Opportunities

ORSP pre-award staff can help you review program guidelines and proposal application materials. Once a potential funding agency and/or program has been identified, ORSP staff can help you apply for a particular funding opportunity.

It is highly recommended that you review the following to determine if a funding agency announcement is appropriate for your project:

Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Applications (RFAs) and Program Announcements (PAs) are solicited proposals that normally include representations and certifications to be completed and executed by the University and may include contract terms and conditions. Most of these have firm deadlines applicable to their receipt by the sponsor. Most applications to federal and state agencies are submitted on-line by the authorized organizational representative (AOR, at SFA the AOR is the President) or designee (all electronic proposals are submitted by ORSP). Some proposals may be submitted by e-mail (again by ORSP) or by mail.

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VIII. Apply for a Grant

A. Proposal Processing and Submission Procedures

Administrative Review and Clearance Process - All external funding proposals must be approved in advance of submission by the appropriate department chair(s), college dean(s), vice president(s) and the president. Per SFA policy and procedure, no grants, contracts, or other agreements may be submitted to a sponsor without the prior approval of the president or delegated authority.

Deans and academic chairs/directors are responsible for reviewing grant proposals and contracts, for assuring that the proposed commitments of unit resources are feasible and realistic, and that the proposals support the mission of the university. This includes confirming that the following are appropriate, as applicable: (1) faculty and/or staff time commitments; (2) cost-share or matching commitments; (3) use of university facilities; (4) required facility modification or remodeling; and (5) overall cost of equipment to be purchased, including shipping, set-up, and maintenance.

If a proposal reaches ORSP with insufficient time for review, or is submitted without prior administrative approvals, ORSP will perform a post-submission review and make the sponsor aware of any needed revisions. Proposals with serious deficiencies may be withdrawn.

For a proposal to be cleared for submission, the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) should submit the following items to ORSP at least three (3) days prior to the date the proposal is due to the sponsor or at least four (4) weeks before the planned start of a contract term (note that for non-electronic submissions, more processing time is required):

Electronic Submissions - ORSP submits all applications on behalf of the University, including those submitted electronically (by e-mail or web-based systems). Common web-based systems include:

Tips for a successful electronic submission:

Some additional tips:

Copying and Mailing Paper Applications - In instances where a proposal must be mailed, the PI/PD is responsible for making copies and sending the proposal package to the agency. ORSP will provide assistance when requested, but it is the project director’s responsibility for all costs associated with copying and sending to the agency.

All online and paper submissions require prior approval of the Provost/VPAA and the President and require a Proposal Clearance Form. Some applications also may require that a signature page signed by the Authorized Organizational Representative (the SFA President or delegated authority) be submitted after completion of the online submission.

Provisions & Assurances and Terms & Conditions - Federal and federal pass-through applications and awards require that the University agree to specific provisions and assurances. Non-federal contracts and similar agreements include terms and conditions that also must be reviewed by the university's general counsel and agreed to by the University. Only the president (or designee) may sign provisions/assurances and contracts.

Required assurances, representations or certifications are usually detailed in the proposal instructions. Proposals are considered incomplete if required endorsement signatures are omitted, or if required certifications are not provided.

For example, federal funding agencies require certification that the University is in compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act; that the university has not used and does not intend to use federal funds for lobbying activities; and that the University is not debarred or proposed for debarment.

ORSP will obtain the required vice president/president signatures as the proposal is routed through ORSP.

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B. Contracts to SFA: Development, review, and approval

A PI/PD must contact ORSP before beginning contract term and budget discussions with a sponsor.

Before contracts, subcontracts, subawards, consulting agreements, interagency, interlocal, cooperative agreements, or other forms of contractual agreements from another entity to SFA can be fully executed, they must be:

If the contract represents the entire proposal, a Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) also must be submitted to ORSP. The completed form should be submitted to ORSP for routing with:

To ensure that there is sufficient time for the clearance process, including legal review, and to obtain the president's signature on the contract, please submit the contract and PCF, as required, to ORSP at least four (4) weeks before the start date of the contract.

Contracts with Commercial Sponsors - A PI/PD must contact ORSP before beginning contract term and budget discussions with a commercial (private, for-profit) sponsor. These contracts often require modifications and subsequent review by legal departments on both sides. Refer to SFA policy 1.3 (Contracting Authority) for more information.

Additionally, these contracts often include one or more of the following special terms or conditions:

Regardless of the source or purpose, no contracts or other binding agreements shall be executed without the signature of the President or delegated authority. Only the President has the authority to make commitments for the University.

Management Responsibilities of the PI/PD - The PI/PD is responsible for the effective management of all awards to SFA in the form of a contract (see section IX. Manage a Project).

Subawardee Certifications - Subawards and subcontracts from federal sources may require completion of one or more subawardee certifications in addition to those included in the body of the contract. ORSP will obtain any required signatures.

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C. Tips for Project Planning and Proposal Writing

Okay, you're ready to begin writing - where do you start?

1. Meet with ORSP - If you have not already done so, you should set up a meeting with ORSP to discuss your project. ORSP can offer insight and assistance in developing your proposal. By contacting ORSP at the beginning of the process, ORSP staff can help make sure you have all the necessary documents in the correct format. ORSP staff can also provide suggestions and basic information for your narrative and budget, or provide suggestions if you are submitting a letter of intent. We also encourage you to attend our workshops.

A copy of the entire proposal solicitation instruction package (application forms and instructions) should be forwarded to ORSP when it is received by the PI or PD, along with an indication of who intends to submit a proposal under the RFP, so that appropriate internal reviews and approvals may be accomplished before specified submission deadlines.

2. Plan your Project - Developing a project plan is an essential prerequisite to successfully finding funding for a project. The development of a project plan and proposal is an ongoing process and ORSP can help you every step of the way.

It's generally not a good idea to look for a funding agency and then create a project to fit the agency's needs. You may find yourself pursuing a project that is far from your original idea! Instead, develop a project outline first. A written plan can help you get your thoughts organized and can allow ORSP, project staff, potential partners, and management to provide feedback. A good plan includes the following elements, modified to reflect a research, service, instructional, or other purpose:

While developing the plan, you should consider the following:

3. Read the Project Guidelines - Your primary guide for proposal preparation should be the sponsor's written guidelines, information provided on a sponsor's web site, and any personal advice offered by the program officer or grant contact. The guidelines will tell you what documents you will need to include and how to format your proposal. If you don't understand something in the program guidelines/announcement, you can usually submit questions to the agency's contract or program officer (within specified time lines); however, you should be aware verbal information given to you by the sponsor is not binding, so it's always best to get everything in writing.

Typically a proposal will include a narrative, budget, and budget justification. Many agencies have prescribed formats for text, biographical data, budgets (including cost-sharing and matching), and forms. For agencies that do not have specific formats, we suggest that the project director contact ORSP for sample proposal outlines.

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D. Special Proposal Requirements

Some federal agencies require that the PI address specific areas in a proposal. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires the following: a Data Management Plan, Current and Pending Support descriptions, and a Post-doctoral Mentoring Plans.

1. Subrecipient Certification of SFA

Any time SFA serves as a subrecipient on a proposal, the lead institution may require SFA to complete a subrecipient certification form. Most institutions will have their own standard form (for reference, see SFA's form SUB). This document must be signed by the university's signature authority, the president or designee, and becomes part of the proposal package submitted to the lead institution. The certification form usually requests, but is not limited to, the following information:

2. NSF Data Management Plans (DMP)

According to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) website, effective January 2011, all proposals to the NSF must contain a Data Management Plan (DMP) which describes the plans for data management and sharing of research products. The DMP will be reviewed as part of the intellectual merit and/or broader impacts of the proposal. This supplement is limited to no more than two pages and should describe how the proposal will meet the NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results and may include the following:

A valid DMP may include a statement that no detailed plan is needed but there must be a clear justification. Only one DMP is needed for simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals and proposals that include subawards (they are considered a single project). Data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit, relevant to a proposal are available at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp. If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the general requirements apply.

For more information, refer to NSF's Award and Administration Guide.

3. Current and Pending Support Descriptions

Almost all government agencies require documentation of current and pending support/funding from all sponsor types (federal, state, local, and private). Most have their own form or required format and request the following information for projects that are currently funded or pending applications.

This information is required for PIs and co-PIs (and often senior personnel) even if they do not receive salary support from the funding agency.

4. NSF Post-doctoral Mentoring Plans

Any National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal including a postdoctoral researcher must include a one-page description of the mentoring activities that will be provided to that researcher, regardless of his/her institutional affiliation. This document is a supplement and not a part of the 15-page project description.

Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices. The proposed mentoring activities will be evaluated as part of the merit review process under the Foundation's broader impacts merit review criterion.

For more information, refer to NSF's Award and Administration Guide.

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E. Develop a Budget

Budget preparation is a critical component of grant applications and contracts. It is important that the budget section of the proposal reflect, as precisely as possible, the funding needed to carry out the project. The Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) should neither overestimate the funds required nor underestimate budgetary needs as either of these strategies may lead to proposal rejection. A budget that accurately details the funds necessary to carry out the technical statement of work strengthens the overall proposal and increases the likelihood of funding. A carefully prepared budget can also identify weak areas in the proposal narrative and result in improvement of the technical proposal.

ORSP staff are experienced in preparing budgets and encourage investigators to contact them when they have a draft of the budget. ORSP can provide expertise in completing a budget request, calculating fringe benefit and indirect cost rates, documenting subcontracts/subrecipient agreements, consultants, indirect costs, and identifying matching funds and/or cost sharing resources. ORSP also completes sponsor assurances and certifications for the President's signature, when required by the sponsor.

Budget Set-up and Revision Form (BUD) - This form is designed to help you plan your budget, including indirect costs, and translate SFA internal accounting codes to sponsor budget categories.

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E.1 Direct and Indirect Costs

Direct costs are costs which can be directly identified with your project. The categories established for federal budgets are useful in the preparation of budgets for all types of proposals. For federal projects, direct costs are those that can be directly attributed to the project. To be eligible as a direct cost, a cost must be allocable to the project, allowable under the cost principles, reasonable, and charged consistently across the University.

On the other hand, indirect costs cannot be directly identified with your project. They include building space, utilities, departmental administrative and clerical services, the services of ORSP, general counsel, payroll, travel, purchasing, university security, and custodial support, and other related services. In other words, all those elements essential to supporting sponsored activity which cannot be broken down and directly charged to a specific grant or contract.

Definitions of what are allowable and unallowable direct costs for federal projects are outlined in OMB A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB A-21).

Most federal and state agencies and private entities further define allowable costs specific to their grants within their respective grant guidelines. If you are uncertain or have any questions about what constitutes an allowable direct cost for an application or award, contact ORSP.

Quick Reference Guide: Allocable and Allowable Costs

Guidelines for expenditures from university funds (includes restricted grant funds).

Before finalizing a project budget, review the budget format, cost categories, and allowable costs for the specific funding opportunity. These will differ significantly from one sponsor/opportunity to another.

In general, categories of direct costs include:

Indirect Costs

Salaries and Wages

A project may employ current university employees or may hire new employees solely for the duration of the grant.

Salaries and wages should be listed by the time to be spent by each person who will work on the project, including faculty, exempt and non-exempt staff, and students (graduate and undergraduate). For faculty, professional staff, and graduate assistants, time commitments are usually expressed in terms of months and a percent of full-time effort (i.e., 9 months at 25% time). Budgets should show a breakdown between summer commitments and the regular, 9-month academic year for faculty (or for 10- or 11-month appointments). Non-salaried students and casual employees are calculated based on the hourly rate times the anticipated number of hours to be committed to the project.

Sponsored activities may not result in any employees receiving compensation at a rate in excess of their authorized base salary or rate of pay. In other words, under no circumstances can anyone be paid from grants at a rate higher than their regular salary. In exceptional circumstances, exempt individuals may receive additional compensation above their base pay (see below.)

Grant Funded Positions

Human Resources (HR) has developed standard classifications for common grant-funded staff positions. You are required to use these classifications and related salary scales except as noted below.

Project Assistants (I, II, III) [Administrative Assistants on grants] – There are three levels of administrative assistant classification specifically for grants. Project Assistant I is a clerical position similar in scope to a senior secretary. Project Assistant II is an administrative support position similar in scope to an administrative assistant. Project Assistant III is a snior level administrative support position and assumes a higher level of project responsibilities. Most grants will need a Project Assistant II. Contact ORSP for assistance in selecting the propoer classification for your project.

Project Coordinator – This is a generic classification used for a position responsible for coordinating the financial/operational activities of a project, without providing any technical or field-specific assistance. It is an exempt position in a salary grade 9. HR should review the general duties before this title is used in a proposal.

Associate Project Director – This is a specific classification created when a new position is created under an awarded grant. This classification is used for a position responsible for assisting in directing project activities, including providing technical or field-specific assistance. Officially, the classification will be ungraded to allow for competitiveness with the market. However, unless justified, the position will be in a salary grade 7. HR should review the general duties before this title is used in a proposal.

Project Director - This is a specific classification created when a new position is created under an awarded grant. This classification is used for a position responsible for overseeing the operations of a project. An incumbent in this position should be considered an expert in the field. The classification will be ungraded to allow for competitiveness with the market.

Principal Investigator

**Any other unique or specialist position created by a grant will have a specific classification created when the new position is awarded by a grant. HR should review the general duties before any unique title is used in a proposal.

Contact ORSP for more information.

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Additional Compensation

In exceptional and unusual circumstances, faculty and exempt staff may be eligible to receive additional compensation for work performed outside of normal work hours and that exceeds normal expectations as outlined in SFA policy, faculty contracts, and/or job descriptions. Non-exempt staff are generally not eligible to receive additional compensation; they must be paid overtime for work performed in excess of 40 hours a week.

Sponsors and SFA normally expect faculty to be paid a portion of their base salary with grant funds and to be granted proportional release time from teaching and other duties and/or receive pay for work on grants during the summer months.

If warranted and approved as outlined below, faculty who expend extra effort during the conduct of sponsored projects may be paid additional compensation up to an amount not to exceed 25% of their institutional base salary for work performed in addition to teaching and other university duties. Please note that an employee cannot be paid regular salary or cost-share salary on a grant and receive additional compensation pay from the same grant.

Institutional base salary is defined as the total annual compensation that an individual receives from the university to perform activities listed in a faculty contract or professional employee job description. It does not include stipends for temporary administrative assignments, course overloads, or additional compensation payments.

Please review the following two policies, Compensation from Grants, Contracts and Other Agreements (policy 12.1) and Salary Supplements, Stipends, and Additional Compensation (policy 12.16) , as well as the sponsor guidelines, before deciding to include additional compensation in your proposal.

In summary, employees may be eligible for additional compensation if the work falls into one of two areas:

Terms for the payment of additional compensation to faculty and staff must be specifically outlined in the grant application or contract and approved by the sponsoring agency. The proposal, budget, and/or budget justification must:

All grant or contract budgets must be reviewed by ORSP staff before they are submitted to a sponsor for consideration. This will help to ensure that they meet SFA and sponsor requirements.

ORSP's Additional Compensation Verification Form (ACV) must be submitted to ORSP along with HR's Authorization for Additional Compensation Services before the proposed work begins. After ORSP staff have confirmed the request meets both sponsor and university policies and guidelines, the ACV is signed by the director of ORSP and both forms are routed by ORSP to HR for processing.

Refer to the section on benefit calculations for instructions on how to calculate fringe benefits on additional compensation.

IMPORTANT: You must account for fringe benefits on additional compensation amounts. For example, if $2,000 total is budgeted for additional compensation, then 16.45% of the total must be subtracted from the amount requested for payment ($1,717 in additional compensation payment and $283 for fringe benefits). Failure to account for fringe benefits may result in a budget overage.

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Subawards and Vendor Contracts

Subawards (Subcontracts)

Subawards are made by the university to other organizations that will perform a part of the scope of work for a project awarded by the sponsor to the university. Subawards may be subgrants, sub-cooperative agreements, or subcontracts, and are generally of the same type as the award to the university.

The PI/PD should incorporate prospective subrecipient's work statements, budgets, and administrative approvals, with the university's initial proposal to the potential sponsor, adhering to any required sponsor or SFA formats. Failure to identify a subrecipient in a proposal may require sponsor approval or competitive selection before the subaward can be executed.

In some cases, such as National Science Foundation (NSF) submissions, partnering institutions that constitute subawards will be required to enter and submit their own information in an online application.

If your project involves expenses associated with a cooperative organization or a tiered agreement, those expenses should be included as a subcontract in the proposed budget. The total subcontract cost should appear as a line item in your proposal budget, and a separate budget breakdown for subcontract costs should follow the proposal budget. In addition to a detailed subcontract budget, a letter signed by the individual authorized to contractually commit the subcontracting organization is typically required by a sponsor. Subcontract costs should include the subcontracting organization's fringe benefit expenses and indirect costs (see below).

$25,000 IDC limitation - Indirect costs (IDC) in a subcontract must be in compliance with the sponsoring agencies guidelines. Under federally sponsored research awards, as well as some additional sponsors, the university may only recover indirect costs on the first $25,000 of each subcontract over the life of the contract.

Subcontractors may recover indirect costs on the amount of the subcontract in excess of $25,000 at the organization's negotiated rate. If the subcontracting organization does not have a negotiated rate, no indirect for the organization should be included. This limitation generally does not apply to training grants or other programs that require alternate IDC rate calculations. Be sure to carefully read the program guidelines, and request assistance from ORSP, as needed.

Vendor Contracts (Consultants, Lecturers, Workshop Presenters, Mentors, etc.)

Agreements to obtain goods or routine services are purchases (vendor contracts) and not subawards and are subject to all relevant university procurement policies.

Consultants - Normally, consultants are paid a consulting fee plus travel expenses, if applicable. Some sponsors do not permit payments to consultants and some restrict or limit such payments and may require inclusion of travel costs in the contract fee. If in doubt as to the allowability of consultants or rates paid to consultants, refer to the sponsor's program guidelines and/or award documents, or contact ORSP for assistance.

Whenever possible, provide the following information in the proposal before it is submitted:

Lecturers, Presenters, and Mentors - Lecturers, workshop presenters, mentors and other service providers are not ordinarily considered consultants. Such services should be detailed by task and overall amount of funding.

Additional information on the distinction between subawards and procurement is found in OMB Circular A-133, Section 210.

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Equipment

Most agencies make a distinction between capital equipment, which must be detailed in line items, and minor equipment, which is generally included in the supplies and materials (or operations and maintenance, O&M) budget category.

Most sponsors accept the applicant institution's definition of capital equipment, which for SFA is defined as an item with a cost of $5,000 or more, which is non-consumable, independently functional, not attached to a permanent structure, and with a useful life of more than one year.

Unless otherwise specified by a sponsor, capital equipment is the property of the university and must be inventoried. All capital equipment purchased with federal funds must be identified as such in the institution's property records.

Any shipping, maintenance, and warranty costs to be paid during the life of the award should be included in the budget per sponsor guidelines. If allowed, these costs may be listed under equipment, supplies, or other direct costs).

For more information: SFA's Department of Procurement and Property Services

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Supplies and Materials

Materials and supplies, which include expendable, non-capital equipment, are items costing less than $5,000 and include such items as expendable laboratory supplies, teaching aids, computer software, and office supplies. A reasonable amount should be budgeted for these items as allowed by the sponsor.

Most federal grants generally do not allow the purchase of office furniture and other general purpose equipment unless they are necessary for conduct of the project and are specifically approved in the budget. In addition, some general office supplies, telephone, long distance, fax, and copy machine charges are frequently considered part of indirect costs and are not allowable without clear justification.

Note that although they cost less than $5,000, some items are controlled (e.g., cameras, computers, scanners, TVs, and all other digital equipment except cell phones and fax machines) and must be inventoried.

For more information: SFA's Department of Procurement and Property Services

Guidelines for the expenditure of university funds (includes restricted grant funds).

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Travel

Individuals who travel using grant funds must adhere to university travel policies. (See SFA policy 3.29, Travel.)

ONLY SFA employee and student travel is included in the travel section of the budget. Travel funds for non-SFA personnel are included as part of subawards and/or vendor or participant contracts.

Travel on official university business, including travel on grants, requires prior approval of university administration and the sponsor. In addition, many sponsors require a detailed estimate of travel plans and expenses (e.g., destinations, hotel, per diem, and transportation) in the proposal. Travel on grants must directly support project goals, which may include dissemination of results. Federal grants generally prohibit travel outside of the 48 contiguous United States. If approved by a sponsor, travel to a foreign country may require additional administrative approvals.

Meal and lodging rates differ depending on whether the travel is in-state or out-of-state. Reimbursement for travel on grants is the same as for all other university business, except in instances where the approved grant application or contract specify different rates in the travel justification. Meals are reimbursed only if associated with overnight travel.

For complete information regarding university travel policies and procedures: SFA's Travel Office

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Participant Costs - scholarships and stipends

Participant scholarships and stipends are payments to provide financial assistance during a period of grant-supported education and training. Scholarships typically pay for tuition and fees, but also may provide for living expenses (paid as a "difference check"). Scholarship funds are classified in the Banner accounting system with account codes 775830 for undergraduate students and 775831 for graduate students. Research scholarships (both graduate and undergraduate) use account code 775835. Scholarships are managed by the Financial Aid Department.

Participant stipends are non-scholarship, non-salary support classified in the Banner accounting system with account code 772991. Such stipends are monetary support for participation in the project as approved by the sponsor. They require a contract with the participant that outlines the terms for payment and typically include monetary support for participation in the sponsored project.

If these items are allowed by a sponsor, they must be clearly detailed in the project budget. Participant costs are typically excluded from indirect cost calculations.

Note that fellowships, scholarships/tuition, that are specifically designated for research purposes, have a separate Banner account code (775835) so they can be monitored and reported separately.

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Other Direct Costs

Other direct costs include items that cannot be captured in any of the above categories. As appropriate for the project and as allowed by the sponsor, costs for copying, long-distance telephone calls, postage, reference books and materials, publication costs, and equipment maintenance. As noted before, some general supplies, telephone, long distance, fax, and copy machine charges are frequently considered part of indirect costs and are not allowable without clear justification.

Use caution in this area as some of these costs are considered indirect costs, so the PI/PD must justify the need for these items in relation to the project's scope and desired outcomes.

Major Projects - For many of these charges to be allowable in federal projects, they must be part of what is considered a "major project." Examples of major projects include but are not limited to:

Quick Reference Guides: What about Food Purchases?

Allowable, Allocable and Reasonable Costs

Guidelines for the expenditure of university funds (includes restricted grant funds).

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E.2 Matching and Cost-sharing Commitments

Some sponsors require matching funds or cost-sharing of resources.

Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, matching funds are normally defined as cash (e.g. a percentage of the cost of a piece of equipment or cash donations from a collaborating partner). On the other hand, cost-sharing usually takes the form of contributed time and effort by the PI, PD, or other project staff (faculty release time, graduate student salaries, and student workers).

Some tips on cost-sharing and matching:

Refer to OMB Circular A-110, Subpart C.23, for federal cost-share requirements.

If cost-sharing and/or matching funds are committed to a project, the PI/PD must include a detailed budget showing these funds with the Proposal Clearance Form (PCF). This detail may be provided within the proposal budget detail and/or attached using the Cost-share Budget Detail Form (CSB). Cost-sharing and matching commitments must be approved by the department chair(s), the college dean(s), the provost/VPAA, and the president.

When an award is accepted that includes cost-sharing, the university is committed to formally documenting that the cost-sharing was actually applied to the project during the term of the project. If the award level is significantly lower than the requested level, a corresponding reduction in cost-sharing should be negotiated.

Upon award, and annually thereafter for multi-year awards, the budgeted amount of cost-shared salaries and wages, travel costs, and supplies and materials, will be transferred from the designated departmental fund into a Banner cost-share fund (107600) specifically tied to the grant by a unique Banner organization number (org) assigned to the project manager, thus providing a clear accounting record of these cost-shared expenditures. Electronic Personnel Action Forms (EPAFs) are required for all cost-shared salaries and wages to charge the cost-shared salary or wage to the C-S fund-org for the grant.

Matching funds in the form of cash may be accounted for using this same companion cost-share fund or another, non-federal university fund that is appropriate for the stated purpose of the match. If cash is provided by an outside party to satisfy a matching commitment, it cannot be considered a gift.

Cost-sharing in the form of volunteer effort or contributions from third parties must be accounted for in terms of the "market value" of the effort or contribution. Written documentation must be kept for such cost-sharing and may need to be submitted to the sponsor.

Suggested cost-sharing or matching items and required documentation:

Faculty salaries and benefits, percent release time

Effort certification documents and 107600 fund expenditure details

Graduate assistant salaries and benefits

Effort certification documents and 107600 fund expenditure details

Graduate assistant out-of-state tuition waivers

Banner expenditure reports from the Controller's Office

Student wages (non-FWS)

Time records from the TimeClock Plus System and 107600 fund expenditure details

Unrecovered indirect costs (if allowed by sponsor)

Example: balance of 31% - 15% (charged) = 15%
Example: balance of 10% off-campus - 5% (charged) = 5%

If the full off-campus rate of 10% is used, there is no unrecovered IDC to cost-share
Banner expenditure reports

Indirect costs on cost-shared salaries, benefits, etc.

Example: 31% x total of cost-shared charges
Banner expenditure reports

Use of equipment or computer services (e.g., GIS lab)

Sign-in sheets documenting hours used and by whom; must use established rate schedule

University space

Use of facilities or land at the established rental or lease rate or rental estimates based on square footage and the prime commercial rate for the area (market value). ORSP can provide assistance with this information.
Rental rates from real estate agents, square footage from the THECB space utilization records

Travel

107600 fund expenditure details

Materials and supplies

107600 fund expenditure details

Cash matches from third-party collaborating partners

Banner expenditure reports for matching grant or non-grant funds

In-kind volunteer services or activities (non-SFA)

Sign in sheets documenting hours; rate of pay equivalent to the going rate for that activity (market value)

Quick Reference Guide: Documenting Cost-sharing and Matching

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E.3 Budget Justifications

The budget justification is a narrative explanation of the budget and is typically the first item that reviewers see. The budget for the project must be directly related to the scope of work discussed in the proposal.

Every item in the budget should be completely justified in the narrative as to why it is needed and how it is related to the activities proposed. If an item cannot be easily justified and supported in the body of the grant, then that item should be removed from the budget.

Some sponsors explain the detail they expect to see in the justifications. Some limit the number of pages; others do not. ORSP pre-award staff can provide you with sample budget justifications.

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IX. Manage a Project

A. Award Process: Establish fund, award orientation

Congratulations! You have been funded; how do you start your project?

Award documents take many forms depending upon the type of sponsor and project. These documents require review and signature by the official institutional representative authorized to sign on behalf of the institution. At SFA, this is the President (or his designated representative). ORSP is responsible for processing all award documents.

Upon receipt of fully executed award documents or other proof of award, ORSP forwards information to the grants accountant in the Controller's Office. Once the PI/PD receives notification of the project account number, funds may be encumbered or expended against the project.

Step # 1 - Complete and send to ORSP a Request to Establish a Banner Fund for grants and contracts.

Each new grant or contract must have its own fund and internal budget based on the sponsor-approved budget.

ORSP processes all paperwork to set up an award at SFA. Each new externally funded grant or contract must have its own fund and internal budget.

A fund is set up only after receipt of a completed Request to Establish a Banner Fund for Grants and Contracts (REF). ORSP will attach the sponsor-approved budget detail to the REF.

If ORSP does not have a budget approved by the sponsor that provides sufficient detail to set up a fund, the PI/PD submits a completed Budget Set-up and Revision Form (BUD) to ORSP. This form lets the Controller's Office staff know how to allocate the award among Banner account codes (salaries, benefits, indirect costs, etc.), based on the terms of the award.

Once a fund has been established and the PI/PD has participated in new award orientation conducted by ORSP staff, the PI/PD will be provided with the grant FOP (fund, organization, program) number.

Step # 2 - Attend Orientation

The next step is to attend a brief award orientation session conducted by ORSP staff. In this session, ORSP will review the following information specific to each award:

New Award Orientation Grant Management Guide

Orientation is also required whenever responsibilities for a project are transferred to a new PI/PD.

Step #3 - Review the Responsibilities of the PI/PD

A PI/PD is strongly encouraged to maintain a financial "shadow budget", which allows independent tracking of grant expenditures and comparison of expenditures in grant-approved categories with expenditures in SFA's budget categories.

Shadow Budget Template

Interim or final financial reports are never completed by a PI/PD or submitted to a sponsor. The PI/PD should consult with ORSP and the Grants Accountant for assistance with budget management issues.

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B. Budget Management

Return to Budget Management


PI/PD Responsibilities for Budget Management

Expenditures, including requisitions and payments, are made under the authority of the fund manager (PI/PD). Fund managers can access real-time details of their grant expenditure activity through the MySFA Banner Self-Service system. In addition, "grant inception to date" details can be viewed through Internet Native Banner (INB, form FRIGITD) or through SelfService (enter the grant number only). Normally, the person in a department who has purchasing authority can also view grant financial activity.

The PI/PD is responsible for the financial management of contracts or grant awards and is responsible for ensuring that all expenditures are directly related to the project, are necessary to meet project goals and objectives, and are approved by the funding agency.

Grant accountants and ORSP are NOT responsible for ensuring that expenditures are allowable, allocable, or reasonable. This is the direct responsibility of the PI or PD.

Guidelines for the expenditure of university funds (includes restricted grant funds).

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Invoicing, Financial Reporting, and Contract Payments

Invoicing - All externally funded, restricted use, grant and contract invoicing and reconciliation is managed by the Controller's Office. The principal grant accountant, Letitia Hamilton (Accountant II, Controller - ext. 2250), is responsible for requesting payments from sponsors, reporting university matches based on information provided by the PI/PD and the Banner finance system, and preparing financial reports for sponsors. For the School of Forestry, Tammy Gibson (Accountant I, Forestry - ext. 2154) coordinates these activities with the Controller's Office.

Departments or individuals should never invoice sponsors. Should a project director or other party receive a check for an award, it should be promptly delivered to the Controller's Office. Award checks should be mailed to the address below:

Office of the Controller
PO Box 13035, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

Financial reports are prepared and submitted by Controller's Office personnel to ensure accuracy. Please notify ORSP of requests for financial information that are in addition to those explicitly stated in the award document, or those that are part of a programmatic report, so that they can be processed in a timely manner.

Contract Payments - Effective August 1, 2011, all payments on grant-related contracts must be approved by the Principal Investigator or Project Director (PI/PD). The process is initiated with the online Receiving Form for Purchase Orders. When the form is submitted, an e-mail will be generated to the PI/PD requesting their approval of the payment by e-mail to Accounts Payable, along with an invoice if required by the contract.

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Budget Revisions

Requests for budget transfers are made using the Revision Clearance Form (RCF). These requests are reviewed by ORSP to confirm that they are allowed in the terms and conditions of the award and/or sponsor guidelines. Once approved by ORSP, Budget Set-up and Revision Forms (BUD) are completed by ORSP and forwarded to the grants accountant in the Controller's Office to be entered into the Banner finance system as a journal voucher. These entries are then reviewed and approved electronically by ORSP. Once approved by ORSP, the change will appear in the Banner finance system. Copies of transaction records are maintained in the ORSP and grant accountant's project folders.

No changes will be made in the Banner finance system without ORSP and explicit or implied sponsor approval. No transfers will be made without a completed and signed Budget Set-up and Revision Form.

For more information on budget revisions, see section C, Project and Budget Amendments.

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Cost Transfers between Two or More Funds

Cost transfers between funds move recorded expenditures from one fund to another. The transfer may be between a grant fund and a departmental operating fund, or between two different, but interrelated grant funds. Initial charges to an account, such as interdepartmental transfers (IDTs), are not considered cost transfers although they must still be documented, allowable costs.

Costs should be initially charged to the appropriate fund. The need for cost transfers is minimized by the regular review and reconciliation of grant accounts by the PI/PD (fund manager). Only allowable and allocable costs should be charged to a fund. Should a cost transfer be required, the following process should be followed:

Grant Cost Transfer Requests and Time Lines

Review and Processing Procedures

Allowable Cost Transfers (see Federal OMB Circular A-21, C.)

Allowable cost transfers may include:

Some transfers that are never allowable include:

Quick Reference Guide: Allowable and Allocable Costs

Guidelines for the expenditure of university funds (includes restricted grant funds).

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Insufficient Funds and Cost Overruns

Insufficient Funds result when a PI/PD attempts to place a purchase requisition, purchase order, or other charge against a FOAP (fund, org, account, program) when there are insufficient funds in the overall fund balance.

When ORSP receives e-mail notification that a purchase transaction is in the insufficient funds queue, ORSP investigates the reason for the alert. After review of the grant's budget, award documents, expenditures and financial commitments, ORSP will contact the PI/PD or appropriate staff to initiate appropriate actions.

Although a sponsor may allow some flexibility in expenditures among approved budget categories, such overages at the account level (travel, personnel, O&M, etc.) within a grant fund must be adjusted. This is accomplished by the PI/PD using the budget revision process. All account-level overages should be reconciled before the end of the project term.

Cost Overruns result when the amount charged to a grant fund exceeds the available balance. This results in an insufficient funds alert in the Banner finance system.

Return to Budget Management

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C. Project and Budget Amendments

Changes in Contracts - All changes to contract terms must be processed as formal amendments. Amendments are developed by ORSP and processed through General Counsel before they are signed by the President.

No Cost Extensions (NCE) - A NCE may be granted to a PI/PD in order to extend the work period without additional funding. Some federal sponsors require notification for the allowable, automatic one-year extension; others may require that SFA apply for the extension and justify any budget carry-over into the extension period. Contract extensions typically require an amendment (see above). Federal and state sponsors do not allow a NCE simply to spend any remaining budget funds.

NCE requests are time sensitive and procedures vary by sponsor. Please contact ORSP as soon as you anticipate that you will need a no-cost extension. Prior to the end of your award, ORSP typically sends a Notice of Sponsored Project End Date form that you can return to inform ORSP of your intentions.

Changes in a Project Budget - Budget changes include an increase or reduction in project budgets, such as any changes in the award total, indirect costs, or cost-sharing/matching commitments. These changes will be reflected in your project Banner fund following the procedures outlined in section B, above. If the budget change is outside of percentage limits established by the sponsor or is not in a sponsor-approved budget category, ORSP will request sponsor approval.

Supplemental Funds Request - Requests for additional funding on an existing project are processed as proposals through ORSP. You will need a revised budget, a statement of work for the additional effort, and updated certification for all compliance issues, if necessary.

Changes in a Project's Scope - Any substantive change in a project's scope generally requires prior sponsor approval and must be approved through ORSP as a formal project revision. Please complete a Revision Clearance Form, attach your amendment, and submit to ORSP with the appropriate signatures.

Changes in Project Personnel - In most instances, changes in key project personnel must be either approved by the sponsoring agency or the agency must be notified. This includes changing the PI/PD or co-PI/PD, reducing the time of the PI/PD on the project by 25% or more, or the absence of the PI/PD for more than three months.

NOTE: When the PI/PD (or co-PI/PD) is changed, a PI/PD Transfer of Project Responsibility (PTR) form and a Revision Clearance Form (RCF) are required. The PTR form is used to acknowledge the transfer of responsibilities for a sponsored project from one PI/PD to another and includes required federal disclosures. A Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (FCOI) is also required for all federal and federal pass-through awards. The PTR form does not substitute for formal requests or notifications required by a sponsor for any change in PI/PD. Contact ORSP to confirm appropriate procedures for a specific award/sponsor.

The new PI/PD will be required to attend a project orientation session with ORSP staff.

Federal Projects: When Sponsor Approval is Required - (OMB Circular A-110, C.25)

There are other instances when sponsor approval may be required, which may be detailed in specific contract or grant award provisions. Others do not, but may require that the sponsor be notified (e.g., Expanded Authorities, EDGAR, US Department of Education). Please contact ORSP if you have any questions.

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D. Subawards, Participant Agreements, and Contracts for Services: Development, approval, and management

In order to pay any entity (individual, organization, educational institution, etc.) not employed by SFA, an executed contract must be on file before the work is performed.

A completed W-9 form must be on file in purchasing for a contractor/subawardee to be paid.

Before contracts, subcontracts, subawards, consulting agreements, interagency, interlocal, cooperative agreements, or other forms of contractual agreements between SFA and another entity can be fully executed, they must be:

If the contract represents the entire proposal, a Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) also must be submitted to ORSP. The completed form should be submitted to ORSP for routing with:

To ensure that there is sufficient time for legal review and to obtain the President's signature, please submit the contract (and PCF as required) to ORSP at least two weeks before the start date of the contract. More time may be required if the other party requires legal review of the contract on their end.

D.1. Contract Templates - To assist in the development of contracts to subawardees, consultants and other vendors, and program participants from SFA, ORSP, in consultation with General Counsel, developed several contract templates.

Subaward/Subcontract Templates - REVISED September 2013

Vendor Contracts - REVISED September 2013

Contract Amendment Template

You may use these templates to develop draft contracts that can be sent electronically to ORSP for administrative review and signatures, or you can complete the Contract Request Form and ORSP will develop the contract for you.

In order for ORSP to provide you with timely and accurate contracts, please provide the following information at least 14 days in advance of the work to be performed. For agreements with other government and educational institutions, please submit information 30-days in advance as these institutions typically need time to have their legal counsel review the contract terms. If any negotiations need to occur, more time will be needed for ORSP and SFA General Counsel to work with the entity.

If the individual has or will reach $25,000 over the lifetime of all contracts with SFA, a major consulting contract request may be required. Please allow an additional 45 days for this request to be processed by General Counsel.

Regardless of the source or purpose, no contracts or other binding agreements shall be executed without the signature of the President or delegated authority. Only the President has the authority to make commitments for the University.

Contract Management Responsibilities of the PI/PD

The PI/PD is also responsible for the effective management of all awards to SFA in the form of a contract. In addition, a PI/PD is responsible for the effective management of grant-related contracts from SFA to a subawardee, consultant, vendor, and participant. These management responsibilities include:

Subawardee Certifications - Subawards and subcontracts from federal sources (from SFA to other entities) may require completion of one or more subawardee certifications, such as (1) OMB A-133 audit certification, (2) FFATA award data, and (3) the federal Subaward Certifications and Standard Terms and Conditions for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In addition, if SFA is the recipient of a subaward, similar certifications may be required. Contact ORSP if you have any questions about these subaward/subcontract requirements.

Effective April 1, 2011, ORSP will require subawardee certification at the pre-award stage. Additional post-award certifications may also be required.

Ten Issues to consider when developing contracts

Quick Reference Guide: Navigating Contracts

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E. Cost-sharing and Matching: Documenting expenses

Documentation for cost-sharing and matching should demonstrate that:

For more information on cost-sharing and matching, and to view a table of suggested cost-share and match categories and related documentation, see section VIII.E.2.

Quick Reference Guide: Documenting Cost-sharing and Matching

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F. Personnel Policies and Procedures

The department of the employee is responsible for completing and routing all personnel forms, including those for grant-paid employees. Please initiate completion of appropriate forms with your department's administrative assistant or other appropriate personnel.

Electronic Personnel Action Form (EPAF)

An EPAF must be completed for all grant-paid, SFA employees. There are several types of EPAFs that are needed for grant-paid employees. These include:

Important tips:

Additional Compensation Request and Payment Forms

Additional compensation applies only to full-time employees. Payment for extra-duty services for a less-than-full-time employee goes on an EPAF. Note that an alternate payment method may be required for non-exempt (classified) staff eligible to earn time and one-half. Please contact ORSP for more information. See also section VIII.E.1.

Additional compensation must be outlined in the grant application, contract, and/or award document or otherwise approved in advance by all sponsors. ORSP will verify sponsor approval.

The Additional Compensation process is as follows:

Human Resources Information and Forms

Please contact Human Resources, ext. 2304, if you have any questions about how to complete their forms.

Quick Reference Guide: Navigating Employment Forms

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G. Effort Certification (Time and effort reporting)

What is effort? What is effort certification?

Effort is defined as the activities, functions, or categories to which an employee directs time and energies, including instruction, sponsored projects, and departmental administration, and other effort devoted to sponsored projects for cost sharing. Effort certification reports confirm, on a best-estimate basis, the percentage distribution of effort for the period reported and serve to substantiate salary and wage charges or contributions to federal or state grants and contracts.

Effort refers only to base salary. Additional compensation is accounted for separately and IS NOT included in effort reports.

View Effort Certification and Reporting PowerPoint (version 9.4.12)

Who must certify effort?

Any person who is paid by or cost-shares any portion of their base salary on state or federally funded grants or contracts must report effort expended on the project.

Why must effort be reported?

Effort certification is required by SFA policy, and federal and state laws and regulations (OMB Circular A-21, Texas Governor's Office, Uniform Grant Management Standards, and policy 8.1 Effort Reporting and Certification for Sponsored Activities).

Each grant or contract award budget and budget justification outlines employee time committed to working on a project. To document that the commitment was honored, SFA must maintain complete and accurate records of effort expended by employees paid from a grant or contract or contributed to a grant or contract as cost-sharing.

Principal investigators or project directors are responsible for ensuring that only legitimate expenses are charged to or contributed as cost-sharing to the grants and contracts.

Effort charges to any contract must represent work done on that project only. It is inappropriate to charge time and effort from any other project or activity for any reason whatsoever.

Mandatory Training Requirements

SFA policy requires training in the effort certification process for employees, who directly certify effort for themselves and/or for employees that report to them, with payroll expenses charged to or contributed (cost-shared or matched) to externally funded grants, contracts, or other sponsored agreements subject to effort reporting requirements, and for departmental and other employees involved in the effort reporting process.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will provide and document training activities, beginning in February 2011. Refresher training will be required every three years.

Principal Investigators and Project Directors are responsible for ensuring that faculty, and staff certify effort reports, as appropriate to their position, and revisions promptly at the appropriate time interval.

Guidelines for Effort Certification

The purpose of the effort certification report is to confirm that the charge made to the payroll system “reasonably reflects” each employee’s activity. Significant deviations (+/- 5%) from payroll charges may require an adjustment to the payroll. This effort report requires the signature of the employee, Principal Investigator, Project Director, or other responsible official to confirm (certify) that the percentages allocated to each activity represent a reasonable estimate of the work performed.

The effort certification report should reflect how a person spent his or her total time (effort) proportional to each activity (teaching, research, service, and grants/contracts), which would not necessarily agree with how the person is paid. The estimated percentage of effort shown may be adjusted if it is significantly different (+/- 5%) from the actual time spent on a particular activity. The amount of effort must be greater than or equal to pay distribution on the grant fund.

Effort Notification Process (effective spring 2011):

Upon receipt of notification of a federal or state award or contract, ORSP sets up the grant effort certification forms in the Banner Human Resources system and establishes a cost-share Banner fund, if applicable, to account for cost-shared salaries. Reports are generated for each grant employee and are available in Banner Self-Service for certification monthly (non-exempt staff) or by semester (faculty, exempt staff, graduate students). E-mail notification is sent to the employee for electronic approval and/or to the PI or PD, who is designated as the certifying official.

Persons actually working on the sponsored project or a responsible party with direct knowledge of the employee's activities should certify reports and write and sign a full and complete explanation for any previously certified effort reports that require revision.

Changes and Corrections to Time and Effort Reports

It is important to report time and effort accurately to avoid the necessity of making retroactive corrections. Retroactive changes may be warranted when it is necessary to correct clerical and data entry errors, when subsequent information is received indicating an incorrect original entry, and/or when charges applicable to a continuing project have been charged to an old Banner fund number because the new fund was not established when the expense was incurred. (See also the cost transfer procedure.)

Retroactive changes and transfers will not be approved when sufficient reasons and explanation are not provided or when the changes or transfers violate the restrictions of an account.

For more information on effort certification requirements, training, and certification procedures, contact ORSP.

YES, it can happen in Texas !
Audit Challenges Oversight of NSF Grant in Texas

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published an audit of Texas State Technical College, West Texas. Weaknesses reported in financial controls at the institution included:

  • Criticism of salary charges because the college did not have documentation to show that money was paid for work directly related to the grant.

  • The college did not maintain activity reports to document that salaries charged to the grant reflected effort expended on the grant.

  • Salary was paid for work performed after the expiration of the grant period (did not request a no-cost extension).

  • Cost-sharing related to the grant was not adequately tracked.

  • A consultant was paid with grant funds without a formal agreement for services.

The OIG recommended that the institution be classified as a high-risk institution for future grants.

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H. Technical Reports and Other Deliverables

The majority of externally funded projects require periodic reports, which may include progress reports (monthly, quarterly) and final reports (usually due within one month of the end of the agreement). These allow the funding agency to see detailed progress on all major tasks and track any changes that the investigator might require during the course of the work. Details on report deadlines are usually outlined in the signed agreement.

Federally funded projects typically require a final technical report with 90 days of the termination of the project, and may also require interim progress reports.

PIs/PDs are reminded of the need to submit reports required under the terms of the awards they receive or obtain formal approval to submit them at a later date. Similarly, PIs/PDs must submit other deliverables according to the timetable established for the project, seek an extension, or formally explain why the deliverable cannot be provided.

Please submit a copy of the final project report (if less than 10 pages) to ORSP for our files either paper or via e-mail. Investigators with reports over 10 pages may submit an abstract of the report.

If you need assistance with technical reports, or if you need any financial information in connection with the report, please contact ORSP or Letitia Hamilton (hamiltonlg@sfasu.edu). Financial reports are NEVER submitted by project staff. They are always submitted by the Controller's Office or ORSP.

A Report Approval Form (RAF) is required for reports to external sponsors that require university certification or ORSP?COntroller's Office submission.

The form should be completed and signed and returned to ORSP no later than 3 business days before report due date.

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I. Program Income and Other Credits

Program income means gross income earned by the recipient that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the award and is reportable to the sponsor. Program income must be documented on federal and non-federally sponsored projects, which includes proper recognition of revenue and expenses within a Banner fund established specifically for the income.

Income that is not required to be reported to a sponsor or not directly connected to an award is considered sales and service income, which also requires a separate Banner fund for all deposits and expenditures. Contact ORSP to determine if income is reportable for a specific award.

Examples of program income may include:

The treatment of program income is directly related to the nature of the original award (federal, non-federal, research, non-research), sponsor limitations if any (additive, match, or deductive), and the timing of the receipt of the income (during or after the award). Use of program income can only be used for allowable costs in accordance with applicable cost principles and/or sponsor guidelines.

Accounting of program income earned during the term of a project is as follows:

Federal Awards - Unless otherwise specified, federal regulations require that program income funds be expended before sponsor funds and any funds remaining in the income fund at the termination of the project (and any no-cost extensions) will be returned to the sponsor. The manner in which income from federal projects is managed is determined by federal circular OMB A-110, Section C.24.

Non-federal Awards - Income generated is handled according to sponsor guidelines and/or terms of the award. If the sponsor is silent on program income, the additive method is applied to the income.

If you anticipate any form of income from a sponsored project, complete a Program Income Notification Form. Contact ORSP if you have any questions about how program income should be handled. Although a department may invoice for program income, appropriate documentation must be kept with the project records for the appropriate retention period. All checks and other receipts, along with copies of invoices and purchase orders, should be forwarded to the Grants Accountant for deposit into the correct fund.

Also, unless stated otherwise in the terms and condition of a federal award, the recipient may keep program income earned from license fees and royalties for copyrighted material, patents, patent applications, trademarks, and inventions produced under an award. Patent and Trademark Amendments (35 U.S.C. 18) do apply to inventions made under federal awards.

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J. Sponsorship Acknowledgement and Disclaimers

All publications arising from work supported by the federal government must acknowledge support by the agency and award number, and provide a disclaimer that findings do not necessarily reflect the views of the awarding agency, and/or as provided for in the terms and conditions of the award.

Non-federal sponsors, in particular private foundations and corporate sponsors, may also have requirements for acknowledgments and/or disclaimers. Principal Investigators and Project Directors must review the terms of their awards to determine if the sponsor requires disclaimers or additional acknowledgments, and to determine if the sponsor requires any specific wording in the acknowledgement.

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K. Intellectual Property and Publications

The University encourages participation by faculty, staff and students in scholarly research and creative activities that support and enhance teaching in its classrooms and laboratories.

While research conducted at SFA is aimed at discovery and dissemination of knowledge, rather than profit from commercial application, the SFA Board of Regents (BOR) recognizes that questions regarding intellectual property rights may arise from such activities. The BOR seeks to balance the interests of the public, the University and the inventor, author, or creator in intellectual property arising from research and creative activities conducted by employees of the University. The BOR further seeks to ensure that inventions, discoveries and creative works are used and controlled in an efficient and prudent manner which will result in maximum benefit to the public, the University and the inventor, author, or creator.

Contracts must be reviewed by the University's General Counsel for intellectual property and confidentiality clauses before they are forwarded to the President for signature.

For more information, see SFA policy 9.4, Intellectual Property.

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L. I'm leaving. Can I take my grant with me? Transfer of Awards

Depending on the sponsor, amount of work completed and other factors, some awards can be transferred and others cannot. Transferring a grant to another institution is a complicated process and requires proper timing to allow for the transfer and to allow for start-up at the new institution.

Since the award is to SFA and not the PI/PD, transfer is not automatic and the transfer process requires coordination between ORSP and the grant office at the new institution. Both institutions must be involved in the transfer.

Some sponsors have specific forms which must be completed to obtain a transfer (e.g., NIH Relinquishing Interests Form, NSF Grant Transfer Form). Other sponsors may not have formal guidelines for transfers.

There are general procedures that need to be followed at SFA to prepare for a transfer. Please note the following steps in preparing for a grant transfer:

Please contact ORSP as soon as you know you are leaving so we can guide you through this process.

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X. Project Close-out

A. Close-out Procedures

When a grant or contract is nearing completion, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Director (PD) to ensure that steps are taken for close-out that are required by SFA and the sponsor.

The following actions are required for SFA:

Most sponsors also require specific actions for project close-out. When projects near completion, the PI/PD - in coordination with ORSP and the Controller's Office should take appropriate actions:

The Grants Accountant is responsible for submitting the final financial documents for each project in consultation with the PI/PD and ORSP, as required.

Before the end of each project, ORSP typically sends a Notice of Project End Date (NOPED) and conducts a close-out Technical Assistance Desk Review (TADR) to identify areas in the project that may need to be addressed. The review includes assessing whether grant funds appear to have been expended according to the sponsor approved budget, project amendments were processed appropriately, reports were filed in a timely manner, etc.

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B. Disposition of Supplies, Materials, and Equipment

In general, at the conclusion of a project supplies and materials purchased with grant funds remain the property of the department and/or college that received the funding. For federally funded projects, the first priority for the use of these items is other federally sponsored projects at SFA.

Inventoried equipment (of any value, capital and controlled) remains the property of the University and usually stays in the department and/or college that received the funding, unless otherwise provided for in the award document or sponsor policies. Some federal and state sponsors include very specific requirements for the accounting of, and possible return of, inventoried equipment purchased with grant funds.

It is the responsibility of the PI/PD to know and understand the policies and procedures required for their individual projects and to record the transfer or disposition of any items for audit purposes. Contact ORSP for assistance.

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C. Records Retention, Inquiries, and Audit Considerations

Records Retention

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator or Project Director to ensure that project or program records are maintained for the time specified by the sponsor. Records should be clearly marked with the contents and the disposition date. The best location to keep grant records is in a departmental storage area to ensure that they are not misplaced if a faculty member leaves the employment of SFA.

According to records retention requirements of the State of Texas, grant-related documents must be kept a minimum of four years after the end of the project period (non-federal) and a minimum of three years after the final expenditure report has been sent to a sponsor (federal). ORSP establishes the retention date as three years from the formal closure of a grant fund. Note that some state sponsors of federal pass-through funds may require retention periods of five up to seven years.

Please work with ORSP to ensure that records are kept for the length of time required by a specific sponsor for a specific award.

For more information on records retention requirements for grants see Grant Records Retention handout and for SFA in general, see Records Management.

Inquiries

A Principal Investigator, Project Director, and any other grant personnel who receives a request for information from a sponsor, or any other person or entity, should immediately notify ORSP that an inquiry has been made, the nature of the inquiry, and the name, title, institution, and e-mail/phone number of the inquiring individual.

ORSP will in turn notify the Internal Auditor and/or the University's General Counsel, if warranted.

ALL inquiries and/or correspondence about an audit (formal or informal) must be directed to the Internal Auditor's office and to ORSP.

Audit Considerations

In conducting an audit of externally funded grants and contracts, auditors will look for documentation to verify the following:


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