Office of Sponsored Programs

Post-Award Grant Terminology

A-21 (OMB Circular):  The OMB Circular establishing the cost principles for allowability of costs incurred by institutions of higher education under federally-sponsored agreements. 

A-110 (OMB Circular):  The OMB Circular establishing uniform administrative requirements for grants and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals and other non-profit organizations. 

A-133 (OMB Circular):   The OMB Circular establishing audit requirements for institutions of higher education and other nonprofit organizations. 
Advance:  An Advance is an authorization to establish a budget number prior to the actual receipt of an award. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will verify that the award has been funded and then forward to Accounting; and Budgets and Planning. Normally this is done only when the granting agency has notified OSP that the award letter will be issued late. 

Allocable Cost:  A cost is allocable to a particular cost objective (i.e., a specific function, grant project, service, department, or other activity) in accordance with the relative benefits received. A cost is allocable to a project where it is treated consistently with other costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances and (1) is incurred specifically for the award; or (2) benefits both the award and other work and can be distributed in reasonable proportion to the benefits received; or (3) is necessary to the overall operation of the organization. 

Allowable Cost:  A cost incurred by a recipient that is: 1) Reasonable for the performance of the award; 2) Allocable; 3) In conformance with any limitations or exclusions set forth in the federal cost principles applicable to the organization incurring the cost or in the Notice of Grant Award as to types or amount of cost items; 4) Consistent with internal regulations, policies and procedures that apply uniformly to both federally-funded and other activities of the organization; 5) Accorded consistent treatment; 6) Determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; and 7) Not included as a cost in any other federally-funded grant (unless specifically authorized). 

Audit Resolution:   The action to resolve audit findings and recommendations, including management and systems deficiencies and cost settlements findings (i.e., questioned costs determined to be unallowable). 

Automatic Carryover:  Under expanded authorities for research grants, the authority that is delegated to the recipient to move unobligated balances remaining at the end of any budget period to a subsequent budget period which thereby allows for additional expenditures in the subsequent budget period. 

Award:  An Award is a sponsoring agency agreement to contribute funding to a specific project. When a sponsor approves an award, a formal notice is sent by the sponsoring agency to the College's Office of Sponsored Programs. This notice is usually in the form of a grant or a contract. The Office of Sponsored Programs reports the award to the Grant and Contract Accounting, and Principal Investigator for acceptance. The Grant and Contract Accounting will then establish a budget for the amount of the award. The term does not include: technical assistance, which provides services instead of money; other assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, or insurance; direct payments of any kind to individuals; and contracts which are required to be entered into and administered under procurement laws and regulations. 

Budget Period:  The intervals of time into which a multi-year period of assistance (project period) is divided for budgetary and funding purposes. Budget periods are usually 12 months long but may be shorter or longer, if appropriate. 

Carryforward:  Unexpended award funds on grants and contracts which are moved to the next funding period (usually a year) where the agency (sponsor) allows the carryover of unexpended funds. 

Cognizant Agency:  The Federal agency which, on behalf of all Federal agencies, is responsible for implementing the requirements of the Single Audit Act which include: reviewing, negotiating, and approving cost allocation plans, indirect cost rate and similar rates; receiving and approving non-federal audit reports; conducting federal audits as necessary; and resolving cross-cutting audit findings. The University of Washington's cognizant agency is the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

Contract:  An award instrument used for the acquisition, by purchase, lease, or barter, of property or services. 

Cooperative Agreement:  A Cooperative Agreement is used when the purpose of the agreement is similar to that of a grant, but substantial programmatic involvement of or coordination by the funding agency is anticipated during the project. 

Cost Principles:  The principles as set out in applicable statutes, regulations, grantor instructions, Office of Management and Budget Circulars and generally accepted accounting rules used for determining allowability, reasonableness, and allocability of costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements. 

Cost Sharing:  Some funding agencies require the grantee institution to demonstrate its financial commitment to the project, or the commitment of other funding sources, by sharing the project costs. Cost sharing funds may come from an outside source in the form of cash contributions, volunteer services from the University’s own funds (e.g. personnel effort without salary recovery); or from shared resources or facilities. If the award is federal, only acceptable non-federal costs qualify as cost sharing. 

Deficit:   The excess of expenditures over revenues (authorized budget) during an accounting period or award/project period for grants and contracts. 
Direct Costs:   Those costs that can be specifically identified with a particular project, program, or activity. 

Disallowance:  Expenditures incurred on a sponsored project for which the sponsor will not pay. This occurs when expenditures are not in compliance with the award terms. 

Disallowed Cost or Disallowance:   A charge to a grant that the Federal awarding agency determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable federal cost principles or other terms and conditions contained in the award. Typically the sponsor will not pay for these expenditures and the disallowed expenditure becomes the responsibility of the PI and must be transferred to another budget (non-federal) or receive after-the-fact approval from the sponsor. 

Encumbrances:  Obligations in the form of purchase orders, contracts, or salary commitments which are chargeable to an award and for which a part of the awarded amount is reserved. They cease to be encumbrances when paid.

Equipment:  Tangible assets acquired through donation, gift, purchase, capital lease, or self construction with a life expectancy of more than one year. 

Expanded Authorities:  The operating authorities provided to grantees under certain research grant mechanisms that waive the requirement for Sponsor prior approval for specified actions. 

Expenditure:  All monies used in the operation of a budgeted project are Expenditures. Expenditures may include faculty salaries, student compensation, equipment acquisition, travel expenditures or any other activity which can be assigned a dollar value. Note: Encumbrances are not expenditures and are recorded to remind PI's of a formal commitment. 

Grant:  Financial assistance (including cooperative agreements) in the form of money, or property in lieu of money, by the Federal government to an eligible recipient. The term does not include: any Federal procurement subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR); technical assistance (which provides services instead of money); or assistance in the form of revenue sharing, loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies, insurance, or direct payment of any kind to individuals. 

Incremental Award or Supplement:  An Incremental Award or Supplement is a request for additional award support for an existing project. The grant/contract award number remains the same and separate cash accountability is not required.

Indirect Costs:  Those costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, program, or activity but are nevertheless necessary to the operations of the organization. At educational institutions such costs normally are classified under the following indirect cost categories: depreciation and use allowance, general expenses, sponsored project administration expenses, library expenses, departmental administration expenses, library expenses, departmental administration, operations and maintenance expense and student administration services. 

Institutional Review Board (IRB):  A faculty committee charged with reviewing and approving the use of human subjects in all research projects. The IRB serves as an institutional compliance committee and is responsible for reviewing reported instances of regulatory noncompliance related to the use of human subjects in research. 

Matching funds: Matching funds, if required by the funding agency, are raised from non-federal outside sources to increase the level of support provided by the funding agency. Such funds must be identified by the donor or funding source for use as matching funds. 

No Cost Extension:  A no-cost extension is an extension of the project period without additional funding. If the project is not completed and awarded funds remain unspent toward the end of a project period, many funding agencies will allow the PI to request more time to complete the work while spending remaining funds. A no cost extension must be requested of the agency in writing, with OSP countersign signature, well before the existing project period end date. FDP agencies such as NIH, NSF, DOE, etc. allow the grantee institution to approve a single no cost extension (up to 12 months) without prior approval but still require written notification. 

Obligated Funds:   Funds that are unexpended but are encumbered at the end of the funding period to cover the known obligations. They are considered to be unexpended funds. However, if the agency allows, the "obligated" funds and matching encumbrances are carried forward to the next funding period. 

Preaward Cost:  The cost incurred prior to the effective date of the award, directly pursuant to the negotiation and in anticipation of the award, where incurrence is necessary to comply with the proposed delivery schedule or period of performance.

Prior Approval:  The written permission provided by the authorized granting official from the awarding office before the recipient may undertake certain activities (such as performance or modification of an activity), expend funds, or exceed a certain dollar level. 

Program Income:  The gross income received by the recipient and/or sub-recipient directly generated by the supported activity, or earned as a result of the award. Program income includes (but is not limited to) income from fees for services performed, the use or rental of real or personal property acquired under the grant, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and payment of interest on loans made with grant funds. Standard Program Income Alternatives are: 1) Deduction alternative - Deducted from total allowable costs and third party in-kind contributions for the purpose of determining the net costs on which the Federal share of costs will be based. When this alternative applies, the deduction must be made from current costs unless the terms of the award authorize deferral to a later period; 2) Cost Participation or Matching Alternative - Used to satisfy all or part of a cost participation or matching requirement; 3) Additional Cost Alternative - Used for costs that are in addition to the allowable costs of the project for any purposes that further the objectives of the legislation under which the grant was made. 

Project Period:  The total time period stated in the Notice of Grant Award (including any amendments) for which Federal support is recommended. The project period may consist of one or more budget periods. It does not constitute a commitment by the Federal government to fund the entire project period. 

PTF:  Form submitted to The Office of Sponsored Programs along with proposal which contains the budget, institutional signatures, basic proposal information, addresses and policy issues. 

Renewal Award:  This is an authorization for follow-up support to a project. Renewal awards usually retain the same grantor number but require a separate budget number for accounting purposes. The budget amount for the renewal award consists of the approved annual award and authorized carryover of unexpended or obligated balances. 

Requisitions:  A written (or on-line) request, usually from one department to the Purchasing department for specified goods or services. 

Restricted Funds: Funding from a prior year which is carried forward (unexpended and unobligated) to the current year and requires agency approval to expend. 

Revenue: Revenue is defined as funds received from sales and services. The major sources of REVENUE funding for the college are from tuition and fees, room and board payment from student, grants, contracts, gifts, rents, royalties, and interest and dividends from investments. 

Single Audit Act:  Enacted by Congress in 1984 to establish uniform audit requirements for state and local governments receiving federal financial assistance. (OMB Circular A-133). 

Subcontract:  A formal cooperative research relationship with another organization, generally a university or non-profit research center, that is part of a sponsored agreement/proposal accepted by the College and the other organization participating in the research project or provides a required service to complete the research project.    

Supplemental Award:  The addition of funds to an existing award to: 
Support New or additional activities which are not identified in the current grant or which significantly expand the project's scope beyond the purpose(s) for which the current grant was awarded; 
Support an expansion of the grant approved activities; or 
Provide for an increase in costs due to unforeseen circumstances. 
For supplemental awards, the budget and grantor numbers remain the same. 

Unallowable Cost:  A cost determined to be unallowable in accordance with the applicable cost principles or other terms and conditions contained in a grant award.

Unexpended Funds:  The funding (money) not spent during the award process. 

Zero Balance:  At the closing of a grant, when cash, expenditures, budget, and revenue are equal, the budget is said to have a zero balance.