During the life of the project there may be a need or needs to modify the terms of the agreement.
The most common modifications include budget revisions and no-cost extensions.
Sponsors differ in budget variance allowances. Some sponsors will allow deviations from the proposed budget with no limitations as long as the scope of the work proposed does not change. Some sponsors or awards may allow deviation up to a prescribed percentage and then require sponsor approval. Others require sponsor approval for any change. Some awards issued by the same sponsor may have more restrictive terms than other awards.
There are often stricter restrictions on certain categories of expenditures. Changes to equipment, travel, subawards and changes from indirect costs to a direct cost item may require sponsor approval even when other rebudgeting requirements are lenient. Any rebudget request resulting from a change in scope will have to be approved by the sponsor.
The ORA will establish budgets in PeopleSoft in categories that correspond to the budget approved by the sponsor and any re-budgeting restrictions imposed by the sponsor. The ORA should be contacted prior to spending outside of the budget to determine if sponsor or ORA approval is required first. If the re-budgeting request is denied, unallowed expenditures incurred on the project will have to be transferred to an unrestricted account.
All rebudgeting requests must be submitted through Office of Research Administration. Use the Rebudgeting form found on the ORA web site to request a rebudget. ORA staff will determine if sponsor approval is required and will forward the request to the sponsor if needed. Once approval is received, the rebudget will be posted in PeopleSoft and a memo sent to the PI with the new budget.
All awards are issued with a performance period start and end date. There may be a need for more time in order for the project to be completed. The principal investigator may request a no-cost extension once the need has been identified. No-cost extension requirements vary from sponsor to sponsor. Many federal agencies allow the University prior approval to authorize a one time no-cost extension of 12 months on grants. In other situations, including all contracts, sponsor approval is required. If the University has prior approval ORA will review the request for approval. If approval is granted, ORA will then notify the sponsor that a no-cost extension has been granted. The request must include the remaining available budget and an explanation of the work that is left to complete.
Keep in mind that a no-cost extension cannot be requested simply to spend down funds.
Valid reasons for requesting a no-cost extension include:
- Additional time is needed to meet the project goals and objectives
- There was a delay in locating a graduate student with the required qualifications and project work remains uncompleted
- There was a delay in receiving required equipment and project work remains uncompleted
- Time was lost on the project due to illness
Most sponsors have deadlines for requesting a no-cost extension. Many will not accept a request within the last month of a project. Please contact ORA as soon as the need is recognized. Expenditures incurred after the end date will be transferred to an unrestricted account of the PI if the extension is not granted.
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