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Division of Title III Administration and Sponsored Programs

A-21 - Cost Principles for Educational Institutions: A circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that establishes the principles for determining the costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other government agreements with
educational institutions (also known as sponsored projects).

A-133 - Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations: A circular published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Accrued expenditures: The charges incurred by the recipient during a given period requiring provisions of funds for the following:

  • Goods and other tangible property received;
  •  Services performed by employees, contractors, sub recipients, and other payees; and
  • Other amounts becoming owed under programs for which no current services or performance is required.

Accrued income is the sum of earnings during a given period from:

  • Services performed by the recipients;
  •  Goods and other tangible property delivered to purchasers; and
  • The amounts becoming owed to the recipient for which no current services or performance is required by the recipient.

Award: The financial assistance that provides support or stimulation to accomplish a public purpose. Awards may include grants and/or other agreements.

Allocable Costs: Those allowable costs that actually benefit the grant or contract to which they are charged.

Allowable Costs: Those categories of costs that are allowable as a charge on a grant or contract as determined by the terms and conditions of the award and/or appropriate cost principles. Certain types of costs, such as the cost of alcoholic beverages are not
allowable and may not be charged to a contract or grant.

Authorized Signature: (1) Signature of the person authorized to commit funds and facilities on grants and contracts. The President and his/her authorized representative are the only authorized signatures in executing a tendered contract or accepting a grant. The President, Special Assistant to the President, and Director of Sponsored Programs are the authorized institutional officials to sign a proposal on behalf of the University. (2) Signature of those persons authorized to commit project funds. The
project director/principal investigator is the authorized signer for his/her own project, and may authorize other persons to commit project funds.

Budget Description (or Justification or Narrative): A written description of the cost estimation methods used in preparing a budget that also explains or describes the types of individual costs that make up a larger budget category.

Budget Period: The interval of time--usually 12 months--into which the project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.

Budget Adjustment: The act of amending the budget by moving funds from one category or line item to another.

Cost Accounting Standards (CAS): Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting, accounting and reporting project costs.

Commerce Business Daily (CBD):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Maintains several departments concerned with occupational safety and health.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): Provides a full listing of all federal programs available to State and local governments.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): A codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register.

Close Out: The act of completing all internal procedures and sponsor requirements to terminate or complete a research project.

COLA: Cost of Living Allowance granted to employees based in a foreign city, where cost of living is higher than in Washington, D.C.

Competing Renewal Proposal: Proposals (for ongoing projects) that must compete again if the term of the original award has expired.

Conflict of Interest: Situations in which employees use their positions for purposes that are, or give the appearance of being; motivated by a desire for private gain for themselves or others, such as those with whom they have family, business or other ties.

Consortium Agreement: Group of collaborative investigators/institutions; arrangement can be formalized with specified terms and conditions.

Contract: A mechanism for procurement of a product or service with specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. Typically, a research topic and the methods for conducting the research are specified in detail by the sponsor, although some sponsors
award contracts in response to unsolicited proposals.

Cost Sharing or Matching: A general term that can describe virtually any type of arrangement in which more than one party supports research, equipment acquisition, demonstration projects, programs, institutions. Example: A university receives a grant for a project estimated to have a total cost of $100,000. The sponsor agrees to pay 75% ($75,000) and the university agrees to pay 25% ($25,000). The $25,000 is the cost sharing component.

Direct Costs: Clearly identifiable costs related to a specific project. General categories of direct costs include but are not limited to salaries and wages, fringe benefits, supplies, contractual services, travel and communication, equipment, and computer use.

Department of Defense (DOD) (includes Air Force, Army, ARPA, and Navy):

Department of Energy (DOE): Mission is to advance energy technology and promote related innovation in the United States -

Department of Education (DoED)

Department of Interior (DOI): Protect and provide access to our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.

Department of Transportation (DOT): Oversees federal highway, air, railroad, and maritime and other transportation administration functions.

Donation: Transfer of equipment, money, goods, services, or property with or without specifications as to its use. Sometimes a donation is used to designate contributions that are made with more specific intent than is usually the case with a gift, but the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Equipment: Tangible nonexpendable personal property including exempt property charged directly to the award having a useful life of more than on year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.

Exempt property: Tangible property acquired in whole or in part with Federal Funds where the Secretary has statutory authority to vest title in the recipient with further obligation to the Federal Government. An example of exempt property authority is contained in the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act (31 U.S. C. 6306) for property acquired under an award to conduct basic or applied research by a non-profit institution of higher education or non-profit organization whose principal purpose is conducting scientific research.

Federal awarding agency: The Federal agency that provides an award to the recipient.

Federal share: The percentage of the property’s acquisition costs and any improvement expenditures paid with Federal funds.

Fringe Benefits: Employee benefits paid by the employer. (e.g., FICA, Worker's Compensation, Withholding Tax, Insurance, etc.).

Indirect Costs (IC) (Facilities and Administrative Costs - F&A Costs): Costs related to expenses incurred in conducting or supporting research or other externally-funded activities but not directly attributable to a specific project. General categories of indirect costs include general administration (accounting, payroll, purchasing, etc.), sponsored project administration, plant operation and maintenance, library expenses, departmental administration expenses, depreciation or use allowance for buildings and equipment, and student administration and services.

Key Personnel: Personnel considered being of primary importance to the successful conduct of a research project. The term usually applies to the senior members of the project staff; however, sponsors may have differing definitions of Key Personnel.

Limitation of Cost (LOC): A mandatory clause for cost-reimbursement type contracts. Under the clause, the sponsor is not obligated to reimburse the contractor for costs in excess of the stated amount. The contractor, however, is not obligated to continue performance once expenses reach the stated amount.

Matching Grant: A grant that requires a specified portion of the cost of a supported item of equipment or project be obtained from other sources. The required match may be more or less than the amount of the grant. Some matching grants require that the
additional funds be obtained from sources outside the recipient organization. Many matching grants are paid in installments, the payments coinciding with the attainment of pre-specified levels of additional funding. Matching grants are very common in the
sciences, especially for equipment. They are standard practice in some government agencies.

No Cost Extension: An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration date to allow the principal investigator to finish a project. Usually, no additional costs are provided.

Non-Competing Continuation Proposal: A continuation proposal reports on progress made during a portion of the project period and requests continuation funding for the next portion of the project period. Continuation proposals do not compete with new project
proposals and are not subject to peer review beyond the initial project approval.

Notice of Grant Award: The legally binding document that serves as a notification to the recipient and others that a grant or cooperative agreement has been made; contains or references all terms and documents the obligation of funds.

National Science Foundation (NSF): U.S. government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

OMB Circulars: Regulatory circulars issued by the (OMB). Definitions included in OMB Circulars A-21, 122, 128 and 133.

Peer Review: A system that uses reviewers who are the professional equals of the principal investigator or a program director and are responsible for directing or conducting the proposed project. It is a form of objective review. Peer review is legislatively mandated in some programs and in other programs is administratively

PI - Principal Investigator: The individual responsible for the conduct of research or other activity, described in a proposal for an award. The Principal Investigator is responsible for all programmatic and administrative aspects of a project or program.

Personal property: Property of any kind except real property. It may be tangible having physical existence, or intangible, having no physical existence, such as copyrights, patents or securities.

Prior Approval: The requirement for written documentation of permission to use project funds for purposes not in the approved budget or to change aspects of the program from those originally planned and approved. Prior approval must be obtained before the
performance of the act that requires such approval under the terms of the agreement.

Priority Score: A score derived from the rating given a research proposal by each member on a review committee. It is used to help determine which approved proposals will be granted awards, based on funds available.

Project costs: All allowable costs, as established in the applicable Federal cost principles, incurred by a recipient and the value of the contributions made by third parties in accomplishing the objectives of the award during the project period.

Proposal Transmittal Form: An internal routing form used at VUU for securing institutional approvals prior to submitting a proposal to a sponsor for funding consideration.

Regs: Short for "regulations."

Regulatory Noncompliance: Failure to adhere to regulations, policies, procedures or special conditions related to the conduct of research. Examples of such noncompliance include, but are not limited to, failure to obtain/maintain approval for research; coercion
of human subjects; performing unapproved procedures; and conducting research at unapproved sites.


Renewal: Applicable to grants and cooperative agreements only. A competitively reviewed proposal requesting additional funds extending the scope of work beyond the current project period.

Request for Applications (RFA): Announcements that indicate the availability of funds for a topic of specific interest to a sponsor. Proposals submitted in response to RFAs generally result in the award of a grant. Specific grant announcements may be published
in the Federal Register and/or specific sponsor publications.

Request for Information (RFI): A formal request from sponsor to PI for information.

Request for Proposal (RFP): Announcements that specify a topic of research, methods to be used, product to be delivered and appropriate applicants sought. Proposals submitted in response to RFPs generally result in the award of a contract. Notices of
federal RFPs are published in the Commerce Business Daily.

Request for Quotations (RFQ): A formal request to vendors for a price quotation on equipment or supplies to be purchased.

Research: Investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories in the light of new facts, or the application of such new or revise.

Senior Personnel: Professional personnel who are responsible for the scientific or technical direction of project.

Small Grant: A special type of award, often limited to a beginning researcher. Typically, such an award may be obtained for one year only.

Special Purpose Equipment: Equipment that is generally usable only for research, medical, scientific, or technical activities.

Sponsor: The organization or entity that funds a research project.

Sponsored Research: Research conducted by University employees using any University space, facilities, materials, equipment, or property, and which is financed by contract payments, grants, or gifts from any source other than the University's funds.

Stipend: A payment made to an individual under a fellowship or training grant in accordance with pre-established levels to provide for the individual's living expenses during the period of training.

Subcontract, Subgrant, or Subagreement: A document written under the authority of,and consistent with the terms and conditions of an award (a grant , contract or cooperative agreement), that transfers a portion of the research or substantive effort of the prime award to another institution or organization.

Subs: Short for subcontractors.

Supplemental Proposal: A request to the sponsor for the additional funds for an ongoing project during the previously approved performance period. A supplemental proposal may result from increased costs due to modifications in design or a desire to add
a closely related component to the ongoing project.

Supplemental (Rebudgeting or Modification) Proposal: A request to the sponsor for additional funds for an ongoing project during the previously approved performance period. A supplemental proposal may result from increased costs, modifications in
design, or a desire to add a closely related component to the ongoing project.

Teaming Agreement: An agreement between two or more parties to participate in a research project or teaching activity.

Terms of Award: All legal requirements imposed on an agreement by the sponsor, whether by statute, regulation(s), or terms in the award document. The terms of an agreement may include both standard and special provisions that are considered
necessary to protect the sponsor's interests.

Third Party in-kind contributions: The value of non-cash contributions provided by the non-Federal third parties. Third party in-kind contributions may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies and other expendable property, and the value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the project or program.

Unallowable Costs: Unallowable costs are specific categories of costs that cannot be charged, directly or indirectly, to federally sponsored agreements in accordance with Federal regulations.

Unrestricted Funds: Moneys with no requirements or restrictions as to use ordisposition. Grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements are considered to be restrictedfunds, while gifts are usually considered unrestricted funds.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

United States Information Agency (USIA):

Veterans Administration (VA): A government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status.