Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sponsored program?

A sponsored program is a grant, cooperative agreement, or some other binding agreement between the University and an outside sponsor to perform research, training, or other service. Often the sponsor is a Federal 1 or State agency. Sponsored programs are usually the result of a proposal prepared by a faculty member, referred to as the Principal Investigator, and submitted to the sponsoring agency.

How are proposals submitted?

Proposals for funding from a sponsoring agency should be submitted through Research and Sponsored Programs or the Agricultural Experiment Station. Professional staff in these offices have expertise in proposal preparations and submission, and authority to enter into a contractual agreement on behalf of the University.

What is Research Accounting's role in sponsored project administration?

When a contractual agreement between a sponsor and the University has been entered, Research Accounting is responsible for the following areas:

  1. Setting up a cost center for the agreement
  2. Monitoring the activity on the cost center to assure compliance with the agreement
  3. Entering the appropriate Facilities and Administrations costs on the contract
  4. Preparing and submitting any required financial reports for the sponsorship agreement
  5. Invoicing and collecting payment from the sponsor under the terms of the agreement
  6. Ensuring that cost sharing requirements have been met
  7. Closing out the cost center at the conclusion of the sponsorship agreement

What determines budget categories for a sponsored project cost center?

Budget categories are set-up to correlate with the budget in the sponsorship agreement. Often this is the budget submitted with the proposal. Budget changes should be submitted and approved by Research and Sponsored Programs or the Agricultural Experiment Station.

How are Facilities and Administration costs computed?

F&A costs (also referred to as indirect or overhead costs) are based on a % of allowable direct costs. The % may be the rate negotiated with our federal cognizant agency (F&A Rates) or it may be some other rate that applies only to a specific sponsored program. F&A charges are based on monthly expenditures and are entered by journal entry prepared by the Director of Research Accounting.

Why are expenditures posted to a sponsored program sometimes rejected by Research Accounting?

Research Accounting reviews expenditures posted to a sponsored program cost center and may, on occasion reject an expenditure for a variety of reasons that may include the following:

  1. The expenditure may have been miscoded in some way.
  2. The type of expenditure may not be included in the sponsored agreement budget.
  3. The expenditure may exceed a budget category.
  4. The expenditure may have come outside of the contractual period for the sponsored agreement.

It is important that all parties involved with a sponsored program be aware of the contractual restrictions associated with that program and be diligent in posting only allowed costs to the program. If you have a questions about the rejection of a specific transaction, please contact the responsible accountant in Research Accounting who handles that account.