You can request a pre-award account by filling out the Pre-award account (backstop) form. This establishes the grant/contract account to be able to spend until the award/contract is officially received from the sponsor. This form must be completed if you have anyone working on the project before the official award/contract is received.
FAQs for Grants and Contracts
I received notification from the sponsor that they plan to fund my project, but the official award/contract will not be here for a while. How do I begin appointing students/Post Doc, purchasing supplies or making travel arrangements?
Does WMU have to receive funds from the sponsor before I can start spending out of my sponsored project account?
No. Once the account is established, spending can begin. The Grants and Contracts Office will bill the agency according to the agency's requirements.
As a PI/PD, what will the university hold me responsible for?
When a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement is received, WMU is the legal recipient. The Principal Investigator (PI/PD), on behalf of the university, is accountable for ensuring proper financial and programmatic performance within the sponsor’s guidelines, WMU’s guidelines, and other applicable regulations.
A PI/PD’s responsibilities include oversight for the conduct of the programmatic or research aspects of the project, the hiring and assignment of personnel, expenditure tracking and reconciliation within the sponsor approved budget, accurate and timely submission of narrative reports, time and effort validation, and other administrative functions. See the responsibilities chart for specifics.
What are facilities and administrative costs?
Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, also known as indirect costs (IDCs), are university costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. For example, while the university incurs real expenses by keeping the lights on in a laboratory, it would be difficult to calculate and budget for the exact amount of the light expenses for each sponsored project. A federally negotiated F&A rate is added to the cost of externally funded sponsored project budgets to offset these expenses.
Who should I contact with employment-related questions, such as hiring or re-hiring processes?
- Faculty AY release time: work with department/college
- Faculty summer grant time: work with department/college
- Graduate Assistants: contact Graduate College 387-8212
- Students: contact Career and Student Employment Services 387-2745
- Staff or Temporary Employees: contact Human Resources 387-3620
- Independent Contractors: contact Purchasing 387-8800
Are there special restrictions associated with foreign travel?
Yes. If you are planning on traveling internationally, after ensuring this is allowable and budgeted for on the associated externally funded project, you will first need to complete the WMU International Essential Waiver Form on WMU’s website.
Once the International Travel Approval Form is approved, you can begin working with your department to make travel plans.
When flying internationally on a sponsored project you must adhere to the Fly America Act by utilizing U.S. air carrier service for all air travel services funded, in part or in whole, by the U.S. government. For certain federal funding agencies, and under certain circumstances, there are also some foreign air carriers that can be utilized under “Open Skies Agreements. Please follow this link for more information.
I would like to know what the balance is on my grant account; how do I do that?
WMU uses GLOW which enables PIs and departments to monitor their spending on grants and contracts. With this system you can see the approved budget, current expenses and the balance. This system does not incorporate any encumbered expenses (future payrolls, current month procard expenses, consultant payments, etc.). You would need to subtract these from the balance on GLOW. This is a quick video for finding your balance on GLOW.
Accessing GLOW involves your bronco net id as well as a unique department username and password. If you do not have access to GLOW, please work with your department’s administrative person to get the unique department username and password.
Do I need to go back to the sponsor to revise my budget?
Many federal sponsors allow WMU to internally revise grant budgets. There is a prior approval matrix that has most federal sponsors listed and their requirements. Some federal programs may have more restricted requirements. Please contact your Restricted Fund Accountant for further assistance in determining the allowability of a budget revision.
If WMU can internally approve a budget revision the University Prior Approval form and Budget Revision form need to be completed and approved. WMU uses 10% of the total award as our threshold for completing these forms when a sponsor gives WMU the authority to approve internally.
I have cost share, or match, required on a sponsored project. How do I process these expenses?
Cost share, or match, is a portion of a project’s costs which are contributed by the university or a third party. In general, the university will only contribute cost share when it is required by the sponsor. Your ORI Research Officer will assist you in determining the type and amount of cost share that can be included in a sponsor budget.
For ease of monitoring, cost share is tracked in an account separate from the sponsor’s awarded funding. The fund is designated as 30 and will have the same cost center/department id as the main award (Ex. 30-7024560). An exception to using the fund 30 for tracking cost share would be for faculty, staff or student appointments that are for release time or not 100% funded by the cost share. For these exceptions, the department would submit the Planned Effort form or Time and effort certification-hourly form depending on the appointment of the individual.
Most cost share expenses (payroll, supplies, travel, etc.) will be processed similarly to other grant expenses directly on the fund 30.
Who can I work with if I need to develop independent contracts for work on a sponsored project?
If you are hiring an independent contractor for a portion of the work on a sponsored project, contact Purchasing, and they will assist with the proper forms required.
I would like to pay myself over the summer for the time I put in during the academic year from a grant, is that allowed?
The short answer is no. Regardless of the amount of work completed during the academic year, compensation received for work on externally sponsored projects must directly correlate with the time in which the work was done. Personnel with time commitments on sponsored projects must request compensation for effort expended. Paying an individual for work in advance of their effort or being paid for a week of summer salary when the work is already completed is not allowed. Please contact your Restricted Fund Accountant for further guidance.
The sponsored project is paying for 10% of my effort. I was just offered to teach another course. It's not a big deal if I accept this teaching appointment, right?
Actually, it may be a big deal. When working on an externally funded project, an individual must not exceed 100% full time effort. If teaching the additional course is above and beyond the person’s regular workload responsibilities, then this may be a concern to a sponsor. Please contact your Restricted Fund Accountant for further guidance.
Can I pay someone supplemental pay with funds from a grant/contract?
In general, paying someone supplemental pay from a sponsored project’s funds is not allowable; however, there may be some circumstances when this is acceptable. Please contact your Restricted Fund Accountant to review a specific supplemental pay situation.
My grant has funding to pay for student stipends/fellowships (no work component involved to receive stipend/fellowship). How do I process student stipends/fellowships?
If the student is enrolled (usually AY):
- First you will need to apply for grant tuition and/or stipend fund code through Banner. Once the code is established you can submit the Grant Funded Scholarship form to Grants and Contracts.
If the student is not enrolled (usually summer sessions):
- Submit a Generic Voucher using code 4140 Stipends
When do FICA benefits impact my budget for hourly student employees?
Students enrolled in courses at least half time during the period they are working will not have FICA withheld. In the summer, because many students are not enrolled half-time, FICA charges are more likely to be made on their wages earned.
Students appointed on an hourly student appointment will appear in GLOW as 3511 hourly student appointment. When a student’s enrollment falls below half time they will be automatically moved to code 3531.
What is the ecrt system?
As part of federal requirements regarding the use of grants and other sponsored funds, effort must be reported and confirmed for all individuals who receive salary support from a sponsored project or who expend committed effort on a sponsored project regardless of receiving salary support from the sponsor.
ecrt is our means of providing assurance to sponsors that:
•Salaries charged to sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to the work performed, and
•Faculty and staff have met their commitments to sponsored projects.
For training videos and ecrt quick guides visit the Grants and Contracts ecrt page.
How do I purchase equipment for my project?
The equipment must be in the grant budget. Follow the purchasing process by initiating a Purchase Requisition and any other forms required based on whether you have a specific vendor or will need to go through the bidding process.
What if I submit my progress/technical report late to the sponsor?
Late reporting can impose additional requirements on future awards or prevent WMU from receiving future federal funding. The Federal Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200.339 Remedies for noncompliance addresses further action that can be taken.
National Science Foundation has specific deadlines for reporting and the actions they will take when reports are overdue.
Who is responsible for preparing financial reports required by the sponsor?
Grants and Contracts Restricted Fund Accountant prepares financial reports required by the sponsor. They will work with the PI confirming the expenditures in GLOW. If a requirement of the financial report is to project future expenditures the PI will need to work with the department to determine the future expenses. When the financial report due date is not listed in the award document the PI is responsible for providing to the Restricted Fund Accountant, asap, the communication from the sponsor regarding the due date.
Do I need to go back to the sponsor in order to extend the time period of my grant?
Many federal sponsors allow the first no cost extension up to 12 months without sponsor approval. See the prior approval matrix that has most federal sponsors listed and their requirements.
For a no cost extension the University Prior Approval form is required for internal approval. Once the form is completed and approved your Research Officer will assist with submitting the notification to the sponsor.
How can I get training for grants?
There are several ways to obtain grant training:
- Attend the PI meeting. A PI meeting is usually set up at the beginning of the grant project. The meeting will involve the PI, the department’s administrative assistant and Restricted Fund Accountant. A packet will be handed out at the PI meeting. This packet will include helpful information
- Review the Grants and Contracts website. You can use the website to learn a great deal about grants. There are several procedures on the Grants and Contracts website to help you. For example, the Responsibilities Chart covers many of the common processes.
- Contact your Restricted Fund Accountant.