Grant (Contract) Administration

spar logoThis page is intended to show SCSU faculty how awarded grants are properly administered.

SPAR is the department that ensures OMB Circulars, A-21 Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, and A-110 Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-Profit Organizations.  We also make sure all other requirements of the grant contract are observed as required by the government granting agencies and that files are properly maintained so as to pass a government auditor's review in accordance with OMB Circular A-133 Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.

Non-Government agencies may or may not specifically require observing these OMB Circulars, but since SCSU must be able to pass annual audits that are in accordance with OMB Circular A-133, all grants at SCSU follow these government requirements.

The following pages will explain how grant budgets are posted and expenses are applied against the budget, how funds are received from the granters, and who develops and submits financial and program progress reports.  Please read the entire document; however, if you need to skip to a certain section, do so by clicking one of the sections below:

  1. Award Letter Received
  2. Contract Types
  3. Administering the Grant
  4. Personnel
  5. Hiring and Paying Consultants
  6. Expenditure Approval
  7. Financial Aid
  8. Grant Budget Changes
  9. Receipt of Grant Funds
  10. Summary
  11. Indirect Costs
  12. Reports
  13. Payments to Foreign Nationals
  14. Close-Out

1. Award Letter Received:  Back To Top

If you receive an award letter indicating that your grant has been funded, congratulations are in order. Award letters are usually sent to the project director, the president of the university and/or SPAR. SPAR must receive and maintain award letters for the auditable files as documentation that the grant is funded. Therefore, upon receipt of an award letter, please insure that SPAR receives the award letter.

Some funding sources require a fully executed contract, agreement, or memorandum of agreement with SCSU.  In order to be a legal and binding contract with SCSU, contracts and agreements must carry the signatures of both parties.  Government agencies will send a grant award notification.  Private organizations, state, and local entities often send a contract or memorandum of agreement with a letter notifying the project director of the award. This will need to be signed by the university and the agency. After all signatures are in place, or the contract is fully executed, the grant is then approved.

Please note: In accordance with CSU Board Resolution 99-27, only the president, vice presidents, and chief officers are authorized to sign contract agreements on behalf of the university. Violation of BR 99-27 may result in personal liability.

When a contract or agreement is required, the project director must forward the document to SPAR for review. SPAR will then obtain the appropriate approval and will forward the document to the agency. Once the fully executed contract or agreement has been received in SPAR, the Banner organization for the grant can be established.

SPAR will notify the president, Academic Affairs, Institutional Advancement, Public Affairs, Faculty Development, appropriate dean, and appropriate chairman when a grant is funded.

The Major Gifts office will forward a thank-you note to private foundations and corporations. SPAR will provide Major Gifts with all of the required information.

2. Contract Types:Back To Top

There are two major types of contracts (grants): fixed-price contracts and cost reimbursement contracts. A fixed-price contract exists when the contractor (SCSU) receives an agreement that clearly defines the requirements of the task and has a set price for completing this task. Payment is tied to completion of items under the statement of work or delivery of goods, rather than level of time and materials expended. Whether the university expends more or less money than the fixed-price contract is irrelevant to the funding agency whose price remains the same. The university remains responsible for completion of the project or deliverable, regardless of whether funds are exhausted. A fixed-price contract is usually used when there are definite specifications for the goods or services being performed and when reasonable and fair prices can be established at the outset of the contract.

A cost reimbursement contract occurs when the contractor (SCSU) is reimbursed only for actual costs incurred in the performance of the statement of work. A cost reimbursement contract establishes a ceiling on the amount of the contract. The contractor will be reimbursed only for all allowable costs incurred and may stop work short of completion in the event that agency funds are exhausted.

All encumbrances for cost reimbursement grants must be submitted prior to the end date of the grant. All invoices for cost reimbursement grants must be paid no later than 30 days after the grant end date for services rendered during the grant period. Cost reimbursement grants usually require the submission of a final expenditure report after the project period. Any revenue remaining in the grant will be returned to the agency (See section on Reports).

All expenditures for fixed-price contracts for services rendered during the grant period must be submitted for processing no later than 90 days after the grant end date. Fixed-price contracts may require a final expenditure report; however, any balance remaining after this date will become the property of the university.

SPAR will determine whether your grant is a firm fixed-price contract or a cost reimbursement contract. 

3. Administering the Grant:Back To Top

The University Accounting Office will maintain the posting of expenses against the Banner budget so as to maintain accurate financial records. Accounting will file financial reports to the granting agencies as required by the reporting schedule of the agreement and summarized on the GADS. Accounting will provide accounting reports to the PI when requested.

The University Accounting Office is also responsible for carrying over any unspent funds into the next FY when authorized by the grantor.

The PI is responsible for carrying out the technical aspects of the grant as well as maintaining accurate financial records of all expenses charged against the grant's budget.

SPAR assists grantee in understanding the budgetary implications of decisions made on grants spending. SPAR also helps oversee expenditures, insuring that they conform to the intentions of the granting agency, the approved budget, and the allowance of costs in accordance with federal regulations.

4. Personnel:Back To Top

Appointments of a person into a permanent/part-time position require establishing the position (Personnel Change Request Form). A personnel action form is required to complete the hiring of the selected individual. The above-mentioned forms may be found on Internal Forms page of the SPAR Website.

After receiving approvals from the department vice president and the president, the person will receive a letter from the president making the appointment. The person may not start working until they have received the president's notification letter and they have accepted the appointment by signing and returning the letter.

Rosters for Lecturers, University Assistants, and Graduate Assistants may be generated and presented to department head and dean. SPAR will review rosters to ensure that the grant supports the creation of this position.

SPAR will obtain approvals from the applicable vice president (Academic Affairs/Student Services) and then forward the roster to Human Resources. After HR approves the position, the roster is forwarded to the vice president of finance. This will be the final approval before the person is notified. The person will then be notified by a letter from Human Resources. They must sign and return this letter to Human Resources before starting to work.

SCSU secretaries, who are to be paid to work on a grant in addition to their regular position, must perform work during overtime. An overtime time record form needs to be completed for all overtime work done by secretaries. This record must be forwarded to SPAR for approval to ensure that the overtime charges will be applied to the grant and so the secretaries may be paid.

5. Hiring and Paying Consultants:Back To Top

To hire an outside consultant on a grant, university policy requires a signed contract agreement between the university and the consultant. This policy can be found at:

Link to PSA (Personal Service Agreement) Form on SPAR site.

The agreement should include the name, address, phone number, and Social Security number of the consultant, the Banner organization number, the duration of the agreement, the services to be provided under the contract, and the total compensation to be paid. A schedule of payment must be provided and the name of the university responsible monitor of this contract.

A W-9 form must be completed and submitted with the PSA. If the PSA is for a corporation, then a corporate resolution must be submitted showing that the person signing for the corporation was authorized by the board of directors to do so. The project director must prepare the PSA, forward the PSA to the contractor for signature, and forward the PSA to SPAR for approval. Then, SPAR will forward the PSA to Academic Affairs for the vice president's approval. The form will then be delivered to the Finance and Administration office for processing.

Payment requests for the consultant must be made by the project director on a voucher/disbursement request form, attaching the contractor's invoice, indicating the PSA number, in accordance with the payment schedule on the PSA. The voucher is then forwarded to SPAR for approval. SPAR, after approving the voucher will forward it to Accounts Payable.

6. Expenditure Approval:Back To Top

When it becomes necessary to make expenditures for carrying out the intent of the grant, existing university policy must be followed. The university policy for grant expenditures is explained in the "Finance and Administration Business Resources Manual." All grant expenditures, including purchase requisitions, voucher/disbursement request forms, personal service agreements, and honoraria, must be sent to SPAR for approval to ensure compliance with the budget as approved by the granting agency, as well as compliance with university policies and procedures. If SPAR finds an irregularity, the paperwork will be returned to the project director with an explanation of the problem. The project director is to correct the problem and return the document to SPAR. Detailed instructions for completing each of the expense forms are contained in the "Finance and Administration Business Resources Manual."

To assist the project director with grant spending, the following table will explain the forms used for grant expenditures. Detailed procedures regarding the preparation of these forms can be found in the "Finance and Administration Business Resources Manual."

Form Name & Description

Purchase Requisitions     Used for the purchase of materials and supplies. Must be submitted before order is placed. See Purchasing Section of F&A Business Resources Manual or Go to

Honorarium (RFH)   Used for the payment of guest speakers and lecturers. This form must be submitted 10 business days prior to engagement. See Purchasing Section of F&A Business Resources Manual.

Personal Service Agreement (PSA)   Used for contracting professional services. Under $3000, must be submitted to Finance & Administration department seven days in advance. Over $3000, including recurring PSAs which exceed $3000 cumulative over a 12-month period, must be submitted to Finance & Administration department 21 business days in advance AND requires approval of attorney general (This coordination is handled by Finance & Administration.). See Personal Service Agreement Section of F&A Business Resources Manual.

Voucher/Disbursement Request   Used for payment for an RFH or PSA, membership/ subscription renewal, stipends for non-employees participating in grant funded activities, etc.

Employee Voucher, CO-17XP   Used for mileage reimbursement, employee out-of-pocket reimbursement ($100 maximum), and reimbursement for travel, etc. See Employee Reimbursement Section of F&A Business Resource Manual. Sales tax is not a reimbursable expense.

Duplicating Services Request Form   Used to charge a grant for University Duplicating services. Forms available in SPAR.

Mail Slips   Used to charge a grant for postage and express mail services offered by the University Mail Room. Forms available in SPAR.

CSU Travel Authorization   Used to authorize university-related travel. Must be completed and approved two weeks prior to travel. See Travel section in the F&A Business Resource Manual.

Dual Employment Request   Used when employee provides services for more than one state agency. See Personal Service Agreement section of F&A Business Resource Manual.

Time sheets must be submitted to SPAR for all lecturers authorized in accordance with 10.12 rosters via the 10.12 time sheets. The time sheets should be completed and signed by the lecturer and by an authorized department management person that is responsible for work done by the lecturer. The time sheets are to be submitted on a monthly basis.

Lecturers working with release time are to submit Time and Effort Reports to SPAR on a monthly basis. Contributed time must also be accounted for on a time and effort report with a notation indicating that this is contributed time.

University Assistants are to submit time sheets to SPAR on a bi-weekly basis. Graduate Assistants are to submit Time and Effort Reports to SPAR on a monthly basis.

7. Financial Aid:Back To Top

When tuition payments need to be made from a grant, a justification in the form of an e-mail or memo with the student(s) name and student ID number(s) should be forwarded to SPAR for review. Please use the form for financial aid to include all of the information for the student(s) receiving financial aid via grant tuition payments.

SPAR will ensure that the charges are authorized by the grant and that the budget will support providing this aid to the students; then it will be forwarded to the Financial Aid office. The Financial Aid Office will insure that the tuition payment is deposited into the respective student's account.

8. Grant Budget Changes:Back To Top

When a budget change becomes necessary, the project director should use the current GADS and make all desired changes on this form, which includes specifics on the movement of grant funds to support the revision. This form will be forwarded to SPAR for review and approval, and any granting agency approvals required will be obtained by SPAR.

Due to the amount of time required for budget revisions, a maximum of one budget revision per quarter is allowed without the approval of the vice president for Finance and Administration. It is important that project directors plan accordingly. SPAR can assist in determining what budget alterations require agency approval. If agency approval is required, SPAR will request the budget revision from the appropriate agency official. The project director will provide SPAR with a detailed justification so that the agency is fully apprised of the need for the revision. Please allow sufficient time for a reply from the granting agency.

Grant expenditures based on a budget revision will not be processed until the necessary approvals have been received and the Banner budget has been revised.

9. Receipt of Grant Funds:Back To Top

Grant funds from private organizations usually arrive in the form of a check made out to the university. In general, the check is delivered to the president or to SPAR. On rare occasions the check may be delivered to the project director. These checks may be for the entire granted amount or be in the form of installments. All checks must be brought to SPAR so they may be deposited within 24 hours of receipt into the Banner organization of the grant. If a Banner organization for the grant is not yet established, the funds will temporarily be deposited into a suspense account per regulations of the State Comptroller until the Banner organization is created. If SPAR is not available, and a deposit needs to be made, a deposit slip can be prepared for deposit into the "SUSPNS" (suspense account), in place of the F-O-A-P and brought to the Bursar's Office.

The pink copy will be given at the time the slip is received by the Bursar's Office. A yellow copy will be forwarded to the individual making the deposit.

Project directors who make a deposit must forward copies of the pink and yellow slips to SPAR so that the deposit may be recorded in the correct grant.

Grant funds that are improperly deposited into departmental Banner organizations will be lost at the end of the fiscal year. The project director will jeopardize the ability to access funds in the next fiscal year if this occurs.

Funding for most federal grants occurs on a reimbursement or "as needed" basis. University Accounting will track spending on federal grants and request reimbursements from the federal agencies (usually done quarterly).

Some agencies require an invoice in order to release funds for a grant. In this case, SPAR will prepare an invoice per the terms of the agreement with the agency. The projector director must work with SPAR by providing detailed information as to the completion of the applicable work, including the time period of the work and specifically what work was accomplished. This will ensure that the invoice is sent out according to the terms of the agreement.

10. Summary:Back To Top

•  Receiving Revenue:

•  Reports:

11. Indirect Costs:Back To Top

The federal government recognizes that in addition to the direct costs that can be specifically identified with a particular grant, there are other costs incurred which are common to two or more of an institution's projects or operations. These costs are called indirect costs, and the government has issued a set of federal cost principles to determine what portion of these common costs can be allocated to grants sponsored programs.

Generally, indirect costs include the cost of the operation and maintenance of the physical plant (such as security, utilities, and depreciation), general administrative costs of the university, fringe benefit costs, and library costs.

In general, the federal guidelines prohibit the inclusion of athletic expenses, student activity expenses, development expenses, rare book expenses, and all expenses related to auxiliary services in the computation of indirect costs.

Indirect costs are charged to the grant whenever allowed by the granting agency. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calculates the indirect cost rate for SCSU. The current indirect cost rate is 62.8% of salaries and fringe in the grant. This rate is in effect until June 30, 2007.

The Accounting Office prepares an indirect cost proposal using the prescribed federal guidelines and submits the proposal to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS negotiates with SCSU on behalf of all the federal granting agencies to arrive at an acceptable indirect cost rate. Once an agreement has been reached between HHS and the university, the new rate becomes our indirect cost rate for a set period of time. This rate is usually stated as a percentage of direct salaries and wages in a proposed grant budget.

Indirect funds shall be allocated as follows:

12. Reports:Back To Top

Based on the requirements of the grant, the University Accounting Office will prepare and submit all required financial reports. It is the responsibility of the project director to file required progress and final project reports with the granting agency, as well as ensure that the financial reports are submitted in a timely manner. Continued funding depends on the caliber of these reports, they are as important as the proposal and can set the stage for future awards. Report copies must be given to SPAR. Failure to file these reports in a timely manner reflects poorly on the university and may delay the flow of funds from federal agencies, not only for your project but also for all federally supported grant projects.

13. Payments to Foreign Nationals:Back To Top

Policy Regarding Payments to and for Foreign Nationals on Grants.

The following are the procedures set forth by Southern Connecticut State University with regard to payments on grants and contracts to foreign nationals.  It is the responsibility of the principal investigator (PI) of the grant to properly present voucher/disbursements, personal service agreements, honoraria, and purchase requisitions to the SPAR Office on a timely basis in order to properly process these payments. Voucher/disbursements, personal service agreements, honoraria, and purchase requisitions received by Finance and Administration without approval from SPAR will be returned to SPAR, delaying processing of the expenditure. Under no circumstances will faculty or staff be reimbursed for any cash payments made to foreign nationals.

A. Travel Expenses to Foreign Nationals:

When foreign nationals travel to and from Southern Connecticut State University for purposes of grant activity, travel expenses shall (whenever possible) be prepaid by purchase order to include hotels, airfares, and other transportation. The purchase requisition which initiates the purchase order shall reflect the organizational number of the grant activity, and shall be submitted no less than four weeks in advance of the intended travel. Purchase requisitions shall include a complete justification for the travel being requested and shall be authorized by SPAR before being presented to the Purchasing Department. Advances for meals shall be made by calculating the per diem (See Note below) for the city intended times the number of days the foreign national is in residence and shall be processed on a voucher/disbursement.  The voucher/disbursement must be accompanied by copies of supporting documentation and must list the associated organizational number.

Note:  To calculate the per diem, please refer to the following Web site:

If airfare is involved, the SPAR Office will make arrangements through the State of Connecticut-contracted vendor, Sanditz Travel.  Copies of arrangements made through Sanditz Travel must accompany the purchase requisition, and the description area of the purchase requisition must indicate "pre-payment order."

When time or extenuating circumstances will not allow prepayment of travel expenses through the purchase order process, reimbursement shall be made to foreign nationals through the use of a voucher/disbursement on an actuals basis, but not to exceed the budgeted amounts. Original receipts shall be presented, translated into English and United States currency rates, along with a voucher/disbursement as proof of the expense. A complete justification must accompany the voucher/disbursement detailing the nature of the expense, and the reason why prepayment could not be made.

Whether travel for foreign nationals is paid by purchase order or by voucher/disbursement, all requests must be accompanied by a copy of the grant budget showing the necessity and authorization for the travel by the grantor and the SPAR Office.

B. Payment of Stipends to Foreign Nationals:

Payments of stipends to foreign nationals shall be processed on a voucher/disbursement with an attached justification explaining the source and purpose of the expenditure. As in travel payments, the voucher/disbursement must be accompanied by a copy of the budget of the grant, showing stipend payments as an approved and necessary expenditure. SPAR approval must be evident before stipend voucher/disbursements will be processed.

PLEASE NOTE:  The payment of stipends to foreign nationals does not preclude the personal service agreement process.  Stipends are provided only if a service has not been provided to the university.  If a service is to be provided to Southern Connecticut State University, such request for service must adhere to the policies and procedures related to bidding practices and signature requirements related to the processing of a personal service agreement.  Please refer to the section related to personal service agreements contained within the Finance & Administration Business Services Resource manual regarding personal service agreement procedures for more information.

C. Payment of Salary to Foreign Nationals:

Foreign nationals hired as employees of Southern Connecticut State University must be hired under the same human resource processes as all other hires. Be advised that these employees may be subject to a higher withholding rate than other employees by United States Department treaties.  These withholding rates are not discretionary and must be followed in order for the university to comply with Internal Revenue Service regulations.  Many foreign nationals require permission to work from the person responsible for issuing their travel documents. It is the PI's responsibility to consult with Southern's  Office of Human Resources and the SPAR Office to determine the correct United States visa class for a visitor who intends to work at Southern. PI's are also advised that entrance to the United States under certain visa classes may preclude foreign nationals from returning under a different visa class for up to two years. The visitor is responsible for inquiring as to the impact of their chosen visa status with the U.S. Embassy.

For direction on the procedures for hiring human resources, including forms and instructions, please see the Human Resources Website, located by clicking the "Faculty & Staff" button on the Southern Connecticut State University home page (

Under no circumstances may a foreign national begin work as an employee at Southern Connecticut State University without written approval from the Office of Human Resources.

D. Acquisition of Goods/Commodities for Foreign Nationals:

For those grants that require the purchase of equipment or other commodities, the policy and procedures regarding bid and acquisition practices for Southern Connecticut State University must be adhered to. Reimbursement may be provided, with proper receipts translated into English, for the purchase of commodities or services which do not exceed a total of $100, as is in accordance with the university's reimbursement policies.

14. Close-Out:Back To Top

When a grant closes, there are several steps to follow to ensure that the grant is closed properly and in a timely manner. It is essential that the project director meet with SPAR at least 30 days prior to the end of the grant to ensure a smooth closeout. At this time, current grant charges will be reviewed, all required reports and due dates will be determined, and the submission of final grant expenditures will be discussed.

Once all grant expenses have been paid, remaining revenue in cost reimbursement grants will be returned to the agency, and remaining revenue in Fixed-price grants will become the property of the university (see section on Fixed-Price Contracts vs. Cost Reimbursement Contracts.) When the Banner organization has a zero balance, the University Accountant will close out the Banner organization account.