Communications with Funding Agencies
Revision Date: 9/6/2005
Responsible Office: Vice President for Research and Development
All correspondence regarding the University's contractual commitments and obligations, including notice of award, revisions, extensions, continuations, and project terminations, should be handled by a central office. OUR has been designated as being responsible for this function. This policy does not preclude correspondence between a project Director and the program staff of a funding organization. However, if the correspondence involves the commitments of the University or the University's compliance with laws and regulations, then the correspondence needs to come through the Office of University Research.
All fiscal reports and invoices to be submitted to the funding agency are to be prepared and submitted by OUR. Since each granting agency stipulates its individual requirements in this matter, Project Directors should make specific arrangements with OUR for the preparation of reports required by the funding agency.
All personnel requests, faculty overloads, consultant expenditures, purchase requisitions, confirming purchase requisitions, intracampus requisitions, travel vouchers, and petty cash vouchers using grant and contract funds need to be sent to OUR. If co-project Directors represent different Colleges, requests for expenditure of funds must be reviewed and signed by involved PI's, Unit Heads, and College Deans prior to submission to University Research. The Comptroller, Personnel, and Purchasing will not accept requests that have not been approved by University Research. The purpose of routing all expenditures through OUR is to provide assistance to Project Directors in using the purchasing and personnel systems and to help Project Directors keep their books accurate. The established purchasing, personnel, and accounting policies, procedures, and practices of Louisiana Tech University are to be followed in all sponsored projects. This compliance is a mandate in both Federal and State regulations.
Accounting: For accounting purposes, sponsored programs are classified as Restricted Funds. The Director of each project receives a monthly financial statement of the project prepared by the Comptroller, which provides a current, detailed accounting of all project funds and expenditures.
Personnel Services: Research and other sponsored projects are normally undertaken on a released-time basis or as a part of the faculty member's regular load. An Appointment Request Form should be processed in order that a portion of an individual's salary may be charged to a grant. The form should show the percentages and dollar amounts of an individual's salary charged to a sponsored project and to the operating budget. Only in those instances where it is not possible for a faculty member to be released from regular duties, overload employment may be allowable under policies adopted in February 1970. An Overload Salary Authorization Form should be processed before actual employment of persons working on a project for extra compensation. When the sponsor for a project is a public agency, a letter or a copy of a policy statement from that agency that specifically authorizes overload compensation must accompany the Overload Salary Authorization Form. Persons proposing to undertake overload employment should consult the overload policies and procedures statements found in this handbook.
In November 1991, the Federal Office of Management and Budget published Revised Circular A-21 which requires 100% Effort Reporting by University employees to account for the distribution of salary and wages on all federally funded projects, including state grants that have federal flow-through funds. Effort, for the purpose of Time and Effort Reporting, is all work performed for compensation and received from Louisiana Tech University with the exception of work done for supplemental pay. Effort is always stated in percentages of total effort, which is always equal to 100% even if it is part-time or a portion of the reporting period.
Time and Effort Reports should be completed by all individuals–faculty, clerical, undergraduate, and graduate students–who receive compensation or have cost-sharing obligations on federally sponsored projects. Cost sharing refers to the percent of effort worked on a project in excess of pay received from that project which represents the University’s share of the funding for that award. These reports should be submitted to OUR at the end of each academic quarter.
Classified (Civil Service) employees are not permitted to receive additional compensation except as a result of overtime in those instances where some classes of employees may be paid time and a half. The Overload Employment section of this handbook should be consulted concerning the policies and procedures for the employment of Civil Service personnel on sponsored programs.
In order for a student to be employed as a student worker on a sponsored program, an application for student employment must be filed with the Financial Aid Office. The information required for employment on such a project is minimal. Only the student's name, social security number, permanent student number, and income tax withholding information are required. A student participating in federally funded programs of financial assistance cannot be employed by a sponsored project unless the financial aid already awarded does not meet the need for assistance or, if it does, unless the program of financial assistance can be and is reduced by the amount to be earned in employment on a sponsored project. Once the application for employment is filed by the student and a request is received in the Financial Aid Office from a Project Director, the certification form will be sent to the employer authorizing the student to be employed.This form must be completed, signed appropriately, and returned to the Financial Aid Office. The issuance of all student employment checks depends on the receipt of properly completed and timely filed time cards.
Contractual Services, Travel, Materials and Supplies, and Equipment: Expenditures for contractual services and travel, as well as materials and supplies and equipment funds, must be conducted under the policies and procedures established by the Division of Administrative Affairs. The same methods and procedures (e.g., purchase requisitions) are used for transacting business for sponsored programs as are used for transacting business for operating accounts. It is the responsibility of the Project Director to ensure that the grant or contractual agreement and funding agency's guidelines allow for any given expenditure. Many funding agencies also require that prior approval on specific items of equipment be obtained from them before equipment may be purchased, and frequently title to such equipment rests with the sponsoring agency. Purchase requisitions must be placed in process well in advance of a project termination date. Due allowances should be made for taxes and shipping charges in setting up equipment estimates.
It is fully recognized that the nature of work on sponsored programs is such that expeditious purchasing procedures must be made available for certain emergency purchases. The present purchasing regulations include provisions for this type of transaction if the action is in keeping with the guidelines of the funding agency and is approved by the Purchasing Officer.
A number of forms are available from Purchasing to utilize the purchasing procedures at the University as mandated by the State of Louisiana Purchasing Regulations. These include the Purchase Requisition and Petty Cash forms. There are specialized forms for Word Processing Services, Printing Services, and Office Services.
An Intracampus Requisition Form should be used for purchasing supplies and services internally such as bookstore, plant stores, and photographic services. Telephone calls charged to an operating account may be transferred to an agency account by contacting OUR.
Travel must be performed within the grant period. Travel cannot be encumbered beyond the closing date of a project or reimbursed when performed before the opening date. Individual trips must receive approval on a Travel Authorization Form before the travel is actually accomplished. All other types of expenditures must be encumbered during the grant period.
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs: F&A costs are actual cash expenses of the University related to research and other activities. These costs are part of the total cost of providing services and must be paid. Funded research projects need to pay their share of these costs, thus the need for indirect cost rates. The U.S. Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research has been designated as the cognizant Federal agency with which the University establishes an indirect cost rate. The Federal F&A cost rate is computed as percentage of direct labor costs (i.e., direct salaries, wages, and student labor). The current F&A cost rate may be obtained from OUR.
It is University policy that the appropriate F&A rate shall be used with all funded projects except when a waiver is requested and justified in writing by the faculty member and approved by the Vice President for Research and Development. The basis for requesting a waiver in part or in whole of F&A costs is that the proposed project will directly contribute to an academic program or is prohibited by the funding agency. A form for requesting waiver of F&A costs is available from OUR and must accompany the proposal routing form. If F&A costs are waived, the amount waived should be represented as a University contribution to the project in the budget.
Fringe Benefits: Proposals should contain adequate provision for the employer's share of fringe benefits. The current fringe benefit rate may be obtained from OUR.