West Chester University
Gautam Pillay, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President
628 S. High Street
Filano Hall, Room 205
Sponsored Research Awards Sponsors make awards to the University, not to individual investigators. While the University is legally responsible for the stewardship of an award, the investigator is accountable to the sponsor, the University, and the college and department in which the program is conducted for all aspects of the program, whether the award is in the form of a grant, a contract, or other award mechanism. In addition to bearing the responsibility for conducting the program in a manner consistent with professional standards, investigators must be aware of and observe all of the terms and conditions of the award.
Award Set-Up As soon as all required actions, forms and any required compliance approvals have been completed by the PI and OSR, the award is set-up in the WCU financial system. Finance and Business Services (FBS) will assign a 10 digit SAP Cost Center number through which the PI will access the grant or contract funds.
New Award Management Meeting The OSR will schedule a new award management meeting to be attended by staff from the OSR, the PI, key personnel on the project, PI's department chair and a Finance and Business Services representative. The PI's Dean will be invited to attend the beginning of the meeting to acknowledge the grant award and the PI. The New Award Management meeting will establish: performance period dates, budget, deliverable requirements, a review of WCU policies and procedures to follow depending on the amount of the purchse, and certain terms and conditions as well as other information in the system for tracking and reporting purposes.
OSR staff will review PI responsibilities associated with carrying out the grant project, and WCU resources available to support the PI. The PI will meet with staff from OSR and FBS who will assist in the various aspects of award management, including planning and program implementation, establishing and managing the grant account, hiring, procuring products and services, and reporting. A checklist for post award reporting which includes tracking of performance and financial reporting will be prepared for the PI. Meeting participants will also review the PI Responsibility checklist. Emphasis will be made on the importance of adhering to terms of the grant, the PI must follow all grant approved scope and objectives, and limit expenditures to those approved in the budget. Copies of the checklists will be maintained in the OSR.
From the Office of Restricted Funds, West Chester University of PA
Congratulations on your grant award. There is much to do once you have received the award and this document is provided to assist with the fiscal aspects of the grant. Although the grant award is funded with external dollars, it is necessary to follow the policies and procedures in place at West Chester University. This would apply to but not limited to personnel, payroll, procurement and disbursement, and travel.
Once the award letter has been issued, a new SAP cost center number will be assigned. The cost center or fund center number is a ten digit number that is unique to the grant and is used to identify the specific grant. An email will be sent to the Principal Investigator (PI) once the cost center has been set up. This email comes from Ken Husar, Business Analyst in Finance and Business Services. The PI is also the Fund Center Manager. Additionally this ten digit cost center number must be placed on all financial vouchers submitted to the Finance and Business Services division. All forms will require an SAP account number as well. This is the six digit number that describes the type of expense that begins with a six. This information can be found on the Administration and Finance webpage under Accounting. The Cost Center and GL Account information is on the left side of this web page.
There are several forms utilized for processing expenditures. For operating expenses there is the Payment Request Form which is used for processing registration, reimbursement, subscription, stipend, license fee, membership, refund and honorarium. Please note that sales tax is not a reimbursable expense. The majority of other purchases are to be processed in SAP through an Electronic Requisition (E-Req) which is defined as the need for material or service. It is the primary tool for identifying materials or services that must be procured outside the University. It authorizes the Purchasing Department to purchase materials or services in specific quantities within a specified time frame. All E-Req's are subject to budget check via the Purchasing Department to ensure that funds are available for the purchase. It is necessary to obtain approval from the Grant and Contract Accountant for all expenditures. The E-Req is the first step in making a purchase, so please be sure to refer to the Purchasing web site for policies and procedures.
Further, it is necessary to review the Purchasing webpage regarding the purchase of supplies and equipment, as well as for the hiring of consultants. Any purchase over $10,000 would require a competitive bidding process. A similar set of rules apply to the use of outside speakers and consultants. Additional approvals and review may be needed when a request is over a certain dollar amount. If it is necessary to use a particular speaker, consultant or vendor for grant activity, it may be a good idea to incorporate that information up front in the grant proposal. Under no circumstance should an individual commit University or grant funds by entering into an agreement or contract, without going through the purchasing office, regardless of the price.
A budget was submitted when the grant proposal was submitted. Therefore, the budget is reviewed each time an expenditure is received by the Grant & Contract Accountant (GCA) to be sure the expense is allowable and that funds are available. If the expense is not allowable, the GCA will discuss with the PI. Additionally, if there are any changes or revisions to the budget, a copy of the revised budget is necessary for the Grant & Contract Accountant as well as Sponsored Research. Also keep in mind if it is necessary to move expenses from one line item to another as this may need approval from the Grantor.
As it relates to travel, there are two forms available - the Advance Travel Authorization form and Travel Expense Voucher. These forms are available on the Administration and Finance webpage under Accounts Payable. There are many guidelines to follow for travel and are provided on this webpage. It is necessary to complete each form in its entirety (with appropriate approvals) as incomplete forms will result in processing delays. Please note that travel outside the contiguous United States requires the University President's approval in addition to the Provost and the individual's supervisor. Always be sure to complete the form in its entirety. Specifically if the PI is traveling for several days, departure and return times are essential in particular as it relates to meal reimbursements (subsistence). There are specific rates for subsistence depending on which area of the U.S. the PI is traveling to.
For personnel and payroll issues there is the Request to Hire Staff form, Student Payroll Request form, and Dual Compensation form. When hiring a new employee or advertising for a new position be sure to contact HRS to determine the proper classification and rate of pay.
Additionally, it is necessary to be aware of the fringe benefits. As the employer, WCU is required to pay certain benefits on behalf of the employees. Per established guidelines, WCU is required to match the same percentage of an employee contribution to FICA and retirement. For full time employees, it may be necessary to cover annuity, health and hospitalization benefits. Since the payroll is charged to the grant, the corresponding benefits paid by the employer must also be charged to the grant.
Any additional compensation paid to a WCU employee must be processed on a Dual Compensation form. This would apply to any services provided over and above an individual's normal work assignment. This form must be approved by the individual home department chair and Dean, as well as the Grant and Contract Accountant. For faculty, the form must also be approved by the Provost. The form is then submitted to payroll to be processed in a future bi-weekly payroll check. This form is processed electronically.
It is strongly suggested to attend an SAP training class. The PI can register for this on WCU's website under Software Application Training (SAT). In order to assist the PI in monitoring the grant expenditures, there are financial reports available. In SAP the budget reported is titled ZFM01_EXP - BCS Reports - FC, Exp Only. To access these reports, SAP training is necessary. There are also reports available on the website through the following menus: Administration/Administration and Finance/Accounting and then Financial Reports, Link to BI Report Menu. There is also training available for these reports and it is necessary in order to log in and view these reports.
Equipment, furniture, software, buildings, and improvements with a purchase cost in excess of $5,000, or fair value if acquired by gift, in excess of $5,000 with an estimated useful life of two years or greater are capitalized. The general ledger account number would start with 7xxxxx. The following is a list of possible general ledger capital expense accounts:
700000 - Land Acquisition
710000 - Buildings (new)
720000 - Building Improvements
730000 - Improvements Other Than Buildings
740000 - Equipment & Machinery
750000 - Furniture and Furnishings
For Noncapital Minor Equipment less than $5,000, examples of the general ledger account numbers would be as follows:
660125 - Noncapital Equipment - all items excluding computer equipment
660130 - Furniture & Furnishings (noncapital) - for furniture
660230 - EDP Equipment (noncapital) - for computer equipment
This document is only a brief summary and more information regarding policies and procedures can be found on the Administration and Finance website.
On this webpage, all the forms necessary to process expenditures are located here as well as all the necessary forms for personnel and payroll.
While sponsors expect Principal Investigators (PI) to complete projects by the stipulated end date, occasionally additional time is needed to complete the project scope and objectives. A PI may request a "no-cost extension" from the sponsor and receive additional time to complete a project where no additional funding is required. Although requests may not be made for the sole purpose of spending remaining funds, remaining funds can be expended during the no-cost extension period.
Some auditors or program officers may interpret a request for a no-cost extension as evidence of a poorly managed project, therefore, no-cost extension requests should be carefully considered and should be rare occurrences.
No-cost extension requests should be made for programmatic reasons only. Explanations for a request include:
Please complete the No-Cost Extension form and submit it to the OSR at least 45 days prior to the original end date of the project. The letter requesting approval for a no-cost extension must reach the sponsor well before the expiration date in order to allow the sponsor time to process the request and inform WCU of the approval before the project period ends.
The PI should request only the actual amount of time need to complete the project, one to twelve months. The OSR review of the request will consider summary of progress, estimate of funds remaining, and plans for the completion of the project. The fact that funds remain in the grant is not, in itself, justification for a no-cost extension. In the case of federal funding, the OSR must notify the appropriate agency's office of an extension at least 10 days prior to the original expiration date, so submitting requests in a timely manner is critical. Private donors will have different guidelines for no-cost extension requests. In the case of private sponsored funds, the PI must complete the no-cost extension request. After OSR approves this request, OSR staff will work with the PI to draft a letter requesting a no-cost extension to be submitted to the private sponsor.