The University complies with Uniform Guidance, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs), and sponsor specific rules and regulations. Uniform Guidance Subpart E – Cost Principles identifies allowable direct cost categories and prescribes a standard distribution and allocation method for the recovery of F&A (indirect) costs. In addition, the Uniform Guidance establishes standards for consistency in the treatment of costs for institutional accounting and applies to grants, contracts, and other award vehicles accepted by the University. Costs charged to federally sponsored programs must be reasonable, allocable, and allowable charges under applicable federal standards, and they must be permitted under the terms of the specific award and charged consistently.
A quick reference of allowable and unallowable costs is specified in Uniform Guidance §200.413 Direct Costs. Remember, these costs must be budgeted into the project.
Procurement of Goods and Services
All purchasing and procurement is managed in accordance with state purchasing regulations and UL Lafayette's institutional policy. However, purchases related to sponsored programs may have additional requirements imposed by the sponsor. In instances where the University's policies differ from sponsor requirements, sponsor requirements prevail if they are more restrictive. Current University procedures and forms for purchasing supplies, equipment, and services, are located in the Purchasing Office.
Before making a purchase,
- Refer to the fully executed contract, any approved budget revisions, and account ledger to determine availability of funds.
- Confirm that a budget line item exists for the purchase.
The University offers three methods for procuring goods and services. The methods vary depending on the nature and amount of the procurement involved. The general guidelines are as follows:
All procurements must meet the requirements for reasonableness, allowability, allocability, and consistency. Office supplies, general use electronic equipment and supplies are generally not allowed as direct charges to a federal sponsored project. SPFAC can assist in determining when this may be allowable.
All requisitions, direct charges, and LaCarte card purchases charged to a sponsored program must be approved by SPFAC.
The Professional Services Contract should be used for technical or unique functions performed by companies, independent contractors or consultants. This form should not be used to secure services of University employees.
- Authority to contract with a consultant must be specified in the project budget, or the funding agency must have otherwise given formal approval.
- For contracts above $20,000 the request will be sent by the Purchasing Office to the Office of Contractual Review in Baton Rouge. This lengthens the time considerably for processing the contract.
To process a Professional Services Contract over $1,000, submit a Purchase Requisition, with the required approvals and include the following:
- A proposal submitted by the vendor outlining scope of work to be performed, along with a description of performance measures, deliverables and a payment schedule. The proposed start and end dates should also be included on the proposal.
- The contractor's FEIN or social security number (if individual).
- The name and title of the individual (if a company) that will be signing the contract.
The Purchasing Office will contact the PI when the contract is complete. After the contract has been approved and payments are due the contractor, the PI should use a Partial Delivery Receiving Report (may be obtained from the Purchasing Office). It is the sole responsibility of the PI to submit this form for payment when appropriate.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette supports students in various ways. These include stipends and tuition waivers.
If the PI plans to travel for a sponsored program, this must be approved in advance. The PI must submit a travel request using a Travel Request Form. For insurance purposes, a Travel Request is required even if no project or University funds will be used. The official state travel policy must be followed for all travel.
Below are some general considerations that should be reviewed before travel arrangements begin:
- Review the award for restrictions on travel, such as no foreign travel, etc.
- Funds must be available to travel.
- Travel must take place between the start and end dates of the project.
- Use the state approved travel agency when making travel arrangements.
- Allow extra time for approval of international travel.
- Special approval is needed when a rental car is anticipated. The rental request must be submitted with the Travel Request.
If the project is federally funded, including federal pass-through funding, the PI must use a U.S. flag carrier when flying internationally, even when a lower cost non-U.S. carrier is available. When making the arrangements, the travel agent needs to be informed that the PI needs to fly on a U.S. carrier.
The travel request requires the following approvals:
- Principal Investigator
- Department Head
- Vice President of Research, if a center
- Administrative Services
For additional information on travel, contact Administrative Services.
Faculty members committing effort on sponsored programs should work with SPFAC to submit appropriate documentation to have the expenses posted to the awards. Summer compensation is permissible if effort is committed during the summer. However, summer salary is subject to the University policy and sponsoring agency effort limitations.
Administrative and clerical salaries are generally not allowed as direct charges to a federally sponsored project. SPFAC can assist in determining when this may be allowable according to Uniform Guidance §200.413 (c) Direct Costs.
The PI must coordinate the hiring of all graduate students with the Graduate School. The Graduate School can assist with the employment of graduate students, and provide the appropriate policies, procedures, and forms.
If a PI wishes to hire a graduate student on a sponsored program, a Restricted Account Graduate Assistant form will need to be completed following the directions:
- Completed form must be routed to the PI’s department head (or Center Director) and to the Dean of the College (or Center Director's supervisor) for their signatures.
- The form is sent to SPFAC to verify if funding is available.
- If approved, SPFAC will send the approved form to the Graduate School.
- If not approved, it will be returned to the PI
- The Graduate School will send a copy of the approved form to the PI
- The PI should notify the student to proceed with the processing of employment forms with Human Resources
If the GA is to receive a tuition waiver, the GA must report to Administrative Services in Martin Hall to process the waiver. The waiver process must be repeated for each semester that the sponsored program or University is paying the tuition.
A few additional points:
- Stipends and/or tuition paid by University funds to meet its cost-share obligations must be noted on the form. Enter the word "cost-share" and the R account number on the form.
- To be a graduate assistant, a graduate student must be enrolled in at least full-time status (9 graduate credit hours) during the fall and spring semester, unless the student is in the last semester of the student's graduate program, in which case the student must be enrolled for at least half-time status (5 graduate hours for the fall and spring semesters).
- A graduate student may work on the assistantship no more than 20 hours per week during the academic year. During the summer session, GAs may work up to 29 hours per week, however, if an international GA is enrolled in school, he is allowed to work up to only 20 hours per week. GAs may work up to 40 hours per week during the semester breaks.
The PI must coordinate the hiring of all undergraduate students with the Student Financial Aid Office. To be eligible to work on a project, an undergraduate student must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 hours in the fall and spring semester and at least 3 hours in the summer session.
To hire an undergraduate student, the student needs to complete a UL Lafayette Institutional Application for Campus Employment form. Once the student completes their portion of the form, the PI will complete their section, indicating the account number to be charged, semesters working, hours, and rate of pay. The form must be signed and submitted to SPFAC. If a PI wishes to pay a student more than the rate normally allowed, a letter of justification must be attached to the application.
If undergraduate labor is committed as a cost-share obligation, the PI must submit a letter to SPFAC stating the University account paying for the student, the student's name, CLID #, and the number of hours per week that he/she will be working on the project. Students being paid through the federal work study program cannot be used as cost share.
The University policy limits employment of undergraduate students to a maximum of 30 hours per week except during semester breaks when they may work up to 40 hours per week.
If additional information is needed in regards to employing an undergraduate student, please contact the Student Financial Aid Office.
Hiring on a sponsored project can begin once notification of award/funding is received. The University administration and the UL System Board of Supervisors must first approve all new professional staff positions and personnel. Even if funds are available for a new staff position in the sponsored program budget, the PI must follow proper procedures to fill the position. This process may take a month or more, so sufficient time should be allocated. Detailed information for creating, advertising, and appointment of position can be found in the Staff Handbook.
Draft a request for a new position and a suggested vacancy notice.
- The Dean, Provost, and relevant Vice President must sign and approve a hard copy of the request for the position.
- The request is then sent to the Vice President for Administration and Finance for approval and then to the President.
The President approves and routes the request to the EEO Office to receive an EEO number. Once this number is assigned, it must be on all correspondence pertaining to this position.
- A hard copy of the vacancy notice must be approved by the EEO Director, then forwarded to the Office of Academic Planning and Faculty Development.
- The EEO Office will notify you to send the e-file copy of the Vacancy Notice to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The posting date and the date the posting is to be pulled must be included in this e-mail.
- Be aware that the minimum posting time is 5 business days on the UL website only.
- After all interviews are complete, the PI must transmit the names and e-mail address of all applications to the EEO Office at email@example.com. If an applicant does not have an e-mail address, please send their home address on a label.
- The PI can now make an offer to the candidate. Please have the candidate complete and sign the "Background Screening Notification and Authorization Form" and provide the candidate with the "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act", which is attached to the form. This form is available on the HR website.
Fill out an Appointment Form. The Appointment Form requires the following signatures:
- The party that recommended employment
- EEO Officer
- Director, Academic Planning and Faculty Development
- Appropriate Vice President
- Copies of the approved Appointment Form are returned to all parties involved from the Academic Vice President/Vice President for Research.
- An EEO Final Report From will be sent to you and must be completed and returned to the EEO Officer within 10 working days after receipt.
A few additional points:
- If the PI wishes to place the vacancy ad in journals, newspapers, or any other off-campus publications/websites, it is the responsibility of the department to include the text and cost of the proposed ad in the request to have the position approved. (Ads cannot be charged to a sponsored project). The 'ad copy' must be sent to the EEO Office for approval. Once the PI receives the approval for the ads, they can send this material, along with the purchase requisition to the Purchasing Office.
- A position may not be filled without approval of the President. Applicants may not begin working in a position until after the correct procedures have been followed and approval has been given for an official appointment date.
For additional information, contact the EEO office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PI Change Requests
When required by the sponsor, the PI must work with SPFAC to obtain prior approval for certain actions or expenditures. The award document terms and conditions should always be reviewed for such requirements. Advance approval from the sponsor should be requested when any of the following occurs (list is not exhaustive):
- Change in scope or the objective of the project or program (even if there is no associated budget revision requiring prior written approval)
- Change in key person identified in the award document
- The absence for more than three months or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project by a PI
- The need for additional funding
- The transfer of amounts for indirect (F&A) costs to absorb increases in direct costs, or vice versa, if approval is required by the Federal awarding agency
- The inclusion, unless waived by the Federal awarding agency, of costs that require prior approval in accordance with Uniform Guidance
- The transfer of funds allotted for graduate students to other categories of expense
Unless described in the application and funded in the approved awards, the subaward, transfer or contracting out of any work under an award. This provision does not apply to the purchase of supplies, material, equipment, or general support services.
A general reference guide for prior approvals is the NSF FDP “prior approval matrix”.
When a PI intends to transfer to a new institution with an awarded project, it is the PI’s responsibility to work with their department to submit a request through SPFAC for the relinquishment of that award. As awards are issued to the University and not the PI, UL Lafayette has the ultimate authority to determine if the award is retained or relinquished to the PI’s new Institution.
Rebudgeting within a sponsored project, after it is awarded, is allowed if there is a legitimate need to reallocate budgeted costs, provided the rebudgeting conforms to the sponsoring agency’s guidelines. Funding agencies have widely varying requirements regarding modifications to externally funded grants and projects. Some agencies are flexible, while others require prior approval of all changes.
The PI must send to SPFAC a request for a budget revision for any change they desire in the budget for the externally funded project as required by the sponsor. A Budget Revision Request form must be submitted to the Post-Award Grant Specialist. Included on the form is:
- A detailed justification for the revision
- The budget categories to be revised and corresponding amounts
- Signature of PI
If necessary, SPFAC will forward a request for additional approval to the sponsoring agency. The PI should refer to the Award Data Sheet for sponsor restrictions. Some sponsoring agencies will allow some flexibility (e.g., 10%) between line items, as long as the "bottom line" budget does not change and as long as the line item to which the funds would be moved exists and is already funded. Other sponsoring agencies, including the Board of Regents, generally require their approval for various changes.
Change in Key Project Personnel
Changing a Principal Investigator must be approved by the sponsor. Requests must be submitted through SPFAC ad be supported by an explanation for the change.
Change in Scope of Work
At times it becomes necessary to redirect the original scope of work. These changes must be approved by discussion with the sponsor with no exception, and documented in a letter to the sponsor’s program officer. All written sponsor requests must be submitted through SPFAC. This must be completed before implementing any changes.
No Cost Extension
The PI may request a no cost extension (NCE) on a sponsored project if additional time, but not additional funds, is needed to complete the project. NCEs should be requested only when unforeseeable circumstances prevent project completion before the deadline. With proper justification, a sponsor may grant a NCE.
National Science Foundation allows the first NCE without their approval, but this must still be requested. If another NCE is needed after that time, their approval is required.
All other NCE requests must be approved by the sponsor. Most sponsors require that the NCE be requested at least 90 days prior to the project’s end date.
The following is a general guideline for how a NCE is requested and processed:
- The PI submits to SPFAC a request for a NCE with sufficient justification on University letterhead
- SPFAC will review sponsor guidelines on NCE, and if allowable, will obtain University approval
- SPFAC will submit NCE to sponsor
- SPFAC will notify the PI when sponsor approval is received