In some situations, where you have remaining unspent funds near the end of a project period, you can use appropriate justification to request a carryover of those funds into the next budget period or a no cost extension to your project period. Information on what carryovers and no cost extensions are, as well as how and when to request them, are below and in the resource links. If you have further questions, contact your Sponsored Programs RAResearch Administrator A Sponsored Programs team member w....
Unobligated funds remaining at the end of any budget period that, with the approval of the sponsor or with automatic carryover, may be carried forward to the next budget period to cover allowable costs of that budget period. There must be a bona fide programmatic need justified for the use of carryover funds in the next budget period.
No Cost Extension (NCE)
Extends the project period beyond the original end date with no additional funding. Allowed when: the end of the project period is near; there is a programmatic need to continue research; and there are sufficient funds left to cover the extended effort.
Powerpoint slides (presentation deck from our Coffee with Colleagues event, including process detail and examples)
Infographic – quick reference guide (general rules for NCE and Carryover requests by Sponsor, ie NIHNational Institutes of Health, NSFNational Science Foundation, Non-federal)
NIH Post Award Cheat Sheet – handy guide that summarizes expanded authorities and SNAP requirements based on NIH award type
Institutional Prior Approval Request Form
- AN – Award Notification
- BU – Boston University
- CF – Carryforward (Carryover)
- DA- Department Administrator
- FFR—Final Financial Report
- IO – Internal Order
- IPAR – Institutional Prior Approval Request
- NCE – No Cost Extension
- NIH – National Institute of Health
- NOA – Notice of Award
- NSF – National Science Foundation
- PAFOSponsored Programs (SP)- Post Award SP- Post Award assist... – Post Award Financial Operations
- PIPrincipal Investigator View Boston University's policy on... – Principal Investigator
- PTE – Pass Through Entity
- RA – Research Administrator
- RPPR—Research Performance Progress Report
- SPSponsored Programs (SP) is the coordinating office for all p... – Sponsored Programs
What is the difference between carryover and carryforward?
There is no difference, they are synonymous.
How is carryover added to my account?
Automatic carryover is done by the PAFO RA as soon as the FFR or Final Invoice is accepted by the Sponsor. Within the last fiscal year, NIH has started to send BU notifications of when an FFR has been accepted. This should improve the timing of automatic carryover. PAFO only adds carryover to the Other Direct and F&A budgeted line items. If the department wants to rebudget from Other Direct, they must work with their SP RA.
When carryover requires prior approval, the request is initiated by the PI/DA and submitted by the SP RA. Depending on the sponsor and when carryover is requested, approval can take weeks or months. Once BU receives official approval, the addition of the carryover to the budget is processed by the SP RA and reflected in the internal AN sent within 5 business days. As part of the closeout of the previous I/O, PAFO reduced the unspent amount confirmed for the FFR submission. This will show up in BW Reports as “Closeout Bottom Line”.
What is considered obligated/committed funds? Is “cumulative obligated amount” the same as the amount available to spend?
Expenses are considered to be committed and/or obligated if they were incurred prior to the budget end date but have not yet posted to the account. Examples include: pending Subaward invoices from pass thru entities; outstanding vendor invoices from work incurred or; consultant invoices for work completed but not yet invoiced for.
Cumulative Obligated amount is not always the amount available to spend. In cases where carryover is restricted the cumulative obligated is the cumulative amount awarded to BU but may not be the amount available to spend of carryover from previous years was not approved.
Why Does BU setup separate IOs for each year when carryover is not automatic?
BU is required to segregate funds in order to ensure appropriate reporting of expenditures.
If your Sponsor does not allow automatic carryover, you will typically get a new Internal Order number each budget year to ensure that the funds for the new year of the project are only used for that purpose. After the annual close out is completed, the PI/DA initiates the request for carryover working with their SP RA.
Once carryover is approved by the Sponsor, SP will add the funds to the next budget year and the newly established IO#. PAFO has already reduced the prior year budget.
See “How is carryover added to my account?” for additional details.
What is the BU process for getting the funds carried over into the new grant number?
See “How is carryover added to my account?” for additional details.
Is negative carryover allowed?
Yes, if your award is under expanded authority* then you can carryover a negative balance into the next project period. Check with your SP RA if you are unsure if your award has expanded authority.
* Federal administrative requirements allow agencies to waive certain cost-related and administrative prior approval; these are known as expanded authorities. In 2001, NIH extended these authorities to all NIH awards except for the provision to automatically carry over unobligated balances; therefore the term “expanded authorities” has been replaced with “NIH Standard Terms of Award”. See Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-NIH Standard Terms of Award for more details.
When can you move carryover spending to a discretionary account?
Depends on the grant and the sponsor. Typically this is the case if you have a fixed price agreement and have completed the work and have funds remaining. Typically this happens with the closeout of industry clinical trials. Once a trial is complete and all expenses have been confirmed and charged to the account, the balance is moved to an account determined at the PI’s discretion, typically a discretionary account. Please note that if a PI has over expenditures in other accounts, PAFO will not move the available balance until all accounts are in good standing.
What if you aren't going to use your carryover in the next year and plan to continuously carrying over funds so that you can use the money in your NCE?
Each year must be programmatically described in RPPR and clear justification of the carryover each year is key. Plans must match programmatic progress and budget and should be reflected in the RPPR.
Is there a template to request carryover?
There is no standard template to request carryover. Consult your SP RA for assistance.
Who helps me with my carryover request?
PAFO RA will assist the department by confirming the remaining balance total; the PI and Dept. Administrator should work with their SP RA on the actual carryover request to the sponsor.
When should I submit my carryover request?
PI initiate the process, soon after the FFR is submitted, however the carryover cannot be approved until the FFR is approved. Once the department has confirmed the award ending balance, PAFO can begin the process of completing and submitting the FFR and/or Final Invoice. The due dates vary amongst Sponsor. The department should begin working on their carryover request after they have confirmed the ending balance with PAFO.
How much carryover should I request?
The PI should only request those funds that he/she can appropriately tie to the aims, objectives of the award.
Can I continue to spend while waiting for carryover approval?
Yes, but at your own risk. If the carryover is not approved, the expenses become unallowable and the PI or department must reimburse the University. If the carryover is approved, the DA will have to do cost adjustments in order to reflect the expenditures on the correct IO.
Are carryovers denied, and for what reasons?
On occasion, carryover requests are denied or reduced. SP has seen carryover requests denied due to inadequate justification for future spending of the carryover funds. A large balance may also make it appear as though the project was not progressing at a timely rate or that the remaining funds are not needed.
Where can I find whether an award has automatic carryover?
You can reference the internal AN, however SP advises that you always go to the sponsor’s award notice and review the terms and conditions. If you need help, your SP RA will be happy to assist you.
For NIH awards, when automatic carryover is indicated in the Notice of Award (NOA) but the carryover funds remaining are above the 25% threshold, during the annual reporting period does this require prior approval?
No, when the NOA indicates automatic carryover, we do not need to seek approval from NIH to carryover these funds into the next budget period. When the RPPR is submitted, it should be indicated that the balance is above the 25% threshold and provide a corresponding justification of how the funds will be used in the next grant period. When NIH issues the next year NOA that is their indication of approval. NIH could request additional justification as they review the RPPR or reduce the award if the justification of why the balance exceeds 25% is not adequate.
If BU is the prime recipient of a NIH award where carryover is automatic and we have issued subawards, do you automatically have to grant carryover to your subrecipients?
BU’s default is to automatically grant carryover unless our PI specifically requests carryover to be restricted.
How do I manage incoming subawards to BU when carryover is not automatically granted by the Prime/PTE?
This situation is the same as if BU received a Prime award that did not have automatic carryover.
Is it possible for the prime recipient/pass through entity to have automatic carryover but have it restricted in the subaward issued to BU?
Yes. Sponsors are required to flow down all Terms and Conditions, however, prime recipient/pass through entities are allowed to add restrictions at their discretion. A common restriction is not allowing automatic carryover even when the Prime Sponsor allows it.
Can spending be “shutdown” for subcontracts (in or out) when the year-end period is approaching?
For incoming subawards to BU, departments can ask PAFO to put an account into PAFO/SP status to prevent spending as needed. Typically this will happen when the Sponsor does not pay out outstanding invoices and the department is concerned with continued spending resulting in over expenditures. PAFO can make this change once the final invoice is submitted to the Prime recipient.
For outgoing subawards, spending is monitored and “shutdown” by the review and approval of the invoices submitted by the subrecipients. If the invoice exceeds the amount awarded in the sub agreement issued by BU, the PI/DA/PAFO would not approve the invoice to be paid.
No Cost Extension FAQs
Does a NCE have to be 12 months?
No, the project can be extended from 1 – 12 months.
Can you end your project earlier than the new end date?
Yes, PAFO will submit the FFR once it is done. PI/DA should notify the SP and PAFO RAs if the project is ending earlier than expected.
What happens if your renewal gets awarded and you have a NCE?
Current award ends once the new award is issued, there will be no overlap.
The PI has had verbal communication with Sponsor, how do I provide documentation?
Email communication to SP for their file and indicate that you would like this to be put with the permanent record.
Is it possible to get 2nd NCE when there isn’t much money left, but a lot of work to accomplish, such as manuscript and publications?
Providing a clear justification give you the best chance at a 2nd NCE.
How often is NCE denied, and for what reasons?
It is rare for a sponsor to deny a first or second NCE, but a Sponsor might deny a NCE request due to inadequate progress. It is important that the NCE justification is detailed and provides a clear explanation as to why additional time is needed.
What if you do not have enough money to pay your PI for the same level of effort?
Document in the IPAR justification that the key personnel will be reducing effort. Sponsor prior approval might be needed if the reduction in effort is significant.
During NCE, do you have to ask for permission to reduce effort for key personnel?
It depends on the sponsor guidelines and award terms. The key is to be detailed and tie the time needed to what is remaining to accomplish.
As the Subrecipient, how can BU confirm or initiate a NCE? Do you have examples on other ways you have initiated NCE requests as the subrecipient?
When BU is the subrecipient, the NCE approval will come in the form of an amendment to our existing subaward, extending the project end date as appropriate. The NCE request itself is initiated by working with your SP RA, who will collect the necessary justification and contact the appropriate individual at the sponsoring institution.