FAQs – Postaward

What is an allowable cost?

Allowable costs must be reasonable and allocable. A cost is reasonable if the amount paid is consistent with the amount that a prudent person under similar circumstances would pay. A cost is allocable if

  1. it was incurred solely to advance the work of the project
  2. if it benefits both the project and the institution in general in portions that can be reasonably approximated
  3. if it is necessary to the overall operation of the institution.

What are facilities and administrative (F&A), indirect (IDC), or overhead costs?

Facilities and administrative (F&A), indirect (IDC), and overhead costs are the same thing and are used interchangeably.

The federal government defines F&A costs as those that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. (OMB A-21.E.1) “Administration” is defined as general administration and general expenses, departmental administration, sponsored projects administration, student administration and services, and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under one of the subcategories of Facilities. Examples of facilities costs are water, electric, natural gas, custodial, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, operation and maintenance expenses, and library expenses.

How can I obtain electronic access to view my account budgets?

The Financial Access+ User Request Form must be completed and signed by the department chair and the Main Campus Budget Office.

What is the balance on my RX account?

You can obtain general information on your balance by checking your Cost Center Status Report (CSR). This can be viewed electronically via Financial Access+.

How often should I be reviewing the expenses charged to my grant(s)?

Although the grant administrator reviews expenses monthly and the PI is required to sign a Cost Center Status Reconciliation each quarter, efficient grant management requires that the PI review his/her grant(s) frequently. Federal and institutional regulations require that transfers/corrections be done in a timely manner, and the best way to accomplish that goal is for the PI to be aware of the expenses being charged to his/her grant(s). The PI need only review his/her grant(s) and notify his/her grant administrator of any corrections that need to be made.

Am I permitted to rebudget funds on my project?

Sponsors differ in their flexibility to rebudget funds. For example, government sponsors typically permit flexibility in rebudgeting as long as the rebudget does not represent a change in scope. Electronic Requests For Rebudget should be completed and sent to the Office of Research Services.

When I travel on a U.S. Government funded grant, may I use a foreign airline?

Use of foreign airlines is not permitted on U.S. Government funded grants unless you are flying the foreign airline through a “code-share” agreement. When flying under the “code-share” rule, use of a foreign carrier is permitted provided that the traveler is ticketed through to his or her destination on the U.S. flag carrier. If any portion of the expense will be charged to a federal grant, the traveler must be ticketed on the U.S. flag carrier

The Fly America Act requires the use of U.S. flag carriers on each portion of the route where a U.S. flag carrier provides service even though flying on U.S. flag carriers can be substantially more expensive then flying on foreign carriers. The intent of the passage of the Fly America Act is to encourage use of U.S. flag carriers when traveling on “U.S. Government business” and the federal agencies are not sympathetic to the price differentials offered by foreign carriers.

Click here for List of approved U.S. Flag Carriers

How do I apply for a no-cost extension?

A no-cost extension is an extension of time beyond the current project period’s end date in order to complete the scope of work on the project. Any request for a no-cost extension (NCE) or budget revision should be sent to the appropriate Contracts & Grants Administrator in ORS (see the ORS Award Review Team section). The PI, Grant Manager, or Cluster Research Administrator (if applicable) can make this request of ORS. ORS is responsible for obtaining prior approval when necessary and for reviewing these requests for allowability and supporting documentation.

Please note that on NSF grants, when a no-cost extension is implemented, the final report that was due at the end of the grant is converted to an annual report so a technical report is due at the time that the no-cost extension is processed.

How do I charge expenses or transfer expenses to an RX cost center?

Expenses are charges to an RX cost center in the same manner that you would charge expenses to your department’s cost centers. More information on charging expenses to grants can be found in the Charging Expenses section of this website.

The correct methods for transferring expenses to or from RX cost centers differs according to the types and sources of expenses being transferred. Transfers involving the correction of errors or moving expenses from one grant to another must be done using a Cost Transfer Form. ProCard expenses, when not directly charged to awards, are moved to grants using the Georgetown University ProCard Reallocation journal. Journal Vouchers are used to move expenses already on the grant from one account code to another, or to move expenses originally placed in a recharge cost center (such as Consolidated Billing charges billed to a Principal Investigator’s GD holding account) to the grant. Student tuition charges not directly charged to grants are moved from department cost centers to RXs using the Student Data Adjustment Journal. All expenses being transferred onto or off grants should be done in conjunction with your Grant Administrator.

Are computer supplies and equipment allowable expenses?

General purpose computers are generally not allowable as direct costs on grants. These computers are considered part of the infrastructure that Georgetown University should provide for investigators, with the University being reimbursed for these expenses through the indirect costs charged to the sponsor. Under certain special circumstances, however, the PI can charge a computer to his/her award, namely if the research project requires a particular type of specialized computer, if there is a substantial field research component, or if the computer will be used exclusively for the project. To certify that the computer will only be used for the research project, the PI will need to complete a Computer Cost Certification Form.

Click here to download the Computer Cost Certification Form (in .pdf format)

Computers are NOT a reimbursable expense.

What can I do to expedite payment to a Subawardee?

The Georgetown PI should contact the investigator at the subawardee institution. The subawardee will need to have his/her Sponsored Accounting Office, or its equivalent, send an invoice either to the Georgetown PI or directly to Georgetown’s Sponsored Accounting Office. Once Georgetown’s Sponsored Accounting Office (SAO) has the relevant invoice (received either directly from the subawardee or from the Georgetown PI), SAO will prepare an invoice certification which is sent to the Georgetown PI for approval. The Georgetown PI will need to certify that the expenses listed by the subawardee on the invoice are correct and appropriate. After the PI has signed this certification and sent it to his/her grant administrator, SAO will process payment to the subawardee.

My award has a cost sharing component. How do I ensure that all commitments are met?

Unfortunately, the Main Campus does not have a central database or system for tracking cost shares. No one knows the intricacies of a project’s requirements and commitments as well as the PI. As a result, the grant administrator will need to work in close conjunction with the PI, using the PI’s expertise to ensure that all cost share commitments are met and tracked appropriately for a particular project.

What is classified as capital equipment? Is IDC charged? Do I need a sole source?

Capital equipment is tangible property having a useful life of one year or more and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.

Capital equipment does not incur IDC.

A sole source justification is required when the acquisition cost is over $10,000 and a single source is used under the following circumstances:

  • Uniqueness: The good or service being obtained can only be requested from one manufacturer and no other makes or provides comparable products or services that will meet your needs.
  • Technical specifications: A highly technical piece of equipment can be deemed a “sole source purchase” if the technical aspects of the piece of equipment are required and necessary for your work or research and no other manufacturer can provide those required technical specifications in a similar or comparable piece of equipment.
  • Compatibility: A piece of equipment can be a “sole source purchase” due to its compatibility with existing equipment if ordered form the manufacturer.

When should I submit my receipts for an Employee Reimbursement?

Per Georgetown policy, “…in compliance with IRS Publication 463, the employee must adequately account for expenses within 60 days after the expense was paid or incurred.”

I had an alcoholic beverage on my business trip, can I be reimbursed for this meal from my grant?”‘

Alcohol is strictly prohibited from reimbursement on Grants. The remainder of the meal may be reimbursed if deemed an appropriate meal for business purposes.

I’ve lost my receipt for a ProCard expense, what should I do?

ProCard holders should make every effort to attain a receipt or other documentation in support of ProCard expenditures.

The ProCard Missing Receipt Form may be used when an invoice, receipt, or other supporting documentation is misplaced or not received due to extenuating circumstances. Repeated use of this form to circumvent financial controls is a violation of the University ProCard policy.

Click to download the ProCard Missing Receipt Form (.doc format)

What if I’m missing a meal receipt from my business trip when submitting an Employee Reimbursement?

If original receipts are not available, the University will accept submission of a Travel Expense Log in lieu of original receipts for reimbursement of travel expenses up to $25 per non-meal expense, and meals of $10 or less per meal. The log should include the date, amount, and business purpose of each expense as well as the traveler’s name, the cost center name and number, dates of travel, and purpose of travel. The employee and campus business officer or designee, should sign and date the expense log. The employee should then attach the log to the Employee Reimbursement form with the receipts from the completed travel.

Click to download the Grant Travel Expense Log (.xls format)

How do I document my expenses from a business trip overseas using foreign currency?

The best, most accurate, way to document these expenses are from your Credit Card statement which will convert these into USD expenses.

If you happen to use cash, this may not be an option. Please use XE.com’s multi-expense table. Fill in the currency and use the date on your receipt using 0% foreign exchange.

In what states does Georgetown University hold Sales Tax Exemptions?

While Georgetown University is exempt from federal and District of Columbia tax on related income, it may or may not be exempt from sales tax. Georgetown University currently has sales tax exemptions in the following states and jurisdictions: FL, IL, KY, MD, MA, MO, NY, OH, TN, TX, VA, & DC.

For detailed information regarding exemptions please see the States Sales Tax Exemptions list. To obtain copies of exemption certificates, please contact the Tax department, your Grants Administrator or Department Administrator.

I did not receive a ProCard Statement from Chase. How do I get one?

The bank may be called at 1-800-316-6056 to request a copy, or a copy may be printed directly from the Pathway software by the department administrator.

I’ve accidentally used my ProCard for a personal purchase, how should I proceed?

You must reimburse the University. Make out a check to Georgetown University and submit to your ProCard administrator as soon as possible.

Can my grant be charged for the standard $76.00 background check fee?

Is this a term position that is tied solely to the grant funding? Is this position listed as key personnel on this grant? If your answer is YES to BOTH questions, then yes it is allowable. If your answer is NO to EITHER, then the PI should charge the expense to their IDC rebate account.