Frequently Asked Questions: State-Funded Cost Sharing Companion Accounts
HOW WILL I KNOW WHETHER I NEED ONE OF THESE ACCOUNTS?
State account administrators will not be responsible for identifying the need for a state-funded cost sharing companion account. The Principal Investigator, Research Advancement staff and ORSPA will collaborate to identify that a state-funded cost sharing companion account is needed to track and document fulfillment of cost share commitments to a sponsored project. When such a need is identified the lead unit state account administrator(s) will be notified. State-Funded Cost Sharing Companion Accounts were implemented prospectively 7/1/2013.
WHO WILL ACTIVATE THE ACCOUNT AND WHEN?
All state-funded cost sharing companion accounts will be activated by Financial Services upon submission of a New Account Application Form. Please ensure the Cost Share box is checked on the application and provide the proposal number. This may occur at the same time the related sponsored account is activated by ORSPA, or it may be before or after. Timing will depend on when the need for the account is identified. Ordinarily the ORSPA Award Management Team (AMT) will evaluate cost sharing commitments and how they will be tracked within 30 days of the sponsored account activation if the cost sharing details are not clearly defined at the time the notice of award is received.
WHAT IF THERE ARE MULTIPLE UNITS PROVIDING SUPPORT TO A PROJECT FROM THEIR STATE FUNDING?
If there are multiple units providing state-funded support to a sponsored project, it will be up to the state account administrators and Principal Investigator(s), Chairs and Deans to determine whether they are willing to commingle their state appropriated funds or whether they each want to establish individual state-funded cost sharing companion accounts to track their commitment. The Research Advancement staff for the project’s lead unit will be responsible for requesting that accounts be set up and for monitoring that cost sharing obligations are being met. Ultimately, the Principal Investigator(s) are liable for ensuring that sponsor expectations are met. The assigned AMT Grant & Contract Officer (GCO) works with the Principal Investigator(s) and Research Advancement staff to measure fulfillment of cost sharing commitments and to facilitate the documentation process.
WHO WILL HELP CALCULATE THE APPROPRIATION TRANSFER?
There is not a direct 1:1 relationship between the amount of the cost sharing commitment and the amount of the appropriation transfer required. Differences include Netcomm (charged to state accounts but not allowable for cost sharing), Tuition Remission (often allowed for cost sharing but not charged to state accounts), and F&A (often allowed for cost sharing but not charged to state accounts). Because each of the administrators (BOM’s, RA’s, GCO’s) has a different area of expertise, it will require a collaboration amongst them to ensure the appropriation transfer amount is accurately calculated. Research Operations recommends that unit administrators involve their AMT GCO in confirming the correctness of the calculation. The Appropriation Transfer Calculator can help.
WHAT IF THE TRANSFERRED APPROPRIATION AMOUNT IS NOT SPENT DURING THE ASU FISCAL YEAR?
Establishment of these new state-funded cost sharing companion accounts will not address all of the challenges that can arise with cost sharing. This concern is one of them. When a commitment to a sponsored project is made from a particular fiscal year’s state appropriation but for some reason is not met during the period of availability of those state funds, the Principal Investigator and those who made the commitment will need to reassess the nature and purpose of the commitment and determine how best to satisfy sponsor expectations. Resolution may require providing funds from the next fiscal year’s state appropriation or substituting funds from an alternate source.
WHAT WILL MY AGENCY/ORG BE FOR THIS STATE-FUNDED COST SHARING COMPANION ACCOUNT?
The state-funded cost sharing companion account agency will be the agency of either the lead unit (if a single companion account is activated) or will be the agency of the contributing unit (if all contributors choose to set up separate accounts for their portion of the overall commitment). The org will be determined by Financial Services in the standard manner.
IS THERE AN EASY WAY TO RECOGNIZE STATE-FUNDED COST SHARING COMPANION ACCOUNTS?
Yes. They can be identified in three ways. In Coeus, the Account Type on the Coeus Award Detail tab will be “Cost Share – State.; in Advantage, the fourth character of the ORG 9 field will be “C”; and in the Financial Datawarehouse, the Sponsored Account Type Desc Field of the Award Table will be “Cost Share – State”.
WHEN WILL THESE ACCOUNTS BE CLOSED? IF A PROJECT ENDS BEFORE JUNE 30 HOW WILL SPENDING AFTER THE AWARD END DATE BE PREVENTED?
While these state-funded cost sharing companion accounts will be associated with a sponsored project which has a discrete start and end date, state accounts do not exist under the same model. All state-funded cost sharing companion accounts will operate on the ASU fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). They will be set up within ASU fiscal years as needed to meet the cost sharing commitments of the associated sponsored project. A multi-year sponsored project with a multi-year state-funded commitment will have an associated state account that remains active over multiple ASU fiscal years. When the state account is no longer needed, the account shell will simply not be rolled into the subsequent ASU fiscal years. If a project ends before June 30 there will not be a system mechanism in place to prevent spending from the state account beyond the project end date. However, such post-period spending would not be counted toward fulfillment of the cost sharing commitment and would not benefit the contributing unit’s objectives. Cost sharing expenditures must occur within the sponsored project award period to be allowable. State account administrators will be responsible for monitoring the timing of expenditures to meet cost sharing obligations in conformity with project requirements and unit commitments.
WHAT IF THE COST SHARING COMMITMENT IS STATED IN TERMS OF PERCENTAGE EFFORT OR MONTHS OF EFFORT?
This is another one of the current challenges that will not disappear with the implementation of state-funded cost sharing companion accounts. It will be necessary to take the cost sharing commitments (in whatever form they are initially stated) and convert them to a dollar amount that can be used to calculate the appropriation transfer. Commitments of personnel resources stated in a percentage of one’s time or in a number of months must be converted to a dollar amount by calculating the value of the time commitment based on the employee’s Institutional Base Salary. The other nuances involved in determining the dollar amount of the appropriation transfer are referenced above.
WHAT IF THE EFFORT COMMITMENT IS A SUMMER COMMITMENT FOR FACULTY WITH ACADEMIC YEAR APPOINTMENTS?
Faculty with academic year appointments do not earn salary from a state funded academic appointment during the summer months. If units are able to generate salary savings during the academic year these savings may be available to fund summer commitments depending on the internal policies of the unit/school/college. If state funds are available for support of summer effort commitments they should be managed through a state-funded cost sharing companion account. Otherwise, if faculty summer effort is contributed as volunteer time the guidelines for calculating and documenting the value of third party cost sharing should be followed. It is always important to ensure the availability of resources committed to cost sharing. Unit and ORSPA colleagues can be consulted for advice.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTERING THESE ACCOUNTS?
These new accounts will be state accounts in every sense. They will be funded with a unit’s share of the annual fiscal year state appropriation to meet the needs and commitments of the unit – in this case, commitments to support the research enterprise. Research Operations staff will provide subject matter expertise related to sponsored projects and the policies and processes governing cost sharing. ORSPA will establish a Coeus record to enable required tracking in the Effort Reporting System but adherence to all policies and processes governing state accounts will be required.