Carryover is the process by which unobligated funds remaining at the end of a budget period may be carried forward to the next budget period to cover allowable costs in that budget period. The carryover of funds enables grantees to use unexpended prior year grant funds in the current budget period.
Prior to submitting a request for carryover, the grantee is encouraged to discuss it with their Program Officer (PO) and Grants Management Specialist (GMS). In addition, the grantee must ensure that the Federal Financial Report for the last (and all prior) budget period(s) has been submitted and accepted by the NIH Office of Financial Management. Carryover requests must be limited to actual needs for the current budget period. Subsequent needs would be considered in future budget periods.
(Reference: NIH Carryover Unobligated Funds)
Submit a Carryover Request to SPA with the following information:
All carryover requests must be made in writing (or via email) to the GMS assigned to the project and signed by the Authorized Organization Representative (SPA Administrator) from the grantee institution. Requests should be submitted in a timely manner, within one year of the end of the budget period from which the funds were unexpended, and must include the following information:
- Grant number and PI name
- Amount of funds to be carried over
- Explanation for the unobligated balance
- Plan for expenditure, including a description of activities to be carried out during the carryover period, and how the activities relate to the aims of the project
- Detailed budget in PHS 398 format (Form Page 4) and justification for all items, including detailed budget pages for any subcontract costs
- Checklist page reflecting the requested F&A costs for the prime grantee and any subcontracts
When preparing a justification for a carryover request, grantees should answer the following questions:
- Why were the funds not spent in the past year?
- What additional work will be done during the current grant year that is not possible with the budget currently allotted to this year? Thought must be given to how the work will be accelerated; for example, will more staff be hired, effort increased or more assays run?
- Is the request essential? Are costs reasonable, allowable, necessary and in line with the existing budget? Are there new costs that were previously unforeseen? How will the work be impacted if the funds are not carried over?
If the request is approved, a revised Notice of Grant Award will reflect the additional authorized funds for the current budget period. If carryover is denied, you will receive correspondence from the GMS.
Occasionally investigators will wish to spend funds in a budget line item that has no funds in it or has a negative balance. When this happens, please contact SPA using the Award Modification Request Form to adjust the budget so it reflects the line items as the researchers now intend to spend it. The SPA email account will be checked daily to see if any budget reallocation requests have been submitted. If a request has been submitted, it will be forwarded to the appropriate Post-Award Administrator for processing.
- Upon receipt of a budget reallocation request, the post-award administrator will review sponsor guidelines to see if there are restrictions on re-budgeting. For example, budget transfers on federal grants must conform to the NIH Prior Approval Requirements. If there is an applicable restriction, the post-award administrator will email the PI to let him or her know the funding source requires written permission to re-budget. At that point, it will be up to the PI and/or departmental administrator to prepare the budget revision request and justification and send it to SPA for review. SPA will then forward the inquiry to the funding source to obtain approval.
- The SPA Post-award Administrator will check award terms and conditions to ensure that the expense to be applied to the project is allowable, allocable, and reasonable.
- The transferring of funds into Equipment or Travel categories requires approval from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration (AVCRA) for review and signature approval. The AVCRA must also approve all re-budgeting requests on RI-funded accounts and international travel not specified in the original budget.
- Once all necessary approvals have been obtained, the post-award administrator will create the necessary budget entry and update the requestor that the change has been made.
The Principal Investigator (PI) or the departmental administrative staff will sometimes wish to move an expense from one grant to another to correct an input or posting error. Please contact SPA using the Award Modification Request Form for expense transfer requests. Payroll funding reallocations should be done through the Payroll Accounting Adjustment (PAA) process.
Reallocations from one grant to another must be allowable and allocable to the receiving project and be within 90 days of the original charge, or within 90 days of the discovery of errors. When clearing overspent amounts on grant awards, the expenses can only be moved to a departmental or R&D account. Simply transferring overspent amounts from one grant to another to cover the overrun is not allowable according to the Uniform Guidance (2CFR200). In the end, the cost must be allowable on the grant to which it is being moved, must be covered by the available balance on the award, and must benefit that award.
Occasionally it is necessary to move expenses to the correct budget period of the same award. This is only allowable when the expense was actually incurred within the current period but was posted to a previous budget period. If expenses were incurred prior to the start of the new project period, they must be transferred with an internal grant.
It is important to provide justification for the expense reallocation that will satisfy an auditor. Remarks such as "to clear overspent amount" or "to transfer from GR-000xxx to GR-001xxx do not constitute satisfactory justification. Additional information may be requested, if the justification is vague.