In December 2013, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced it would be issuing the Uniform Guidance which would detail revised regulations for federal grants made on or after December 26, 2014. These revisions address new cost principles, administrative requirements, and audit protocols and will affect all new awards, supplemental funding, and renewals. Awards made before December 26, 2014 are excluded.
You may read the Uniform Guidance at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-26/pdf/2013-30465.pdf
What is the Uniform Guidance?
The Uniform Guidance streamlines and monitors the federal grant process more effectively. These new policies offer guidance on federal awards; reduce administrative burden on the government; strengthen oversight of funding to discourage waste, fraud, and abuse; set standard requirements for award management across all agencies; and ensure the best use of award funds. Furthermore, eight OMB circulars will be consolidated into Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will keep faculty and staff apprised as we adapt university policies to comply with the new guidelines. We would like to outline some of the main revisions inherent in the Uniform Guidance to give you a quick overview of the changes.
- Federal agencies are strongly encouraged to make funding opportunities available to applicants no less than 60 calendar days beforehand.
- Voluntary committed cost sharing is not expected and must not be considered during merit reviews of proposals. However, regulations or specifications in the Request for Proposals (RFP) may require this type of cost sharing.
- If certain computing devices (under $5,000) are essential and allocable to the performance of the award, then direct charging of those computing devices is allowed.
- Performance levels for certain awards will be examined more closely. Award recipients must provide financial data that correlates to performance accomplishments; these reports must show cost effectiveness of the projects.
- If administrative costs are integral to the study, then awardees may treat the funds as direct costs. Such costs must be identified then approved by the agencies.
- Goods or services for personal use cannot be charged to the federal project unless essential to the project.
- Exchange rates are chargeable; however, if the project requires additional funding or a reduction in funding, it requires written approval from the agency.
- Participant costs are now directly chargeable across all agencies.
- Taxes can be charged, unless they are exempt or concern special assessments regarding land or federal income tax.
- Visas are allocable if they are critical and necessary to the project.
New OMB Uniform Guidance Links
The new OMB Uniform Guidance took effect for all federal grants and contracts received on and after December 26, 2014. The Uniform Guidance consolidates and supersedes eight existing OMB Circulars, including Circulars A-21, A-110 and A-133.
Resources from Federal Agencies:
- Office of Management and Budget Uniform Grant Guidance Policy Statements
- COFAR webinar on Uniform Guidance Implementation
- COFAR, Reform of Federal Grants Policies
- FAQs for the OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards
- Federal Register – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards
- NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
- NCURA – Uniform Guidance Videos