Direct Costs – Subawards

Click here to access the Subawards section of the Post-Award Sponsored Projects Guide on page 25.
Click here to access the OSP Subawardee Invoice Processing.


Sponsored agreements with UMBC are usually conducted within the physical boundaries of the University or at field sites used by University personnel. When an award is received, if a substantive portion of the programmatic effort is to be performed by a third party such as other institutions or companies, a formal agreement must be executed with that party. This agreement, referred to as the subaward, is developed once OSP’s Subaward Team has received the Principal Investigator’s/Department’s request to issue a subaward via the Subaward Request Form. The third party, or the legal entity that has agreed to work in collaboration with UMBC, is known as the subrecipient. A subaward creates a relationship in which each institution has its own Principal Investigator, and where UMBC is the prime awardee. Once the subaward has been executed, the subrecipient becomes accountable to UMBC for the use of the funds provided. The subrecipient must also comply with all of the terms and conditions of the prime award.  For more information on subawards, see OSP’s Subrecipient Monitoring Procedures.

Post-Award Management of Subawards

After a subaward has been issued, it is managed through technical and fiscal monitoring. Upon occasion, it becomes necessary to amend a subcontract.

Technical Monitoring

UMBC is responsible for ensuring that all subrecipient work is conducted and completed in a timely manner. Progress reports must be reviewed by the UMBC Principal Investigator and, when necessary, discussed with the subrecipient. These reports are usually incorporated into the overall technical reports submitted to the sponsor by the UMBC Principal Investigator. OSP is responsible for obtaining any other reports, such as invention, property, and/or audit reports, required by the subaward terms and conditions.

Fiscal Monitoring

The UMBC Principal Investigator, or other authorized University personnel, must approve all subrecipient invoices and submit them to Accounts Payable for payment. Invoice approval should include verification that direct costs were expended in accordance with the approved budget, and that the proper F&A and employee benefit rates (if applicable) have been applied. In addition, each subrecipient invoice should be checked to determine that the invoice number is correct, the costs are properly allocated, and the amount invoiced is within the estimated cost of the subaward.

UMBC has two account codes used for recording subrecipient invoice payments, one for the first $25,000 of expenditures (which is included as part of the F&A calculation) and one for all expenditures above the $25,000 amount which is exempt from the F&A calculation.

No invoice that exceeds the obligated cost of the subaward may be approved for payment.

Amendment to Subawards

In most cases, the terms and conditions of a subaward will remain unchanged for the duration of the project. However, during the course of a subaward, it may become necessary to change or modify one or more of its terms and conditions. Changes to the agreement, such as time extensions, re-budgeting, or funding changes are made through an amendment to the subaward.

Some modifications, such as adjustments to the scope of work or changes to the Principal Investigator, may require sponsor approval before an amendment can be issued. Requests for changes should be submitted by the authorized official for the subrecipient and must be approved by the UMBC Principal Investigator. Once these two conditions have been met, OSP requests sponsor approval for the subaward amendment.

The amendment is the vehicle that clearly states the changes and provides for the signature approvals of both parties.