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Frequently Asked Questions

Award Setup

Q. What is a Pre-Award account?

A. Pre-Awards are advance project numbers and the mechanism used to establish a PS project prior to receipt of the executed, authorized sponsored award. Departments should consult with their OSP Contract Manager for guidance.  Guidance on Pre-Awards is located on OSP’s webpage “Establishing Pre-Award Accounts”.


Award Spending

Q. How do I find out how much money is left on my sponsored award?

A. Review the Grant Summary Report – Actuals Only in PS. Click Grants > Interactive Reports > Project/Grant Budget to Actual. Input the project number and the accounting date range. Contact your OCGA Grant Accountant for assistance with interpreting Grant Summary Report details.


Q. Who sends out invoices?

A. OGCA is responsible for sending invoices to sponsors that require billing. At times however, OGCA needs department input to complete invoicing. Assistance may be requested:

  • If a budget is set up for milestone invoicing. OGCA relies on the department to inform us that a deliverable has been completed and an invoice can be issued.
  • If a sponsor requires detailed backup that OGCA has no access to (e.g. receipts). In these cases OGCA will request the department to provide the needed backup. Once the backup is received, OCGA will then prepare the invoice and then submit to the sponsor.


Q. A sponsor has a question about a particular charge on their invoice. Who should they talk to?

A. Any questions regarding sponsor invoices should be directed to the Grant Accountant assigned to the award. OCGA will work with the sponsor, and if need be the department, to provide any needed detail.


Q. How do I know if OCGA has invoiced my award?

A. Invoice and payment information for sponsored awards is available on the query UM_GM_INVOICE_PAYMENT_BY_PROJ. This query is run by project.  Invoices are processed at the award level, so what you are seeing is award data, meaning if you have multiple projects the invoice will be submitted adding them all together. The query can be pulled by individual project number, but the award info is what will show on the query. The query also provides an invoice status. “C” means the invoice is closed, or paid. “O” means it is unpaid at the time you ran the query. Payment posted date for those with a “C” is the date the invoice was paid. If the invoice status is “O”, the date is simply the day the invoice posted to the system, not that it was paid.


Q. What is the difference between an encumbrance and an expense?

A. Encumbrances are funds that have been reserved on the project when a purchase requisition is finalized. When a requisition is processed, funds are placed aside for that transaction, and no longer available for use in other transactions.

An expense is a charge that has been paid on a project. Payment has been generated and the funds have left the University. When the vendor is paid, the encumbrance is reversed and the funds will appear under Actual Expense instead of as an Encumbrance.


Award Management

Q. How do I locate my assigned Grant Accountant?

A. OCGA Grant Accountants are assigned based on Sponsor. For individual projects, in PS click:  Main Menu > Grants > Awards > Grants Project Summary Page, enter project number, Search. A sponsor assignment list is also posted on OCGA’s website.


Q. My agreement states that a financial report is required. Who should prepare the report?

A. OCGA Grant Accountants are responsible for submitting all financial reports per terms and conditions of the award. The financial report is based on information from the University’s official accounting system, PeopleSoft (PS). If your award requires special financial reporting, OCGA will work with the department to complete this requirement.


Q. I have a check that needs to be deposited into my grant. How do I do that?

A. Departments should promptly forward checks received as payments for all sponsored agreements to OCGA, c/o Joanna Napoli Admin building 4th floor.

If the check is for reimbursement of an unallowable expenditure, the unallowable expense must be removed from the award through the cost transfer process to an unrestricted chartstring. The check should be deposited to the same unrestricted chartstring.


Q. How can I tell if we have met the cost share requirements on a particular award?

A. Cost share is set up using Fund 1114 with the same project number as the funded award. Like grant reports, PS has a Cost Share Summary Report available. PS navigation is:  Grants > Interactive Reports > Project/Cost Share. Contact your OCGA Grant Accountant for assistance with interpreting Cost Share Summary Report details.


Q. Can I use unrecovered F&A for cost share?

A. Unrecovered F&A can be used for cost share when prior written sponsor approval has been received. For more information on Cost Share, visit the Cost Share page.


Q. How do I calculate Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)?

A. MTDC is Total Directs Costs charged to a project less certain account codes which are exempt from the F&A per the approved UMBC F&A Rate agreement. These accounts include tuition, capital equipment, subawards greater than $25,000, Off-Site Rent, and Scholarships/Fellowships/Participant Support Costs.  An MTDC calculator can be found on OCGA’s website.


Q. I recently learned my PI is going to another University and wants to take their research to the new institution. What should I do?

A. Award transfers can be complex and time-consuming, requiring coordination between various stakeholders. Stakeholders include:  the PI, departmental staff, OSP, OCGA, the award Sponsor, and personnel at the new institution.  Departmental personnel should promptly contact their OSP Contract Manager when they receive notification of a PI transfer. UMBC must determine on a case-by-case basis whether it will retain, transfer, or terminate the award. As the grantee institution, UMBC must approve the relinquishment of the award and formally relinquish the award and equipment to the PI’s new institution. The sponsor must also approve all award transfers. OSP will work with OCGA to obtain award balances and coordinate the submission of award transfer requests to the sponsor.


Award Closeout

Q. My award has officially expired but is pending an extension. What should I do?    

A. Once an award has expired, UMBC will begin the closeout process. If a No Cost Extension (NCE) has been requested or there is a pending additional budget year please notify your OCGA Grant Accountant. Work with OSP to obtain authorization to allow spending to continue in anticipation of an official action to formally extend the period of performance. The Pre-Award procedure and form may be used to document this authorization. If the award modification is not received within ninety (90) days, OSP will contact the Administrative Unit. In the event UMBC fails to receive the modification, the department must immediately remove all expenditures which occurred after the expiration date to an unrestricted chartstring. Guidance on Pre-Awards is located on OSP’s webpage “Establishing Pre-Award Accounts”.


Q. Can we carry our surplus or deficit forward to the continuation budget?

A. It depends on the sponsor and the award. Please review your award agreement and/or sponsor policies for more information. If the award is silent on carryforward, please work with OCGA to determine if a balance may be carried forward into the continuation budget.


Q. How does OCGA calculate the record retention date?

A. As part of the OCGA closeout process, a financial record retention date (FRRD) is input into PeopleSoft. This date is calculated as 3 years plus 1 month on the grater of:  Submission of final financial/invoice, receipt of final payment, or end date of the award. Please note individual awards may have longer record retention requirements as per the award terms and conditions. If the award term states a longer period, this will be used to determine the FRRD. FFRD may be view in PS:  Grants > UMBC Grants Rpt Requirements > Maintain Report Requirements. This date also appears on the Grant Project Summary Page (PS navigation:  Grants > Awards > Grants Project Summary Page).



Q. Where can I find UMBC’s Single Audit Report?

A. UMBC’s single audit is a component of the State of Maryland’s single audit. To obtain the Single Audit and the University System of Maryland’s (USM’s) audited financial statements please visit the USM website.