Financial Requirements

Southern SARE’s accounting and management guidelines for grants are thorough and detailed. Learn more about tracking project expenses, filing no-cost extensions, invoicing requirements, modifying project budgets, changing the scope of the project, closing out your grant, and more.

Changing the Principal Investigator or State Ag Coordinator

Changing the Project Scope or Objectives

Modifying or Revising Project Budgets

Changing or Adding Project Subcontracts

Purchasing Equipment over $5,000

Filing a No-cost Extension

Getting Reimbursed for Allowable Expenses

Closing Out Your Project

Changing the Principal Investigator or State Ag Coordinator

Sometimes researchers, educators, farmers or other individuals on a grant project can no longer be a principal investigator for a host of reasons, and changing the principal investigator is required.

To request a change to the principal investigator, provide a brief letter or email with the following content:

  • Provide a letter or email from an authorized representative at your institution to justify and explain the circumstances that led to the need for the change in PI;
  • Provide the name and contact information for the new PI;
  • Provide the vita/resume for the new PI;
  • Provide a letter from the new PI confirming his/her role and acceptance;
  • Include your SARE subaward number or project number.

Address the letter to the appropriate person for your grant type:

Once the request has been received and approved, processing begins at the SSARE office and then forwarded to the UGA Sponsored Projects unit in Athens. A formal modification to the award will be issued by Sponsored Projects at UGA. This modification will be emailed to the PI’s institution/organization/agency administrative contact on file. Once received by the institution/organization/agency it should be signed and returned to UGA for finalization.

It may take up to 30 business days for change in PI requests to be processed once approved.

Changing the Project Scope or Objectives

The submit a request to change the scope or objectives of a project, provide a brief letter or email with the following content:

  • Justify and explain the circumstances that led to the need to change the scopes or objectives of your grant project
  • Provide descriptions for the new scopes or objectives
  • Describe any budget modifications that may be needed for the newly formed objectives
  • Include your SARE subaward account number or project number

Address the letter to the appropriate person for your grant type:

Once the request has been received and approved, processing begins at the SSARE office and then forwarded to the UGA Sponsored Projects unit in Athens. A formal modification to the award will be issued by Sponsored Projects at UGA. This modification will be emailed to the PI’s institution/organization/agency administrative contact on file. Once received by the institution/organization/agency it should be signed and returned to UGA for finalization.

The entire process can take up to 60 business days.

Modifying or Revising Project Budgets

To request a budget revision, provide a brief letter or email with the following content:

  • Justify and explain the circumstances that led to the need to change or revise your project budget
  • Will it impact the project scopes or objectives? If the revision changes the scope of the project, include a change of scope/objectives request
  • Justification of the change in type of personnel or a significant change in wages
  • Complete the Revised Budget form
  • Include your SARE subaward account number or project number

Address the letter to the appropriate person for your grant type:

Once the request has been received and approved, processing begins at the SSARE office and then forwarded to the UGA Sponsored Projects unit in Athens. An approval notification email emailed by either the SSARE accountant or UGA Sponsored Projects to the PI’s institution/organization/agency administrative contact on file. No formal modification will be issued.

It may take up to 30 business days for revisions in budget requests to be processed once approved.

Changing or Adding Third Party Subcontracts

Subcontracts are commitments by institutions, organizations, or agencies that have an active role, participate, or are engaged in activities on a project to complete or help complete a portion of the projects scopes or objectives. Sub-contracts, at times, are referred to cooperating institutions, cooperators, and third party participants

To make changes in subcontracts, provide a letter requesting the addition of a subcontract, justification, and circumstances for the addition, and the role of the additional sub-contract:

  • Budget modification request showing where the funds will be transferred from. (ie. Existing subcontract cancelled and funds will be diverted to the new one or a transfer of funds from Operating and Travel to the subcontract) and a statement regarding the effects of such transfer of funds on the originally approved scopes and objectives.
  • Plan of work from the new proposed subcontract
  • Budget of the new subcontract
  • Budget narrative of new subcontract
  • Letters of support and from the new subcontract principal investigator
  • Include the SARE subaward number or project number.

Address the letter to the appropriate person for your grant type:

Purchasing Equipment Over $5,000

In the proposal stage:

  • List the item on the budget as a non-expendable equipment. See the Call for Proposals for any equipment limitations.
  • Justify the purchase. Describe the equipment and its projected use, and estimate the cost of the equipment in the budget narrative.

If the need arises to purchase equipment after the grant is awarded:

  • The principal investigator must write a letter requesting permission to purchase the equipment along with the following
    • The need for the equipment.
    • The estimated cost for the equipment.
    • How the existing budget will be modified to accommodate the purchase.
    • How the modification of the budget will affect the original scope and/or objectives.
    • How the equipment will be utilized in the project.
    • The SARE subaward number or project number.

Address the letter to the appropriate person for your grant type:

Filing a No-Cost Extension

A no-cost extension may be needed if your project activities have not been completed by the project end date, and you still have money in the project account. Why might this happen? Agricultural research is subject to the same misfortunes that befall farms – hurricanes wipe out crops, drought prevents a cover crop from growing, farms animals get killed by wildlife. Because such things are beyond your control, you may find you need another season beyond your original project end date in order to complete your project.

A no-cost extension can be requested for a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 12 months. We do not fulfill a no-cost extension for longer than 12 months. If after the 12 month period, you still need more time, an additional extension can be requested.

No-cost extensions must be completed 12 months before SSARE’s main Cooperative Agreement expires. SSARE’s main Cooperative Agreement is the chunk of funding Congress allots to SARE every five years. So even though your project is funded for one or two years, it falls somewhere within a five-year cooperative agreement between SSARE and USDA. When that five-year agreement comes to an end, the funds allotted for that five years are stopped, including the funds for your project. If you apply for a no-cost extension to complete work on your project beyond its original end date, the extension cannot go beyond the start of the last year of the main Cooperative Agreement that contained its funding. That last 12 months of the main Cooperative Agreement will be used for your final report and other paperwork needed to close out the project.

To apply for a no-cost extension, contact Jami Sealey at jsealey@uga.edu. Provide your subaward number to determine if your project is eligible to receive a no-cost extension based on the main Cooperative Agreement ending date.

Provide a brief letter or email with the following content:

  • Justify and explain the project-related circumstances that led to the need for a no-cost extension. “Use of remaining funds” is not an allowable justification.
  • Specify the amount of the time the extension request is for. Include the new ending date being requested. Remember that your project activities must finish before the main Cooperative Agreement ends.
  • All requests must include your SARE subaward account number or project number.
  • Notify the administrative and financial contacts at your university or organization to prevent submission of final documents to closeout a subaward you wish to extend. Closeout proceedings cannot be stopped once initiated.

Address the letter to the appropriate person for your grant type:

Once the request has been received and approved, processing begins at the SSARE office and then forwarded to the UGA Sponsored Projects unit in Athens. A formal modification to the award will be issued by Sponsored Projects at UGA. This modification will be emailed to the PI’s institution/organization/agency administrative contact on file. Counter signature from the PI’s institution/organization/agency is not required for no-cost extensions.

It may take up to 30 business days for no-cost extensions to be processed once approved. If a no-cost extension has been requested and approved, an annual report is required covering research activities during the year that the project would have initially ended.

Getting Reimbursed for Allowable Expenses

A standard invoice form from your institution/agency/organization may be used to invoice University of Georgia for allowable reimbursable expenses. All invoices must include the following details:

  • Subaward number (usually begins SUB0000)
  • Subaward begin and end dates
  • Period dates covered by invoice – no more than one invoice allowed per expenditure month
  • Expenditures by category as outlined in the original budget
  • An original signature of the financial contact
  • Cumulative totals
  • Supporting documentation, if required by the subaward agreement, or upon request by the SSARE office

We will reimburse up to 90 percent of the award and hold the balance until we receive a final report.

Invoices should be mailed to:

SARE Accountant

University of Georgia Griffin Campus

1109 Experiment St., Stuckey 209

Griffin, GA 30223-1797

Or email to jsealey@uga.edu

Closing Out Your Project

Before your grant project can be closed out, the following items must be received. The items are due within 45 days of the project end date.

  • Final invoice – This document comes from the financial department of your institution, agency or organization. It is to your advantage to let your institution know when you have submitted all of your expenditures to them so they can prepare a final invoice for SARE, or if you plan to request a no-cost extension. The period covered by the invoice must not go past the end date of your project. The final invoice should be clearly marked as FINAL to notify the SARE accountant to close the project.
  • Final report – The final report is prepared by the project investigator and submitted in the SARE Grants Management System. The final report is due 45 days from the end date of the project.
  • Completed and signed SF425 Form (This is required of all grants except for Producer Grants) — This form is prepared by the financial department of your institution, agency or organization and submitted to the SSARE accountant. It is to your advantage to make sure your institution knows about this requirement for all federal grants.
  • Equipment listing that describes any equipment purchases and the cost for each item (This is required of all grants except for Producer Grants) – If no equipment was purchased, indicate “No Equipment Purchased” on line 12 of the SF425 Form. Any equipment purchased is listed prepared by the project investigator and passed along to the financial department of the institution, which then submits it along with the SF425 Form.

The final invoice will be held without payment until all close out documents are received. All required closeout documentation must be received within 45 days of the subaward ending date to be compliant with the terms and conditions of the subaward agreement. Subawards with non-compliance status are subject to closure and forfeiture of any remaining funds.

The request will be processed once it is approved by the SSARE Program Director. The processing of all requests begins at the SSARE office and then forwarded to the UGA Sponsored Projects unit in Athens. A formal modification to the award will be issued by Sponsored Projects at UGA. This modification will be emailed to the PI’s institution/organization/agency financial or administrative contact on file. Once received by the institution/organization/agency it should be signed and returned to UGA for finalization.

What is an AOR?

The AOR (Authorized Organizational Representative) is an individual who has signature authority and permission to commit the organization/university/agency for its time. This individual is usually found in departments like sponsored projects, grant account, or contracts and grants. Producer Grants do not go through an institution so the producer’s signature is all that is needed.