What is a budget transfer and how do I request one?

Agencies generally require that the PI spends the funds of a project in the manner that they were originally budgeted. However, some changes may be necessary and can be requested. Budget transfers move from one budget category to another.

For the standard operating procedure, check the shared Folder under COS Training Forms-Training and Forms-Research Administrator.

In the case of a NIJ project, please use the attached template and return to your Award Manager for submission. See more below regarding Prior Approval. 

Please see the  Budget Template form for help. Contact COS Post-Award for assistance to help modify the template to meet your needs.  This is not a requirement for COS or OR.

Moving between Direct cost categories & Indirect cost categories

Changes in indirect should always be considered before a transfer is requested. The transfer may be moving funds from a non-indirect earning category to an indirect earning category or vice versa. Review the account’s indirect rate and type before you issue a request.

For Example: A NSF project at 49%, MTDC:
-A PI requests $1,000 to be moved from the project’s Tuition (non-indirect) category to the project’s Expense (indirect) category. The budget transfer would be completed as follows:

  • Tuition – $1,000 (1,000 ÷ 1.49)
  • Expense  + $671.14
  • Indirect + $328.86

Notification of budget transfer approval and completion

OR Award Management or RF Post Award will review the transfer request to ensure that the action falls within applicable guidelines and the sponsoring agency’s terms & conditions. Once completed, they will provide notification.

If agency prior approval is required for the transfer, the award manager will respond back to determine if agency contact is desired. If the PI approves of the agency being contacted, the prior approval request will be submitted to the agency.

  • If the agency approves of the transfer, the transfer will be processed and notice will be given.
  • If the agency denies the transfer, the transfer will not be processed and the department will be notified.

Additional assistance for prior approval

Some agencies have terms & conditions listed in the award documents concerning prior approval. For assistance reviewing if prior approval is needed, please contact COS Post Award.

For federal agencies, NSF has created a great resource for users, https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/rtc.jsp.

Any projects with the Department of Justice/National Institute of Justice and the Department of Education need to have prior approval.

It provides tools such as side by side comparison with Uniform Guidance, sub-award requirements, and select federal agencies specific requirements. The handiest tool is their prior approval matrix, https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/fedrtc/appendix_a.pdf.