Sponsored Projects Administration

Pre-Award and Pending Award FAQs

Prior to an award being officially made to the University, a pre-award or pending award can be requested by the PI, if notification of an award has been received.

  1. What is the difference between a pre-award and a pending award?
    1. A pre-award allows you to spend before the anticipated award budget period and can be used on federal awards only. If notification of an award has been received, but the official project start date has yet to arrive, the PI may request that an account be opened up to 90 days prior to the official start date. Refer to the federal RTC (Research Terms and Conditions) matrix to see if your sponsor allows pre-award costs or ask your Grants Administrator.
    2. A pending award allows spending within the anticipated award budget period and can be used on any type of award. The award pending is specifically designed to avoid gaps in funding and delays in starting projects due to late receipt of award document or award negotiations. The departments are solely responsible for charges on pending accounts if the award document is not received or if the start date is not as anticipated.
  2. How long do you have access to the funds?
    1. With a pre-award, you have access to the funds 90 days in advance of the start date of the project.
    2. A pending award gives you access to the funds for 90 days beginning on the actual/anticipated start date of the project.
  3. How can I set-up a pre-award or pending award?
    1. In order to set up either type of award, an Administrative Action Request Form must be completed.
    2. The form must be signed by the PI, Department Head, and Dean/Director before submission to Sponsored Programs. Sponsored Programs must have a complete proposal, including Transmittal Form, detailed budget, budget justification, and compliance approval, on file in order to process a pre-award or pending award.
    3. A non-restricted account number is required for unallowable expenses. A pre-award or pending award cannot be created without a non-restricted account number from the department. This number will be used to cover any charges that are incurred prior to the approved start date of the award, if the project is not funded, or if there are charges made to the account that are not allowable.
  4. Are there any restrictions or special requirements on these types of awards?
    1. Yes. They can be set-up for up to 25% of the anticipated yearly award amount and will expire after 90 days.
    2. A non-restricted account number is required for unallowable expenses. This number will be used to cover any charges that are incurred prior to the approved start date of the award, if the project is not funded, or if there are charges made to the account that are not allowable.
  5. What if the award isn’t here within 90 days of the pre-award/pending award?
    1. Multiple pending awards can be requested. However, it is important to note that the more pending awards that are requested/approved, the more risk to the department. All charges incurred on a pre-award/pending award must be covered by the department in the event the project is not ultimately funded.
    2. If, after the original 90 days, you need additional time but not additional money, a request for time only can be submitted.
    3. In order to set-up a pre-award for more than 90 days, prior approval is required from the Sponsor.
  6. If I have requested a no-cost extension on my project, can I submit a pending request to keep the account open?
    1. No, to do so could be considered a breach of contract. A pending account can only be used when we do not have a contract/agreement in place or we are expecting additional funding on the same project.