Grants & Sponsored Projects

Grants & Sponsored Projects Frequently Asked Questions

Browse FAQs by Category: General (UIC) - Award Set Up (UIC) - Anticipation Accounts (UIC) - Banner - Billing & Payments (UIC) - Changes to Award Status (UIC) - Reporting (UIC)


General (UIC)

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Award Set Up (UIC)

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Anticipation Accounts (UIC)

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Banner

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Billing & Payments (UIC)

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Changes to Award Status (UIC)

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Reporting (UIC)

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General (UIC)

Q. When do I contact the Office of Research Services (ORS) vs. the Office of Grants & Contracts (GCO)?

A. ORS handles all pre-award activities, from the pre-proposal stage to the receipt and processing of the award, up to the point of award set up. GCO handles award set up in Banner and all post-award financial and compliance activities. See our Who to Ask page for a detailed list of topics handled by each office.

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Award Set Up (UIC)

Q. What is the status of my award?

A. Receiving your fully executed award document from ORS indicates that your award is now being forwarded to GCO for set up in Banner.

For existing grants or contracts, contact the assigned GCO Grant Specialist (GS) regarding the status of recently executed awards. The assigned GS is identified in the Notice of Banner Codes Assignment you previously received. (See Sample Notice)

For new grants or contracts, contact the GCO Assistant Director (AD) for your unit.  

Provide the GS or AD with the PAF or institution number that ORS assigned to the award and, if it exists, the Banner grant code.  With this information, they should be able to tell where the award is in the account creation process, and approximately when you will receive the account information.

If your award is still being processed by ORS, you can check its status in UIeRA. (See also: Getting access to UIeRA.)

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Q. When will my Banner account be set up?

A. Banner accounts are created by GCO after receiving fully executed grant and contract documents from ORS. If you are expecting to receive a Banner account and haven’t yet been notified that it has been created, ORS may not yet be finished negotiating or processing the award.

ORS sends a congratulatory letter through email to the PI, the business manager, and GCO when the award has been formally accepted by UIC. The Banner account is generally created within 10 business days from the date of this email notification.

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Q. How will I know when my Banner account has been set up?

A. The PI and business manager will receive an internal Notice of Banner Codes Assignment through email from GCO when the account has been set up.

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Q. What information is used to set up the award in Banner?

A. The Banner account is created with information from the award documents and the ORS approved Proposal Approval Form (PAF).

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Q. How can I verify that my account is set up correctly in Banner?

A. You can validate the Banner account attributes against the relevant portions of the award documents and the ORS approved PAF. To validate the project title, project period, PI, Co-PI(s) and other award information, use Grant Maintenance Form FZAGRNT. To validate whether the award budget is entered into Banner correctly, use Grant Budget Distribution Inquiry Form FZIBDSG. (See also Banner FAQs.) Please notify your GS or the AD for your unit immediately if you believe your Banner account contains an error.

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Q. Why doesn’t the budget in Banner match the budget in the proposal we submitted to ORS?

A. The Banner account contains the budget approved by the sponsor.  This budget may differ from the originally proposed budget for several reasons:

  • The sponsor revised the budget that was originally submitted with the proposal.  In this case, the unit is generally asked to submit a revised budget to ORS.
  • Rates (F&A, fringe benefits, etc.) may have changed since the original proposal was submitted.
  • Accounting categories in Banner may be different from categories used by the sponsor, resulting in apparent differences in the budget.

If you believe that budget for your Banner account is incorrect, please notify your GS or the AD for your unit immediately.

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Anticipation Accounts (UIC)

Q. Why should I request an anticipation account?

A. It is often appropriate to make staff appointments and incur other expenses prior to the formal notification of an award by the sponsor. The use of anticipation accounts is considered best practice to minimize the volume of cost transfers for the project. However, if the proposal is not funded or if the resulting award has a different effective date, all unallowable charges must be promptly transferred by the unit to departmental funds.

When it can be determined with a high degree of certainty that an award will be made, campus units, at their own risk, may incur costs in anticipation of the award. Most federal agencies allow pre-award costs for 90 days prior to the formal starting date of a grant, provided that incurring these costs is in the best interest of the project. Other agencies do not allow costs to be incurred before the project start date regardless of when the formal notification of award is received. Units are responsible for knowing whether pre-award costs are permitted by the sponsoring agency before requesting and/or using an anticipation fund.

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Q. How do I request an anticipation account?

A. Submit the Request to Establish an Anticipation Grant/Fund form. For the fastest response, email a PDF of the completed form to the GCO AD for your unit. You may also fax the completed form to GCO at 312-413-0798. 

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Q. On my anticipation account request, what should I put for the start date?

A. You should use the date that you believe will be the project start date on the grant or contract that your unit is expecting to receive. Keep in mind, that if the proposal is not funded or if the resulting award has a different effective date, all unallowable charges must be promptly transferred by the unit to departmental funds.

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Q. Does an anticipation account become the “final” account when the award is received?

A. Yes. When ORS has completed processing the award, it is sent to GCO and the anticipation account will be updated and will become a finalized Banner account. The PI and business manager will receive an internal Notice of Banner Codes Assignment for the finalized account through email.

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Q. Who bears financial responsibility for charges on an anticipation account if the award is delayed or not received?

A. Your academic unit bears the responsibility. As noted on the Request to Establish an Anticipation Grant/Fund form, if the proposal is not funded or if the resulting award has a different effective date, all unallowable charges must be promptly transferred by the unit to departmental funds.

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Banner

Q. What are the most important screens in Banner for managing an award?

A. FZAGRNT:  This screen will provide you with the start and end dates for the account, the title of the project, the name of the PI and Co-PI(s), sponsor information, the total amount of funds awarded, and other award-related details.

FZIGITD:  This screen will allow you to view budget, expense and encumbrance figures, and to obtain detailed information for each.  You can use it to view cumulative figures, figures for a defined date range, and to drill down to specific transactions.

FZIBDET:  This screen will allow you to see the cumulative dollar amounts that UIC has billed and been paid for the project.

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Q. If I know the Fund code, how can I find the corresponding Grant code?

A. Go to screen FZMFUND.  Press F7 to place the screen in query mode, enter “2” in the “Chart of Accounts:” field, enter the fund code in the “Fund:”, and press F8 to execute the query.  The grant code will appear in the “Grant:” field.

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Q. If I know the Grant code, how can I find the corresponding Fund code(s)?

A. Go to screen FZIGITD.  Enter the grant code in the “Grant:” field, place a check mark in the “Fund Summary” box, and click on the Next Block icon.  Banner will then return a screen that will show you every fund code that maps to that grant code.  NOTE:  Remove any value in the “Chart of Accounts” field at FZIGITD if you want to see all fund codes associated with the grant code.  Enter a “2” if you ONLY want to see fund codes that are administered by UIC units.

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Billing & Payments (UIC)

Q. Who is responsible for billing a sponsor?

A. The Office of Grants & Contracts (GCO) is responsible for billing for sponsored projects, tracking the related receivables, and collecting money.  Billing is based upon costs posted to the operating ledger.  Therefore, it is crucial that the department business manager review all costs incurred and make sure they are allowable, accurate, and complete. This allows costs to be properly reflected in the bills and avoids difficulty in collecting the money due to UIC.

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Q. Do the academic units have any responsibility for billing a sponsor?

A. In most cases academic units are not responsible for billing a sponsor, but there are some exceptions--for example, when the terms of an award call for specific information or deliverables that are not within the purview of GCO. In those cases, the departmental units issue a departmental bill. Departments are then required to send a copy of the bill to GCO so that the receivable can be recorded and followed up for collection.  Additionally, the department must see to it that the payment is sent to UIC’s secured post office box (i.e. the “lockbox”; see “Where should sponsors send payments?” below). 

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Q. Where should sponsors send payments?

A. Sponsors paying by check should send payments to the UIC’s secured post office box (i.e. the “lockbox”):

University of Illinois at Chicago
Grants and Contracts
P.O. Box 20787
Springfield, IL 62708-0787

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Q. What is a sponsor payment holding account? Why would a sponsor payment be in a holding account?

A. A holding account is used to deposit all sponsored project payments until the payment can be identified and applied to an individual award.  Once the appropriate grant and fund is identified, the payment is transferred from the holding fund to that grant/fund. It typically takes 3-4 days for a payment to post to an award after it is received by UIC.

For payments received prior to the award being fully executed or a grant/fund being established in Banner, the payment will remain in the holding account until the grant/fund is established.

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Q. How can I tell what amounts have been billed & what payments have been received so far?

A. The EDDIE Report “FIGR_Grants_Status_and_Billing_Summary_Report” provides a summary of the financial status of a grant, including billing information.

Alternatively, you can use the three Banner forms:  FZIBDET, FZAAREV, and FZIBILL.

  • FZIBDET summarizes billings, payments and refunds.  Details are also available under the “Options” menu.
  • FZAAREV shows individual bills (under the column “Charge”) and payments (under the column “Payment”).  Transaction descriptions are sometimes available and can be viewed by scrolling to the right under the column “Payment ID”.
  • FZIBILL lists the individual bills and their status in numerical order.

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Changes to Award Status (UIC)

Q. The sponsor granted a no-cost extension.  I forwarded the e-mail to Office of Grants & Contracts (GCO).  Why doesn’t Banner reflect the new end date?

A. Changes to the terms of an award must flow through Office of Research Services (ORS) for approval and processing first.  Upon receipt of the fully executed document from ORS, GCO will update the grant end date and other relevant grant records. You may wish to notify GCO that an extension is pending, as a courtesy.

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Q. My grant is in anticipation status.  I received a check from the sponsor.  Can you remove the grant from anticipation status?

A. No. We can only change the status of an account when we receive the fully executed agreement from ORS.

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Reporting (UIC)

Q. Who is responsible for financial reporting to sponsors?

A. The Office of Grants & Contracts (GCO) is responsible for submitting financial status reports, a.k.a. grant expenditure reports or grant budget reports, to the sponsor.  Generally, the sponsor requires that the report be signed by an official University representative, which is GCO.  Upon submission of the report, the Grant Specialist to whom the grant is assigned will send a copy of the report to the respective department’s business manager for their records.

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Q. What am I supposed to do when I receive a Report of Expenditures (ROE) from GCO?

A. The ROE is a reflection of the grant activity as posted to Banner.  It is submitted for your review and approval prior to filing a financial report, issuing a final bill, or closing a grant out.  You are to review it against your records to make sure the reported activity is accurate and complete.  You are expected to return the ROE to the GCO grant specialist who sent it to you within ten (10) days of receipt with your changes or your approval.

The ROE points to specific actions you need to take in the fulfillment of your administrative duties.  Pay particular attention to the tabs “Memo” and “Summary” where these expected actions are spelled out.  Your approval of the ROE signifies your adherence to those expectations.

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Q. What is an Interim Financial Status Report?

A. An Interim Financial Status Report is a financial report that is submitted at specific intervals during the course of the project, as prescribed by the terms and conditions of the award.  These intervals can be quarterly, semi-annual, or annual.  Most Federal grants are subject to some measure of interim financial reporting (SF-270, SF-272, or SF-269).

Some grants do not require interim financial reports.  One example is the NIH grants subject to Streamlined Noncompeting Award Procedures (SNAP). They only require an SF-269 filed at the conclusion of the project period.

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Q. What am I supposed to do when the FSR for my Federal grant shows an unobligated balance?

A. It depends on the terms and conditions of the grant.

If the grant is NOT under expanded authorities, the PI must request the agency’s approval to carry the balance forward to the next budget period and provide a budget to that end. Meanwhile GCO will restrict the balance pending the agency’s approval; at which time it will be released for use.

If the grant IS under expanded authorities, the unobligated balance can automatically be carried forward to the next budget period in as much as 25% of the current year award.  The amount in excess of the 25% is subject to restriction and agency prior approval.

If the grant is under SNAP, the unobligated balance can automatically be carried forward to the renewal segment.  Bear in mind that the grants management officer (GMO) may only allow a partial carryover if, in their view, the full unobligated balance is not necessary to complete the project.  Should it be the case, the agency would issue a notice of award to that effect and GCO would restrict the unobligated balance accordingly.

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Q. What is “Expanded Authorities”?

A. This is a privilege granted by a Federal agency, whereby the agency delegates some of its prior approval functions to a grantee institution.  Specifically, the agency confers to the grantee the authority:

  • to incur pre-award costs
  • to carry-forward unobligated balances
  • to rebudget (within certain limits)
  • to extend the final budget year of a project (one time)

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Q. How do I know if my award is under expanded authorities?

A. Most awards from the following Federal agencies are under expanded authorities: AFOSR, ARO, AMRMC, DOE, EPA, NASA, NIH, NSF, ONR, and USDA. Please see the terms & conditions in your award document to confirm the status of your award.

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Q. My Federal contract just expired.  Is a final FSR (SF-269) required?

A. No.  Contracts are not subject to a financial status report SF-269, only grants and cooperative agreements have this requirement.

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Last Updated: September 10, 2009