It is the policy of the University of Vermont that costs shall be charged to the appropriate sponsored agreements when first incurred.

At the same time it is recognized that costs may be transferred after they are initially recorded as long as this is accomplished in compliance with the University Operating Procedure - Cost Transfers on Sponsored Agreements (PDF)

All University employees with responsibilities for sponsored agreements are expected to be aware of and comply with this UOP.

Timeliness of identifying and correcting costing errors via cost transfers are key provisions of the UOP. 

SPA guidance on cost transfers:

  • Minimize cost transfers: take every effort to classify cost correctly initially
  • Avoid cost transfers in the last 90 day period of a grant and the appearance of trying to 'spend down'
  • Principal Investigators and departmental designees are responsible for verifying financial transactions on a timely basis, at least monthly.
  • Justify and document: explain why the cost was not put in the correct place initially and why the change is being made.
  • 90-day rule: cost transfers must be prepared and submitted no later than 90 calendar days from the accounting date of the original posting
  • NIH* has very strict guidelines about cost transfers; UVM’s UOP for Cost Transfers on Sponsored Agreements holds all federal grants to that same standard
  • Greater than 90 days: transfers will only be approved by SPA in extenuating circumstances
  • Absence of the Principal Investigator, or cognizant administrator, or lack of experience of the staff administering the awards are generally NOT considered extenuating circumstances
  • Unallowable expenses: departments must promptly remove all such expenditures once they are identified, regardless of timeframe

*NIH Policy Statement:

Cost transfers to NIH grants by recipients, consortium participants, or contractors under grants that represent corrections of clerical or bookkeeping errors should be accomplished within 90 days of when the error was discovered. The transfers must be supported by documentation that fully explains how the error occurred and a certification of the correctness of the new charge by a responsible organizational official of the recipient, consortium participant, or contractor. An explanation merely stating that the transfer was made "to correct error" or "to transfer to correct project" is not sufficient. Transfers of costs from one project to another or from one competitive segment to the next solely to cover cost overruns are not allowable.


To initiate a Non-Payroll Cost Transfer request, please follow the Non-Payroll Cost Transfer Procedure.

Contact SPA

If you have any questions about the process, please contact your assigned Financial Analyst.


Updated 3/2/21