Frequently Asked Questions

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These guidelines are intended to provide clarification in defining, planning for and monitoring changes in level of effort or shifts in the source of funding for faculty effort commitments under sponsored agreements.  Guidelines include changes in:

  • effort charged directly to sponsored agreements
  • cost sharing commitments
  • funding shifts (i.e. changes in the source of salary funding)
  • reductions of effort

The scenarios and examples below assume the award is under expanded authorities i.e. the University (typically the Office of Sponsored Programs [OSPii]) has designated authority to act on behalf of the Federal government (sponsor). If the award is not under expanded authorities, then sponsor approval is generally required prior to any actions being taken.

 

  • The Federal government assumes the PI will generally maintain the originally proposed level of effort even when an award is reduced from the original funding requested.
  • The "originally proposed effort" or "originally funded amount" is the percent against which future reductions should be determined and calculated.
  • A renegotiated "originally proposed effort" or "originally funded amount" becomes a new percent/amount against which future reductions should be calculated.

 

While this document refers to the PI (out of writing convenience), a change in the level of effort of any Key Personnel (as identified in the proposal or the notice of award document) on a sponsored project requires that the same procedures be followed.

 

Federal Requirements

Under the guidelines in the "Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, And Audit Requirements for Federal Awards" (Uniform Guidance) Title 2 CFR Chapter II, Part 200 (formerly Office of Management and Budgetii (OMi) Circular A-110ii), a PI or other key personnel may not reduce his/her cumulative maximum effort by 25% or more across all non-competing segments of the award without prior agency approval.

If, at any time, the cumulative change represents 25% or more reduction of the originally committed effort, a formal request for prior approval to the sponsor for the reduction in effort is required.

 

Note: this guidance applies only to Federal grants. Departments should check the specific terms and conditions for Federal contracts and non-Federally funded sponsored agreements.

 

Process for Documenting Reductions of Effort or Shifts in Funding Source

 

When there are changes either in the level of effort provided or shifts in the funding source(s) supporting the effort, the following procedures should be followed.

  • Reduction of Effort from Original Commitment
    • Less than 25%:  adjust OPUS to reflect new percent effort.
    • 25% or greater: contact sponsor through OSP for prior approval.
  • Shift in Funding Source from Award Funds to Other Salary Sourcesi with no reduction in effort
    • If the change is less than 6 months, use the Adjust/View Cost Share feature in eFECS Effort Reportingi to set up a "shift" cost share.
    • If the change is 6 months or greater, or will impact more than one FEC cycle, the department must prepare a Cost Share Addendum and send it to GCAi with an informational copy to OSP.
      • GCA will add the cost share commitment to the Cost Share Module.
      • Ensures the cost share commitment appears on the FEC as a reminder to departments that a shift in the source of funding has occurred creating a cost share obligation.

 

It is recommended that, for the department's future reference, documentation for the shift in funding sources for the grant be maintained in department records (e.g. OPUS text, letter in faculty and/or grant file, etc.)

 

9 Month Appointments

If a faculty member is engaged in compensated University activities during a pay period, that pay is considered compensation for all of the individual's University activities for that time period. If it is clear that no pay is received during a specific pay period, then 'volunteer' effort by a faculty member on a federal grant or contract as third-party cost share is permissible.

 

This cost share must be reported by the faculty member via a letter to GCAi documenting the time spent on the project with the value based on their normal rate of pay. The letter should be signed and dated by the faculty member and countersigned by the PI of the grant if different.

 

If, during an FEC cycle, a faculty member receives UW compensation for a portion of the cycle, e.g., 10 of 12 pay periods, and performs volunteer (i.e., non-compensated) effort for a different portion of the cycle, e.g., 2 pay periods, please indicate this in the 'Comments' section of the FEC. Note, indicating this on the FEC does NOT represent certification of the non-compensated effort rather it is for informational purposes only. The non-compensated effort must be documented as noted above just as any other third party cost sharing is documented. See Third party cost share reporting http://www.washington.edu/research/gca/costshare/third.party.html

Salary cap cost sharing must be provided during the period in which the effort is performed and the salary earned. Therefore, it is advised that the departments plan accordingly and identify non-grant funding to cover the cost sharing required by the salary cap in the summer.

The FEC process is conducted on a semi-annual schedule for faculty on 9 month appointments. Spring (3/16-6/15) and summer (6/16-9/15) effort is combined into a single FEC (March 16 - September 15). The rate of pay one can receive from a grant for work during the summer portion of this cycle is based on their 9 month academic year salary rate. While summer salary is considered part of institutional base salary, it is generally a unique line/designation in grant proposals.

 

For example, if the 9 month salary is $3,000 per month for a full-time appointment and there is a commitment of 50% effort for two months during the summer portion of the spring/summer cycle, the rate of pay for those two summer months would be $1,500 per month for 50% effort per month. On the FEC, the summer compensation will be added to the compensation received during the spring quarter for each sponsored budget and for 'Other Salary Sourcesi'. The percent for each budget will then be calculated by dividing the total compensation charged to the budget divided by the total compensation received over the two quarters, i.e., FEC period.

Cost Share

Both pledges and actual cost share dollars and percentages can be reviewed in the eFECS Cost Share Module. The Unmet Cost Share Report also displays an overview of cost sharing by department.

If the cost share is committed based on effort, and necessary approvals have been obtained (e.g. in cases of reduction of 25% or more) the reduction should be prorated proportionately over both the direct charged and cost shared effort commitment. If the cost share is mandatory, specific approval from the sponsor is required unless other sources of cost sharing are permissible and substituted.

Yes, the relationship between the amount of effort charged directly to the grant and the amount cost shared is secondary to the PI meeting the combined (total) percent of effort.

eFECS

Academic reporters began using the online FEC system starting with the FEC cycle for 12/16/2009 - 3/15/2010. Calendar reporters began using the system with the 1/1/2010 - 6/30/2010 FEC cycle. FECs from these reporting periods will be available for reference in the online system. To process a recertification for any FEC period prior to those outlined above, contact efecs@uw.edu for assistance.

No, FEC's become available for online viewing after payroll transactions for the final pay period in the FEC cycle have posted or approximately 23 days after the end of the cycle. For mid-cycle reporting of cost sharing, use the Interim Cost Share Report process.

This most commonly occurs when there is original pay and a salary transfer on the same budget. Expanding the budget detail will reveal both the positive and the negative salary transactions.

The federal government requires that effort reports reflect 100% of the faculty members' compensated effort. The change to the FEC to reflect 100% alleviates auditing challenges with federal regulations. Faculty whose Average Paid FTEi during a reporting cycle does not equal a 1.0 equivalent OPUS salary rate will fall into the above scenario. The averaged IBS value ($) associated with the Average Paid FTE, is then represented as 100% of the faculty member's IBS for the FEC cycle. Examples of faculty who may fall into this category include:

 

  • faculty who retire or separate from the UW during the FEC Cycle
  • part-time faculty, faculty who have a without salary (WOS) component (e.g.: lack of funding)
  • faculty with a missing pay distribution in OPUS
  • faculty with a paid direct (PDR) earn-type and salary rate reflected in OPUS.

See How is Effort Calculated on the FEC for more information.

The eFECS system will not return a name for individuals who are not required to certify. For example, if the individual does not have a qualifying faculty job code, is not paid on a sponsored project and/or does not have a formal cost share commitment set up in the Cost Share Module, they will not have an FEC and the search box will return the error message above. Separated faculty will continue to appear on the MyFaculty List, but will not appear in the Search box.

Notifications are dependent upon the email address that is listed in the Employee Self Service Directory (ESS). If there is no email address listed, eFECS substitutes the faculty member's UWNet ID @ uw.edu and sends notifications to that email address. Login to MyUW.com to ensure forwarding has been selected if the faculty member's email address is anything other than his/her UWNet ID @ uw.edu.

Yes click the "+" next to any budget number on the online FEC to view detailed salary information by pay period along with the IBS eligible earn type.

This message indicates that cost share adjustments have been manually entered to reflect the actual effort performed. Click 'View Details' link, to review the cost share adjustments made. Before certification, cost share effort percentage may be adjusted using the 'Adjust/View Cost Share' button. If the 'Adjust/View' button is not available, contact the department's ASTRA authorizer to request the 'Adjust/View FEC' role.

Changes can only be made to cost share prior to recertification. Contact GCAi via Grant Tracker for changes requested to pledges and efecs@u.washington.edu for recertification questions.

If the OSET is completed before the faculty member certifies the FEC, eFECS will reflect the salary transfer on the online FEC, normally the day after it posts. If the FEC has been certified, add the budget on the blank line provided on the FEC printed from the eFECS system for recertification.

If an award is only active for part of the FEC period being reported, the system will prorate the effort. For example: The FEC reporting cycle is 1/1/XX-6/30/XX. The award period ends 2/28/XX and the faculty member provided 20% effort on the award from 1/1/XX - 2/28/XX. The FEC will spread the 20% over the entire FEC cycle thus reducing the effort percent for the quarter to 6.7%.

General FEC FAQs

The Access and Use Agreement for UW Information Systems and UW Institutional Information ('Agreement') promotes best practices and accountability for data security. It is a digest of University policy outlined in the Administrative Policy Statements to encourage more responsible usage of UW Institutional Information.

Yes. Links to these documents are available on the Faculty Efforti Certification (FEC) website under the References and Useful links section, Schools and College Effort Policies.

Federal regulations define institutional base salary as 'The annual compensation paid by an organization for an employee's appointment, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual is permitted to earn outside of duties for the applicant/grantee organization.' As ADS and ENS are considered part of an individual's annual compensation they are included as a part of the institutional base salary.

This is a rounding issue. It is not necessary to adjust total percent effort. All totals will round to 100%.

No. Whiteout and white tape are a concern for auditors as corrections can be made to the form after the faculty member, chair, director, division head or dean has certified it. If whiteout is accidentally used, the faculty member will need to initial the change.

K Awards

Cap cost sharing can contribute toward fulfilling the direct charged effort commitment on a K Awardi. The sum of the direct charged salary, salary cap cost sharing and K Award cost share should equal the 75% commitment of effort.

Salary from K Awardi may not be sufficient to fund the 9 person month's effort required by the K Award. Supplementation provides funding for that portion of the 75% effort requirement not paid for by the award. The University may 'supplement' the K Award salary with other institutional funds; however supplementation may not be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from which such funds are derived. In no case may additional PHS funds beyond those provided in the K award be used for salary supplementation. The PI can be paid on other federal awards for the remaining 25% effort

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