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No Cost Extensions

A no-cost extension (“NCE”) extends the end date of a project without additional funding. NCE’s may be necessary in order to complete the work of the project. NCE requests are generally directed to the sponsor for approval; however, some sponsors permit the University’s business representative, the authorized institutional official, to approve or deny requests following sponsor-defined guidelines. If the sponsor must also approve the request, the Office of Research will formally submit the request on behalf of the Principal Investigator (“PI”).

General Guidelines

The NCE request is first initiated by the PI and sent to the attention of the Office of Research post award program administrator (“PA”). Requests should conform to the sponsor’s requirements and the guidelines below. In general, the PI will explain the reason for the extension and provide a budget for the remaining work. The Office of Research will consider the PI’s NCE request and, if approved, submit the formal NCE request to the sponsor. Upon written sponsor approval, the PI may continue the program effort until the revised performance ending date.

Be aware of the sponsor’s timeline for granting NCE’s. In general, requests should be made to the Office of Research at least 60 days before the program end date; some sponsors require more advance notice.

Projects that are spent out or in a budget deficit will not be extended without additional funding.

Spending out remaining funds is not a sufficient reason for requesting an NCE, and such requests will be denied.

NCE requests that require sponsor approval are typically made to the sponsor’s contractual representative or grant specialist, who will seek approval from the technical monitor with whom the PI communicates performance progress. The process will be facilitated if the PI discusses the intent to submit an NCE request with the program officer in advance of the formal request.

Request Procedures and Required Information

Email the NCE request with the following information to your Office of Research Post Award PA:

  1. NCE Request for fund 2xxxxx
  2. The requested extension end date.
  3. Scientific/programmatic justification explaining the need for the extension of time. This narrative should be written as if you were writing your program officer requesting an extension. If required, the Office of Research generally forwards this narrative section (as provide by the PI) to the awarding agency in accordance with the grantor's required format.
  4. If subawards or subcontracts have been issued and also require an extension, indicate the end date for the subcontract extension and whether funds should be deobligated or additional funds obligated.

NSF NCE Requests

NSF allows a one time 12-month grantee-initiated NCE when it is submitted by the authorized institutional official on behalf of the PI, through the Fastlane system under the following circumstances:

There will be no change in the project’s originally approved scope or objectives, and at least one of the following applies:

  • Additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to ensure adequate completion of the originally approved project.
  • Continuity of Sponsor grant support is required while a competing continuation application is under review.
  • The extension is necessary to permit an orderly phase out of a project that will not receive continued support.

NSF must approve subsequent NCE requests. The PI will first send a written NCE request to the authorized institutional official via the Office of Research Post Award PA. The request must explain the reason for the second extension and include a statement of work and budget for use of the remaining funds. The plan must be consistent with the approved project objectives. If approved internally, the authorized institutional official will submit the formal NCE request to NSF at least 45 days prior to the scheduled expiration date.

All requests will be submitted via the FastLane system. If approved, an amendment to the grant will be issued to extend the end date of the grant. Approval is not automatic, and PIs are cautioned not to incur expenditures after the expiration date in anticipation of a no-cost extension.

NIH NCE Requests

NIH allows a one time 6, 9, or 12-month grantee-initiated NCE for awards issued under Expanded Authorities (generally R01 awards are issued under Expanded Authorities). The NCE is in effect as soon as the authorized institutional official submits the notification via eCommons. Notification may be made no earlier than 90 days prior to the end date of the project and no later than 1 day before the end date.

Second NCE requests and first requests for awards that are not issued under Expanded Authorities require the approval of NIH. If you are requesting a second NCE, please discuss this with your Post Award PA well in advance of the scheduled end date and send formal notice via email at least 30 days before the end date. The email should contain the following information:

  • A detailed line item budget and spending plan for the unobligated budget
  • A scientific rationale for continuation
  • A justification for the additional length of time

The request will be made by email or a letter to the grants management specialist. Be sure to update all required certifications and assurances, including approvals for human subjects assurances or animal welfare assurances.