Non-Payroll Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects


This policy covers the allowability, timeliness and approval of non-payroll cost transfers on federal sponsored programs.


In accordance with OMB Circular A-110, Duke University’s practices and systems are designed to ensure expenditures are charged in a timely manner to the correct General Ledger account and sponsored program.  However, if an erroneous entry is posted that impacts a federal sponsored program, all efforts should be made to have the correction completed on a timely basis (within 3 accounting periods) and provide sufficient information to allow for a clear audit trail back to the initially recorded expense.  
Cost transfer documentation and timeliness of corrections involving federal sponsored projects are the responsibility of the department.  When errors occur, departments are required to evaluate the charges and make the necessary corrections in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures.  Specific guidance and documentation requirements are included in GAP 200.150, Cost Transfers On Federal Sponsored Projects.

Deadlines associated with the submission of cost transfers are as follows:

Timeframe   Approval
< 3 months   As defined by the department
> 3 months   Department and Management Center (may require cost-sharing)
> 6 months   Unallowable cost to federal sponsors (must be charged to institutional funds)

In all cases, an unallowable expenditure must be removed from a federally sponsored project regardless of timeframe. 


The Office of Research Costing Compliance (RCC) will monitor compliance (allowability, timeliness and adequacy of documentation) of cost transfers covered by this policy. Non-compliance will be addressed by RCC with the support of the Management Centers. 

During project closeout, the Office of Sponsored Programs reserves the right to move untimely and/or unallowable cost transfers to the department’s discretionary cost center.

Note: As of October 1, 2006, untimely cost transfers are no longer allowed on DHHS Non-NIH grants without prior DHHS approval.  This includes, but is not limited to the following Grantors:

  • Administration for Children and Families
  • Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Food and Drug Administration

Departments must coordinate exception requests through the appropriate Pre-award Office.  The Pre-award Office will review and approve only those cost transfers with extraordinary circumstances and appropriate documentation.

Exceptions and clarification: the lack of documentation or untimeliness does not mean the transaction is unallowable from an external perspective.  Departments should review all transactions and confirm allocability and allowability.  Exceptions may be granted by the Vice Dean/Provost for Research or their designees.


GAP 200.150, Cost Transfers on Federal Sponsored Projects

GAP 200.012, Reconciliation of Financial Transactions

GAP 200.020, Journal Vouchers