Policies

Project Periods/Budget Periods

Budget periods are based on the federal fiscal year and run from October 1 to September 30. No expenditures may be incurred before the starting date or after the termination date of the budget period. Unused funds from one budget period may not be carried forward to the next budget period. In addition, to insure prompt and appropriate closure of each fiscal year and meet the reporting requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Research Division has established cutoff dates for the expenditure of funds.

Fiscal Responsibility

Formula funded projects are subject to the provisions of the “Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations 7 CFR Part 3015” and “OMB Circular A-21”. Copies of these documents are available upon request to the Research Division Office. In addition, formula funding must be spent in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the University of Wisconsin and by the State of Wisconsin.

Requisitions and all other forms of requests for expenditures of funds require prior approval from the WI Agricultural Experiment Station. This includes any form of direct billings such as photocopying, RARC services, etc.

Use of Assigned Funds to a Project

Principal investigators should use formula funding assigned to their approved projects for necessary direct costs related to the project and as outlined in the approved budget sheet they receive from the Research Division. Dean’s approval is required for any request to purchase capital equipment, request to purchase computer/printer and non-consumable related items, and request to exceed copy costs, or research supplies should be sent to Casey Hillmer at casey.hillmer@wisc.edu.

Formula Grant Policies

See specific policy information below OR download policies as a Printable PDF document.

ITEM RulE Policy/Comment
Appointments
  • Project Assistants, Post-Docs, and Technicians are Typically Unallowable on Formula grants.
  • Faculty or Academic Staff appointments are Unallowable on Animal Health grants.
Individuals paid on a Formula Grant project, MUST be working on that project. Justifications may be requested at any time.
Binding (Thesis)
  • Unallowable
Books
  • Allowable only if directly related to research
  • Prior Approval Needed from WAES
Prior approval and strong justification required. Submit requests, with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu and include identification of matching funds (amount and Fund-Project number) for the purchase.
Capital Equipment $5,000 and over
  • Prior Approval Needed from WAES
  • Equipment purchases in the last year of a project are Allowable, but require strong justification.
  • See RSP definition of “equipment”.
Submit requests to waes@cals.wisc.edu. Include a re-budget request, justification, and identification of matching funds (amount and fund-account number) for the purchase.
Carryover of Un-obligated Funds
  • Unallowable for Formula Grant awards.
Cell Phones or Related Charges
  • Unallowable
If items are crucial in order to carry out the project, an exception may be made. Submit a request, with strong justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu.
Change in Scope/Objectives
  • Prior Approval Needed from USDA
Request must be initiated by PI, signed by PI and department chair, and submitted to waes@cals.wisc.edu.
Change in PI
  • Prior Approval Needed from USDA
Request must be initiated via email by PI and approved by the department. Submit requests to waes@cals.wisc.edu.
Computer Access Charges
  • Typically Unallowable
Exceptions require prior approval and strong justification. Submit requests, with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu.
Computer/Printer Purchases (including iPads/Tablets)
*Hardware Only*
  • One computer and printer over the life of a project are Allowable, if required to conduct the research.
  • Formula funds can be used to fund up to 50% of the total purchase price.
  • Computer/printer purchases are Unallowable in the last year of a project.
All requests to purchase computers/printers using Formula funds require prior approval from WAES.Submit requests to waes@cals.wisc.edu. Requests should include justification of need, request to re-budget (if required), and identification of matching funds (amount and Fund-Project number) for the purchase. Upon approval, a requisition can be processed.
Computer/Printer
Accessory Purchases
  • Unallowable
If items are crucial in order to carry out the project, an exception may be made. Submit a request, with strong justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu.Items considered accessories include, but are not limited to: software, memory (RAM), hard drives, DVD burners, and projectors.Projector requests must provide identification of matching funds (amount and Fund-Project number) for the purchase.
Copy/Printing Costs
  • Up to $400/year is Allowable, for research-related copy costs only (print cards, copy chargebacks, etc).
If there is need to exceed the maximum, prior approval is required. Submit requests, with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu prior to exceeding the maximum.
Equipment under $5,000
  • Prior Approval Needed from WAES
  • Equipment purchases in the last year of a project are Unallowable.
  • See RSP definition of “equipment
Submit requests, along with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu and include identification of matching funds (amount and Fund-Project number) for the purchase.
Human Subject
Incentive Payments
  • Allowable with justification
Submit requests, along with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu. See this document, Payments to Research Participants for further clarification.
Pre-Spending
  • Unallowable
Spending will not be allowed on the grant until the proposal has been fully approved by the USDA.
Publication/Distribution Costs
  • Maybe allowable if directly related to the project
Expenses associated with editorial assistance and page charges are considered legitimate publication costs. Contact Casey Hillmer-casey.hillmer@wisc.edu if you have questions or if you incur costs after your project has ended. All publications must include acknowledgement of USDA support. See Formula Grants FAQ for required acknowledgement statement.
Purchasing Card/
Direct Charges
  • Allowable with detailed documentation, including date(s) of service, item description, and cost.
Submit allowable charges to your departmental contact.A 142 account cannot be used as default for purchasing cards
Re-budgets
  • Prior Approval Needed from WAES for Research Assistant re-budgets.
  • Supplies, travel and LTE can be re-budgeted amongst each category.
  • Fringe and Capital Exercise amounts cannot be re-budgeted to other categories.
During the lifetime of the award, up to 25% of RA allocation and fringe can be re-budgeted to other categories (other appointment types, supplies, travel, and LTE). See WAES Receipt and Re-budget Submission Procedures for additional re-budget policy information. Submit requests to Casey Hillmer at  casey.hillmer@wisc.edu.
Research Assistant Appointments
  • Up to one 50% Research Assistant per month Allowable
  • Prior Approval Needed for deviations
Exceptions require prior approval and strong justification. Submit exception requests, with justification from the principal investigator, to casey.hillmer@wisc.edu. Expenditures are not allowed until a request has been approved. Unused RA salary and fringe revert to CALS Research Division administrative control on a quarterly basis.
Research Assistant Re-budgets
  • Prior Approval Needed from WAES for Research Assistant re-budgets.
During the lifetime of the award, up to 25% of RA allocation and fringe can be re-budgeted to other categories (other appointment types, supplies, travel, and LTE). See WAES Receipt and Re-budget Submission Procedures for additional re-budget policy information. Submit requests to Casey Hillmer at  casey.hillmer@wisc.edu.
Research Related Supplies
  • General office supplies are Unallowable
  • Supplies related to direct research costs approved in the original proposal are Allowable
If there a need to exceed the maximum, prior approval is required. Submit requests, with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu prior to exceeding the maximum.
Subscriptions/Memberships
  • Typically Unallowable
  • Subscriptions directly related to the research that provide datasets available only to subscribers may be Allowable.
  • Professional memberships are Unallowable unless required in order to purchase a subscription meeting the above criteria.
Submit requests, with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu
Telephone
or Communications Charges
Allowable telephone charges are processed via non-salary payment transfers.Submit a non-salary transfer form and a copy of the phone bill with calls related to the project highlighted to your departmental contact.
Travel
Data Collection
  • Allowable for data collection in and out of state
Justification of travel is required when submitting documentation/receipts for review and approval.
Conference Travel
  • Allowable for PI and research assistant only if presenting research results are directly related to a Capacity Grant.
Conference materials should acknowledge NIFA support.
Multi-state Travel
  • Allowable for 2 appointed WI representatives attending annual Multi-state meeting.
Substituting a WI representative for Multi-state travel requires prior approval from WAES. Submit requests to casey.hillmer@wisc.edu
Tuition Remission
  • Unallowable
Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Costs
  • Typically Unallowable
Exceptions require prior approval and strong justification. Submit requests, with justification, to waes@cals.wisc.edu.