Washington State University

New 10-04
Office of Grant and Research Development
Sponsored Programs Services

Fiscal Responsibilities for Grants and Contracts

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Grants and contracts are awarded to the University, not to individual investigators, departments, colleges, urban campuses, or other administrative units. Acceptance of a grant or contract by the Office of Grant and Research Development (OGRD) on behalf of Washington State University signifies the University's willingness to assume responsibility for the administration of the funds in accordance with the terms specified by the awarding agency.


The principal investigator, his or her chairperson, director, dean, urban campus chancellor, and other unit administrators share fiscal responsibility for the grant or contract. These individuals help ensure that the terms of the award are observed and the expenditures incurred during a given period are not in excess of the funds awarded.

Related Policy

See Executive Policy Manual, EP1: Policy on Budget Responsibility.


The complementary roles of the responsible individuals are as follows:

Principal Investigator

The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for:

The PI works with the authorized person(s) in the department, college, or urban campus, and consults other University officers as appropriate to develop the plan.

Funds are used only for purposes directly related to the activity supported and that the expenditures are reasonable, allowable, and allocable as defined in OMB Circular A-21.

NOTE: Contact OGRD, Sponsored Programs Services (SPS), and departmental administrators for additional information and interpretation regarding OMB Circulars.

Expenditures are consistent with all special terms, conditions, or limitations applicable under the particular grant or contract.

Expenditures do not exceed the total funds authorized for a given period under the grant or contract. In many cases, the grant or contract may also specify expenditure limits by budget category or line item.

NOTE: Management, administrative, and system situations may occur where expenses exceed revenue. It is important to follow the prescribed policies set forth in Executive Policy Manual EP1 to prevent overspending. See also 30.21 regarding overdrafts.

The PI or designee uses the Effort Certification System to report effort. See 40.34 and 40.35.

University units must ensure that expenditure transfers are in conformance with the requirements of 30.25.

See 30.21 and Executive Policy Manual EP1 for information regarding overdrafts and deficits.

Submitting all cost sharing information to SPS.

Posting all expenditures.

Ensuring that all costs are allowable. Factors affecting allowability of costs include:



Consistent treatment, and

Conformity of costs to any limitations or exclusions set forth in the sponsored agreement concerning types or amounts of cost items.

Submitting a technical report to SPS, when required.

Unit Administrator

The chair, director, dean, urban campus chancellor, or other unit administrator is responsible for:

The unit administrator may delegate this responsibility to the departmental manager, fiscal officer, administrative assistant, or other administrative official.

In the case of an uncollectible or disallowance, the unit administrator may find it necessary to contact SPS for assistance in obtaining an appropriate resolution.


The Office of Grant and Research Development (OGRD) has the institutional responsibility for assisting the University's faculty, students, and staff with securing extramural support for scholarly work, research, teaching, and service activities.

Core Responsibilities

The core responsibilities of OGRD are:


OGRD provides the following services related to grant and contract fiscal responsibility:

The Board of Regents, through the President of the University, grants this signature authority to the Director of the Office of Grant and Research Development. Others who are not so authorized do not have the authority to negotiate for or to bind the University.

NOTE: If OGRD determines that a sponsor exhibits poor financial status, the department must provide written approval for OGRD to execute the agreement.


Sponsored Program Services (SPS) has the institutional responsibility for assuring the Regents, the public, and the sponsoring organization that the University has adequate systems for fiscal accountability and internal controls in place for managing funds awarded to WSU.

To fulfill this responsibility, SPS:

This financial data assists PIs and/or departmental administrators in making intelligent fiscal and programmatic decisions during the course of a sponsored project.

NOTE: To ensure that PIs and departmental administrators know how to access financial data, SPS and Business Services provide training through Human Resource Services (HRS) in the use of the BALANCES, FACTS, and Datawarehouse systems. Contact SPS or the HRS Employee Development unit for more information.

SPS, the departments, and the PIs share responsibility for the timely submission of final financial reports. See above.


Direct questions relating to accounting matters or requests for assistance with establishing recordkeeping systems for monitoring grant and contract expenditures to SPS; telephone 335-2058.