Frequently Asked Questions

The function of the Grants and Contracts office includes overseeing the financial administration of externally funded grants and contracts received by Western Michigan University. Below are frequently asked questions regarding project startup, purchasing, travel and other project management aspects of an externally funded grant or contract.

Project startup

Does Western Michigan University have to receive funds from the sponsor before I can start spending out of my sponsored project account?

How do I access the funds now that I have an award?

How do I hire someone on my grant?

Purchasing

How do I purchase supplies on my project?

How do I purchase equipment for my project?

Travel

What do I need to do in order to be reimbursed for my travel expenses?

What is the Fly America Act? Do I have to do anything special when I travel to a foreign country?

Project management

Do I have to monitor my sponsored project?

How do I monitor my sponsored project?

What is a time and effort report?

What is facilities and administrative costs?

How do I document cost sharing?

Who is responsible for collecting cost sharing documentation?

Who prepares the financial reports?

Do I need to go back to the sponsor in order to revise my budget plan?

Do I need to go back to the sponsor in order to extend the time period of my grant?

Project startup

Does Western Michigan University have to receive funds from the sponsor before I can start spending out of my sponsored project account?
No. Once the account is established, spending can begin. The Grants and Contracts Office will bill the agency according to the agency requirements.

How do I access the funds now that I have an award?
Once the award document is received the Grants and Contracts Office assigns you a unique account number. This account number should be used when requesting on-campus services, completing vouchers, placing orders, etc.

How do I hire someone on my grant?
When hiring personnel on grants use the same hiring process as you would use for any other University employee. This process should be initiated in your department.

Grant employees are university employees with terminal positions and must have a term date no later than the termination date of the sponsored project. For additional information on the University hiring policies, see human resources

Purchasing

How do I purchase supplies on my project?
Obtain a procurement card designated for your project. There are specific policies and procedures for obtaining a procurement card on a sponsored project, see procurement card procedures.

How do I purchase equipment for my project?
Initiate a purchase requisition at least 90 days prior to the termination of the sponsored project. For forms and applicable policies and procedures, see purchasing.

Travel

What do I need to do in order to be reimbursed for my travel expenses?
The travel authorization form is prepared prior to traveling and is authorized by your department. The travel voucher is prepared after your travel is complete. The Grants and Contracts office does not sign off on the authorization form, but will review the travel voucher for allowability. For forms and the University travel policy, see WMU travel.

What is the Fly America Act? Do I have to do anything special when I travel to a foreign country?
Air travel funded with federal funds must be booked on a U.S. flagged air carrier, seeFly America Act. If you choose to fly a non U.S. flagged carrier, see Wavier Checklist or contact the Grants and Contracts Office prior to booking the flight. Your project fiscal analyst will determine if you meet one of the extremely restrictive exceptions in the Act.

Project management

Do I have to monitor my sponsored project?
Yes. As Principal Investigator you are responsible for insuring that only allowable costs related to your project are charged to the sponsored account.

How do I monitor my sponsored project?
You may monitor your project by accessing your account on-line through the General Ledger Operating Web referred to as GLOW. The user id and password can be obtained from your departmental support staff. You may also request access to the Grants Custom Budget Reporting System by submitting a request for access form.

What is a Time and Effort Report?
The time and effort report details by employee ID the university accounts (department ID’s) for employees who have been paid on a sponsored project and the percent of effort devoted to each account, see time and effort certification.

What is facilities and administrative costs?
Facilities and administrative costs are cost that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project. The University negotiates a facilities and administrative rate with the federal government and this rate is then the basis for recovering facilities and administrative costs, see facilities and administrative rates.

How do I document cost sharing?
Cost sharing must be documented according to OMB Circular A-110, see cost sharing.

Who is responsible for collecting cost sharing documentation?
The principal investigator is responsible for making sure cost sharing is documented and reported as committed in the award document.

Who prepares the financial reports?
The Grants and Contracts Office will prepare all financial reports in the format and frequency required by the sponsor.

Do I need to go back to the sponsor in order to revise my budget plan?
Many federal sponsors allow WMU to internally revise grant budgets. Refer to the expanded authorities chart or contact your Grant and Contract Specialist in the Grants and Contracts office for assistance. If WMU can internally approve the budget revision a University prior approval form and a budget revision form must be completed.

Do I need to go back to the sponsor in order to extend the time period of my grant?
Many federal sponsors allow WMU to internally extend grants once for up to a year. Refer to the expanded authorities chart or contact your Grant and Contract Specialist in the Grants and Contracts Office for assistance. If WMU can internally approve a no cost time extension a University prior approval form must be completed.