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Policies & Forms


Policy Definitions

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Additional Employment: Any CSU employment that is in addition to the employee's primary appointment. Additional employment limitations are based on time-base, not salary. A maximum of 125% time-base is allowed under certain circumstances. (Please refer to the approproate section below for specific rules.) The salary rate for additional employment may be the same as the rate for the primary appointment; however, a different salary rate is permitted if appropriate for the work performed and if allowed by the funding source (e.g., private corporation contract). In the case of a federal grant or contract, the rate of pay for the additional employment must be the same as the CSU base rate of pay for the primary assignment. 

Advance Payment: A payment that a Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity makes by any appropriate payment mechanism, including a predetermined payment schedule, before the non-Federal entity disburses the funds for the program purposes.

Allocable Cost (200.405): An item of cost assigned to one or more cost objectives, in reasonable proportion to the benefit provided or other equitable relationship. The cost must have a direct benefit to and be directly associated with the project(s) being performed. A cost is allocable to a particular sponsored project, if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable in accordance with relative benefits received or other equitable relationship. Allocability is a basic conditions that must be met in deciding whether a particular expenditure is appropriate to a particular project. 

Allocation: The process of assigning a cost, or a group of costs, to one or more cost objective(s), in reasonable proportion to the benefit provided or other equitable relationship. The process may entail assigning a cost(s) directly to a final cost objective or through one or more intermediate cost objectives. 

Allowability (200.403): The determination of whether or not costs can be charged to a sponsored project as a direct or F&A cost. Costs that are directly related to a sponsored project, must benefit the sponsored project in the proportion to the amount charged, and must conform to the policies and procedures of the institution.

Approving Authority: a person to whom authority has been delegated in writing to approve activities and/or expenses within CSUSM policy. The approving authority must evaluate the importance of the activity and/or expense in terms of the costs that will be incurred, the benefits to be derived from such an expense, the availability of funds, and any alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing the desired objectives. 

Audit: The examination of documents, records, reports, systems, of internal control, accounting and financial procedures, and other evidence for one or more of the following purposes: 

  1. To ascertain whether the statements prepared from the accounts present fairly the financial position and the results of financial operations of the constituent funds and account groups of the governmental unit in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and on a basis consistent with that of the preceding year.
  2. To determine the compliance with applicable laws and regulationis of a governmental unit's financial transactions.
  3. To review the efficiency and economy with which operations were carried out.
  4. To review effectiveness in achieving program results. 

Audit Finding: Deficiencies which the auditor is required by 200.516 Audit findings, paragraph (a) to report in the schedule of findings and questioned costs.

Auxiliary: An Auxiliary Organization as defined in Executive Order No. 698. By means of an Operating Agreement between California State University San Marcos and the California State University San Marcos Foundation, it is acknowledged that, with one exception, the CSUSM Foundation shall act as the administrator and financial liaison for all externally funded grants, contracts, and special projects. As an exception to this delegation, with the approval of the Chief Financial Officer, CSUSM Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) may administer externally funded grants, contracts, and special projects that were generated to benefit ASI programs. The CSUSM Foundation, and by exception, ASI Inc, will act as fiscal agent for awards and have responsibility for award compliance and financial administration, including determinations regarding overhead and administrative costs, within University policy and practice. The management of grants, contracts, and special projects will follow the procedures set by the CSUSM Foundation. All exceptions to this policy will require approval from the University's Chief Financial Officer/Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services.

Award: Umbrella term used to include sponsored grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.  A federal award is any form of financial assistance received from a federal awarding agency directly or indirectly from a pass-through entity.

Budget: The financial plan for the project or program that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity approves during the Federal award process or in subsequent amendments to the Federal award. It may include the Federal and non-Federal share or only the Federal share, as determined by the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity. 

Campus: In ICSUAM Section 11000 for Sponsored Programs, campus means either the University or the Auxiliary/Foundation.

Capital Asset: Tangible or intangible assets used in operations having a useful life of more than one year which are capitalized in accordance with GAAP. Capital assets include:

  1. Land, buildings (facilities), equipment, and intellectual property (including software) whether acquired by purchase, construction, manufacture, lease-purchase, exchange, or through capital leases; and
  2. Additions, improvements, modifications, replacements, rearrangements, reinstallations, renovations, or alterations to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life (not ordinary repairs and maintenance).

Capital Expenditures: Expenditures to acquire capital assets or expenditures to make additions, improvements, modifications, replacements, rearrangements, reinstallations, renovations, or alterations to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life.

Claim: Depending on the context, either: 

  1. A written demand or written assertion by one of the parties to a Federal award seeking as a matter of right: 1) the payment of money in a sum certain; 2) the adjustment or interpretation of the terms and conditions of the Federal award; or 3) Other relief arising under or relating to a Federal award. 
  2. A request for payment that is not in dispute when submitted. 

Closeout: The process by which the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the Federal award have been completed and takes actions as described in §200.343 Closeout.

Compensated Effort: Compensation for effort consisting of campus assignment, reimbursed time, additional employment, direct pay, and cost share for faculty and staff performing services under Sponsored Projects.

Competing Renewal Proposal (also called a Competing Continuation): A request for continued funding of a project for which the funding or project period is about to terminate.

Confidentiality: Prevention of disclosure, to other than authorized individuals, of a sponsor’s proprietary information or of a subject’s identity.

Consistency: A cost is considered to be treated consistently when the expense is treated as either a direct or F&A cost under like circumstances. Consistent treatment occurs when a cost incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances is treated consistently as either a direct or an indirect cost. Consistency is a basic condition that determines whether an expense is appropriate to a particular project. 

Consulting Agreement: An agreement to have a professional with expertise assess, evaluate, provide analysis, develop strategies, provide decision support and/or recommendations to management, provide management consulting or similar professional advisory services and/or prepare a report or presentation that summarizes the consultant’s work, recommendations or conclusions; the consultant may prepare or create intellectual property (e.g., prepare written materials, graphics, or other visual materials) that an Entity may want to own. Examples of Contract Titles: Agreement for Consultant Services; Agreement for Professional Consulting Services.

Contract: An agreement between CSUSM or Auxiliary and a sponsor to provide an economic benefit, generally in the form of services, for compensation.  The agreement is binding and creates a quid pro quo relationship between the parties.

Contract Request: Where one party requests for or initiates the contracting process and subsequently uses that information for drafting or authoring a contract document. This is usually the first step in the contract life cycle.

Contract UG Definition: A legal instrument by which a non-Federal entity purchases property or services needed to carry out the project or program under a Federal award. The term as used in this part does not include a legal instrument, even if the non-Federal entity considers it a contract, when the substance of the transaction meets the definition of a Federal award or subaward (see §200.92 Subaward). 

Contractor:  See Vendor/Contractor.

Contractor UG Definition: An entity that receives a contract as defined in 200.22 Contract.

Cost Reimbursement Contract: Provide for sponsor payment of the allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs of the sponsored project. They are designed to estimate total costs required for the work, and expenses are reimbursed as costs are incurred. Cost reimbursement contracts set a spending ceiling that the investigator may not exceed without additional funds being allotted by an amendment.

Cost Sharing: - Represents that portion of project or program costs not borne by the sponsor (generally the federal government). Cost sharing can be voluntary or mandatory (that is, required by means of a statute or law), and can take the form of either cash or in-kind contributions.

  • Cash: Represents actual verifiable expenditures from the recipient or from non-Federal third parties – and includes costs incurred by the University or Auxiliary, including indirect costs.
  • In-kind: Represents the value of all noncash contributions, including services and property provided by non-Federal third parties.
  • Mandatory: Required by the sponsor or funding agency supporting the sponsored project. Some sponsors require that the recipient of an award provide some level of cost sharing or matching costs as a condition of receiving the award.
  • Voluntary: That portion of the project costs that the campus provides on its own initiative when the sponsor does not require cost share or the amount of cost share provided is more than the sponsor’s mandatory requirement.
    • Voluntary Committed: Quantified and included in the proposal budget and award and becomes a binding requirement of the award.
    • Voluntary Uncommitted: Effort that is over and above that which is committed and budgeted for in a sponsored agreement. Voluntary uncommitted effort is not required to be documented or tracked.

Deficit: The excess of expenditures over revenues during an accounting period; or, in the case of Enterprise and Internal Service Funds, the excess of expense over income during an accounting period.

Direct Costs: Direct costs are those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular final cost objective, such as an award, or other internally or externally funded activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy. Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as either direct or indirect (F&A) costs.

Disallowed Costs: Those charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award. 

eGift card: Code that is electronically delivered using technology such as email, SMS text, social media and smartphone apps. They are commonly referred to as digital, electronic, virtual or mobile gift cards.

Equipment: Tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000. See also §§200.12 Capital assets, 200.20 Computing devices, 200.48 General purpose equipment, 200.58 Information technology systems, 200.89 Special purpose equipment, and 200.94 Supplies.

Encumbrance: Contingent liabilities in the form of purchase orders, contracts, or salary commitments which are chargeable to an appropriation and for which a part of the appropriation is reserved. They cease to be encumbrances when paid or when the actual liability is recorded.

Expenditures: charges made by a non-Federal entity to a project or program for which a Federal award was received.

(a) The charges may be reported on a cash or accrual basis, as long as the methodology is disclosed and is consistently applied.

(b) For reports prepared on a cash basis, expenditures are the sum of:

(1) Cash disbursements for direct charges for property and services;

(2) The amount of indirect expense charged;

(3) The value of third-party in-kind contributions applied; and

(4) The amount of cash advance payments and payments made to subrecipients

Facilities and Administrative (F&A): See Indirect (F&A) Costs

Fiscal Year: A twelve-month period of time to which the annual budget applies and at the end of which a governmental unit determines its financial position and the results of its operations. In California State government, the fiscal year runs from July 1 through the following June 30. It is the period during which obligations are incurred, encumbrances are made and appropriations are expended.

Fixed Amount Awards: A type of grant agreement under which the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity provides a specific level of support without regard to actual costs incurred under the Federal award. This type of Federal award reduces some of the administrative burden and record-keeping requirements for both the non-Federal entity and Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity. Accountability is based primarily on performance and results. See §§200.201 Use of grant agreements (including fixed amount awards), cooperative agreements, and contracts, paragraph (b) and 200.332 Fixed amount subawards.

Fixed Amount Subawards: With prior written approval from the Federal awarding agency, a pass-through entity may provide subawards based on fixed amounts up to the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, provided that the subawards meet the requirements for fixed amount awards in 200.201 Use of grant agreements (including fixed amount awards), cooperative agreements, and contracts. 

Fraud: False statements involving false, fabricated, or plagiarized information identified during research misconduct proceedings should be reported to the sponsor by the institution.

Examples of fraud, waste, and abuse that should be reported include, but are not limited to, embezzlement, misuse, or misappropriation of grant funds or property, and false statements, whether by organizations or individuals. Other examples include theft of grant funds for personal use; using funds for nongrant-related purposes; theft of federally owned property or property acquired or leased under a grant; charging the federal government for the services of “ghost” individuals; charging inflated building rental fees for a building owned by the recipient; submitting false financial reports; and submitting false financial data in bids submitted to the recipient (for eventual payment under a grant). 

General - Goods and Services Agreement: An agreement that is typically for vendors to provide both goods (e.g., materials, parts, supplies) and services (e.g., the supply of batteries that also requires preventive maintenance or repair, or the provision of janitorial services that also requires payment for cleaning supplies). Examples of Contract Titles: Goods and Services Agreement; Service Agreement.

General - Services Agreement: An agreement for a vendor to provide a service (e.g., coding bills, interpreters). As opposed to consultants (for which we use the Consulting Agreement), these vendors usually will not contribute any intellectual property (e.g., prepare written or visual materials). Examples of Contract Titles: Services Agreement.

General Purpose Equipment: Equipment which is not limited to research, medical, scientific or other technical activities. Examples include office equipment and furnishings, modular offices, telephone networks, information technology equipment and systems, air conditioning equipment, reproduction and printing equipment, and motor vehicles. See also Equipment and Special Purpose Equipment.

Gift: Any item of value given to CSUSM Corporation by a donor who expects nothing of value in return, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with that donor's wishes. There is no formal fiscal accountability to the donor beyond periodic progress reports and summary reports of expenditures. These reports may be thought of as requirements of good stewardship, and, as such, may be required by the terms of a gift. They are not characterized as contractual obligations or "deliverables."

Grant: A financial contribution to a recipient to carry out an approved project or activity. A grant generally anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement of the sponsor with the recipient during performance of the project or activity, but sponsors usually require deliverables/progress reports and/or final report – and an accounting of the use of funds or return of unused funds.

Grant Agreement: Grant agreement means a legal instrument of financial assistance between an awarding sponsor or pass-through entity and another entity.

Grantee: The institution (public or private, nonprofit or for-profit, educational institution, hospital, corporation, organization, agency, or other legally accountable entity) that receives a grant or cooperative agreement and assumes legal, financial, and scientific responsibility and accountability both for the awarded funds and for the performance of the grant-supported activity.

 

Guidelines: Non-mandatory, supplemental information about acceptable methods for implementing policy requirements. 

Human subject: As defined by Department of Health and Human Services regulations means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information. [45 CFR 46.102(f)]. As defined by Food and Drug Administration regulations, “human subject” means an individual who is or becomes a subject in research, either as a recipient of the test article or as a control. A subject may be either a healthy human or a patient [21 CFR 50.3(g), 21 CFR 56.102(e)]. A human subject includes an individual on whose specimen a medical device is used [21 CFR 812.3(p)].

Improper payment: (a) Improper payment means any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments) under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements; and (b) Improper payment includes any payment to an ineligible party, any payment for an ineligible good or service, any duplicate payment, any payment for a good or service not received (except for such payments where authorized by law), any payment that does not account for credit for applicable discounts, and any payment where insufficient or lack of documentation prevents a reviewer from discerning whether a payment was proper.

Indirect (F&A) Costs: Those costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefitted, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved. To facilitate equitable distribution of indirect expenses to the cost objectives served, it may be necessary to establish a number of pools of indirect (F&A) costs. Indirect (F&A) cost pools must be distributed to benefitted cost objectives on bases that will produce an equitable result in consideration of relative benefits derived. (From UG §200.56)

Indirect Cost Rate Proposal: The documentation prepared by a non-Federal entity to substantiate its request for the establishment of an indirect cost rate as described in Appendix III to Part 200—Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) through Appendix VII to Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals of this part, and Appendix IX to Part 200—Hospital Cost Principles.

Institutional Review Board (IRB): Research at CSUSM using a human subject must be approved by the IRB which is an independent committee that protects the rights and well-being of research subjects. As part of the protocol and informed consent process, the IRB reviews all aspects of compensation and reimbursement made to a human subject including amount, proposed distribution method, timing, and if a human subject is either a CSUSM student or employee.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval: The determination of the IRB that the human subjects research has been reviewed and may be conducted at an institution within the constraints set forth by the IRB and by other institutional and Federal requirements.

Institutions of Higher Education (IHE): A legally authorized, accredited, public or non-profit educational institution that admits persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing a secondary education (i.e., high-school graduates or their equivalents) or individuals who meet the requirements of section 1091 (d).

Note: Program statutes may require specific accreditation

Internal controls: A process, implemented by a non-Federal entity, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories:

(a) Effectiveness and efficiency of operations;

(b) Reliability of reporting for internal and external use; and

(c) Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Internal control over compliance requirements for Federal awards: A process implemented by a non-Federal entity designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of the following objectives for Federal awards:

(a) Transactions are properly recorded and accounted for, in order to:

(1) Permit the preparation of reliable financial statements and Federal reports;

(2) Maintain accountability over assets; and

(3) Demonstrate compliance with Federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the Federal award;

(b) Transactions are executed in compliance with:

(1) Federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the Federal award that could have a direct and material effect on a Federal program; and

(2) Any other Federal statutes and regulations that are identified in the Compliance Supplement; and

(c) Funds, property, and other assets are safeguarded against loss from unauthorized use or disposition.

Key Personnel: Employees of the awardee who are engaged in the awarded project, listed in the award application, progress report, or any other report submitted to the sponsor AND who are considered by the sponsor as essential resources in the work performance. Key Personnel typically includes the principal investigators and co-investigators, but is dependent upon the individual award.  (The sponsor may review the qualifications of any substitution of these individuals.)

Line Item Budget: A detailed expense or expenditure budget, generally classified by object within each organizational unit, and, often, classified within each object as to authorized number of employees at each salary level within each job classification, etc.

Local Government: Any unit of government within a state, including a:

(a) County;

(b) Borough;

(c) Municipality;

(d) City;

(e) Town;

(f) Township;

(g) Parish;

(h) Local public authority, including any public housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937;

(i) Special district;

(j) School district;

(k) Intrastate district;

(l) Council of governments, whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under state law; and

(m) Any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-state or local government. (UG 200.64)

Management Decision: The evaluation by the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity of the audit findings and corrective action plan and the issuance of a written decision to the auditee as to what corrective action is necessary. 

Master Agreement: Can apply to the entire entity or a specific department/lab/unit. The Master Agreement provides general administrative terms. Funding is provided under follow on task orders or work orders with details specific to the funded projects. Master agreements may require extensive negotiation, but the follow on task orders or work orders are generally expedited.

Memorandum of Understanding/Letter of Intent: A Memorandum of Understanding formalizes an arrangement or understanding regarding a particular transaction; it documents the key terms and provisions of that transaction. It could be binding or nonbinding and can be used in situations where the parties are still negotiating the definitive agreement. A Letter of Intent memorializes the intent of parties to enter into a formal contract. All deal terms are typically nonbinding except for the confidentiality provision.  Examples of Contract Titles: Letter of Intent; LOI; Memorandum of Understanding; MOU.

Micro-purchase: A purchase of supplies or services using simplified acquisition procedures, the aggregate amount of which does not exceed the micro-purchase threshold. Micro-purchase procedures comprise a subset of a non-Federal entity's small purchase procedures. The non-Federal entity uses such procedures in order to expedite the completion of its lowest-dollar small purchase transactions and minimize the associated administrative burden and cost. The micro-purchase threshold is set by the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR Subpart 2.1 (Definitions). It is $3,000 except as otherwise discussed in Subpart 2.1 of that regulation, but this threshold is periodically adjusted for inflation. 

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC): All direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. Other items may only be excluded when necessary to avoid a serious inequity in the distribution of indirect costs, and with the approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs. 

Negotiation: Pre-award discussions conducted by the Office of Sponsored Projects to establish the conditions and amount of an  agreement; based on recommendations from the cognizant principal office, a cost analysis of the applicant's budget, and a review of proposed activities.

Noncompeting Continuation: The next year’s funding within a multi-year grant.

Non-Federal Entity: A state, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient.

Obligations: When used in connection with a non-Federal entity’s utilization of funds under a Federal award, obligations means orders places for property and services, contracts and subawards made, and similar transactions during a given period that require payment by the non-Federal entity during the same or future period.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB): The Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. 

Operating Statement: A statement summarizing the financial operations for an accounting period as contrasted with a balance sheet which shows financial position at a given moment in time.

Outside Employment: Refers to any employment not compensated through the CSU payroll. Employment directly compensated by a CSU foundation or other CSU auxiliary that is not compensated through the CSU payroll is considered outside employment. Employment that is compensated through the CSU payroll and is reimbursed by a foundation, other auxiliary, or other funding source is considered CSU employment. CSU employees may, consistent with campus policies governing outside activities, be employed outside the CSU system. However, conflicts of interest are not permitted. When determining the 125% additional employment under the CSU Additional Employment Policy, all CSU employment and all outside CSU foundation and other CSU auxiliary employment are considered together.

Overload: A term exclusive to employees represented by the CFA and refers to CSU additional employment in excess of a full-time workload, or when appropriate, in excess of a full-time (100%) time-base. A faculty member paid 100% from federal grant funds may not work more than 100% time. 

Participants: “Participants" can easily be confused with "human subjects." "Participants" are people who are taking part in sponsor-defined training or sponsor-supported conferences, who are eligible to receive expense reimbursement under the terms of the sponsored project agreement. Participants cannot be paid for their participation in these events, but can be reimbursed for legitimate and justifiable expenses.

Participant Support Costs: direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects. (UG 200.75)

Pass-through Entity: a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program. (UG 200.74)

Period of Performance: the time during which the non-Federal entity may incur new obligations to carry out the work authorized under the Federal award.

Policy: A definite course or method of action to guide and determine present and future decisions and describe the rules that establish what will or will not be done. 

Principal Investigator: The individual (whether referred to in the contract or grant as a Principal Investigator, Project Director or other similar term) designated by the Sponsored Program Administrator to be responsible for ensuring compliance with the academic, scientific, technical, financial and administrative aspects and for day-to-day management of the Sponsored Program. 

Investigators:  (Financial Conflict of Interest #11010.02)

Nongovernmental Investigator: For non-governmentally funded projects, a Principal Investigator (“Investigator”) who has primary responsibility for the scientific and technical conduct and reporting of a research project funded by a nongovernmental entity.

PHS Investigator: Investigator means the project director or principal Investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research funded by the PHS, or proposed for such funding, which may include, for example, collaborators or consultants.

NSF Investigator: The term "Investigator" means the principal investigator, co-principal investigators/co-project directors, and any other person at the organization who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research or educational activities funded or proposed for funding by NSF.
Note: For purposes of policy #11010.02, regardless of funding source, "Investigator" also includes the investigator's spouse/domestic partner and dependent children. 

Procedure: Describe the critical steps undertaken to achieve policy intent; internal controls that demonstrate compliance with policies/regulations.

Protocol: Plan of Study approved by IRB.

Proper Invoice: A proper invoice is one that meets the requirements of 2 CFR 200.305, includes the required invoice elements from Terms and Condition #2 of the Agreement Terms and Conditions on the face page, is submitted in a timely manner in accordance with the Agreement, contains costs that are deemed allowable, allocable, reasonable, and in line with scope of work progress to date, and includes a certification, as required in the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.415 (a).

Reasonableness (200.404): A cost is reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired or applied, and the amount involved therefore, reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made. Reasonable costs that are generally recognized as necessary for the operation of a sponsored project, have an arm’s length relationship between the vendor and the principal investigator and/or institution, and are consistent with sponsor and institutional policy. Reasonableness is a  basic condition that must be met in deciding whether a particular expenditure is appropriate to a particular project.

Recipient: CSUSM or Auxiliary designated as the ponsored Program Administrator and awarded a contract or grant. The recipient is either the University or Auxiliary, as the case may be, even if a particular component is designated in the award document, and shall not be an individual, department or other constituent unit. 

Research: From 45 CFR 46.102, “Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” The term encompasses basic and applied research. Basic research is defined as systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind. Applied research is defined as systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.

Research and Development (R&D): All research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by non-Federal entities. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

“Research” is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. “Development” is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

 Salary Cap: A limitation imposed by the sponsor on the amount of salary that can be directly charged to projects.

Segregation of duties: Established procedures that ensure no single individual is responsible for the collection, handling, depositing and accounting for cash and cash equivalents received by a unit. At least two (2) authorized individuals must be assigned to carry out key duties of the handling process.

Significant Financial Interest: Anything of monetary value, including but not limited to salary or other payments for service (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria); equity interests (e.g., stocks, stock options); being an owner, partner, director or officer in a non-publicly held company or entity; and, intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights) and royalties from such rights. Refer to the CSU FCOI Disclosure Requirements by Funding Source Chart for specific definitions for each funding source.

Simplified Acquisition Threshold: The dollar amount below which a non-Federal entity may purchase property or services using small purchase methods. Non-Federal entities adopt small purchase procedures in order to expedite the purchase of items costing less than the simplified acquisition threshold. The simplified acquisition threshold is set by the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR Subpart 2.1 (Definitions) and in accordance with 41 U.S.C. 1908. As of the publication of this part, the simplified acquisition threshold is $150,000, but this threshold is periodically adjusted for inflation.

Sound Business Practices: A set of practices that contribute to achieving compliance and a target level of quality. 

Special Purpose Equipment: Equipment which is used only for research, medical, scientific, or other technical activities. Examples of special purpose equipment include microscopes, x-ray machines, surgical instruments, and spectrometers. See also §§200.33 Equipment and 200.48 General purpose equipment

Sponsor: The party/entity paying for services or other economic benefit under a contract or providing financial assistance/contribution for a project or activity under a grant.

Sponsored Agreement: A contract, grant, or other agreement from a sponsor to the campus.

Sponsored Projects:  A project resulting from a grant, contract, or other agreement between the campus and a sponsor.

Sponsored Program: All work performed under grants or contracts funded by non-CSU funding sources (including non-CSU-funded contracts and grants that are subsequently subcontracted to another campus).

Sponsored Program(s) Administrator: The entity (Foundation, University or Auxiliary) designated by the University to administer the Sponsored Program.

Sponsored Program Records: Include, but are not limited to, accepted proposals and applications; contracts or grant agreements; program reports and data; correspondence; budgets and supporting financial documentation; supporting human resources documentation; and other records relating to receipt, review, award, evaluation, status and monitoring of the sponsored program.

Sponsored Program Work Product: Any work created in the performance of a sponsored program. Unless the contract or grant states otherwise, sponsored program work product does not include journal articles, lectures, images, books or other works that are subject to copyright protection and have been created through independent academic effort and based on the findings of the sponsored program.

Sponsored Project:  A project resulting from a grant, contract, or other agreement between the campus and a sponsor.

Stipend: Financial support for living expenses.

  1. An assistantship stipend may be paid incrementally, twice monthly, throughout the semester and may be cancelled if the student does not fulfill the commitments of the assistantship.
  2. A fellowship stipend may be paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the semester and remains in place so long as the student makes satisfactory academic progress as defined by the field/department and special committee.
  3. A trainee stipend may be paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the semester and remains in place so long as the student makes satisfactory academic progress as defined by the field/department and special committee and meets the requirements established by the training grant.

Student Financial Aid (SFA): Federal awards under those programs of general student assistance, such as those authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (20 U.S.C. 1070-1099d), which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, and similar programs provided by other Federal agencies. It does not include Federal awards under programs that provide fellowships or similar Federal awards to students on a competitive basis, or for specified studies or research.

Subagreement: “Pass through funding” from the prime sponsor to a prime recipient, wherein the recipient of the funding, then issues a “sub” agreement to another organization to accomplish a portion of the scope of work that is integral to the success of the scope of work of the prime recipient.

Subaward: An award (subgrant or subcontract) of financial support from a prime awardee/pass-through entity to a qualified organization for the performance of a substantive portion of the programmatic effort funded under the prime award. This term also includes awards made by a sub-recipient to a lower tier subrecipient. It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual that is a beneficiary of the program.

Subrecipient: The legal entity to which a subaward is made and which is accountable for the use of the funds provided in carrying out a portion of the prime awardee’s/pass-through entity’s programmatic effort under a sponsored project. A subrecipient has responsibility for programmatic and/or administrative decision making and adherence to the applicable sponsor program compliance requirements. The term may include institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, for-profit corporations, and foreign or international organizations at the discretion of the federal awarding agency.

Supplies: All tangible personal property other than those described in §200.33 Equipment. A computing device is a supply if the acquisition cost is less than the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes or $5,000, regardless of the length of its useful life. See also §§200.20 Computing devices and 200.33 Equipment. 

Traineeship: A supervised position in which financial support is given to a graduate student to develop and extend research skills and knowledge in preparation for a research career. A traineeship is similar to a fellowship in that its stipend (provided by the training grant) will be used as a living allowance without any additional obligation on the part of the student to engage in teaching and/or research in furtherance of the university’s academic mission. Trainees may be subject to the participation requirements of the funding entity.

Unallowable Costs: Costs that are explicitly identified as unallowable or those that do not meet the conditions for allowability.

University: One of the campuses of the California State University or the Office of the Chancellor.

Unlike Circumstances: An activity or cost, which is substantially greater in amount or different in purpose than the normal use.  The term "unlike circumstance" comes from several citations in federal cost principles.  The government requires that costs incurred for the same purposes be consistently charged either as direct costs or as indirect costs.  To allow a charge normally included as indirect as a direct charge, there must be unlike circumstances.

Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200): The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) are the federal regulations for the management of federal awards.  The Uniform Guidance streamlines and supersedes guidance that was previously contained in eight different OMB Circulars (including A-21, A-110 and A-133). 

Use of grant agreements (including fixed amount awards), cooperative agreements, and contracts:

(a) The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity must decide on the appropriate instrument for the Federal award (i.e., grant agreement, cooperative agreement, or contract) in accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act (31 U.S.C. 6301-08).

(b) Fixed Amount Awards. In addition to the options described in paragraph (a) of this section, Federal awarding agencies, or pass-through entities as permitted in §200.332 Fixed amount subawards, may use fixed amount awards (see §200.45 Fixed amount awards) to which the following conditions apply:

(1) The Federal award amount is negotiated using the cost principles (or other pricing information) as a guide. The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity may use fixed amount awards if the project scope is specific and if adequate cost, historical, or unit pricing data is available to establish a fixed amount award based on a reasonable estimate of actual cost. Payments are based on meeting specific requirements of the Federal award. Accountability is based on performance and results. Except in the case of termination before completion of the Federal award, there is no governmental review of the actual costs incurred by the non-Federal entity in performance of the award. Some of the ways in which the Federal award may be paid include, but are not limited to:

(i) In several partial payments, the amount of each agreed upon in advance, and the “milestone” or event triggering the payment also agreed upon in advance, and set forth in the Federal award;

(ii) On a unit price basis, for a defined unit or units, at a defined price or prices, agreed to in advance of performance of the Federal award and set forth in the Federal award; or,

(iii) In one payment at Federal award completion.

(2) A fixed amount award cannot be used in programs which require mandatory cost sharing or match.

(3) The non-Federal entity must certify in writing to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity at the end of the Federal award that the project or activity was completed or the level of effort was expended. If the required level of activity or effort was not carried out, the amount of the Federal award must be adjusted.

(4) Periodic reports may be established for each Federal award.

(5) Changes in principal investigator, project leader, project partner, or scope of effort must receive the prior written approval of the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity.

Vendor/Contractor: A vendor/contractor is responsible for providing goods or services necessary to conduct the research or other programmatic effort, but is not responsible for the results of the research or effort. vendors/contractors provide similar goods or services to many different purchasers. A vendor/contractor is only required to meet the terms of the procurement agreement and is not subject to compliance requirements of a federal (or other) sponsor.​