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Pre-Award Spending

Spending Prior to the Award Period of Performance Start Date

There are times when it is in the best interest of the project to spend funds prior to the award period start date. An example is when equipment needs to be ordered so that it is available for use at the beginning of the project. Prior approval from the sponsor is necessary before spending funds before the start date. Some sponsors automatically allow pre-award spending during a certain period before the start date. The department and PI should consult the award terms and conditions for the requirements particular to their award. If prior approval is required, the department or PI should forward the prior approval request to their SPO team for review and submission to the sponsor. If the sponsor does not require prior approval, the department should forward the PI's request to their SPO team for processing in ORBiT.

Spending Prior to Receipt of an Award

Under limited circumstances, Principal Investigators (PIs) may request authorization to spend funds in support of a sponsored project in advance of receiving an award from a sponsor. This is called a Request for Approval to Spend Funds or RAS. Authorization of spending prior to receiving an award is contingent upon the following:

Before requesting a RAS, please review the campus policy on spending prior to receipt of an award.

Spending Prior to Receipt of an Award: Risks, Liabilities, and Limitations

The risks, liabilities, and limitations associated with pre-award spending must be carefully considered prior to requesting authorization to spend funds in advance of receiving the award.

Requesting a RAS

When requesting a RAS please complete the Request for Approval to Expend Funds (RAS) form.

Once the form is completed and signed, it may be submitted to Sponsored Projects (SPO) to secure a firm commitment from the sponsor's authorized representative. SPO will analyze the request to verify all administrative requirements have been met. If such requirements have been met, SPO will secure a firm commitment from the sponsor's authorized representative.

If the sponsor provides a firm commitment, SPO will then approve the RAS and forward it to Extramural Funds Accounting for account/fund number assignment.

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