Steps in Processing Extramural Proposals for Research, Academic Programs and WSU Extension Grant Guidelines within CAHNRS
Proposal Review: Submission/ Post Award Considerations/
Steps in Budget Review Process
- The principal investigator (PI) works with a departmental finance person to prepare a proposal budget using the guidelines set forth below. The budget should be prepared in accordance with the Office of Grant and Research Development’s (OGRD’s) guidelines found HERE. Once the budget is in final form, it should be either be approved by the department finance person or by the CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office. If you are submitting a proposal to a foundation, please contact the CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office or the CAHNRS Alumni and Development Office at 509-335-2243. There may be an annual limit to the number of proposals that can be submitted to the foundation by the university, and some foundation proposals might not be submitted through the CAHNRS or through OGRD but rather through the WSU Foundation.
- When you prepare your proposal budget, identify the personnel whose time is being budgeted. If you are budgeting for a general salary category, and you do not have a specific person in mind, so indicate the State fringe benefit rate used for each person. In other words, provide as much detail as necessary so the figures can be verified without the need for a phone call for additional information.
Salary for a graduate research assistants (GRA) are based on a fixed amount and dependent on the type of GRA (Masters or Ph.D.) as well as date appointed and duration. GRA salary rates are located in the GRA Matrix of the OGRD budget template found HERE.
- Please use the inflation factors discussed on the OGRD website. The current practice is to inflate your figures 4% each July 1. This is particularly important when calculating salaries and Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) rates. (See “Research Assistant Grid” on the OGRD website.) Please use OGRD’s suggested inflation rates for GRA salaries, tuition, and health insurance. If you know that someone being funded in your proposal is getting a specific salary increase, make sure that increase is reflected in the budget particularly if that increase exceeds the standard 4% inflation rate. Do not forget to use level L for calculating classified staff per OGRD Memorandum No. 2.
- The base fringe benefit rates used in proposals for faculty and staff are as follows:
- 29.40% Faculty Members
- 41.80% Classified Staff
- 33.33% Exempt
Note: This rate may increase July 1, 2014.
Use the actual fringe benefit rate for each person if the actual estimated fringe benefit rate is greater than the aforementioned categories. Actual estimated fringe benefit rates for many classified staff, post-docs, and research associates are usually greater than 40.10% and 33.33% respectively.
The fringe benefit rates for graduate research assistants (GRA) are as follows and include qualified tuition reduction (QTR), health insurance, and medical aide:
- GRA qualified tuition reduction and health insurance rates are based on a fixed amount and dependent on the type of GRA (Masters or Ph.D.) as well as date appointed and duration. QTR rates are located in the GRA Matrix of the OGRD budget template.
- Medical aide is calculate at 1.5% of the GRA’s salary
The fringe benefit rates for time-slip wages are as follows:
- 2.10% Full-time Student
- 9.70% Part-time Student
- 9.70% Non-Student Temporary (no PERS, no health insurance)
- 18.90% Non-Student Temporary (PERS, no health insurance)
- 71.80% Non-Student Temporary (PERS, Health Insurance)
Note: This rate may increase July 1, 2014. Following are the restrictions on the total number of hours permitted on nonstudent temporary employees.
70 Hour Limit:
Nonstudent temporary employees who work 70 hours or more per month for any five months in a 12-month period are eligible for PERS II or PERS III retirement plan participation and will be enrolled in the Department of Retirement Systems Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) Plan 2. Employees are given 90 days to elect permanent participation with either PERS Plan 2 or PERS Plan 3. There will be a monetary deduction from the employee’s paycheck for retirement until the employee departs employment from WSU.
480 Hour Limit:
Nonstudent temporary employees who work 480 hours or more over a consecutive six-month period receive Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) medical, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance coverage at the beginning of their appointment. Nonstudent temporary employees must continue to work at least eight hours per month to remain eligible for the WSU premium contribution for PEBB insurance. After establishing eligibility, if an employee does not work a minimum of eight hours in any month, the employee will lose benefit eligibility and must reestablish eligibility by working a minimum of 480 hours or more over a new six consecutive month period.
1050 Hour Limit:
Nonstudent, temporary employees are limited to 1050 hours per year, which averages 19.5 hours per week. Employees can work more than 19.5 hours per week so long as they do not exceed the 1050 in a 12-consecutive-month period. Employment of temporary employees is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that employees be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their normal rate for work in excess of 40 hours in a single workweek. A normal workweek is the period from 12:01 a.m. Sunday to midnight Saturday
Seasonal employees are non-student temporary hourly employees who are hired to work during a recurring, annual season for the duration of three months or more, and are anticipated to return each season to perform similar work. Civil Service, Administrative Professional and Faculty are not considered seasonal employees in terms of benefit eligibility. (WAC 182-12-109: Definitions). Be careful about the use of season time-slip, if the same person is returning use the higher 71.60% rate as they will be eligible for health insurance.
- When submitting your budget for review, please provide an equipment breakdown. Equipment in units of $5,000 or less is subject to indirect costs. The amount of detail you provide under other categories, such as material and supplies, travel, publication costs, etc., will depend on the particular agency to which a proposal is being sent. Some agencies–USDA in particular– demand substantially more budget detail than they have in the past. In the case of USDA, it is wise to fully justify and/or show how you calculated each budget line item. This may save the PI a question-and-answer session with USDA prior to an award being made.
- Please use the inflation factors discussed on the OGRD website. The current practice is to inflate your figures 4% each July 1. This is particularly important when calculating salaries and Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) rates. (See “Research Assistant Grid” on the OGRD website.) Please use OGRD’s suggested inflation rates for GRA salaries, tuition, and health insurance. If you know that someone being funded in your proposal is getting a specific salary increase, make sure that increase is reflected in the budget particularly if that increase exceeds the standard 4% inflation rate. Do not forget to use level L for calculating classified staff per OGRD Memorandum No. 2
- Indirect costs are as follows:
Research – On Campus 51.0%
Research – Off Campus 26.0%
Instruction – On Campus 55.0%
Instruction – Off Campus 26.0%
Other Sponsored Activity – On Campus 38.0%
Other Sponsored Activity – Off Campus 26.0%
Please refer to OGRD’s website for additional indirect cost rate information. To calculate indirect costs, the indirect cost rate is multiplied by Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) where MTDC equals total direct costs minus such items as: equipment, tuition, non-WSU facilities rental, the cost of subcontracts, some participant support costs (such as stipends, travel, maintenance, lodging, etc.), and other types of costs listed in WSU’s indirect cost rate agreement. (Note: There are indirect cost charges on subcontracts, but these costs are figured separately at the current rate of either 51.0%, 38.0% or 26% of the first $25,000 for each subcontract, depending whether the on- or off-campus indirect cost rate applies.)
- If the proposed budget does not include indirect costs, or a lower indirect cost rate is being budgeted, the PI will have to provide proof that the agency does not pay indirect costs or pays less than WSU’s full indirect cost rate (such proof is most often found in the agency’s solicitation document). With such proof, OGRD will accept the lower indirect cost rate proposed. Authorization to use an indirect cost rate that is lower than WSU’s full indirect cost rate (in the absence of the above-mentioned proof) requires a memo of justification submitted to and approved by the Director of OGRD in advance of sending the budget for review. Please copy CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office on all requests to OGRD concerning waivers of indirect costs. Requests for reduced indirect costs are rarely honored. (Note: When an indirect cost rate is lower than WSU’s full indirect cost rate, indirect costs are calculated on Total Direct Costs and not on Modified Total Direct Costs. In other words, such costs as tuition, equipment, non-WSU facilities rental, subcontracts, etc. are not eliminated before the indirect cost calculation.)
- If the funding agency requires a match in conjunction with your proposal, you should be prepared to produce documentation stating that the match is required. The agency’s request for proposals (the RFP) will likely state that fact. The general rule is: do not match unless you are required to do so, and match only to the extent necessary. If you must match, first use indirect costs lost/waived (i.e., indirect costs not recoverable from the agency but those which WSU would normally receive if the full indirect cost rate applied); then match salaries, wages, benefits, and indirect costs on the salaries, wages, and benefits being matched. (Please note that in some cases, funding agency guidelines prohibit the use of unrecoverable indirect costs as a cost match.) Equipment and renovation cost used as match requires prior consultation with the CAHNRS. And, if you are looking for an equipment match from the Vice Provost for Research, you should be aware that matching is only considered when the cost of the equipment is $50,000 or more.
- Email the proposal budget (and any budget justification) to your department finance person or by the CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office for review two weeks before the proposal is due at the agency. The budget will be reviewed/revised and then emailed back to you as soon as possible.
Steps in Proposal Review/Submission Process
- Extramural proposals for research, academic programs and extension being sent out through OGRD requires an eREX form be completed (http://www.ogrd.wsu.edu/forms.asp click on eREX form) and should first be reviewed by department administrator, then emailed to CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office at firstname.lastname@example.org . The CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office will then review the eREX and proposal documentation and submit the eREX to OGRD to start the electronic approval process. Note that eREX forms should not list anyone outside of WSU, excluding adjunct faculty connected with the project. Also note that OGRD will never send a copy of an eREX form to a funding agency. (If a non-CAHNRS faculty member is not a co-PI, per se, but is providing a match, OGRD requires that person to approve the eREX form along with that person’s chair and dean.)
- In the event that the agency requires hard copy proposals, it is the responsibility of the PI or department to make the copies and deliver them to OGRD for shipment to the agency. A request for shipment form will also need to be attached to the eREX or included in the hard copies that are delivered to OGRD on proposal which require FedEx or USPS Overnight delivery.
- Additional Comments/General Information:
- If you include a budget for a subcontract or personal services contract with your proposal, please make sure that you have a letter of support from the contractor and a budget that has been approved by the subcontractor’s grants/contracts office. A letter of support is also needed from collaborators who are providing matching contributions to a project.
- Some types of proposals, such as those to commodity commissions and USDA Special Grant subproject proposals do not go through OGRD and therefore do not require eREX forms. If you are unsure whether n e REX form is required for a particular proposal, please contact the CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office.
Post-Award Processing/Considerations: for Ag Research Center, Academic Programs, WSU Extension
- When OGRD receives a research or academic programs award, they send it to the department administrative manager/lead fiscal person. The fiscal person is responsible to have the PI review and approve the award document. Either the PI or the fiscal person should note if the agreement is in any way unacceptable to the PI. Once the award has been reviewed by the department, it should be forwarded to the CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office where it will be reviewed, approved and assigned sponsored project account coding.
- Once the original agreement is reviewed, approved and coded by CAHNRS and signed by both OGRD and the agency, the grant is forwarded for account setup to WSU’s Sponsored Programs Services.
- If an award includes a subcontract, either the PI or the fiscal person will need to complete a subcontract initiation form and send it directly to OGRD in order for OGRD to issue a subcontract. In other words, subcontracts are not established nor amended automatically once the award arrives at WSU; they must be initiated by the department in conjunction with OGRD. Please do not send requests for subcontracts through the CAHNRS/ARC/WSU Extension Grants Office.