If a PI determines that additional time is necessary to complete the originally proposed objectives of a project, a no-cost extension may be requested. Most of the sponsors participating in the Federal-Wide Research Terms and Conditions supplementing Uniform Guidance allow recipients of grants and cooperative agreements issued under Uniform Guidance to initiate a one-time no-cost extension of up to twelve months without prior approval. Below are some guidelines and considerations to keep in mind when requesting a no-cost extension. Your post-award administrator will process your request in accordance with university and sponsor policies and procedures.
- General No-Cost Extension Guidelines
- No-cost extensions may not be requested solely because a project has an unspent balance, i.e. to give the PI more time to “spend out” the grant funds. There must be a programmatic reason for why additional time is needed.
- In most cases, awards with no remaining funds or very low balances are not eligible for no-cost extensions. There may be situations where this is appropriate, and your post-award administrator can explain your options in these cases.
- While most of the sponsors participating in the Federal-Wide Research Terms and Conditions supplementing Uniform Guidance allow the first no-cost extension without prior approval, any additional extensions on awards from these sponsors do require prior approval (more on this below).
- Congressionally appropriated funds generally expire after six years (on September 30th of the fifth government fiscal year after they were initially appropriated). Thus, for five-year awards, any extensions beyond the initial twelve-month extension may not be possible, even if the sponsor approves the request.
NIH No-Cost Extensions
- First no-cost extensions on NIH awards do not require prior approval and may be initiated up to current expiration date of the award. A justification explaining the need for the additional time is still require to initiate the first extension.
- Additional extensions require prior approval, and the request must include a description of the activities that will take place during the extension period and a statement of the funds available for extension.
NSF No-Cost Extensions
- First no-cost extensions on NSF awards do not require prior approval, but extensions must be initiated in Research.gov at least ten calendar days in advance of the current expiration date. A justification explaining the need for the additional time is still require to initiate the first extension.
- Additional extensions require prior approval. Requests must be submitted at least 45 calendar days in advance of the current expiration date, and must include a justification for why additional time is needed, a plan for the use of the funds during the extension, and the current unobligated balance of funds.
- Any extension initiations or requests not submitted within the time periods stated above require an additional explanation for why the request was submitted late.
- First no-cost extensions submitted after the 10-day deadline also become subject to all of the requirements for second and additional extension requests.
NASA No-Cost Extensions
- First no-cost extensions on NASA awards do not require prior approval, but extension initiations must be accompanied by an up-to-date progress report. A justification explaining the need for the additional time is still require to initiate the first extension.
- Additional no-cost extensions require prior approval, and like the initial extension, must include an up-to-date progress report.
Department of Defense No-Cost Extensions
- Most of the agencies within the Department of Defense require prior approval for any no-cost extensions.
- AFOSR policy states that all extension requests must be approved personally by the Director of AFOSR.