This site is meant to be a supplement to the policy available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) and describes NIEHS-specific standards and processes. Where there are policy differences between the NIH GPS and this document, the NIH GPS supersedes.
For grants and cooperative agreements that do not have automatic carryover authority, prior approval is required to use funds remaining from a previous budget period.
In general, funds remaining from a previous budget period will remain in your Payment Management System account until a carryover request is submitted and a revised Notice of Award is issued authorizing the recipient to use these funds. It is not necessary to carry over the funds each year. The recipient should only request carryover of funds that will be used in the budget period to which you are carrying them over.
A carryover request should only be submitted when all of the following conditions are met:
- The recipient has an immediate bona fide need for additional funds to be used during the current budget period.
- There are funds remaining from a previous budget period that have been reported as unobligated on a Federal Financial Report that has been accepted by NIH, and which have not already been carried over into the current budget period.
- There is sufficient time remaining in the current budget period for the carryover request to be reviewed (approximately 30 days) and for the recipient to obligate all the funds that have been carried over.
- Grant number and name of PI.
- Explanation for the unobligated balance.
- The amount of funds to be carried over: Include direct, facilities and administrative (F&A), and total costs.
- Detailed budget (PHS 398 or SF424 format).
- Include personnel names and calendar months of effort. Generally, NIH will not consider "to be named" personnel.
- The budget should cover only whatever months remain in the current budget period. For example, if you ask for carryover with only 2 months remaining in the current budget period, you cannot request funds for 3 months of effort.
- If new personnel will be added, include appropriate required personnel information (e.g., human subjects’ education certification, bio sketch, other support, etc.).
- Provide detailed budget pages for any subawards, cores and projects for which carryover funds are being requested.
- Budgetary and scientific justifications: Carryover requests must be limited to actual needs for use during the current budget period, and within the approved scope of the grant.
- Provide an explanation as to why the work cannot be accomplished through rebudgeting of current budget period funds.
- Confirm that the funds requested do not duplicate funds awarded for the current budget period.
- Composite Budget page (for multi-component grants): This will summarize the entire amount being requested for carryover per category.
- Checklist page: This will reflect the requested F&A rates and costs for the grantee and sub awardees. You must use the F&A rates from your current Notice of Award.
Carryover Request Submission
- Electronically through the Commons (preferred).
- Via email from the Signing Official to the assigned Grants Management Specialist for the current budget period.
How Long Until I Know if the Request Will Be Approved?
- In general, we do our best to complete our review and execute a carryover within 30 days of the submission of all of the needed information.
- If you submit a complete request, but an FFR has not been accepted yet, the 30 days begins after you notify us that the FFR has been accepted, not the day you submit the original request.
- If there is a question about immediate need and we request a spending plan separate from your carryover request, the review is likely to take more than 30 days.
- During the 4th quarter of each fiscal year (July-September), please expect some delays, as we have an exceptionally high volume of awards, inquiries, and prior approval requests coming in during that time.
Why Might a Carryover Request Be Disapproved
- Costs have already been incurred.
- Federal Financial Report has not been submitted or accepted by NIH.
- Recipient appears behind on current year drawdowns/has a large undrawn balance.
- Recipient has a track record of requesting carryover every year, but the unobligated balance as reported on the FFR has continued to grow.
- Request consists entirely of duplicative or questionable costs.
- Request does not demonstrate a bona fide need.
- Requested activities are out of scope of the award.
- There is not enough time remaining in the current budget period to reasonably expect the funds can be obligated.
If you have additional questions about carryover requests, please see the following resources:
- eRA Resource on how to request carryover in the Commons.
- NIH Grants Policy Statement.
- Your authorized business official – this individual will be familiar with NIH requirements as well as your institution’s internal procedures and can guide you through the process.
- Your current NIH grants management specialist listed in the Commons.
Institution A received an $800,000 award for budget period 1. At the end of budget period 1, they had obligated only $588,000, due to hiring delays and supply chain issues. This left $212,000 as an unobligated balance, which was reported as an unobligated balance on the annual Federal Financial Report. It was also reported in section G10 of the RPPR, because it was more than 25% of that year’s award (212,000/800,000 = 26.5%).
The $212,000 remained in their Payment Management System account, but the recipient did not have authority to use these funds.
In budget period 2, Institution A received an $800,000 award. In looking at their budget and the pace of work, they anticipated that they would be able to obligate $790,000 of the $800,000, leaving an additional unobligated balance of $10,000.
Even though Institution A was able to hire during budget period 2, they did not request carryover of the unobligated balance from budget period 1 because salaries for the newly hired individuals were included in each year of the budget. As a result, they did not need any of the $212,000 from budget period 1 to support any activities in budget period 2 and they did not request carryover.
By the end of budget period 2, the unobligated balance was $222,000 ($212,000 from budget period 1 plus $10,000 from budget period 2).
This amount was reported as unobligated on the annual Federal Financial Report. It was also reported in section G10 of the RPPR because it was more than 25% of that year’s award (222,000/800,000 = 27.75%). The unobligated balance of $222,000 remained in the recipient’s Payment Management System account, but they did not have authority to use these funds.
In budget period 3, Institution A received an $800,000 award. Their activities had really ramped up and they were accelerating their expenditures. It was clear that they would be able to obligate the full $800,000 before the end of the budget period and they needed an additional $150,000 to cover the supplies that were finally available now that supply chain issues had cleared up. Therefore, they requested a carryover of $150,000 – the amount they believed they would be able to obligate before the end of budget period 3. The carryover was authorized through a revised Notice of Award.
After the carryover was approved, the recipient was ultimately able to obligate funds as anticipated. As a result, their unobligated balance at the end of budget period 3 was $72,000 ($222,000 minus the $150,000 carryover). They reported this on the annual Federal Financial Report, but did not report it in section G10 of the RPPR, because it was less than 25% of that year’s award (72,000/800,000 = 9%). The unobligated balance of $72,000 remained in the recipient’s Payment Management System account, but they did not have authority to use these funds.