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Questions

If the training grant award was issued in July and a stipend increase subsequently made effective the next Federal fiscal year, i.e., after October, will the training grant receive an increase?
No. Any stipend increases are effective only for T32 program awards made with funds from the fiscal year in which the stipend increase was effective. No retroactive adjustments or supplementation of stipends or other budgetary categories with Kirschstein-NRSA funds for an award made prior to October are permitted. However, an institution may use other non-Federal funds to supplement stipends for existing trainees as long as there is no additional obligation for the trainee and the institution has policies in place consistently applied to all individuals in similar training status regardless of the source of funds.

Can funds be re-budgeted between categories on a training grant?

Funds may be re-budgeted only as follows:

  • Trainee Costs: For re-budgeting purposes, trainee costs include funds awarded in the stipends and tuition/fees budget categories. These costs may not be used for other purposes except under unusual circumstances and then only with the prior approval of the NIH awarding IC. Unless otherwise restricted by the terms and conditions of the grant award, re-budgeting into or within the stipends and tuition/fees is allowable without prior approval. Any re-budgeting needs to ensure all trainee slots will be filled. 
     
  • Trainee-Related Expenses: Re-budgeting of funds awarded in a lump sum for trainee-related expenses does not require NIH awarding IC prior approval.
     
  • Trainee Travel: For re-budgeting purposes, trainee travel is not considered a trainee cost and, therefore, may be re-budgeted into any other budget category without prior approval of the NIH awarding IC.
     

Can we use funds from training-related expenses to partially fund the salary of an individual involved in managing our program?
Yes, training-related funds may be used to defray such costs as staff salaries when they are directly related to the training program.

Are program directors/principle investigators (PD/PI) authorized to use some of the travel funds on the training grant to support student travel to meetings outside the U.S.?
Trainee travel, including attendance at scientific meetings (both in the U.S. and abroad) that the institution determines to be necessary to the individual's research training, is an allowable trainee expense. Justification for the travel is key. In addition, U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the United States and a foreign country or between foreign countries.  However, if travel funds are provided to specifically attend the annual NHGRI trainee meeting, these funds cannot be rebudgeted.

Can the faculty on a training grant use NIH funds for travel to institutions to give seminars and to present information about the training program to undergraduates?
Yes. Under the Training Related Expenses category of a training grant, funds are provided to defray such training costs as staff travel and other expenses directly related to the training program. If a program director is representing more than one program, the grantee institution should allocate the costs among all the programs.

Is automatic carry-over of unexpended balances permitted on NHGRI training grants?
No. NHGRI does not permit automatic carryover from one budget period to the next. These funds are used by the Institute to offset future year commitments. This helps us to utilize the training budget available in the most judicious manner possible.

Is it possible for the awarding IC to change the start date of the award to coincide with the start of the school year?
No. However, since trainees may be appointed at any time during the 12-month budget period, you could appoint all of your trainees to start in September, or whatever date coincides with your training schedule for a full twelve-month appointment.

How do we change the program director (PD) on the training grant?
A request for change of PD must be countersigned by the grantee organization, the current PD and the proposed new PD, and must include a current biographical sketch or CV for the nominee. NHGRI will review the nominee's qualifications, re-evaluate the program in light of the proposed change, and provide a written decision to the grantee.

If the PD plans to be absent from the program for more than 3 months, what is required?
A countersigned letter requesting approval of an acting PD should be submitted to NHGRI. The letter should describe plans for the conduct of the program during the original PD's absence and indicate that the acting PD will have signature authority on trainee forms. A copy of the acting PD's biosketch should be included. NHGRI will review the request and provide a written decision to the grantee.

Where do I submit the Federal Financial Report (FFR)?
Electronic submission of the FFR through the eRA Commons is required from the grantee for each budget period no later than 90 days after the end of the calendar quarter in which the budget period ended. The NIH Commons is available at https://public.era.nih.gov/commons.

Additional information on electronic submission of FFRs is available at the Commons Web page, or by contacting the eRA Service Desk

  • Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552
  • Tel 301-402-7469

    Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET (closed on federal holidays).

    If you need immediate help (i.e. you are within 2 days of a deadline or in the event of a security emergency), call the ServiceDesk rather than submitting a web ticket. Note that the Service Desk's busiest hours are 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. https://era.nih.gov.
     

On an FFR, how do we reflect the dollars associated with stipends and tuition for appointments that cross over into the next budget period (overlapping appointments)? Should they be shown as an unobligated balance, or an unliquidated obligation?
These monies should be reflected as an unliquidated obligation since these are bona fide expenses charged/incurred to the Stipend and Tuition categories but have not yet been paid. As a reminder, if the FFR report covers the final budget period of the project period, it must have no unliquidated obligations and must indicate the exact balance of unobligated funds.

What is the importance of submitting Appointment Forms, Termination Notices, and Federal Financial Reports in a timely manner?
The forms are critical to establishing the payment of stipends and other costs and determining possible payback service. Failure to submit the required forms in a timely manner will result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding.

Are predoctoral trainees subject to the NRSA payback requirements?
No, only postdoctoral trainees are subject to the payback obligation and then only for the first 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support. The 13th and subsequent months of NRSA postdoctoral support can fulfill the obligation but if the support ends prior to the second full year of support, some form of payback will be required. 

  • Questions

    If the training grant award was issued in July and a stipend increase subsequently made effective the next Federal fiscal year, i.e., after October, will the training grant receive an increase?
    No. Any stipend increases are effective only for T32 program awards made with funds from the fiscal year in which the stipend increase was effective. No retroactive adjustments or supplementation of stipends or other budgetary categories with Kirschstein-NRSA funds for an award made prior to October are permitted. However, an institution may use other non-Federal funds to supplement stipends for existing trainees as long as there is no additional obligation for the trainee and the institution has policies in place consistently applied to all individuals in similar training status regardless of the source of funds.

    Can funds be re-budgeted between categories on a training grant?

    Funds may be re-budgeted only as follows:

    • Trainee Costs: For re-budgeting purposes, trainee costs include funds awarded in the stipends and tuition/fees budget categories. These costs may not be used for other purposes except under unusual circumstances and then only with the prior approval of the NIH awarding IC. Unless otherwise restricted by the terms and conditions of the grant award, re-budgeting into or within the stipends and tuition/fees is allowable without prior approval. Any re-budgeting needs to ensure all trainee slots will be filled. 
       
    • Trainee-Related Expenses: Re-budgeting of funds awarded in a lump sum for trainee-related expenses does not require NIH awarding IC prior approval.
       
    • Trainee Travel: For re-budgeting purposes, trainee travel is not considered a trainee cost and, therefore, may be re-budgeted into any other budget category without prior approval of the NIH awarding IC.
       

    Can we use funds from training-related expenses to partially fund the salary of an individual involved in managing our program?
    Yes, training-related funds may be used to defray such costs as staff salaries when they are directly related to the training program.

    Are program directors/principle investigators (PD/PI) authorized to use some of the travel funds on the training grant to support student travel to meetings outside the U.S.?
    Trainee travel, including attendance at scientific meetings (both in the U.S. and abroad) that the institution determines to be necessary to the individual's research training, is an allowable trainee expense. Justification for the travel is key. In addition, U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the United States and a foreign country or between foreign countries.  However, if travel funds are provided to specifically attend the annual NHGRI trainee meeting, these funds cannot be rebudgeted.

    Can the faculty on a training grant use NIH funds for travel to institutions to give seminars and to present information about the training program to undergraduates?
    Yes. Under the Training Related Expenses category of a training grant, funds are provided to defray such training costs as staff travel and other expenses directly related to the training program. If a program director is representing more than one program, the grantee institution should allocate the costs among all the programs.

    Is automatic carry-over of unexpended balances permitted on NHGRI training grants?
    No. NHGRI does not permit automatic carryover from one budget period to the next. These funds are used by the Institute to offset future year commitments. This helps us to utilize the training budget available in the most judicious manner possible.

    Is it possible for the awarding IC to change the start date of the award to coincide with the start of the school year?
    No. However, since trainees may be appointed at any time during the 12-month budget period, you could appoint all of your trainees to start in September, or whatever date coincides with your training schedule for a full twelve-month appointment.

    How do we change the program director (PD) on the training grant?
    A request for change of PD must be countersigned by the grantee organization, the current PD and the proposed new PD, and must include a current biographical sketch or CV for the nominee. NHGRI will review the nominee's qualifications, re-evaluate the program in light of the proposed change, and provide a written decision to the grantee.

    If the PD plans to be absent from the program for more than 3 months, what is required?
    A countersigned letter requesting approval of an acting PD should be submitted to NHGRI. The letter should describe plans for the conduct of the program during the original PD's absence and indicate that the acting PD will have signature authority on trainee forms. A copy of the acting PD's biosketch should be included. NHGRI will review the request and provide a written decision to the grantee.

    Where do I submit the Federal Financial Report (FFR)?
    Electronic submission of the FFR through the eRA Commons is required from the grantee for each budget period no later than 90 days after the end of the calendar quarter in which the budget period ended. The NIH Commons is available at https://public.era.nih.gov/commons.

    Additional information on electronic submission of FFRs is available at the Commons Web page, or by contacting the eRA Service Desk

    • Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552
    • Tel 301-402-7469

      Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET (closed on federal holidays).

      If you need immediate help (i.e. you are within 2 days of a deadline or in the event of a security emergency), call the ServiceDesk rather than submitting a web ticket. Note that the Service Desk's busiest hours are 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. https://era.nih.gov.
       

    On an FFR, how do we reflect the dollars associated with stipends and tuition for appointments that cross over into the next budget period (overlapping appointments)? Should they be shown as an unobligated balance, or an unliquidated obligation?
    These monies should be reflected as an unliquidated obligation since these are bona fide expenses charged/incurred to the Stipend and Tuition categories but have not yet been paid. As a reminder, if the FFR report covers the final budget period of the project period, it must have no unliquidated obligations and must indicate the exact balance of unobligated funds.

    What is the importance of submitting Appointment Forms, Termination Notices, and Federal Financial Reports in a timely manner?
    The forms are critical to establishing the payment of stipends and other costs and determining possible payback service. Failure to submit the required forms in a timely manner will result in an expenditure disallowance or a delay in any continuation funding.

    Are predoctoral trainees subject to the NRSA payback requirements?
    No, only postdoctoral trainees are subject to the payback obligation and then only for the first 12 months of postdoctoral NRSA support. The 13th and subsequent months of NRSA postdoctoral support can fulfill the obligation but if the support ends prior to the second full year of support, some form of payback will be required. 

Last updated: July 13, 2020