Federal Rules and Regulations

Project Changes: Considering Changes? Any time you are thinking about altering any part of the project (that is, doing things in a manner not as described in the proposal), a discussion (either a meeting with minutes, or through email) must occur with Grants, Fiscal, and the project lead.  This is to have consensus and documentation on deciding what changes are large enough to require prior approval from the funder. Note, this is NOT JUST budgetary changes, but any changes to the project. Changes must be approved before they can be implemented.

Communication with the Federal Program Officer assigned to a grant-funded project should happen frequently, not just when contemplating changes.  In accordance with 2 CFR 200.328(d) Significant developments, as soon as we are aware, we “must inform the Federal awarding agency…as soon as …problems, delays, or adverse conditions which will materially impair the ability to meet the objective of the Federal award.”

Excelsior Practices & Policies:

Excelsior College Procurement Policy for Federal Grants (document hosted at Excelsior’s internal SharePoint site).
Records must be maintained to detail the history of procurement. These records will include, but are not necessarily limited to the following: rationale for the method of procurement, selection of contract type, contractor selection or rejection, and the basis for the contract price.

Disclosure of Compensated External Professional Activities
All employees engaged in work on a federally-funded grant project must complete this form. Disclosure of compensated external professional activities allows the college to stay in compliance with regulations (2 CFR 200.430 Compensation- personal services (c) Professional activities outside the non-federal entity) as well as ensure supervisors are aware of workloads. Employees should also review the “Outside Employment” section of the Employee Handbook found on EC Central in the Human Resources section.

Subrecipient Determination and Monitoring
For all federal grant proposals where external parties will be engaged,  it must be determined whether the external parties are contractors or subrecipients.  Excelsior College uses a checklist developed by the Federal Demonstration Partnership. If it is determined that an external party on a proposal will be a contractor, then the Excelsior College Procurement Policy for Federal Grants should be utilized.

Excelsior College utilizes resources to aid in subrecipient monitoring offered by the Federal Demonstration Partnership, an association where universities and the government work together to help colleges and universities administer federally-funded grant and sponsored programs. Should it be determined that a grant project will include one or more subrecipients, the Grants Office and the Fiscal Office will work closely with the external partners to ensure the relationship is set up in accordance with federal regulations and that appropriate monitoring occurs.

Effort Documentation
Effort Documentation: It is Excelsior’s policy that employees who have time charged to a grant must record and certify to their level of effort.  Select the best template/s for reporting time and effort on your grants:

Budget & Project Update Meetings
Budget & Project Update Meetings: For all grant projects, the Grants Office will have a monthly meeting where spending is reviewed and any anticipated budget variances are identified. This review will be done using the Fiscal Office’s budget v actual template on all projects (for smaller private foundation grants, this may be bi-monthly).  Fiscal representative(s), project leads, and managers will be invited.  Please let us know if there are additional staff you would like to have invited.

Contractual Agreements
Contractual Agreements: Work paid with grant funding must go through the Grants Office. The Grants Office will work with the project team and Legal. The project team will have final approval on what exactly the details of the work will be that is being contracted for before any agreements are sent to Legal for review and signature.  (Please note that there is a Procurement Policy in place for use on federally funded projects.)

Meeting Documentation
Meeting Documentation: Meeting minutes/notes must include Attendance. Meeting minutes must be taken during project meetings, attendance recorded, and minutes remain available to the Grants Office after the project’s completion.

Federal Regulatory Information:

Background on awards made with federal funds
Congress disseminates money to Federal agencies, such as the Department of Education. These Federal agencies award grants to applicants. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guides the implementation of laws and regulations, and issue circulars that are central to appropriately reporting and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently (as per the submitted and approved budget narratives). OMB Uniform Guidance (2014) also known as the OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards was implemented in December 2014 by the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR).

The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 CFR 200 (alternately referred to as the Uniform Grants Guidance, or more commonly Uniform Guidance) is a set of requirements for all federally funded grants. Most federal agencies have additional regulations to follow, so it is important to know what applies to your specific program.

Uniform Guidance Information
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR)
A currently updated version of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The e-CFR is an editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments and is not an official legal edition of the CFR.
Read the e-CFR

The Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) offers many resources to help understand the regulations and how to stay in compliance.
View the site

Uniform Guidance
(Video – 1:13:26)
Gil Tran, senior policy analyst with the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) presents on the Uniform Guidance. Please note that this is approximately one hour long.
Watch the Video

Reasoning and Purpose for Uniform Guidance
(Video – 3:32)
Victoria Collin, senior policy analyst with the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) presents on the reasoning and purpose for Uniform Guidance.
Watch the Video

Procurement Standards for Regulatory Compliance Presentation
(Video – 10:32)
Victoria Collin, senior policy analyst with the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) presents on the Procurement Standards essential for regulatory compliance.
Watch the Video

Bard College to Pay $4 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations. Learn more about Bard by reading the article and learn more about the False Claims Act by watching the video below.

If you’re concerned about the use of grant funds, please contact the Grants Office and General Counsel. If you’re concerned about broaches in ethical conduct, please visit the EthicsPoint website for more information on how and who to address.