About Project Management

The Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) provides support for and guidance on all post-award financial matters related to Research Foundation accounts. 

Please use our Department Assignment List to find the names and contact information of your Research Administrator, Grant Administrator, Purchasing Agent and Financial Reporter. 

If a member of your team is unavailable, or if you have a question or concerns, please contact SPA at [email protected] or 518-442-3196 for assistance.

Visit the Research Foundation’s Human Resources (RFHR) website for guidance on personnel management. 



Manage Authorized Signatures 

Principal Investigators or Co-Principal Investigators are automatically able to authorize expenditures on their current Research Foundation accounts. They are also responsible for designating other authorized signatories, if needed. 

To add or remove project personnel from an account’s authorized signature list, please send a completed Signature Authorization Form to [email protected].  

Note: Authorizations must be established for all new accounts, as they are not automatically carried over from previous accounts. 



Manage Payroll Expenses 

Payroll expenses are the salaries, wages and fringe benefits paid to employees for the effort they devote to a Research Foundation grant or contract. Fringe benefit rates are charged based on an employee’s appointment type. 

An employee can be appointed to an RF grant or contract if the person or position is outlined in the budget, there is sufficient funding to support the payroll expenses, and the dates of the appointment fall within the dates of the award. 

For information on payroll cost transfers, please review the Request a Cost Transfer section.

Visit Research Foundation’s Human Resources (RFHR) for guidance on personnel management. 

Types of Appointments & Requests

To appoint an employee or change an existing appointment, visit RFHR’s webpages, including: 

Release Time

The process by which a faculty member is released from their academic duties to devote effort to a research grant or contract.  

Release time appointments are transactions by which a Research Foundation award reimburses the salary and fringe benefits paid to state-funded faculty and staff devoting effort to research awards. These funds are transferred as payments on a monthly basis to the appropriate unit's state IFR account. 

All release time appointments must adhere to the following criteria: 

  • The appointment must be for a SUNY faculty or staff member who specifically commits effort on a Research Foundation award for a specified percentage and time period. 

  • Sufficient funds must be available in the award to support the appointment. 

  • The appointment period on the request must fall within the period of the employee's SUNY appointment and within the award period of the Research Foundation project. 

  • The appointment must comply with all appropriate sponsor terms and conditions. 

Release time appointments should be requested within 90 days from the beginning of the requested appointment period. Any transactions submitted more than 90 days after the start of the requested period will be considered only on a case-by-case basis and only with proper justification.  

SPA reserves the right to reject any release time appointment that places the University at risk for an audit finding or disallowance. 

To request a new release time appointment or to request an existing appointment be changed, send a completed Release Time Appointment Form to [email protected]. Original signatures are required.

Labor Distribution

Labor Distribution is the process that distributes payroll charges/effort to the appropriate RF grants and contracts. This function is distinct and separate from the payroll process that produces employee earnings.   

Use the Labor Distribution Form to distribute current and future salary and wages to the appropriate awards, and to extend an employee on a grant or contract if there are no payroll or HR changes being requested.  

Completed Labor Distribution Forms should be emailed to [email protected] two weeks before the end of the previous charging instructions.

Use an Employee Change Form — accessible on RFHR’s Forms webpage — to request payroll and/or HR changes. 

Payroll Suspense

Appropriate charging instructions must be provided in a timely manner for all employees.  

If an employee remains on payroll without valid charging instructions, their payroll charges will go into suspense and the program must act immediately to provide an appropriate account for covering the payroll expenses. 

If you are waiting for a grant or contract to be awarded, your program has the following options: 

  • Contact your Research Administrator to request they establish an at-risk award 

  • Change the employee’s payroll costs to a non-sponsored award, such as a multiple sponsor, FRAP or Research Foundation incentive award 

  • Remove the employee from payroll 

Employee’s salary charges are not allowed at any time to remain in suspense. If no charging instructions are provided, RFHR staff will be notified that funds are no longer available to continue supporting the employee’s appointment. 

If the funding will not continue, you should work with RFHR well in advance to determine what, if any, supporting documentation and steps will be required to end an employee’s appointment early. 

Salary Limitations

National Science Foundation (NSF)  

The NSF limits salary compensation for senior project personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants.  

This change moves away from NSF's previous concept of summer salary and allows for two months of salary reimbursement per year whenever appropriate during the year. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) 

Direct salaries for individuals under NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards are limited to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale by Public Law 115-245


Since the University accepts federal funds, it must adhere to federal laws for nepotism by precluding from any practices in which responsible officials may afford their relatives preferential treatment in hiring and promotion. 

Two or more members of the same family may be employed by the University. However, a University employee may not officially approve or recommend the appointment, reappointment, promotion or salary adjustment of a relative. 

The sponsor must be notified if a family member will be employed on a sponsored award before the appointment is made. 

For additional information, review the SUNY RF Nepotism Policy.

Effort Certification (Effort Reporting)

The effort certification process is a way of documenting personnel expenses.  

Effort reporting is required for all federal grants, state-funded federal flow-through grants, non-federal grants and cost shares, per 2 CFR 200

Failure to certify effort correctly and in a timely manner could result in audit findings, loss of funding and/or fines. 

Research Foundation employees certify their effort using the Employee Compensation Compliance System. You must certify your effort if either of the following circumstances apply: 

  • Your salary is charged in whole or in part directly to a sponsored award funded with federal or federal flow-through dollars 

  • You expend committed effort on a sponsored project, even though no part of your salary is charged to the award but rather it is being cost-shared by the institution 

SUNY RF provides these instructions for using the EEC system

Manage Purchases 

SPA handles most research-related procurement, including purchasing and contracts. 

The Purchase Requisition Order Form is used to purchase goods and services with Research Foundation funds:

  • To purchase non-procurable goods and services — such as conference registration or publication fees — complete the form and then submit it to SPA electronically

  • To purchase procurable goods and services — such as equipment or vendor agreements — complete the form and then send it to [email protected]

The Purchase Requisition Form can also be used to request payment of non-procurable items or reimbursements when a form specific to that request is not provided. 

To obtain gas cylinders, visit the College of Arts & Science’s Technical Services page

To order live animals, visit the Care & Use of Animals page.

Most lab, office and industrial supplies — items intended to be used in the research lab, office or classroom — can be requested by authorized users via the Online Vendor Registration Form

Note: Items that require special approvals — such as radioactive materials, lasers, syringes and live animals — cannot be purchased using the online form. 



Plan & Fund Travel 

Travel costs are generally allowable on sponsored awards if the travel is directly related to the award’s intent. Researchers are expected to use travel methods that align with the trip objectives, while being mindful of costs. 

All travel funded by a sponsored award should adhere to the University and sponsor’s regulations and policies. 

Note: As a tax-exempt entity, the Research Foundation cannot pay for or reimburse New York State sales tax. Tax exemption forms are available upon request. 

We understand travel regulations are complex. If you need additional information or clarification, please contact your Grant Administrator for guidance. 

Travel Advances & Reimbursements

To request a travel advance or travel reimbursement, complete the Travel Payment Request Form and then submit it to SPA electronically

  • For a travel advance, the form must be submitted at least two weeks before the trip’s start date.  

  • For a travel reimbursement, the form must be submitted within two weeks of your return from travel

Both types of requests require original receipts, as well as a conference announcement/agenda or a brief description of the travel’s purpose. 

If the traveler is also the Principal Investigator (PI), on the award, their supervisor’s signature is required on the form. 

A travel advance can cover 100% of common carrier transportation costs, and 80% of other transportation costs, conference registration fees, lodging and meal per diems. 

Travel advances must be reconciled within two weeks of return. No subsequent advances will be issued until a prior advance has been reconciled.  

Travel Agency

SPA has a preferred vendor agreement with corporate travel management vendor Stovroff & Taylor Travel, LTD. The travel agency can obtain the most economical fares, often through direct billing. 

Please contact your Grant Administrator to complete the required traveler profile(s) before contacting the agency for booking information. 

Then, book travel one of three ways: 

There are service fees, charged per booking, associated with working with the travel agency: 

Type of Booking

Phone or Email Booking Fee

Online Booking Fee










Be sure to provide an RF award number to the travel agency.  

Note: Research Foundation Accounting and State Accounting are separate entities, which means RF Accounting cannot charge or transfer expenses to state accounts and vice versa. 

International Travel

Travel may be restricted by sponsor and/or federal guidelines, export controls and US Department of State travel warnings. 

Travel to a country on the federal travel warnings list must be approved by the campus before travel arrangements can be made.  

Please also review the University’s export controls information before planning international travel.

International travel that doesn’t adhere to applicable rules and regulations may not be reimbursable from a sponsored award. 

Contact your Grant Administrator for guidance before booking travel. 

Reimbursement rates for travel outside the continental United States are based on federal foreign per diem rates, which may be updated monthly. 

The Research Foundation can provide blanket international travel assistance coverage and emergency health insurance benefits for individuals traveling for official RF business. 

Conferences, Trainings & Meetings

Expenses related to conferences, training and meetings may be allowable on a sponsored award.  

To request reimbursement, complete a Purchase Requisition Order Form and then submit it to SPA electronically. Be sure to include an original, itemized receipt to document that no alcohol was purchased.  

For business meeting meals, please also attach a statement justifying holding a meeting during a meal period. Reimbursable amounts for business meals are as follows: 

These allowances include food, beverages, gratuities and, if outside New York State, taxes.  

Approval may be required for any contracted services related to a conference or meeting. Please contact your Grant Administrator for guidance before making any arrangements. 

Registration fees for a conference or training may be allowable, if the event dates fall within the dates of the award. 

For registration fees, you must submit a program announcement, agenda or brief description of the event. Reimbursement requests must also be supported by proof of payment. 


Transportation costs such as taxi, subway, tolls or parking expenses are typically reimbursable with original receipts.  

Travelers are expected to use the most economical means available. 


Travelers are expected to use the lowest priced, unrestricted, coach-class airfare.  

For these purposes, “unrestricted airfare” is airfare that allows for cancellation or change with a penalty value that is less than the cost of the ticket. 

More expensive travel may be reimbursable when the least expensive accommodations would: 

  • Require indirect or roundabout travel 

  • Require travel during unreasonable hours 

  • Require excessively prolonged travel 

  • Result in additional costs that would offset savings 

  • Offer reasonably inadequate accommodations for travelers’ medical needs 

If any of these circumstances apply, campuses must justify and document the reason(s) why the expenses are allowable. 

If a trip is cancelled, nonrefundable airline tickets should not be charged to a sponsored award. 

All travel charged to a federally funded sponsored award must comply with the Fly America Act.

Personal Car Mileage

Personally owned cars may be used when other forms of transportation are unavailable or not appropriate. 

Mileage in excess of the individual’s typical commute to or from their official workstation is reimbursable when accompanied by documentation. 

Mileage is reimbursed at the rates established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Rental Cars

Rental cars are appropriate when using one is in the best interest of the project. Examples include when renting is the least costly alternative, is the only method of transportation available or will eliminate substantial delays. 

Attach your justification for using a rental car to the Travel Payment Request Form, which is available above under Travel Advances & Reimbursements.

Allowable rental car reimbursements include cost of rental, tolls, parking fees and gas. GPS rental may be reimbursable with proper justification.  

Insurance, citations, violations and vehicle upgrades are not reimbursable. 

To book a rental car through the Research Foundation’s direct billing arrangement with Enterprise Rental Cars, follow these instructions: 

  1. Book a car through the customized online reservation system

  2. Complete the Enterprise Requisition Form and then submit it to SPA electronically

Cars should be booked under the Research Foundation’s name, using the RF billing number. 

Meals & Lodging 

To be eligible for lodging and meal reimbursement, a traveler must be in official travel status – meaning they are more than 35 miles away from both their residence and their official workstation. 

Allowances and rates are determined by travel destination.


Hotel internet access expenses will only be reimbursed when accompanied by documentation that justifies why the charges were necessary and how the expense is directly related to the award being charged. 

If you’re hosting visitors to UAlbany, it may be possible to arrange direct billing for local lodging expenses. Please contact your Grant Administrator for additional information. 

Meal Allowances

Meal allowances should be adjusted based on departure and return time and should account for meals provided at no expense to the traveler, such as breakfast provided at a conference. 

On the day of departure, the traveler is eligible for: 

  • A breakfast allowance if travel begins before 7 a.m. 

  • A dinner allowance if travel begins before 6 p.m. 

On the day of return, the traveler is eligible for: 

  • A breakfast allowance if travel ends after 8 a.m. 

  • A dinner allowance if travel ends after 7 p.m. 

There is no reimbursement given for lunch. 

Meals are typically reimbursed based on unreceipted rates; therefore, meal receipts are not required. If receipts are used, they must be itemized to comply with all alcohol-purchasing policies. 

Non-overnight Meal Reimbursement

Non-overnight meal rates are $5 for breakfast and $12 for dinner, regardless of travel location. 

To request meal allowance reimbursement for non-overnight travel, complete the RF Non-overnight Taxable Meal Form and then submit it to SPA electronically

This reimbursement is taxable and will be processed through payroll, therefore it can only be processed for RF or state employees. 

If the traveler is a state employee, they must also complete a New York State Travel Voucher, then submit it to SPA electronically.

Overnight Meal & Lodging Reimbursement: Method 1

This flat-rate, per diem allowance for meals, lodging and incidentals may be used regardless of where lodging is obtained — even if you stay with a relative or friend. No receipts are required.  

Travelers are still expected to substantiate their request with documentation showing the traveler made the trip. 


Unreceipted Per Diem Rate

New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester Counties


Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and their surrounding metropolitan areas


All other locations in New York State


All domestic locations outside New York State (this includes any out-of-state tax on lodging)


To receive the full per diem, the traveler must be in overnight travel status and be eligible for both breakfast and dinner.  

Note: If the traveler is not eligible for a meal, given the times of travel, or the traveler has been provided a meal at no cost, they will instead be reimbursed at the non-overnight meal rates, as defined above.

Overnight Meal & Lodging Reimbursement: Method 2

This method allows for the reimbursement of receipted lodging costs, up to the U.S. General Services Administration's per diem rates. Lodging receipts that exceed the GSA per diem rates will require justification. 

Meal receipts are not required to reimburse meal and incidental expenses. 

If adjustments must be made based on times of travel or exclusion of meals provided at no cost, meal allowances are broken down as follows: 

  • The breakfast reimbursement rate is 20% of the federal meal rate. 

  • The dinner reimbursement rate is 80% of the federal meal rate.

Hire & Pay Independent Contractors

Definitions & Classification

Rules regarding independent contractors ensure: 

  • Payments to independent contractors are classified correctly and supported by proper documentation on selection, scope of work and fees 

  • Services that reach or exceed $10,000 on any award are established under a formal agreement or contract  

  • Services are obtained in ways that adhere to University policies and government regulations  

  • Current employees are paid correctly 

  • Conflicts of interest do not exist 

An independent contractor is an individual who, under agreement, performs a service for another person or business. That person or business only controls the result of the contractor’s work, not the manner or means by which their services are performed. 

Independent contractors typically provide task-oriented services that are specific in nature, short in duration or sought based on expertise. They are usually paid an agreed upon amount for a given task. 

Alternatively, an employee is subject to the control of their employer, who has the right to determine what work must be done and how it should be done. Employees perform services to support their employer’s general business, typically onsite for a long or indefinite period, and are usually paid on a time or piece-work basis.  

Classifying a worker as an independent contractor, rather than as an employee, may appear to result in financial savings and less paperwork. However, if the employee is misclassified, these perceived advantages are offset by the potential for federal or state penalties, claims and/or lawsuits. 

Researchers should be careful to establish proper classifications when reviewing application budgets, hiring an employee and/or engaging an independent contractor. The Research Foundation must properly classify workers, even if a sponsor provides funds for independent contractors in an award. 

The IRS provides Common Law Rules to assist in the classification process. 

Note: Independent contractors should not be confused with vendors or internal contractors. 

A vendor is a business or entity, while an independent contractor is an individual. Vendor contract requests should be directed to Research Purchasing

Employees of the Research Foundation for SUNY, the University at Albany or SUNY cannot also have an independent contractor relationship with the Research Foundation. 

Internal contractors are institutional employees who perform work in addition to their normal obligations, which are completed in a different department or at a separate work location. Internal contractors’ work is paid as Extra Service through the appropriate payroll department. 

Request Approval for Independent Contractors

You must request and obtain approval for independent contractors before you engage the service of any individual. This process ensures the individual is classified correctly and the appropriate documentation has been obtained. 

Submit a completed Independent Contractor Approval Request Form to [email protected] to request permission. Your request must be accompanied by the following documentation: 

  • Description of how the selected contractor was identified 

  • Justification for the reasonable price to be paid 

  • Detailed description of the services to be performed, with a statement of work or list of deliverables attached, as applicable 

  • Documentation of the independent contractor’s credentials, such as a resume 

You may not engage a contractor until you have received all required approvals from the Research Foundation.  

Work totaling $10,000 or more in payment must be accompanied by a formal agreement. Contracts for work of lesser value are not required but may be used to clearly outline the services to be performed. 

Please use the Independent Contractor Boilerplate Agreement to draw up a draft contract and then submit it to SPA electronically

Request Payment for Independent Contractors

Payment should not be made until services are complete. 

To request payment for completed services, complete an Independent Contractor Payment Request Form and submit it to SPA electronically. Your request must be accompanied by an invoice or other supporting documentation, and it must be in accordance with the independent contractor services previously approved by the Research Foundation. 

Requests to reimburse contractors for related expenses that are not accounted for in their established fee or rate should be made in accordance with Research Foundation policies and procedures. 

Request Honorarium for Speakers

An honorarium is a payment made for a non-extensive or incidental speaking engagement, or when the speaker does not request compensation. 

Note: Please review the Definitions & Classifications section above for guidance on the difference between independent contractors and employees. 

Honoraria cannot be made to Research Foundation employees.  

SUNY employees are prohibited from charging for SUNY speaking engagements but are allowed receive honoraria if the lecture is not at their home campus and payment is limited to $100 per day, plus expenses.  

To request honoraria payments up to $2,500, send a completed Lecturers & Speakers Payment Request Form to [email protected]

If an honorarium exceeds $2,500, follow the instructions for requesting approval for independent contractors and payment of independent contractors, as outlined above. 

Manage Stipends for Trainees 

Stipends — also called participant support costs — are subsistence allowances that help trainees defray living expenses during a sponsored award. They are not compensation for services rendered. 

Once a training program has ended, complete a Participant Stipend Form and submit it to SPA electronically.

Awards from Federal Sponsors

Stipends are only allowed if the scope of work includes specific training activities and if stipends were included in the project’s budget and justification.  

Costs must align with the program announcement and be proposed and awarded by the federal sponsor. If awarded, stipends cannot be reallocated without prior approval. 

If a trainee is providing benefit to a project under the PI’s direction, they must be paid as an employee. Visit the Proposal Preparation & Submission page for detailed direct and indirect cost rules. 

Researchers should be aware of the following federal guidance: 

2CFR200.1: Participant support costs means direct costs for items such as: 

  • Stipends or subsistence allowances 

  • Travel allowances 

  • Registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences 

  • Training projects 

OMB Uniform Guidance (2CFR200.456 Participant support costs): Participant support costs (as defined above in § 200.1) are allowable with the prior approval of the Federal awarding agency. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH): Stipends are not allowable on research grants, per the NIH Grants Policy Statement. 

National Science Foundation (NSF): Stipends are allowed only in support of participant costs at conferences, symposia, workshops or other specific training activities. The scope of work should include a description of the training activity and NSF must acknowledge in the Notice of Award (NOA) that participant costs would be funded by stipends. The NSF Grant Proposal Guide does not allow payments to non-employees or non-consultants for activities that benefit a research award. 

Awards from Non-federal Sponsors

Stipends are allowed if they are included in the proposal budget and approved by the sponsor. 

When it comes to distinguishing individuals who are providing services to the University versus individuals who are being paid without any expectation of work, Research Foundation and University human resources policies take precedent over non-federal sponsor expectations.

Manage Human Subject Payments 

Human research subjects are regularly compensated for their time. However, these payments can only be made when a researcher obtains data (through intervention or interaction) or identifiable private information from a living individual. 

Payments are limited to less than $100 per interaction. Payments exceeding that amount must be approved by the SPA operations manager and their designee. 

Note: All sponsored program activities involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Request Cash Payment

To request a cash payment, complete a Human Subject Form and submit it to SPA electronically. You must include the following documentation with your submission: 

  • A copy of the project’s IRB approval

  • A copy of the questionnaire or a brief description of the research in which the individual participated 

If the human subject receiving payment is not a U.S. citizen, you must also complete an Alien Information Form and submit it to SPA electronically. Additional documentation may be required. 

Request Non-cash Payment (Gift Cards)

Gift cards, or gift certificates, may be issued as Human Subject Payments if the nature of the research requires their use. Non-cash compensation should be appropriate for the intended participant. 

Note: Tax reporting requirements preclude issuing cash or gift card payments to non-resident aliens. See the tax information below for more details. 

To request payment to a vendor in exchange for gift cards, please complete a Purchase Requisition Order Form and then submit it to SPA electronically. You must include the following documentation with your submission: 

  • A copy of the project’s IRB approval

  • A copy of the questionnaire or a brief description of the research in which the individual participated 

  • The number and dollar amount of all gift cards 

  • A list of individuals expected to receive the gift cards 

The department conducting the research is responsible for maintaining records on the issuance of each gift card. Records must contain: 

Copies of these records should be submitted to SPA at the end of the activity. No additional requests for related non-cash payments will be considered until prior requests are reconciled. 

Request Payment to Confidential Human Subjects

Research activities that require human subjects’ identities be kept confidential can issue non-cash payments (gift cards). The only difference will be the procedure for record keeping. 

The department conducting the research is still responsible for maintaining records with identifying information on the issuance of each gift card for audit purposes and in case an individual’s compensation reaches reportable levels. See the tax information below for more details). 

  • Departments must securely maintain records with the following information: 

  • The names, addresses and social security numbers of each recipient  

  • Statement of Human Subject Participation forms signed by each recipient (the form is available in the Request Non-cash Payment section above)

However, when the department shares records with SPA, the department must use non-identifying indicators (such as subject numbers). To do so, please submit a completed Confidential Human Subject Payment Reconciliation Form

Tax Definitions

Permanent Resident Alien: An individual who has been granted lawful U.S. Permanent Resident status, which is often referred to as a green card). Permanent Resident Aliens are taxed in the same manner as U.S. Citizens. 

Resident Alien: A U.S. tax residency status, used for an individual who has been present in the US long enough to meet the Substantial Presence Test. Resident Aliens are taxed on their worldwide income in the same manner as U.S. citizens.  

Non-resident Alien: A US tax residency status, used for a non-U.S. citizen who is temporarily present in the United States. Non-resident Aliens are only required to pay taxes on their income from U.S. sources. 

Substantial Presence Test: A test used to determine an individual's U.S. residency status for tax purposes. The test calculates the total number of days an individual has been present in the U.S. over a period of three calendar years. For tax purposes, a person is considered present in the U.S. for a calendar year if they are present during one or more days between January 1 and December 31. 

Tax Reporting for Payments to U.S. Citizens & Resident Aliens

The following guidance relates to payments to U.S. citizens and resident aliens. Please see the definitions above for additional information. 

Human Subject Payments — including non-cash compensation — are considered non-employee compensation and subject to IRS requirements for miscellaneous income reporting (1099 reporting). 

The Principal Investigator is responsible for tracking Human Subject Payments and reporting to the campus if the amounts reach reportable levels.  

For every research subject paid $600 or more in a calendar year, the project director must provide the following information to their Grants Administrator, who will work with SUNY RF to produce 1099-MISC forms as needed:

  • Name 

  • Social security number 

  • Home address 

  • Total amount paid to the person 

  • Research Foundation projects, tasks and awards (PTAs) for which the person was paid 

Tax Reporting for Payments to Non-resident Aliens

The following guidance relates to payments to non-resident aliens. Please see the definitions above for additional information. 

Payments to non-resident aliens are subject to different IRS withholding and reporting rules than payments to U.S. citizens and resident aliens. 

All payments made to or on behalf of a non-resident alien — except for travel reimbursement tied to a business purpose — must be reported to the IRS. 

The Research Foundation’s ability to issue payment to a non-resident alien depend on various factors specific to the individual situation, including: 

  • Type of payment 

  • Source of funding 

  • Location of services 

  • Visa type 

  • U.S. residency status 

  • Substantial Presence Test results 

  • Tax treaties 

  • Applicable tax rates 

The individual’s visa type does not alone indicate the ability to pay. Visa type, or classification, is indicated on a stamp or sticker in the individual’s passport. 

Foreign visitors who arrive in the United States with a visa classification that does not allow for payment nor reimbursement cannot legally be paid directly, nor on behalf of (through use of a third party), by the Research Foundation.  

Tax treaties or agreements serve to reduce double taxation. IRS tax form 8233 must be provided to claim a tax treaty currently in effect. 

When UAlbany pays non-resident aliens for their participation, the University withholds the required tax. Payments and taxes withheld for non-resident aliens are reported to the IRS on the annual tax form 1042-S. 

For additional information or clarification of any of the above, please contact your Grant Administrator. 

Manage Other Expenses 

Please contact your Grant Administrator with questions about charging expenses to a Research Foundation account. 

Campus Services 

Regardless of how services or items are invoiced, they must be allocable and appropriate to the sponsored award. 

Mail Services & Rapid CopyServices are invoiced directly to Award Management Services. Please provide a current Research Foundation account number for such services, especially any that are recurring. 

Information Technology Services (ITS)Services are invoiced to the project. In these cases, you need to arrange payment by submitting the invoice and completed Purchase Requisition Order Form to SPA. Please use this form for your submission.

AcaDamien’s BookstoreBring a completed Purchase Requisition Order Form to the bookstore to have your purchase invoiced directly to Award Management Services. The form must be itemized, detailing all items to be purchased. Orders of $500 or more must be processed by Research Purchasing

UAlbany Dining: If a meal is being served on campus, it must be provided by UAlbany Dining, per the Campus Food Policy. Submit a completed Purchase Requisition Order Form to UAlbany Dining with your event order. UAlbany Dining will then submit the invoice and requisition form directly to Award Management Services for payment. For information on planning and paying for off-campus meals, please visit the Plan & Fund Travel section

Membership & Subscription Fees

Membership and subscription fees may be an allowable expense to a sponsored award if one of the following criteria is met: 

  • Membership or subscription creates cost savings for attending a conference where research results connected to the project will be presented 

  • Membership or subscription is mandatory to present a paper connected to the project 

  • The sole purpose of the membership or subscription is to purchase a periodical at a reduced rate because the periodical is not available through the institution's library services and is necessary for the sponsored project 

The membership or subscription’s entire term must fall within the dates of the award. If the membership or subscription dates exceed the award dates, the expense should be prorated to include only that portion allocable and appropriate to the sponsored award. 

Please submit a Purchase Requisition Order Form to request reimbursement or to request payment to be sent directly to the vendor. Reimbursement requests must be accompanied by proof of payment. 

Note: The Research Foundation won’t reimburse or pay for donations or contributions. 


Once subaward agreements are fully executed, the Sponsored Program Administration (SPA) will provide a copy to Award Management Services. To expedite the payment process, Award Management Services will then create a Purchase Order to encumber the funds according to the agreement. 

Upon receipt of invoice, the Principal Investigator or authorized project staff will be asked to review the invoice and certify that: 

  • All expenses appear appropriate 

  • Any reports due by the subrecipient have been completed 

  • The technical requirements are progressing 

If you have any issues or concerns related to a subaward’s progress, you should immediately contact your Research Administrator. 


Tuition payments are an allowable expense on a sponsored award if the individual holds a concurrent payroll appointment, under the award, in an eligible graduate student payroll title and the tuition is included in the sponsor-approved budget. 

To request tuition payment or reimbursement, please submit a completed Purchase Requisition Order Form with appropriate supporting documentation: 

  • Direct payment requests should be accompanied by a Third-party Invoice from Student Accounts.  

Note: The Research Foundation cannot pay late fees. 

If the individual holds a concurrent payroll appointment under the award but is not in an eligible graduate student payroll title, they should seek tuition guidance and reimbursement instead through the State University Employee (SUE) Tuition Waiver Program

Cash Advances

Principal Investigators (PIs) can receive cash advances for grant activities under certain conditions, such as field trip expenses, human subject payments and the purchase of materials and supplies.  

Funds can be advanced to cover anticipated needs for up to a 90-day period and must be reconciled (accounted for) with original receipts within that time frame. 

PIs must take personal responsibility for the use of cash advances, according to sponsor guidelines. Only one cash advance may be outstanding (pending reconciliation) at any time.

Request a Cost Transfer 

A cost transfer reassigns personnel or non-personnel service expenditures that were previously recorded in one award to another award.  

Please review the eligibility guidelines below before making a request. 

Cost transfer requests must be approved by the operations manager and documented before being processed. The person preparing or processing the cost transfer must also approve the request.

Cost Transfer Eligibility Guidelines

Cost transfer requests are reviewed against the following criteria: 

  • Appropriateness: The award to which a cost is transferred must have received benefit from the goods or services related to the cost being transferred. 

  • Consistent with Sponsor Guidelines: The sponsor guidelines governing the award to which an expense is transferred must allow the expense. 

  • Funds Availability: Sufficient funds must be available in the applicable award to cover the transactions. 

  • Adequate Documentation: All transfers require a justification explaining why the transfer is being requested, why the charge wasn't allocated appropriately when it originally incurred, and why the charge is appropriate for the new award. 

Cost transfers more than 90 days old will be considered on a case-by-case basis and only with proper justification.  

Award Management Services reserves the right to reject any cost transfer request that places the University at risk for an audit finding or disallowance.  

The following cost transfers are suspect and should be avoided: 

  • Transfers to or between sponsored awards 

  • Late transfers (requests outside 90-day window) 

  • Transfers at or just before the end of an award 

  • Transfers without adequate explanation 

  • Transfers between awards to clear an over-expenditure

Manage Cost Sharing

Cost sharing happens when a sponsored program cost is not reimbursed by the sponsor. It’s allowable only if the cost share is all the following: 

  • Verifiable 

  • Not included as contributions for any other federally assisted project 

  • Necessary and reasonable for proper, efficient accomplishments of the project 

  • Allowable under the cost principles of Uniform Guidance 2CFR200

  • Not paid by the federal government under another award, except where authorized 

  • Provided for in the approved budget 

Whether voluntary or mandatory, any cost sharing that is contained in the proposal and subsequently accepted as a term or condition of a sponsored award must be documented and reported. 

The Principal Investigator is responsible for providing adequate documentation on cost sharing. SPA is not responsible for any disallowances by the sponsor due to inadequate documentation.

Examples of Allowable Cost Sharing
  • Unpaid personal service — meaning effort not compensated directly with award funds, such as SUNY faculty effort (Note: Regulatory caps do exist with some funding source.) 

  • Other than personnel service (OTPS) — meaning contributions by SUNY or the UAlbany Foundation, such as supplies, equipment or tuition 

  • Third party, in-kind contributions — meaning non-cash contributions by a non-federal third party directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the project, such as services, supplies, equipment or tuition 

  • Matching funds, usually Research Foundation non-sponsored funds 

  • Program income (Note: The use of program income as cost sharing must be determined based on sponsor regulations.) 

  • Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs related to cost shared expenses 

  • Waived F&A costs that are subject to sponsor and UAlbany policy 

Examples of Unallowable Cost Sharing
  • Salaries of certain administrative positions, such as deans and other non-teaching, non-research employees 

  • Salary dollars above a regulatory cap, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services salary cap 

  • Unallowable costs specified in OMB Circular A-21, Section J, including alcoholic beverages, entertainment, fundraising, lobbying, etc. 

  • Costs associated with Research Foundation and SUNY building rental, purchase and maintenance when collecting the On-Campus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) rate 

  • Costs included on another federal project  

  • Costs included on a non-federal project, unless specifically authorized by that sponsor

Cost Sharing Documentation Requirements

Cost sharing documentation requirements depend on the costs’ type and source. 

At the proposal stage, any cost share offered in the proposal should be documented and approved by the Principal Investigator (PI), Department Chair, Dean, and Vice President as appropriate. Any proposed third-party cost share should be documented in a letter of commitment from the third party. 

Once the award has been made, it is the PI’s responsibility to provide adequate documentation of the actual cost sharing to the Grant Administrator.  

All documentation related to other than personnel service (OTPS) cost shares must be sent to your Grant Administrator before the award term begins to ensure proper and timely reporting to the sponsor.  

If a portion of the expense is being offered, a memo must be included with the invoice and payment documentation to support how that portion of the expense is appropriate to be cost shared. 

Please review these instructions for adequate documentation: 

  • SUNY Effort: When an account is set up, SPA is notified of the level of SUNY effort being cost shared for the award and initiates the collection of this information. Each semester, effort reports are generated and mailed to the PI for certification of that effort. These reports must be reviewed for accuracy, signed and returned promptly.  

  • Student Effort: Provide a list of student names and salary amounts at the beginning of each semester.  

  • SUNY or UAlbany Foundation OTPS costs: Provide copies of the invoice and payment documentation from SUNY or UAlbany Foundation. 

  • Third parties: Provide a letter from the third party certifying the actual expense provided in support of the project and a valuation of those costs.  

  • RF Non-sponsored award: Provide the Research Foundation account number and identify the specific costs on that award. 

  • RF Non-federal sponsored award: While it’s typically not allowable to offer costs from another sponsored award, there may be unique circumstances where this is permitted. In these cases, a letter from the non-federal sponsor acknowledging and accepting that costs will be reported on another sponsored award is required. The PI must also identify the Research Foundation account number and the specific costs on that account. 

Determine Cost Allowability for Sponsored Charges 

When determining if it’s appropriate to charge a given cost to a sponsored project, UAlbany follows the federal principles outlined in 2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance, as well as the specific terms and conditions of individual sponsored agreements. 

Costs charged to a sponsored agreement must be reasonable, allowable, allocable and consistently applied. 

If you have questions regarding the allowability of a specific charge, please contact your Grant Administrator.

Examples of Unallowable Costs
  • Advertising and public relation costs (with specific exceptions) 

  • Alcoholic beverages 

  • Alumni activities 

  • Bad debts 

  • Commencement costs 

  • Contributions and donations 

  • Entertainment 

  • Fines and penalties 

  • Goods and services for personal use 

  • Housing and personal living expenses 

  • Interest, fund raising and investment management costs 

  • Lobbying 

  • Memberships in country clubs, social, dining or civic organizations 

  • Marketing

Allowable Costs for Materials, Supplies & Computing Devices

The following rules are pursuant to 2 CFR 200.453.  

Materials & Supplies 

General purpose materials and supplies purchased and used by departments for all activities should not be directly charged to federal awards. Examples include copy paper, office supplies and general use cleaning materials. Such items are considered in the Facility and Administrative (F&A) cost pool.  

Items purchased specifically for one or more research projects, such as lab supplies, may be charged as direct expenses when included in the approved budget. If the use of the items is shared among projects or labs, an allocation methodology should be created and documented.  

Examples of supplies that may be charged as a direct expense include:  

  • Office supplies specifically purchased for a survey funded by a grant  

  • Reagents and glassware specifically required to meet the objectives of the grant statement of work (SOW) 

Computing Devices  

2 CFR 200.1 defines computing devices as machines used to acquire, store, analyze, process and publish data and other information electronically, including accessories for printing, transmitting and receiving or storing electronic information.  

Direct charging of computing devices is allowable if the devices cost less than $5,000, the devices are essential to the performance of a federal award and the costs are allocable. 

If these criteria are met, a device does not need to be solely dedicated to the project. Computing devices may be allocated to multiple sponsored awards if each project’s proportional benefit is reasonably estimated.