Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms Business Policies and Procedures Manual

Revised 6-14
Sponsored Programs Services


Sponsored Project Activity Request


Sponsored Project Activity Request  (also available in FileMaker format)


Principal investigators and administrators use a Sponsored Project Activity Request (SPAR) form to initiate the following actions regarding sponsored project accounts:

  • To begin limited expenditures with an Advance Expenditure Authorization prior to formal award of a grant or contract.
  • To request authorization to make pre-award expenditures prior to the award date of a grant or contract under Research Terms and Conditions.
  • To establish a departmental guarantee account that is responsible for all expenditures not covered by formal approval or award.
  • To continue making expenditures past the project termination date pending formal agency approval of a no-cost extension or an extension with additional funds.
  • To request a rebudget of an existing account that requires sponsoring agency approval or to purchase an item/service not included in the original budget. (Research Terms and Conditions do not apply.)
  • To request pre-award costs and extension of grant period time frame under Research Terms and Conditions.
  • To request project extension without additional funds under Research Terms and Conditions.
  • To rebudget within an existing sponsored account.

Direct questions regarding the SPAR to Sponsored Programs Services (SPS); telephone 509-335-2058.

Research Terms and Conditions

Many federal agencies issue awards covered by Research Terms and Conditions. In such cases, the agencies have provided the University with authority for approving certain activities and transactions associated with sponsored projects, i.e., pre-award costs, no-cost extensions, and rebudgeting. Principal investigators and budget administrators are responsible for reviewing the applicable award document, published guidelines, or agency notices for references to Research Terms and Conditions granted to the University.

Approval Exceptions

Even though Research Terms and Conditions may be in place, the following agencies require the University to submit time extensions notifications, as follows:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) awards. The principal investigator (PI) submits time extension requests directly through the NSF Fastlane website. Contact SPS for more information.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards. The PI submits written time extension requests through the Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO). See also Project Extension below.

Sponsored Project Activity Request


The following versions of the SPAR form are available:

  • Electronic form (e-form) version. To access the e-form version, go to the PR&F WSU E-Forms website at:

  • PDF and FileMaker format on the PR&F website at:


The following provides instructions for specified form sections. Numbered instructions apply to numbers on the sample in Fig. 1. Unmentioned sections are considered self-explanatory. Complete the top section of the form providing contact information and information about the sponsored project. NOTE: Submit a copy of the approved budget proposal with the SPAR, if the approved budget has not been entered into the ORSO database for the activity.

Proposal Working Title (1)

Enter a working title for the proposal no longer than 42 characters including spaces.

Principal Investigator (PI) (2)

Enter the name of the PI responsible for the requested project. Enter the full name, not a nickname. If more than one PI is responsible for the requested account, enter the additional names under Explanation.

PI’s WSU ID No. (3)

Enter the WSU ID number for the named PI. If more than one PI name is requested for the account, enter the additional WSU ID numbers under Explanation.

Department Contact (4)

Enter the name of the administrator who completed the SPAR form and is able to answer questions about the sponsored project.

On-Campus or Off-Campus (5)

Check Yes or No, in accordance with Request for Approval of Application for Extramural Support (REX) form question #3. To view the REX form, go to the ORSO website at:

Sponsor (6)

Enter the name of the sponsor. NOTE: It is particularly important enter accurate information in this field when requesting an Advance Expenditure Authorization.

Receiving Funds from Federal Agency? (7)

Indicate whether or not the sponsor is receiving funds from a federal agency. NOTE: This question must be answered when requesting an Advance Expenditure Authorization unless the sponsor is a federal agency. If the sponsor is a federal agency, leave this field blank.

Research? (8)

The requester must check either Yes or No in this field in order for SPS to determine the program number to be assigned to the project. Research is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the subject studied (classified as either basic or applied).

Home Account (9)

If the project account has, will have, or is a home account, enter the account number (program-budget-project). (The home account is the primary account assigned to the project.)

Pre-award Costs Requested? (10)

Complete this field if pre-award costs are included in the guarantee and/or if requesting pre-award costs under Research Terms and Conditions.

Pre-award Effective Date (11)

If Yes is checked under Pre-award Costs Requested?, enter the start date that pre-award costs are required.

Time Limits

Enter the effective date for the start of the pre-award expenditures. Expenditures must be incurred within 90 days of the actual effective date of the award. NOTE: If the effective date of the project is later than anticipated, a specified departmental account (guarantee account) supports expenditures made prior to the 90-day cutoff unless the sponsor agrees to support the early expenditures.

Noncompeting NIH Projects

The 90-day limitation applies only to the first budget period of a noncompeting NIH project. Pre-award expenditures for subsequent budget periods can be requested for more than 90 days prior to the next budget period’s award effective date.

Sponsored Project Activity Request
Figure 1 Sponsored Project Activity Request
ORSO No. (12)

Complete, if known. Include the activity number, if applicable. This number is available in the ORSO database. To view the ORSO database, go to:

F&A Rate (13)

Complete this field when requesting an Advance Expenditure Authorization. If Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are required on the grant or contract, specify the applicable F&A rate (percentage). Also specify the base used for calculating F&A costs. Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) is the base most commonly used for the University’s approved federally-negotiated F&A rate (see BPPM 40.25).

Existing Account (14)

Complete this field if requesting a change to an existing account. Provide the existing account number (program-budget-project). If more than one account is involved, provide the additional account numbers under Explanation. If more room is needed, attach a separate sheet. If the account is new, leave this field blank and enter the applicable four-digit budget number on the line for the first guarantee requested activity choice. (See line 21 on the example in Fig. 1.)

Award Begin/End Dates (15)

Enter the beginning and ending dates of the grant or contract.

Guarantee Account

A dean or equivalent administrator designates a guarantee account which assumes expenditures if formal agency approval or award does not occur. Enter Guarantee Account Information when:

  • Requesting an Advance Expenditure Authorization,
  • Requesting authorization for pre-award expenditures,
  • Extending a termination date when Research Terms and Conditions do not apply, or
  • Purchasing an item not in the original budget, i.e., rebudget, that requires sponsor’s approval.

NOTE: Guarantee account information is not required if the requested activity choice is under Other. See also Other below.

Guarantee Remaining Funds? (16)

Check Yes if utilizing remaining funds and no new money is to be added.

New Fund Amount (17)

Enter the amount of additional (not currently allocated) funds to be guaranteed. If the form is a revision of an earlier SPAR, enter the updated total amount to be guaranteed.

Guarantee Account Number (18)

Enter the account number (program-budget-project) of the account designated by unit and area administrators as the guarantee account. Expenditures on the authorization must also be allowable on the guarantee account. Usually, administrators designate state-supported or unrestricted accounts as guarantee accounts. NOTE: Other grant or contract accounts (programs 11-14) are not acceptable as guarantee accounts.

Guarantee Begin Date (19)

In most cases, the guarantee begin date is the award begin date. If pre-award costs are authorized, enter the pre-award cost authorization effective date. If the request is for the extension of an existing account, leave this field blank. (Do not enter a future effective date.)

Requested Activities (20)

Check one box describing the requested activities.

Advance Expenditure Authorization

Process an Advance Expenditure Authorization to begin limited expenditures prior to formal award of a grant or contract. (Generally the principal investigator or ORSO has informally learned that the grant or contract has been or soon will be awarded).

New Account (21)

Check the first box only for a new guarantee account. If the Advance Expenditure Authorization is to be processed with a new account, enter the applicable budget number.

Award Receipt

Upon receipt of the approved award, the account information set up by the SPAR is superseded by the award terms and conditions. Conflicts between the Advance Expenditure Authorization and the actual award may result in a transfer of expenditures to the guarantee account.

Account Control

Expenditures and commitments based on the Advance Expenditure Authorization must be controlled by the principal investigator, the department, and the University in the same manner as for the formal award.


The approved and guaranteed amount is not shown as an allocation in Account Balances. Sponsored Programs Services makes the allocation when formal award or approval is received from the sponsor.

Project Extension (22) (23)

A principal investigator may submit an Advance Expenditure Authorization to request extension of the budget period with or without additional funds pending formal sponsor approval. NOTE: The fact that funds remain at the project’s expiration date is not sufficient justification for an extension request. Sponsored Programs Services recommends that the PI submit the extension request through ORSO at least thirty days prior to the final budget period expiration date.

Guarantee for Rebudget (24)

A principal investigator may use a SPAR to add an object to an existing account to request the purchase of an item or budget category not in the original budget when a sponsor’s approval is required. NOTE: Rebudget requests based on Advance Expenditure Authorizations are not reallocated until sponsor approval is received.

Change to an Existing Guarantee Account (25)

Check this box when the account is under guarantee but the award is not yet set up and changes to the existing guarantee are needed. Enter the requested changes under Explanation. Examples: Extend guarantee end date, add an object on a guarantee account, change guarantee begin date, add pre-award costs to guarantee.

Changes (Internal Rebudgeting) (26)

A principal investigator may submit a SPAR to request that funds be rebudgeted between two existing accounts under the same award, unless agency approval is required. Rebudgeting is defined as changing budgeted allocations in expenditure categories (objects). Enter the account numbers and desired changes in the appropriate columns on the Object Table. The total in the From column should equal the total in the To column. NOTE: If requesting a funds transfer to a new account, submit a Research or Conference Account Request (RCAR) form instead of a SPAR form.

Pre-award Costs (27)

The University may authorize a principal investigator to make expenditures prior to the beginning date of a sponsored agreement in accordance with Research Terms and Conditions (above) if the following criteria are met:

  • Incurred costs must be necessary for the conduct of the project, and
  • The costs are allowable under the potential award.

See Pre-award Costs Requested? above for pre-award information and instructions (example numbers 10 and 11). NOTE: When required for specific expenditures or activities not covered by Research Terms and Conditions, agency prior approval must be obtained.

Extend Account End Date (28)

If a time extension is approved under Research Terms and Conditions, the final budget period for the project may be extended one time only for a period up to one year after the original expiration date. Refer to agency guidelines and the award document for more information (see also BPPM 40.25). If the extension is approved by the University, University officials notify the sponsoring agency. The sponsor usually provides acknowledgment of the new expiration date.

Allowable Objects (29)

When requesting a new account, check allowable expenditure objects for the account on the Object Table. This review is not required if extending an existing account, unless a new object is being opened. If opening a new object on an existing account, enter the object description under Explanation. NOTE: When a F&A rate is entered in the F&A Rate field, certain allowable object information must be completed, as indicated below:

  • Object 13 (F&A costs) — To allow expenditures in object 13, the department must check object 13 on the Object Table and attach an approved budget.

    Also, if the department checks object 13 on the Object Table, the department must enter an F&A rate in the F&A Rate field.

  • Object 00 (salaries) or 01 (wages) — If the department checks object 00 or 01, the department must also check Object 07 (employee benefits), unless prohibited by the sponsor.
Explanation (30)

Enter an explanation for the requested activity. If the request is to incur costs prior to the receipt of a formal award, indicate the basis for assuming the sponsor will approve the proposal. If more than one account is being requested, additional accounts numbers may be entered here or enter “See Attached,” if the number of accounts is too numerous.

Routing and Approval

Send the original SPAR and attachments to SPS after the authorization has been approved by the principal investigator, chair, and dean (or equivalent administrator). NOTE: Dean or equivalent administrator signature is required on all guarantees unless a blanket authorization is on file with SPS. Provide copies of the approved form to the principal investigator, the chair, and the dean (or equivalent administrator). In order to facilitate processing of paper versions of the form, the SPAR and attachments may be faxed to SPS and other offices.