School of Nursing: Standard on the Management of Grant Accounts


School of Nursing: Standard on the Management of Grant Accounts

Unit Standard



The purpose of this document is to establish clear guidelines for Principal Investigators (PIs), project staff, and grants management staff within the School of Nursing (SON).

Scope of Applicability

This standard applies to faculty, staff and students within the SON.


The SON Grants Management Office assists Principal Investigators (PIs) with the administration of grant and contract financial management and reporting in conjunction with the requirements provided by UNC-CH Office of Sponsored Research (OSR).

The Grants Management Office is responsible for assisting the PI with the financial management and reporting of sponsored projects in the following ways:

  • Proposal Preparation (budget and budget justification development);
  • Subcontract Preparation and Submissions (budget, budget justification, scope of work and subcontract agreement);
  • Award Acceptance and Establishing Project ID(s);
  • Administration of Project Expenditures;
  • Coordination of Forms for Change Requests to Sponsored Accounts;
  • Assistance with Reporting Requirements and Additional Request Related to Sponsor Notifications and Prior Approvals; and
  • Project Closeout.

Please visit the OSR's "Operating Standards and Procedures" webpage.

In addition to OSR Policies and Procedures, the SON Grants Management Office is providing the following guideline to help the principal investigator manage grants and contracts after an award is received.

Award Acceptance / Establishing an Account

Typically the sponsor or funding agency mails or emails the Notice of Award to the Principal Investigator and cc's OSR. OSR forwards the award document to the Grants Management Office and proceeds to establish a new project ID for the award. It generally takes 1-2 weeks for OSR to establish a project ID (account number). Once the project ID is activated, the Grants Management Office meets with the PI and project staff to go over the details of the project and introduce the Grant Specialist who will assist in maintaining the account.

Starting the Project and spending the funds

The Grants Management Office will monitor the expenditures and provide the PI with a monthly spreadsheet showing expenditures on each project. The Grants Manager and the RSC Consultant will meet with the PI on a monthly basis for at least the first six months of the grant, and on bi-monthly basis thereafter. This will ensure the grant project activities are launched in a timely manner and the funds are spent according to the budget.

All grant related expenditures should be approved first by the Grants Management Office. Digital copies of original receipts should be emailed to the Grants Management Office as soon as they are available. Please include a statement of justification for the project expenditure, the project ID and charge account number. The Grant Specialist will update the expenditure spreadsheet every month based on the university's financial reports (FBMs) and submit it to the PI and applicable Project Manager for review and approval. The Grants Management Office reconciles the account on a monthly basis.

The Grants Management Office should be notified before any of the following special transactions are initiated as these transactions require additional approvals:

  • purchase orders (exceeding $5,000 per item or services);
  • gift cards are purchased for research subject incentives (cash advance); and
  • independent contractor payments.

Requests listed below should be submitted in writing by the PI to the Grants Management Office who will request it from OSR:

  • changes in the effort of key personnel;
  • budget revisions;
  • carry forward requests;
  • no cost extension requests;
  • requests to release of restricted funds;
  • foreign travel which was not included in the proposal budget; and
  • computer purchases which were not included in the proposal budget.

The Grants Management Office assists the project team in requesting Pre-paid cards for research participant incentives and Purchasing Card(s) (PCard) if needed. The PI and project manager maintain the accounts and the Grants Manager conducts reconciliations required by the University. The Grants Management Office assists in closing the accounts and de-activating the PCards when they are no longer needed or when the project ends.

The Grants Specialist works with SON Human Resources to set up the salary distributions for faculty and staff being paid from the grant project. The PI is responsible for confirming commitments with faculty and staff working on their projects and should inform the Grants Manager of changes in salary funding which differ from the proposal budget.

Prior to hiring project staff, PIs should consider the costs associated with employee on-boarding and terminations. Employees who work in health care settings who have the potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious meaterials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies, etc. are required to have annual immunization and TB surveillance conducted by the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic at a charge of $55/year.  Depending on an employee's classification, permanent, temporary, time-limited, etc., an employee may have layoff rights which require termination notices and severance payments. Some employee classifications are also eligible for vacation leave payouts, bonus leave payouts, etc. The grant account is responsible for paying these employee separation costs. Other considerations may be available if an employee is changing funding sources. Please make sure these are communicated to Grants Management and Human Resources at least 60 days prior to the termination dates so we can work together to determine what the grant account is responsible for paying and to make sure all employee rights and benefits are appropriately applied.

The Grants Management Office provides training to new project staff who will handle the grant account(s). This helps to maintain proper internal controls. Project Managers can initiate payment requests, travel requests, petty cash reimbursements, journal entries, and PCard reconciliations.

The Grants Manager assists PIs and Project Managers in creating expenditure projections for an entire budget period based on the proposal budget. The PIs should provide as much information as possible in order to obtain a projection close to the actual expenditures. These spending projections assist in preparing requests for carryover funds and no cost extensions.

Beginning in April of each year, the Grants Management Office works with PIs and Project Managers to determine summer payments for 9-month faculty working on grant projects. The Grant Manager will enter these summer payments in the SON Summer Pay system which generates summer pay contract letters to the faculty members. PIs will receive a report of all SON faculty paid on their grants for review and approval. Summer salaries will be paid on the last business day of June for Summer Session 1 and on the last business day of July for Summer Session 2. These salary costs will appear on the respective month's FBM along with applicable fringe benefit costs. Please note health insurance costs are not charged to summer payments since 100% of an employee's health insurance is paid during their normal 9-month appointment. The Grants Management Office will also work with Human Resource Facilitators in other University units to ensure summer pay is processed appropriately for other University faculty working on SON grant projects. The Grants Manager also approves summer payments (lump sum payment actions) in the University personnel system that are being charged to SON grant accounts.

Project Close-out

During the final six months of the grant period, the Grants Manager will contact the PIs regarding the account closing out. The PI should provide details of anticipated expenditures to the Grants Management Office. This includes whether project personnel will be terminated or salary distribution/funding sources will change, purchasing transactions to be completed, cash advances to be settled, Imprest Checking accounts to be closed, and other pending expenditures related to personnel and non-personnel items.

At the end of the project period, the Grants Management Office prepares a Notice of Termination Reply (NOTR) and submits it to OSR. This document is an internal financial report used by OSR in preparing the official Financial Report submitted to the sponsor agency. The NOTR includes the actual expenditures incurred and any anticipated expenditures remaining on the grant project. All expenditures must be completed within 30 days of the project ending date.

The University is generally required to return residual funds if they were awarded by a Federal agency. Private agencies may allow residual funds to be moved to a SON account and used by the PI after the project has terminated.


Effort Certification is completed on a semi-annual basis. All employees who have been paid from a sponsored project or with cost sharing to a sponsored project will automatically receive an email with the web link to the Office of Sponsored Research's electronic certification system when the employee's record is ready to be certified in the E-Cert system.

While the email reminders are easy to understand and the system is very intuitive, project staff may benefit from a reminder by the PI whenever possible. The School's primary effort coordinator will also remind individuals who have not certified their effort as the deadline approaches. Online training is also available and offered in the email correspondence.

Human Resources team members are also available to assist with grant project personnel actions (recruitment, hiring, performance evaluations, terminations, etc). The following appointment information is offered as a basis for determining grant project needs.

Graduate Student Appointments

Teaching Assistant (TA)

A graduate student, enrolled full-time at UNC-CH in accordance with their program of study, who regularly teaches a class or classes; supervises a recitation section; has full responsibility of a course, or leads discussion sections; grades papers or exams; or supervises a laboratory section or sections under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty.

A graduate student who qualifies as a TA may also qualify for tuition remission and Graduate Student Health Insurance.

Research Assistant (RA)

A graduate student enrolled full-time at UNC-CH in accordance with their program of study engaged in research activities directly related to their program of study under the supervision or collaboration of the graduate faculty.

A graduate student who qualifies as a RA may also qualify for tuition awards if available and included in the grant. (Note: If the grant does not cover this benefit, then the graduate student should be appointed as a GA or a temporary employee.)

Graduate Assistant (GA)

A graduate student enrolled full-time at UNC-CH in accordance with their program of study, who performs support functions, and is not a TA or RA as defined above.

A graduate student who qualifies as a GA is not eligible for tuition awards nor Graduate Student Health Insurance.

Source: UNC-Chapel Hill, The Graduate School, "Graduate Student Tuition Support."

SHRA, EHRA, EHRA Non-Faculty, Temporary Appointments

SHRA (subject to State Human Resources Act)

  • Social Clinical/Research Assistant
  • Social Clinical/Research Specialist
  • Research Specialist
  • Research Technician
  • Nurse Consultants
Time-limited (SHRA)
  • Created on grant funds or "soft money"
  • Lasts up to 3 years, then end or revert to Permanent
  • Earn vacation and sick leave (vacation payout upon termination)
  • Benefits eligible
  • Earn State Service
  • No severance package
  • No layoff priority
Permanent (SHRA)
  • Created on state funds
  • Exists indefinitely
  • Earn vacation and sick leave (vacation payout upon termination)
  • Benefits eligible
  • Earn State Service
  • Layoff priority

EHRA (Exempt from State Human Resources Act)

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Professor
EHRA Non-Faculty
  • Director
  • Project Manager
  • Research Associate
  • Temporary
  • Intermittent Temporary
  • Student Assistant (undergraduate)

Recruitment Process

SHRA Recruitment

  • Create position
  • Post/recruit position
  • Interview candidates
  • Select candidate
  • Reference & criminal background check
  • Job acceptance
  • New hire

EHRA Recruitment

  • Create position
  • Post/recruit position
  • Develop a search committee
  • Interview candidates
  • Select candidate
  • Reference & criminal background check
  • Job acceptance
  • New Hire

Other Considerations:

  • Compliance (HIPAA; UNC Environment, Health and Safety; Licensure; etc.)
  • Performance Management
  • Training and Development


Institutional Prior Approval System (IPAS) form and instructions

Example of a Request for Carry Forward Funds

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

UNC-Chapel Hill, Office of Sponsored Research - "Operating Standards and Procedures"

UNC-Chapel Hill, Office of Sponsored Research - Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ecrt) Training

UNC-Chapel Hill, The Graduate School - "Graduate Student Tuition Support"

Contact Information

Primary Contact

  • Lisa Miller, Associate Dean for Administration
  • James Morgan, Grants Manager
  • Susan Fratazzi, Grants and Research Compliance Manager
  • Deborah Shuntich, Budget Manager

Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: 10/18/2010
  • Last revision 1/11/2022

Approved by:

Lisa Miller, Associate Dean for Administration


Article ID: 132430
Thu 4/8/21 9:31 PM
Tue 10/31/23 1:20 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
01/11/2022 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Dean, Administrative Services
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
01/11/2022 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
01/11/2022 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/11/2025 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
10/18/2010 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
School of Nursing