Research Administration Policies

RA63 Budget Realignment

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Kimberly Croft, 814-865-1962,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President for Research, and Corporate Controller



This policy identifies prior approval requirements associated with budget revisions on sponsored programs.


Budget realignment is the process of adjusting the original awarded budget. There are many considerations in determining if a budget can be realigned, including departmental and college restrictions. Agency or sponsor regulations are the prime determinant if realignment is permitted and within what parameters. PIs must refer to the award terms and conditions before making changes to the original awarded budget.


The Principal Investigator or Project Director (PI/PD) of a sponsored project is required to report deviations from budget and program plans, and request prior approvals for budget and program plan revisions, in accordance with the specific terms and conditions of the individual award. All such reports or requests must be processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs and countersigned by an authorized official of the University. Additional guidance related to federal grants and cooperative agreements can be found below:

Per the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.308 Revision of budget and program plans:

  1. The approved budget for the Federal award summarizes the financial aspects of the project or program as approved during the Federal award process. It may include either the Federal and non-Federal share (see §200.43 Federal share) or only the Federal share, depending upon Federal awarding agency requirements. It must be related to performance for program evaluation purposes whenever appropriate.
  2. Recipients are required to report deviations from budget or project scope or objective, and request prior approvals from Federal awarding agencies for budget and program plan revisions, in accordance with this section.
  3. For non-construction Federal awards, recipients must request prior approvals from Federal awarding agencies for one or more of the following program or budget-related reasons:
    1. Change in the scope or the objective of the project or program (even if there is no associated budget revision requiring prior written approval).
    2. Change in a key person specified in the application or the Federal award.
    3. The disengagement from the project for more than three months, or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved project director or principal investigator.
    4. The inclusion, unless waived by the Federal awarding agency, of costs that require prior approval in accordance with Subpart E—Cost Principles of this part or 45 CFR part 75 Appendix IX, "Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Research and Development under Awards and Contracts with Hospitals," or 48 CFR part 31, "Contract Cost Principles and Procedures," as applicable.
    5. The transfer of funds budgeted for participant support costs as defined in §200.75 Participant support costs to other categories of expense (See RA22 – Participant Support Costs)
    6. Unless described in the application and funded in the approved Federal awards, the subawarding, transferring or contracting out of any work under a Federal award, including fixed amount subawards as described in §200.332 Fixed amount subawards. This provision does not apply to the acquisition of supplies, material, equipment or general support services.
    7. Changes in the approved cost-sharing or matching provided by the non-Federal entity.
    8. The need arises for additional Federal funds to complete the project.

NOTE: No other prior approval requirements for specific items are to be imposed by Federal agencies upon universities unless a exception has been approved by OMB. However, PI/PD's are advised to review carefully the terms of the specific grant award and the agency's guidelines prior to making any changes to the budget or program plans.


Federal agencies are authorized to waive prior approval requirements associated with pre-award costs (incurred up to 90 days prior to the begin date of a new award), no-cost extensions (up to 12 months following the end date of an award), and carry forward of remaining balances to subsequent periods of performance. Please note that not all agencies waive these prior approval requirements. It is important to check the specific requirements associated with your federal award. For more information, see Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.308(d).


Per Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.308 Revision of budget and program plans:

(e) The Federal awarding agency may, at its option, restrict the transfer of funds among direct cost categories or programs, functions and activities for Federal awards in which the Federal share of the project exceeds the Simplified Acquisition Threshold and the cumulative amount of such transfers exceeds or is expected to exceed 10 percent of the total budget as last approved by the Federal awarding agency. The Federal awarding agency cannot permit a transfer that would cause any Federal appropriation to be used for purposes other than those consistent with the appropriation.

(f) All other changes to non-construction budgets, except for the changes described in paragraph (c) of this section, do not require prior approval (see also §200.407 Prior written approval (prior approval)).

PI/PD's are instructed to consult the terms of their award and the agency's guidelines in order to ascertain their agency's policy regarding these additional restrictions or limitations.


Guidance related to construction awards (and awards involving both construction and non-construction) can be found at 2 CFR 200.308(g).


Per Uniform Guidance §200.308 Revision of budget and program plans:

(h) When requesting approval for budget revisions, the recipient must use the same format for budget information that was used in the application, unless the Federal awarding agency indicates a letter of request suffices.


Per Uniform Guidance §200.308 Revision of budget and program plans:

(i) Within 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the request for budget revisions, the Federal awarding agency must review the request and notify the recipient whether the budget revisions have been approved. If the revision is still under consideration at the end of 30 calendar days, the Federal awarding agency must inform the recipient in writing of the date when the recipient may expect the decision.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research or the Office of the Corporate Controller.


Other Policies may apply, especially:

RA22 - Participant Support Costs

Revision History:

  • September 18, 2019 - Changed Vice President for Research to Senior Vice President for Research

  • February 26, 2016 - This new policy (incorporating old RA04) has been created as part of the policy reorganization brought about by implementation of the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200).
  • February 24, 2010 - Revised the FEDERAL DEMONSTRATION PARTNERSHIP section, clarifying information and links.
  • March 7, 2005 - Editorial changes to correct links.
  • February 20, 1998 - (Reformatted for GURU from OSP, dated September 1994. RA04)

Date Approved: 

February 22, 2016

Date Published: 

February 26, 2016

Effective Date: 

February 26, 2016