TUC Sponsored Programs

Effort Reporting

Effort Reporting Calendar

1. Objective

Effort reporting is designed to substantiate time spent by all employees whose salaries are charged directly to federal funds. The Certification of Effort ReporT (CERT), provides the basis for certifying salaries charged to accounts in accordance with the relative activity applied to various programs and projects. The report reflects activity applicable to each sponsored agreement and to each account/fund in instruction, general operations and other indirect activities including department administration.


2. Definitions


Effort is the allowable activity devoted to a sponsored or non-sponsored project that would be charged directly to a contract or grant that would substantiate the personnel costs of the sponsored agreement.


A signed statement by the employee or responsible official on the sponsored project that attests to the accuracy and completeness of the report.

Cost Sharing

The portion of the project/program costs that are contributed by the recipient. Cost sharing can be required by the sponsor (mandatory), or voluntary on the part of the recipient.

Direct Costs

Costs associated with activities from which the project derives a direct benefit and can be readily and specifically attributed to the project or program.

Salary Cap

A limitation imposed by the sponsor on the amount of salary that can be directly charged to projects.


All salaries, wages and fringe benefits charged directly to a sponsored project, as well as any compensation accounted for as part of the indirect or F&A rate and/or cost share/match.

Institutional Compensation Base

Annual compensation paid by The University Corporation, California State University, Northridge, or any other of its auxiliaries, for an employee's appointment, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities.

Release Time

Released time is the time a faculty member is released from normal teaching responsibilities in order to work on a research grant or sponsored project. Faculty members are paid for their effort by being granted time away from their normal teaching load (released time, usually three unit blocks). The faculty member on released time reduces his/her normal teaching load, usually in three unit increments. Departmental Chairs must approve released time.


3. Applicability

This procedure shall be applicable to any contract or grant for which funds are received from a federal agency or where there are sub-recipients or sub-awardees of federal funds. This procedure may also apply to any contract or grant from which funds are received from a state agency that uses federal cost principles.

All personnel whose salaries are reimbursed in part or in full from federal funds must complete a CERT form.


4. Responsibilities

Responsibility for monitoring compliance with time and effort reporting requirements rests with the Principle Investigator and the The University Corporation Sponsored Programs Department.


5. Method of Reporting

The University Corporation provides the federal government with the information by requiring those faculty members devoting a percentage of their time to research grants or contracts to complete an Employee Effort Report. This report requires the employee to identify the percentage of effort spent on their total assignment.

The report reflects after-the-fact reporting of the percentage distribution of employee activity. Charges may be made initially on the basis of estimates made before the services are performed, provided that such charges are promptly adjusted if significant differences are found.


6. Frequency

Individual faculty effort reports must be prepared, submitted and reviewed at least each academic term. CSUN is considered to be on a semester cycle and reports will reflect this designation.


7. Percentage Allocation

Effort is expressed as a percentage of total institutional compensated base time. And it is further defined by commonly defined institutional practice or documented as policy in as in a faculty handbook or appointment letter.

Effort covers 100% of one's time irrespective of the number of hours worked!

Effort cannot exceed 100%. Effort does not cover income the faculty member is permitted to earn for outside activities e.g., consulting for a private company or corporate board membership. Reported effort must be "reasonable" in light of what the average observer would consider an achievable level of work over a specified period of time.


8. Certification

Federal government regulations require that the employee certifies that, to the best of his/her knowledge, the reported distribution of effort represents a reasonable estimate of all work performed by them during the period covered by the report.

Alternately, a responsible official may certify that he/she has first hand knowledge of all work performed by the employee and that the distribution of effort represents a reasonable estimate of work performed during the period covered by this report.

This documented certification shall serve as the means by which faculty effort distribution is confirmed in compliance with Circular A-21 and, absent evidence of gross negligence or misrepresentation, shall be deemed to satisfy the test of responsibilities.

In case the calculated effort does not represent the actual effort expended and a correct effort must be estimated, an estimation tolerance of +/- 5% is acceptable.


9. Deadlines

120 days after the end of the reporting period.generate the draft effort reports and send them to the faculty membersTUC-Sponsored Programs
30 days (due date) after they were sent by TUCsign the effort reports and return to TUCFaculty Member


10.Late Submittal of Effort Reports

The following procedure regarding the late submittal of effort reports by faculty working on Sponsored Programs will apply:

Late ActionResponsible

More than 5 business day

Email or telephone reminder to Principal InvestigatorTUC - Administrative Compliance Specialist

More than 10 business days

Email or telephone reminder to Principal Investigator – notification of potential suspension of fundsTUC - Director, Sponsored Programs

More than 15 business days

Email or telephone reminder to Principal Investigator – notification of potential suspension of fundsAssociate Vice President, Research

More than 25 business days

Notification of suspension of funds;
Suspension of all expenditure requests, except payroll;

Notification of Provost
TUC - Director, Sponsored Programs

More than 25 business days

Request for MeetingProvost


11. Notification of the University

After the completion of the time and effort reporting for a particular period, or annually, the following contacts at the University will receive an electronic copy of the report:

Scott Perez

(Director Sponsored Projects)
Office of Research and Sponsored Projects
Email: scott.perez@csun.edu
Phone: 818 677-2901
Mail Drop: 8222

Frank Stranzl

(Manager, Faculty Personnel & Compensation Programs)
Faculty Affairs
Email: frank.stranzl@csun.edu
Phone:(818) 677-6729
Mail Drop: 8220


12. Record Retention

The forms must be retained in the project files or office for audit purposes and should be available for inspection in accordance with sponsor guidelines (5 years).


13. Regulations


CSU - Systemwide

  • Board of Trustees Executive Order No. 890
  • Board of Trustees Executive Order No. 753


14. Contact Information

The University Corporation, Sponsored Programs

Mahyar Sadri
Sponsored Programs Budget Analyst
(818) 677-6414
Mail Stop: 8309