TUC Sponsored Programs

2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance

Read the full document: 2 CFR 200, Uniform Guidance (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards)


1. Uniform Guidance replaces A-21, A110, and A-133

On December 26, 2013 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its final rule of “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.” This guidance to federal agencies streamlines and supersedes guidance that was previously contained in eight different circulars. For TUC, this new guidance will supersede OMB Circular A-133 (Audit requirements), 2 CFR Part 215 (formerly OMB Circular A-110 Administrative requirements), and 2CFR Part 220 (formerly OMB Circular A-21 Cost principles).

Non-federal entities, such as The University Corporation (TUC) must examine and revise their internal policies to ensure consistency with the Uniform Guidance and with agency-specific policies.


2. Application

The Uniform Guidance administrative requirements and cost principles will apply to new and incremental funding awarded after December 26, 2014. Existing Federal awards will continue to be governed by the terms and conditions under which they were awarded.


3. Delay on Implementation of Procurement Threshold

TUC Statement on Uniform Guidance Procurement Regulations

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently delayed implementation of the procurement standards  for micro-purchases (currently: purchases in excess of $3500) until July 1, 2017. At that time, purchases in excess of the threshold will be required to obtain multiple price quotes prior to procurement.​​ After receiving numerous concerns from grant recipients, OMB is currently reviewing the threshold. TUC will delay the implementation of the procurement standards until a decision by OMB will have been made. 

The Uniform Guidance outlines five methods of procurement:

  • Micro-purchase:  Purchases where the aggregate dollar amount does not exceed $3,500 (or $2,000 if the procurement is construction and subject to Davis-Bacon). When practical, the entity should distribute micro-purchases equitably among qualified suppliers. No competitive quotes are required if management determines that the price is reasonable.
  • Small purchase: Includes purchases up to the Simplified Acquisition threshold, which is currently $150,000. Informal purchasing procedures are acceptable, but price or rate quotes must be obtained from an adequate number of sources.
  • Sealed bids: Used for purchases over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, which is currently $150,000. Under this purchase method, formal solicitation is required, and the fixed price (lump sum or unit price) is awarded to the responsible bidder who conformed to all material terms and is the lowest in price. This method is the most common procurement method for construction contracts.
  • Competitive proposals: Used for purchases over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, which is currently $150,000. This procurement method requires formal solicitation, fixed-price or cost-reimbursement contracts, and is used when sealed bids are not appropriate. The contract should be awarded to the responsible firm whose proposal is most advantageous to the program, with price being one of the various factors.
  • Noncompetitive proposals:  Also known as sole-source procurement, this may be appropriate only when specific criteria are met.  Examples include when an item is available only from one source, when a public emergency does not allow for the time of the competitive proposal process, when the federal awarding agency authorizes, or after a number of attempts at a competitive process, the competition is deemed inadequate.



Procurement Method




(*threshold delayed until July1, 2017; TUC will continue with $10,000 threshold until further notice)

Informal purchasing procedure (PO/Contract) acceptable;

No competitive quotes required.

Small purchase$3,501 (*$10,000) - $150,000

Informal purchasing procedure (PO/Contract) acceptable;

Price or rate quotes must be obtained from an adequate number of sources.

Sealed bids>$150,000

Formal solicitation required;

Fixed price must be awarded to conforming bidder with lowest price;

Most common for construction projects.

Competitive proposals>$150,000

Formal solicitation required;

Fixed-price or cost-reimbursement contracts;

Awarded to most advantageous bidder, with price being one of the various factors.

Noncompetitive proposalsall

Sole-source procurement

Only when specific criteria are met:

  • item is available only from one source
  • public emergency
  • federal awarding agency authorizes
  • after a number of unsuccessful attempts at a competitive process


4. Quick Guide to Changes


(On Federal and Federal Flow-through Projects)




Applicable Uniform Guidance (UG) Sections:


Administrative and clerical salaries (in certain circumstances) can be included on competitive proposal budgets.

Administrative and Clerical Salaries
In general, administrative and clerical salaries should still not be direct charged, but the rules governing “major project or activity” exceptions have been dropped and replaced by the following criteria, all of which must be met:

1. Administrative or clerical services are integral* to a project or activity;
2. Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
3. Such costs are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the Federal awarding agency; and
4. The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.
If all of these requirements are met, PIs/departments should add a new justification statement to proposals to facilitate the required agency approval.

* Integral/Essential is defined as being absolutely necessary for the completion of the statement of work. Administrative or Clerical personnel are integral/essential to a project if they are directly supporting the projects statement of work. How the Administrative or Clerical personnel are directly supporting the project must be detailed in the proposal, budget and budget justification.

Further, the Guidance clarifies that direct charged administrative or clerical services must be integral to a project or activity-as opposed to necessary to the overall operation of the institution and assignable in part to sponsored projects. For example, the clarification in the Uniform Guidance highlights that salary for an administrative assistant completing financial reconciliations should not be divided and charged directly to all sponsored awards under a PI or department. Although financial reconciliations are necessary to the overall execution of the project, this is true of all sponsored and non-sponsored activities and these types of services cannot be considered “integral” to the project’s goals and objectives.



Applicable UG Sections:


Computing devices can be included on competitive proposal budgets.
Computing devices under $5,000/unit may be direct charged to the project or activity under the following circumstances:

• The machines are essential* and allocable to the project in that they are necessary to acquire, store, analyze, process, or publish data and other information electronically, including accessories (or “peripherals”) for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information.

• Items costing more than $5,000 per unit are considered equipment and follow federal equipment rules for when they can be direct charged. (SEE 200.33, 200.48, 200.89, 200.439)

• If these items will be proposed as direct costs, acceptable justification will be required to be included in the proposal submitted to the sponsor. If a computing device was not identified in the approved proposal, before it is charged to the restricted account it must be justified to and approved by the office which handles the campus’s budget revisions.



Applicable UG Sections:



Participant support costs can be included for agency approval on competitive proposal budgets.

After UG implementation, participant support costs (see 200.75) are allowable with agency prior approval. This includes stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. Participant support costs are not routinely allowed on research projects but can be charged if the project includes an education or outreach component, or is a clinical trial agreement and the agency approves such costs.

These costs should be explicitly listed in the proposal budget or approved by the funding agency after the award has been made. Participant Support Costs will now be a standard exemption category for modified total direct costs (MTDC). F&A cost are not applied to participant support costs.





Costs related to protocol development and maintenance, managing substances/chemicals, managing and securing project‐specific data, and coordination of research subjects are allowable direct costs when they are “contributing and directly related to work under an agreement.”
These programmatic costs may be direct charged using the same underlying requirements as other types of
direct costs, and are not subject to extra approval requirements.


Applicable UG Section:


The subrecipient’s negotiated F&A rate or an alternative rate as described below must be used for all subawards included in competitive proposals.
If a federal program has a published statutory F&A cap, that rate must be used both by UT and all of its subrecipients. For all other federal programs, if a subrecipient has a federally negotiated F&A rate, it must be used. If the entity does not have a negotiated F&A rate, a 10% de minimus F&A rate must be used instead. PIs may not negotiate or agree to lower rates with their subrecipients.



Applicable UG Section:


Agency prior approval is required to enter into fixed price/rate subawards, which may not exceed $150K.
Agency prior approval is required to enter into a fixed price/rate subaward rather than a cost-reimbursement subaward, and the total value of each fixed price/rate subaward may not exceed $150K. To expedite agency approval, PIs/departments should add a new justification statement to proposals contemplating a fixed price/rate subaward. A statement is not needed for other subawards. 





Subrecipient Risk assessments are required to determine appropriate monitoring.
During the project period the recipient is responsible for:
• Documented review of financial and programmatic reports
• Greater emphasis on detecting and addressing deficiencies (i.e. slow or no performance, financial management issues, slow or no spending, etc.)



Applicable UG Section:


The recipient should be aware of the potential adverse impact of buying items in bulk or purchasing supplies toward the end of an award.
It should be rare that a recipient purchases supplies which will not be completely consumed by the project under which they were purchased. Investigators should use supplies timely to avoid accumulating excess supplies at the termination of the project. According to the UG, if there is a residual inventory of unused supplies exceeding $5,000 in total aggregate value upon termination or completion of the project or program and the supplies are not needed for any other Federal award, the non-Federal entity must retain the supplies for use on other activities or sell them, but must, in either case, compensate the Federal government for its share.



Applicable UG Section:


Short-term, travel visa costs can be included on competitive proposal budgets. Since short-term visas are issued for a specific period and purpose, they can be clearly identified as directly connected to work performed on a Federal award and can be directly charged. They must be critical and necessary to (directly benefit) the project and be allowable by the agency. Typically, these visas allow employees and students to engage in field research or attend meetings in foreign locations, or allow foreign visitors to visit the University in support of the project.

Long-term visa costs, such as those that enable employment at the University (for example “J” and “H1B” visas) are not allowable as direct charges.


Publication and Printing Costs

Publication and printing costs may be charged before closeout if the cost are not incurred during the period of performance. These costs must be recorded within 90 days of the award end date

Entertainment Costs

Costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any cost directly associated with such costs are still unallowable, except where specific costs that might otherwise be considered entertainment have a programmatic purpose, and are authorized either in the approved budget for the federal award or with prior written approval of the federal awarding agency.

Cost of membership in civic or community organizations

With prior approval from the federal warding agency, cost of membership in any civic or community organization are allowable.


Additional information about the Uniform Guidance is available at the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) website.  The COFAR website contains background information, FAQs, and links to the Uniform Guidance and supplemental materials.    (https://cfo.gov/grants/)