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Award Management - No-Cost Extensions

ORPA has the authority to approve a first no-cost extension on most federal grants, including NIH. For audit purposes though, the PI must email their ORPA RA with a scientific justification for the extension. This may be accomplished by either submitting the document required to process the first No-Cost Extension for federal grants or by sending an email that follows the sample text below. A no-cost extension can be requested and processed if:

  • Additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to ensure adequate completion of the originally approved project.
  • Continuity of grant support is required while a competing continuation application is under review.
  • The extension is necessary to permit an orderly phase-out of a project that will not receive continued support.

The e-mail should include confirmation that the extension is not being exercised merely for the purpose of using an unobligated balance.

• In addition, the email should clearly note if a 6, 9 or 12 months no-cost extension is needed. If the grant involves human subject research and/or animals, the ORPA RA will need current IRB or IACUC approvals before they can process the extension.

• And finally, the email should also clarify the proposed effort to be devoted during the no-cost extension period of all key personnel named on the sponsor's Notice of Award (the PI is always key but sometimes, the Sponsor identifies other investigators as key). Unless we notify the sponsor otherwise, it is assumed that effort will remain the same during that period. If effort will be significantly reduced (i.e. a reduction of 25% or more from what was originally approved), we will need to request approval for the reduction in effort from the sponsor at least 30 days prior to the end date.

If effort will not be significantly reduced, the department will need to determine if sufficient funds remain in the GR FAO to cover that effort during the whole no-cost period. If insufficient funds remain, an internal cost-sharing form will need to be completed and sent to the ORPA RA.

• The request for the extension should be provided to the ORPA RA at least 20 business days prior to the projected end date.


Sample e-mail no-cost extension request to ORPA:

Dear (ORPA Research Administrator),

I would like to request a (6, 9, or 12) month no-cost extension under (grant number). The reason for the extension is (scientific justification). I confirm that the extension is not being requested merely for the purpose of using an unobligated balance.  Effort to be devoted during the no-cost extension period of all key personnel named on the sponsor’s Notice of award will remain the same (as noted above, if effort for key personnel will be reduced by 25% or more, we will need to submit a prior approval request to the sponsor).


For second no-cost extensions, prior approval from sponsor is always required. Contact your ORPA RA for additional guidance on second no-cost extension requests.