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Comprehensive Standard 3.10.5

The Institution maintains financial control overexternally funded or sponsored research and programs. (Control of sponsored research/external funds) 

Judgement: Compliant


Control over externally funded and sponsored research and programs is maintained through the Sponsored Awards Office at the University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) in conjunction with the Sponsored Awards Management (SAM) and the Contract and Grant Accounting (CGA) Offices at the University of South Carolina (USC) Columbia. 

All universities in the USC System follow common submission, reporting, and budget guidelines as determined by the USC Board of Trustees (Board).  The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) resides at USC Columbia.  All campuses submit their proposals through SAM for final approval and submission to the grantor.

The Director of Sponsored Awards serves as a liaison between USC Upstate and the pre- and post-award offices in Columbia.  The liaison is responsible for processing and administration of externally-funded and sponsored research and programs.  This includes following University, federal, and other procedures and guidelines in the development, submission, and management of grants.

Other control and management activities of the Office of Sponsored Awards include but are not limited to:

  • communication of grant funding opportunities
  • coordination of grant development activities (internally and externally)
  • preparation and submission of grant-funding proposals including grant budget development
  • review of the proposal to assure compliance with sponsor and institution guidelines
  • training for faculty and staff regarding grants policies and procedures
  • development and maintenance of relevant policies/procedures
  • grants management of funded projects
  • grant records management

All of the above identified activities are managed on an ongoing basis throughout the year by the Director of Sponsored Awards under the supervision of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

For pre-award services, the Director of Sponsored Awards works with a sponsored programs administrator at SAM.  SAM has easily accessible policies in place to govern proposal and budget development.  These include the following:

BUSF 3.09     Consultant Services
BUSF 7.07     Club Membership and Dues
RSCH 1.05     Data Access and Retention
RSCH 1.01     Debarment/Suspension Federally Sponsored Projects
BTRU 1.20      Dishonest Acts and Fraud
RSCH 1.03     Human Subjects and Research
ACAF 1.33      Intellectual Property Policy
BUSF 2.06      Intra-Institutional Transfers within USC
ACAF 5.03      Laboratory Animals, Care and Use
ACAF 5.04      Laboratory Animals, Misuse
RSCH 1.00      Misconduct in Research
ACAF 1.50      Outside Professional Activities for Faculty
ACAF 1.33      Patents and Copyrights
BUSF 8.01      Payments to Internationals
BUSF 7.06      Professional Dues and Employee License Fees
BUSF 5.00      Property Accountability
BUSF 7.00      Purchasing
BUSF 4.10      Receipt and Handling of University Payments
BUSF 7.05      Reimbursement for Personal Consumption Items
RSCH 1.02     Sponsored Programs through USC Foundations
HR 1.85           Temporary Grant Employees
BUSF 1.00      Travel

All proposals are submitted through the University’s online proposal management system, University of South Carolina Electronic Research Administration (USCeRA),that allows for tracking, approving, and managing proposals and associated awards.  USC Upstate faculty and staff upload their proposals where they can be viewed, routed, and signed electronically.

Lists of proposals submitted and awards made can be accessed at any time through the USCeRA system.  These lists may include the following: awarding agencies, titles of grants, department numbers, principal investigator, periods of grants, amount requested or awarded, and amounts of applicable indirect cost rates. 

Indirect costs agreements guide dispersal of funds.  Indirect costs are provided by some external agencies that award grants and contracts to USC and support the general operations and administration necessary for grants activities. 

The Board contracts with an accounting firm to conduct annual audits of all System institutions, including an audit of federal award programs.  SAM maintains links to the 2009-10 A-133 audit for the University and the South Carolina Research Foundation.  There were nomaterial deficits in compliance in the most recent audits.

SAM collaborates with CGA to create a restricted account within the University accounting structure for grants awarded.Responsibility for the administration and supervision of the award is shared by the department in which the grant was developed and the Office of Sponsored Awards (in conjunction with Contract & Grant Accounting).  The program director or coordinator of the grant is responsible for maintaining files required to verify compliance with all provisions of the grant including grant goals, objectives, budgets and timelines.  The program director is responsible for all aspects of grants management, including meeting performance and fiscal goals.  

The Office of Sponsored Awards provides guidance for the management process, including information on and assistance with authorization of expenditures, cost-sharing, reporting of time and effort, purchasing, travel authorizations, equipment, post-award changes in the project, retroactive cost transfers, and close-out of the grant.  The University has developed an accounting intranet that provides access to budgets, expenses, and copies of backup documentation.

The Academic Affairs Budget Manager provides budgetary and expenditure controls for all grants in Academic Affairs. Responsibilities include reviewing expenditures, tracking expenses against budget allocations, financial reporting and other accounting duties.

CGA maintains financial control over all grant funds and establishes, monitors, and reports on externally restricted funds that are used to support USC Upstate programs and services. Expenditures for grants and contracts follow the same rules and procedures as all other expenditures in the University, and all personnel are subject to Board policies.

The Director of Sponsored Awards works with a grant accountant at CGA to complete all reporting.  CGA has easily accessible policies in place to govern grant and budget management.  These include the following:

BUSF 2.18      Petty Cash
BUSF 2.19      Cash Advance - University Accounts
BUSF 3.00      Contract and Grant – Accounting
BUSF 3.03      Contracts and Grants - Cost Sharing
BUSF 3.06      Contracts and Grants - Participant Support
BUSF 3.09      Contracts and Grants - Consultant Services
BUSF 3.12      Contracts and Grants - Personnel Activity Reporting System
BUSF 3.15      Contracts and Grants – Closeouts
BUSF 3.19      Contracts and Grants - Elimination of Accounts Overdrafts
BUSF 3.30      Other Educational and General Program Accounts (E Funds)
BUSF 9.10      Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)

The financial procedures for managing grants and contracts are conducted in accordance with the above policies as well as the standards of the particular funding source, state law, andGenerally Accepted Accounting Principles. The procedures are in compliance with the requirements of the federal principles and guides (OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions; OMB Circular A-133 Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit OrganizationsOMB Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations).

Total sponsored funding to USC Upstate over the last several years follows:

Year  Total Award  # of Awards  Total Proposals  # of Proposals 
2007  $1,039,052 31  $2,964,418 28
2008  $2,494,057 31  $1,718,030 25
2009  $1,878,198 28  $3,142,054 41
2010  $2,823,424 37  $5,178,032 53

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800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Toll-free: 800-277-8727
Phone: 864-503-5000
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