CBR Mitigation for Extramural Awards

UC Santa Cruz will make the transition to composite benefits rates (CBR) with UCPath implementation in January 2020. The change to CBR represents a significant, long-term improvement in accounting practice, simplifying and increasing the accuracy of the budget development process for principal investigators (PIs). However, sponsored award budgets created before the CBR structure was established and approved may have budget figures for benefit costs that are lower than benefit expenditures under CBR. The impact on an individual award’s direct costs could not have been anticipated when existing budgets were established.

In recognition of this, supplemental funding will be available in support of extramural sponsored awards active (existing or new in calendar year 2020) for campus PIs impacted by an unexpected increase in benefit costs. This program is in alignment with best practices established in 2011 by UC Davis and adopted by other UC campuses during UCPath implementation.

This supplemental funding will be provided based on the following principles:

  • Supplemental funding will be provided for extramural sponsored awards existing between December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020 that incur total benefit cost expenses exceeding the amount budgeted in proposals that were submitted to the funding agency prior to knowledge of CBR rates (approximately October 1, 2019) in the first year of UCPath adoption by UCSC or the first year of the award, whichever is later.
  • Funding will be provided only for extramural awards (federal, state, private grants -- not UCSC, UCOP, or other UC) for which the PI, ORU, MRU, Center or Institute does not have other funding available to subsidize the increased cost.
  • The full amount of funding to be made available will not be predetermined. Funding will be provided to all qualifying sponsored projects on a non-competitive basis.
  • Funding will be provided only to offset actual increased benefit expenditures resulting from the switch to composite benefit rates. Other cost increases or unexpected costs are not eligible.
  • Requests for supplemental funding must meet the minimum threshold amount of either $2,000 or 2% of the award budget in benefit cost overages.

Principal Investigators (PIs) are expected to identify other options for mitigation of benefit cost increases on awards extending beyond December 31, 2020 or the first year of the award, whichever is later. These include working with the relevant sponsor to re-budget successive award years, use of other PI funding such as faculty startup or gifts, or supplemental funding provided by Deans or Departments.

The process for requesting and obtaining supplemental funding is as follows:

  • When it is estimated that benefit costs will exceed the budgeted amount for the grant, the PI or relevant party completes the request form using their best projections of cost differences for all employees paid or to be paid from the sponsored award between December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020, or the first year of awards initiated during that period.
  • The completed form is sent to a division contact, likely a Research Accountant or Assistant Dean, along with a copy of the budget documents from the sponsored award approval.
  • The division contact verifies the accuracy of information in the request and submits the request and award documents via email to ask-cbr-group@ucsc.edu
  • Budget Office staff will review and verify the information and establish an appropriate FOAPAL for each division/school with impacted grants.
  • Beginning at the point in time that the benefit expenses actually exceed the budgeted amount for that year, monthly “benefits-only cost transfers” (likely in UCPath) from the sponsored award to the designated FOAPAL will be made. Monthly or more frequent cost transfers are required so as not to incorrectly bill sponsoring agencies.   Note:  At this time it is not known who will have access within UCPath to transact such transfers. This detail will be clarified prior to UCPath go-live.
  • Budget Office staff will allocate budget from central funds to the designated FOAPAL at fiscal year-end 2020 (and 2021, if necessary) to cover the total benefit cost transfers for each division/school.
  • Any costs or accidental transfers for pay periods beyond the authorized year will not be covered by this program.

 Questions about this process may be directed to ask-cbr-group@ucsc.edu