No-Cost Extension Request Procedures

In order to request a no-cost extension for all sponsored projects, please use the following instructions to guide you through the process. Notably, a no-cost extension must be requested in advance of the end date of the award based on agency requirements. All materials should be routed through WISPER.

Step 1. Reviewing Commitments

Review the remaining tasks of the project and determine an appropriate amount of effort for the proposed extension period. Perform a financial analysis to determine if enough funds remain to extend sponsored paid commitments for all key personnel during the no-cost extension period. Insufficient remaining funds create a voluntary cost share situation unless the no-cost extension request to the sponsor reduces the effort to a level that allows the balance to cover the paid commitments (Auditors assume commitments are extended at the same level, so it is important that reductions are explicitly stated). Click here to read the effort policy relating to no-cost extensions.

RSP assumes that commitments should be spread out and entered as a constant percentage for the extension period coinciding with each key person’s pay basis. If this is not the case, ensure that information in the WISPER project details includes the proposed schedule of effort (and cost share) during the extension period. If a letter is not required but the sponsor accepts via email or other automated system (Commons, FastLane, etc) then a justification including proposed key personnel effort should be included in a document in the attachments section.

Step 2. Preparing & Routing the Request

The WISPER record should be completed including:

  • On the General Tab:
    • Document Type: No Cost Extension
    • Add the current MSN Award ID under Related Record
    • Proposed extension period entered as the start and end dates
    • Deadline for submission of the request to the Sponsor & the method entered in the Submission Instruction section
    • Protocol Responses and related approval numbers and dates
    • Budget amount can be blank
    • Answer the outgoing subawards question
  • On the Project Details:
    • All fields completed (excluding budget details)
    • Commitments and cost sharing entered to match the proposed justification for work to be completed during the no cost extension period
  • As an attachment:
    • Request letter (signed by PI)
  • PI signature is optional per Division requirements - please consult your Division
  • Division SUBMIT TO SPO function should be used

The following bulleted list must be addressed in the no-cost extension request. This information should be entered into the attached request letter. (Please use the below Letter Template)

Letter Template

  • Agency award reference number and UW Madison Award ID (MSN#)
  • Principal Investigator name and contact information
  • Project title
  • Current award period and proposed end date
  • Signatures (not required for email or electronic signature if available) from the principal investigator, Dean's office, and RSP

The letter/email should also include a clear justification statement, summary of progress to date, estimate of funds remaining and what they will be used on, and timetable for completion. Additionally, all key personnel’s proposed effort for the extension period should be explicitly stated and identified as “sponsored paid” and/or "cost shared". If the key person will have 0% effort during the extension period, state it as such on the letter.

For NSF: Use the FastLane request tool to initiate the extension, but follow the guidance in the previous paragraph for what to enter in the justification section, especially the part about mentioning effort. A WISPER record is still required.

Provisional Extensions: After submission of a no cost extension request, should there be a wait for Sponsor response; RSP will assume the Sponsor will ultimately approve the request. Upon submission of the extension request, RSP will update the UW-Madison accounting system to allow expenses to continue to post. The actual project and award end dates, as well as the commitment information, will be updated upon Sponsor approval of the extension request.

When for any reason a request letter cannot be prepared before the PI, department and Dean’s office desire to extend the end date, a provisional extension request may be submitted.

  • Create the WISPER record per step 2 above
  • The Division should "REQUEST ADVANCE ACCOUNT OF SPO" rather than "SUBMIT TO SPO." This indicates that the Division has not completed the process and the request letter is not yet ready.
    • Based on this "ADVANCE" division request, RSP will update the accounting system to allow expenditures to post
    • RSP will notify campus of this completion by sending a PROVISIONAL EXTENSION Award Email.

Note that ANY charges incurred after the end date of the project and before the Sponsor's final approval is received are the responsibility of the PI and the Department (just as expenses on an account-in-advance).

A detailed step by step process is available here.