Pre-Award Policies

Pre-Award Policies


Institutional Approval

The Dean of the College and the Provost must approve the submission of all grant proposals. The grants officers facilitate this process through a required Institutional Approval Form, which gathers information about projects--their intended benefit as well as budget of institutional implications that are not intended. See how to get a grant for a step by step explanation of the process.

The balance of this page discusses issues that are addressed by the Institutional Approval Form. For post-award procedures and policies, go to Managing Your Grant.

Criteria for Nominating Faculty for External Grants

In the event that the number of faculty members expressing interest in applying for an external grant exceeds the number of institutional nominations permitted by an agency or foundation, the Provost will have the discretion to choose whom to nominate based on the following criteria:

  • Timely indication by the faculty member of his or her intention to apply.
  • The strength of the proposed project and its importance to the faculty member’s overall plan for professional development based on the information provided to the Dean.
  • The likelihood of the proposal being funded based on the Dean’s understanding of the funding organization’s priorities.
  • The potential availability of alternative funding for the faculty member.

Sabbaticals, Leaves of Absence and Course Reductions

Faculty members are encouraged to plan well in advance for sabbaticals, leaves of absence and course reductions. The University policy is to encourage faculty members to pursue opportunities for personal and professional development, but this must be combined with planning for stable departmental programs and curriculum. Individuals should have their sabbatical or leave approved by the department chair and the Dean of the College prior to applying for external support. Full policy details can be found at Sabbatical Leave Policy.

Hiring Additional Staff

All costs of hiring additional staff must be part of your proposal. This includes salary and benefits. Staff hired as part of a grant will be on a contract limited to the life of the grant.

Space Considerations

If an activity will require additional space or renovations or alterations to existing space a facilities plan must be approved by the Provost before the proposal is submitted.

Domain Management Considerations

If your project involves land use on the Domain, please discuss it with the Sponsored Research Officer (x1395) well in advance of proposal preparation. If an activity will have implications for land use, whether for education, research or management, funded or not, a plan must first be submitted to the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability for review and approval. You can either complete the Domain research proposal form for proposed activities on the Domain or submit your proposal via email to for review and approval.  For more information about what projects are required to be submitted for approval via the form, and for more information about the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, please visit the OESS website or email your questions to

Cost Sharing or Matching Funds

The Provost will look carefully at any proposal requiring cost sharing beyond what the College would normally provide. Proposals that require fundraising to obtain matching funds will need the approval of the Office of Advancement. The grants officers will work with faculty as well as the Provost and Vice President for Advancement to advocate for these efforts.

On-going Operating Expenses

With rare exceptions, the University will not approve proposals that commit the institution to ongoing operating expenses beyond the life of the grant.

Federal Compliance

The University of the South follows the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards established in 2 CFR 200. The provisions of the sections of this document shall be applied by Federal agencies to recipients. The University of the South shall also apply the provisions of this document to subrecipients performing substantive work under grants and agreements that are passed through or awarded to us.

Projects involving animal subjects, human subjects, hazardous waste or controlled substances will require special approvals. The University of the South complies with all federal compliance regulations. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' HHS Grants Policy Guide; the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirement for HHS Awards (45 CFR Part 75);  and the National Science Foundation's Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF PAPPG).

Click here to read our protocol for use of live vertebrates. For more information about our Institutional Review Board and protection of human subjects protocol, please see here.  For a link to other University policies, see

The federal government requires an effort report when an individual is compensated by or has agreed to contribute time to a federally sponsored project. All faculty who serve as investigators on sponsored agreements are responsible to certify the amount of effort that they and their employees spent on sponsored activities. We use after-the-fact certification, and the SRO will send report reminders as needed following the Spring, Summer, and Fall terms. Faculty and staff will submit time and effort reports to the SRO. Click here to read more about time and effort reporting.

The University also complies with the National Science Foundation's requirement that the institution have a Responsible Conduct of Research training plan, which can be found here: RCR Training Plan.  

The Office of General Counsel can answer questions about the applicability of Export Control laws.

Indirect Costs

When allowable, the University requires an indirect cost rate of 43.5% Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) for on-campus grants and 24% for off-campus grants. Indirect costs are determined by applying our negotiated F&A Rate to a proposal's direct cost base, which includes all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel and subgrants and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subgrant or subcontract. Our MTDC base excludes items such as equipment (>$5000), capital expenditures, charges for patient care, student tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract in excess of $25,000.

When the University receives such funds, they are expended following the "Facilities and Administrative Costs Policy" found at Grants Overhead Policy.

Calculating Salaries and Benefits

When calculating your own salary and benefits be sure to include an estimated 5% cost of living raise each year. Benefits should be calculated at 34% for full-time faculty and staff, temporary faculty and staff, sabbatical replacement funds and student interns. No benefits are required for work-study students.

Consortial Membership



We are a member of the the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network. The CESU is a national consortium of federal agencies, tribes, academic institutions, state and local governments, nongovernmental conservation organizations, and other partners working together to support informed public trust resource stewardship. The CESU Network includes 358 partners, including 14 federal agencies, in seventeen CESUs representing biogeographic regions encompassing all 50 states and U.S. territories. The CESU Network is well positioned as a platform to support research, technical assistance, education and capacity building that is responsive to long-standing and contemporary science and resource management priorities. The seventeen CESUs bring together scientists, resource managers, students, and other conservation professionals, drawing upon expertise from across the biological, physical, social, cultural, and engineering disciplines (from Anthropology to Zoology) to conduct collaborative and interdisciplinary applied projects that address natural and cultural heritage resource issues at multiple scales and in an ecosystem context. Each CESU is structured as a working collaborative with participation from numerous federal and nonfederal institutional partners. CESUs are based at host universities and focused on a particular biogeographic region of the country. The University of the South is a member of the Southern Appalachian Mountains CESU. They are many benefits to our membership, but in the context of proposal development, it is important to note that agreements negotiated through the CESU will include a 17.5% MTDC rate. For more questions about CESU membership and opportunities, please contact Pollyanne Frantz (x1395).


The Appalachian College Association (ACA) is a non-profit consortium of 35 private four-year liberal arts institutions spread across the central Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Collectively these higher education institutions serve over 54,000 students. The Association helps develop and share ideas, information, programs and resources to achieve its goals, which include promoting cooperation and collaboration among its member institutions to serve the people of Appalachia through higher education and related services.


Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) is a consortium of sixteen distinguished liberal arts colleges and universities. ACS is a mechanism through which member colleges and universities can create and build programs in a way which would not be possible on an individual basis. The organization is determined to create programs of service that other consortia and institutions throughout the country will want to emulate. In this and other ways, the Association is committed to playing an important leadership role in American higher education.