Glossary of Terms


  • 501(C)(3):
    The section of the tax code that defines nonprofit, charitable (as broadly defined), tax-exempt organizations; 501(C)(3) Organizations are further defined as public charities, private operating foundations, and private non-operating foundations. 


  • Allowable Costs:
    A project's allowable costs are those direct costs that are eligible, reasonable, necessary, and allocable to the project according to OMB Circular A-110.  
  • Assurances:
    Each grant application to a federal sponsor requires that a variety of assurances and certifications be verified by the signature of the Institutional Official signing for the University. Grant applications may include one or more forms that address these requirements or include a statement that the signature of the Institutional Official automatically certifies to the federal agency that the University is in compliance.  
  • Authorized Official:
    An authorized official is the person legally authorized to sign outgoing proposals, contracts, and agreements on behalf of Jacksonville State University. The authorized signature is that person's signature. An authorized signature implies that Jacksonville State University endorses the proposed project and is prepared to accept responsibility for it. James Brigham, Senior VP for Finance & Administration, is the authorized official for Jacksonville State University proposals. A contract, however, is not legal until it has been signed by one of a limited number of authorized officials - see the Jacksonville State University Contractual, Financial, and Personnel Policy document for more information.  
  • Authorized Signature:
    The authorized signature is the authorized official's signature. An authorized signature implies that Jacksonville State University endorses the proposed project and is prepared to accept responsibility for it. James Brigham, Senior VP for Finance & Administration, is the authorized official for Jacksonville State University proposals. A contract, however, is not legal until it has been signed by one of a limited number of authorized officials - see Jacksonville State University Contractual, Financial, and Personnel Policy for more information.    
  • Award:
    An award is the actual provision of funds to Jacksonville State University by the sponsor. Awards are made for approved proposals, and represent an agreement between the sponsor and Jacksonville State University to carry out the proposed research. With the acceptance of an award, Jacksonville State University assumes Project Management Responsibilities. 


  • Budget:
    A budget is an estimation of the costs of a proposed project, including direct costs and facilities and administrative (F & A) costs. Budgets generally consist of an itemized list of expenses, an explanation of the expenses, and a justification of why those expenses are necessary.


  • Capital Support:
    Funds provided for endowment purposes, buildings, construction, or equipment, and including, for example, grants for "bricks and mortar". 
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance:
    The CFDA is a listing of all federal domestic assistance programs, including grants and contracts. Each federal program is given a CFDA identification number. This CFDA number may be used by agencies to identify the specific division or program accepting grant applications, and is occasionally requested on budgets.  
  • Code of Federal Regulations:
    The CFR is a collection of the general and permanent rules of the Executive departments and agencies of the federal government. The CFR is divided into 50 titles which represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Each title is divided into chapters which usually bear the name of the issuing agency. Each chapter is further subdivided into parts covering specific regulatory areas. The CFR is available online at the U.S. Government Printing Office website.
  • Contract:
    A contract is a legally binding agreement between the university and a sponsor to provide a service in return for compensation. Both the university and the sponsor receive benefit from the contractual relationship. A contract obligates the university to provide a product or service. It also obligates the sponsor to pay an agreed-upon amount for that product or service. All Jacksonville State University contracts must be signed by an authorized official. Contracts are processed by the Office of Sponsored Programs. 
  • Cost Sharing:
    Cost sharing, or matching, refers to the portion of project costs borne by the University, rather than the sponsor. Some sponsors require organizations to reflect their commitment to a project by sharing in its costs. Types of cost sharing include mandatory cost sharing, committed cost sharing, voluntary cost sharing, matching, and in-kind contributions, as well as equipment and non-equipment cost sharing. See also Voluntary/Committed Cost Sharing          


  • Data Universal Numbering Scheme Number:
    The DUNS number is a nine-digit number assigned to businesses and organizations by the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation as a means of identification and classification. 
  • Direct Costs:
    Includes all items that can be categorically identified and charged to the specific project, such as personnel, fringe benefits, consultants, subcontractors, travel, equipment, supplies and materials, communications, computer time, and publication charges. 


  • Electronic Research Administration:
    The ERA is the umbrella term for research administration record keeping through computers and the Internet. The NSF's FastLane proposal submission is an example of this process. 
  • Endowment:
    Funds intended to be invested in perpetuity to provide income for continued support of a not-for-profit organization. 
  • Equipment:
    Permanent equipment is defined as any item of a non-expendable nature costing $5,000.00 or more. For Sponsored projects, equipment is further categorized as scientific or general-purpose equipment. Generally, before equipment can be purchased on a research project, funding agency approval is required. All equipment purchases must be bid in accordance with State of Alabama law and university regulations. If the equipment must be purchased from a specific source, a justification for sole source purchasing must be attached to the requisition. 


  • Facilities and Administrative Costs:
    Also called indirect costs, F&A costs are the costs of research that cannot be easily identified with or charged to a specific project. Expenses such as facility maintenance, depreciation, utility costs, library expenses, sponsored programs administration, and general department administration may be fully or partially covered through F&A costs.  
  • FastLane:
    FastLane is the National Science Foundation's electronic system for conducting business over the Internet. All National Science Foundation proposals and reports must be submitted using FastLane. 
  • Federal Pass-Through Funds:
    Federal pass-through funds are funds from a federal sponsor that come to Jacksonville State University through a third party. For example, if the US Department of Education gives the Alabama State Department of Education a grant and then subcontracts the work to University, the funds in that subcontract are federal pass-through funds. 
  • Fixed Cost Contract:
    A contract in which the Contractor guarantees to deliver or to perform the contract work within the period specified at a fixed price agreed upon in advance and payable no matter what the actual costs are. 
  • Fringe Benefits:
    Fringe benefits are the costs of keeping employees other than salary. These may include FICA and Medicare, Medical Insurance, Life Insurance, TIAA/CREF, Disability, Retirement and Tuition Assistance. Fringe benefit rates are calculated using fixed percentages that vary depending on the employee's classification and often change from year to year. 


  • General /Operating Support:
    A grant made to further the general purpose or work of an organization, rather than for a specific purpose or project; also called an unrestricted grant. 
  • Gift:
    A gift is a type of funding that occurs voluntarily. 
  • Grant:
    A grant is a type of funding awarded to the university as additional resources to support previously approved instruction, research, or public service. Grants are usually given to accomplish a specific public purpose, and are generally solicited by the submission of proposals. The terms of a particular grant determine how the award is processed and used. Grants are processed by the Office of Sponsored Programs. 
  • Grant/Contract Number:
    The grant/contract number is a number assigned by the sponsor to a grant or contract for its own use and records. Each sponsor uses a different format for their grant/contract numbers. 
  • Grantee Financial Report:
    A report detailing how grant funds were used by an organization. Many corporate grantmakers require this kind of report from grantees. A financial report generally includes a listing of all expenditures from grant funds as well as an overall organizational financial report covering revenue and expenses, assets and liabilities. 
  • Guidelines:
    Procedures set forth by a funder that grantseekers should follow when approaching a grantmaker. 


  • Human Subjects:
    Human subjects are individuals whose physiologic or behavioral characteristics and responses are the object of study in a research project. Under federal regulations, human subjects are defined as: living individual(s) about whom an investigator conducting research obtains: (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; or (2) identifiable private information. 


  • Indirect Costs:
    Also called F&A costs, indirect costs that have been incurred for common or joint objectives of the university and the sponsored program, and which, therefore, cannot be identified specifically in reference to a particular project, such as building operations and maintenance, laboratory space, library service, utilities, and administrative services. 
  • In-Kind Contribution:
    An in-kind contribution is a type of cost sharing that consists of a non-cash donation to a project. In-kind contributions are generally made by the university or non-federal third parties. In-kind contributions may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies and other expendable property, and the value of goods and services directly benefiting a specific project. Some organizations may also donate the use of space or staff time as an in-kind contribution. 
  • Institutional Review Board:
    An Institutional Review Board or IRB for short is a University committee which reviews, approves or disapproves any research involving human subjects. 


  • New Application:
    A new application is a request for funding from a sponsor that has not been previously submitted to that sponsor. 
  • No-Cost Extension:
    A no-cost extension is a continuation of a grant or contract without the award of additional funding. No-cost extensions delay the end date of a project or increment. 


  • Off-Campus Activities:
    Off-campus activities are considered "off-campus" when the programs and projects are performed off-campus for nine months or longer and housed in facilities not owned or maintained by the University. When a sponsored program is conducted in both on-campus and off-campus sites, direct costs associated with each site are separately identified, and a respective negotiated rate is applied to the MTDC of each. 


  • Post-Award Administration:
    Post-award administration refers to all administrative activities that take place after a grant or contract has been awarded. These may include a change of PI, a transfer of equipment, changes in the amount of effort put forth by key personnel, and the submission of progress reports. 
  • Principal Investigator:
    The Principal Investigator or PI is the lead researcher of a project, and is sometimes called the project director. 
  • Private Foundation:
    A non-governmental, non-profit organization with funds (usually from a single source, such as an individual, family, or corporation) and program managed by its own trustees or directors. Private foundations are established to maintain or aid social, educational, religious, or other charitable activities serving the common welfare, primarily through the making of grants. See also 501(C)(3). 
  • Program Announcement:
    Program announcements describe the availability of research opportunities in particular areas. The announcement may be for a new funding program, a new topic of interest in a scientific area, or an ongoing funding program. 
  • Progress Report:
    Progress reports are scheduled periodic reports that may be required by the sponsor. Subsequent funding increments may be contingent on the timely submission satisfactory progress reports. 
  • Project:
    A project can be either a grant or a contract, and is composed of one or more funding increments. For example, a five-year grant from the Department of Education is usually composed of five one-year increments which, when taken together, make up a project. Some projects have only one increment, while others can have dozens of increments. During the project period, the PI undergoes the research and activities described in his or her proposal. 
  • Proposal:
    A proposal is a request for the funding of a sponsored program in the form of a written application, often accompanied by supporting documents, submitted to a foundation or corporate giving program in requesting a grant. Most foundations and corporations do not use printed application forms but instead require written proposals; others prefer preliminary letters of inquiry prior to a formal proposal. Consult published guidelines. A proposal should include all the information necessary to fully describe research plans, including staff capabilities, resources, and a budget. 


  • Receipt Deadline:
    A receipt deadline is the date by which a sponsor must receive a proposal or application. OSP will assist upon request in the mailing of project proposals. For this service, the proposal must be in final form, with all sections in place, including attachments such as letters of commitment from external partners prior to noon of the working day prior to the receipt deadline. 
  • Request for Application:
    A Request for Application is an announcement by a sponsor that indicates the availability of funding for research in a specific area. The announcement generally includes the amount of funds the sponsor intends to spend in that research area, the number of awards likely to be made, and a unique deadline for applications. 
  • Request for Proposal:
    When the government issues a new contract or grant program, it sends out an RFP to agencies that might be qualified to participate. The RFP lists project specifications and application procedures. While a few foundations occasionally use the RFP in specific fields, most prefer to consider proposals that are initiated by applicants. 
  • Research:
    The "Code of Federal Regulations" defines research as "...a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or to contribute to generalized knowledge." 


  • Scope of Work:
    In a contract, the scope of work is a statement of all work involved in the contract that was fairly and reasonably within the contemplation of the parties at the time the contract was made. 
  • Seed Money:
    A grant or contribution used to start a new project or organization. Seed grants may cover salaries and other operating expenses of a new project. 
  • Sponsored Program:
    A sponsored program is any activity that receives funding from outside Jacksonville State University. Sponsored programs may also be known as sponsored projects or sponsored agreements.
  • Sponsored Programs Accounting:
    The Jacksonville State University Office of Sponsored Programs and the Restricted Funds Accountant provides post-award services associated with the fiscal management of sponsored programs, including establishing and maintaining the accounting and budget records for sponsored programs, interpreting sponsor and University fiscal policies for faculty and staff, providing financial information relative to sponsored programs, monitoring expenditures under sponsored programs for compliance with sponsor and University policies and procedures, preparing financial reports to sponsors, and carrying out all cash management responsibilities associated with the funding of sponsored programs.  


  • Tax-Exempt:
    Refers to organizations that do not have to pay taxes such as federal or state corporate tax or state sales tax. Individuals who make donations to such organizations may be able to deduct these contributions from their income tax.  


  • Uniform Guidance: 
    On December 26, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget released the "Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards", commonly known as the Uniform Guidance, or 2 CFR 200, or UG.  The Uniform Guidance consolidates and makes consistent the administrative requirements, cost principles and audit requirement formerly included in eight separate circulars. For universities and other institutions of higher education, the Uniform Guidance replaces OMB Circulars A-21, A-110, and A-133.


  • Voluntary/Committed Cost Sharing:
    Committed cost sharing is a type of cost sharing in which cost sharing is not required by the sponsor but is shown on the budget, usually in the form of contributed effort of the principal investigator or other project staff, and is paid from university or non-federal funds. See also Cost Sharing