OMB Grant Reform


Federal grant reforms, prompted by a call to action by President Obama in 2009, hold promise for loosening the tight regulatory reigns that govern federal grant administration. Research Foundation sponsored programs staff is well versed in the challenges of compliance.

"It's not a flexible regulatory environment, and the costs of regulatory compliance are very high and not fully reimbursed,” says Garry Sanders, vice president of sponsored programs administration at the RF’s central office. “New rules are added, none ever seem to be taken away. Each of these regulations spawns a set of RF and, sometimes, SUNY-based rules and processes to ensure compliance."

The President’s 2009 directive calls for more administrative flexibility, as well partnering with state and local governments to eliminate fraud, errors and waste. In response, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) worked with federal and nonfederal partners, including the interagency A-21 Task Force, to develop a series of proposed reforms.

The proposed reforms, currently out for public comment, would:

  • Collapse all eight circulars (A-21, A-87, A-122,A-110, A-133, A-102, A-130, A-123) into one.
  • Change the single audit threshold implement more risk based approach.
  • Offer a new flat rate for F&A.
  • Look at new models for time and effort reporting.

The Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) and the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) are preparing responses to OMB by April 30. OMB plans to release a detailed proposal by May 2012.

Contact: Garry Sanders

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