Program Guide



Faculty are encouraged to solicit external financial support in the form of grants, contracts and cooperative agreements from agencies in the public and private sectors. The Cal Poly Corporation (CPC), via its Sponsored Programs Office (SPO), assists the university by entering into these agreements with project sponsors on the university’s behalf and by providing post-award fiscal, compliance and administrative support for the term of the agreement. 

University faculty and staff members who direct sponsored projects have the principal responsibility to carefully manage these programs. This guide is intended to help the Project Director, and/or their administrative staff, fulfill that responsibility. Its purpose is to assist in carrying out the basic administrative and financial functions required to utilize the funds made available for the project.

Supporting this Guide are policies and manuals such as the CPC Employee Handbook, the Campus Administrative Manual, Campus Administrative Policy, and CPC and Sponsored Programs policy and procedures. In addition, the staff of the Sponsored Programs office is available to provide assistance and guidance in administrative, compliance, and financial matters.

Mission & Activities

The mission of the Sponsored Programs Office is to help the Cal Poly community achieve its educational mission by providing efficient and effective post-award management support for sponsored projects and related sponsored project activities. External funding carries with it a host of legislative guidelines and departmental, sponsor, and campus regulations that require concentrated monitoring.

The Sponsored Programs office serves the university in the following ways:

  1. Administration of grants and contracts for university research, educational, and other related sponsored project activities.
  2. Administration of Institutes and Centers and other related sponsored project activities.


In fulfilling office functional responsibilities, staff are engaged in:

  • Participation in the proposal process by assisting to resolve potential financial, compliance or administrative issues before submission.
  • Provision of agreement negotiation, acceptance and award management, administrative and financial advice, guidance and service to Project Directors to assist them in fulfilling their research, instructional, or other contract or grant objectives.
  • Provision of pertinent financial and technical status information to sponsors to confirm our compliance with the terms of the agreements.
  • Submittal and negotiation of federal indirect cost rate proposals.
  • Representation of the CPC to funding agencies.
  • Property Management.
  • Representation of research and sponsored programs activities to various campus-wide committees.

Grants & Contracts – General Information


The legal status of the Project Director should be clearly understood. The Project Director, as an individual, is not the recipient of the sponsored project agreement, and has not entered into a contract with a sponsor. The CPC has entered into the contract or has been awarded a grant. (CAP 905)

The monies awarded must be spent by the CPC in accordance with the proposal and award terms and as initiated by the Project Director. Although the CPC signs the agreement and the CPC is legally and financially responsible to the sponsor, the Project Director is responsible for overall project administration, including, but not limited to: submission of the technical reports, and proper fiscal, compliance and programmatic management of the project. The Sponsored Programs office will provide administrative and financial services to assist in these responsibilities and has established procedures to help meet sponsor, university and CPC administrative requirements.

Signature Authority

The Project Director (or designee) has signature authority and must approve all transaction requests including personnel and payroll forms. The signature of the Project Director’s supervisor is required, as directed by CPC policy, when payments or reimbursements to the Project Director are being requested.

Demonstration of “approval” (e.g. original signature, electronic signature, email approval) should be in accordance with relevant CPC policy and procedures.


Direct costs are those that can be identified specifically with a particular research project, an instructional activity or any other institutional activity; or that can be directly assigned to such activities with relative ease and a high degree of accuracy.

Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs

F & A costs are those that have been incurred from common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified specifically with a particular project. Such costs may include: general administration expenses, sponsored programs administration expenses, operation and maintenance expenses, library expenses and departmental administration expenses.

Acceptance of Grants or Contracts

Awards made by sponsors based on proposals submitted by University faculty or staff that have been approved through the regular administrative procedures of the University, may be accepted by the CPC if so directed by the University. 

Sponsored Programs Campus Regulations

CPC Policy and Procedures concerning the administration of research activity, institutes, and other related sponsored projects on behalf of the University are set forth in, but not limited to, the publications and directives listed. In addition, sponsor regulations and terms may apply. Please call Sponsored Programs for further information on the appropriate reference.


  1. Cal Poly Corporation, Externally Sponsored Programs Activities (CAP 905)
  2. Gifts, Grants and Research (CAM Section 540)
  3. Administration of Conferences, Short Courses and other Special Educational Programs (CAM 462 and CAM Appendix AB 91-4)
  4. Policy for the Establishment, Evaluation and Discontinuation of University Centers and Institutes (CAP 262)
  5. Administration of grants and contracts in support of Research, Institutes, and Other Special Instructional Projects (Executive Order 168)
  6. Indirect Cost Recovery and Uses (CAP 264)
  7. Policy and Procedures for University Development Program (CAM Appendix, AB 82-2)
  8. CPC policies and procedures regarding hiring of employees (CPC Employee Handbook)
  9. CPC policies and procedures regarding travel, procurement, etc. (CPC Travel Guidelines)
  10. Consultant and Guest Lecturer (CPC Finance, Guest Lecturer Form)

Account Administration

Fiscal Procedures

The Project Director may authorize expenditures of project funds within the limitations imposed by the sponsor, University and CPC regulations. The account notification procedure establishes the necessary signature authority. Signature authority can be delegated, and must be submitted to the Sponsored Programs Office in writing.

Contracts & Grants

Ordinarily, funds can be expended only within the category specified in the approved budget. If the Project Director determines it necessary to shift funds between categories, the Sponsored Programs Office must be contacted to determine if the change can be approved internally or if it must be referred to the sponsoring agency for approval.

Institutes & Centers

Expenditures are limited to available funds, which are consistent with the established procedures and purpose of the account, and in accordance with relevant policy procedures.

Other Sponsored Programs Activity

Expenditures are limited to available funds, which are consistent with the purpose of the account, and in accordance with relevant policy and procedures.


One of the most important responsibilities of the Project Director is to keep track of expenditures and commitments and to prevent them from exceeding the budget or from being used for unauthorized purposes. Even if the responsible account holder designates other persons as “authorized signatures,” he or she remains the person solely responsible for ensuring that the project is conducted within the budget or that the account balance is not exceeded. In case of overruns or account deficits, the CPC must look to the college or department to cover such costs.

To aid the Project Director in avoiding overruns or account deficits, the CPC provides electronic access to account reports, which includes account balances and transaction that identifies potential or real account deficits. In addition, online account access may be granted to  appropriate personnel supporting the program.

Modifications of Grant/Contract

If a time extension or other modification to a grant or contract is required, the Project Director must initiate the request through the Sponsored Programs Office, allowing sufficient time for proper approval. (Please be aware that the sponsor’s technical officer may not be authorized to approve modifications to a grant or contract). Some modifications can be made only by the sponsoring agency’s grants or contracting officer.

In other cases, the sponsor may have delegated the CPC approval authority for granting limited time extensions, budgeting or modification changes. Contact the Sponsored Programs Office for necessary procedures to follow in order to obtain approval.

Audit Requirements and Record Retention

The Cal Poly Corporation will continue to follow the  OMB Circular A-110 Procurement Standards and will utilize the grace period allowed for the implementation of the Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards.

Contracts and Grants

Contracts and grants are subject to full review of all project activity (program and financial) by the sponsor’s auditors, the Cal Poly Corporation’s auditors and State auditors. All activities must be conducted in full accordance with grant or contract terms and conditions, and applicable University and CPC regulations. 

Sponsored Programs Office staff is familiar with sponsor restrictions, and screen transactions accordingly. However, the Project Director has the primary responsibility for adherence to project requirements. 

Since  audit personnel may question a Project Director and staff long after a project is complete, it is imperative that project files contain documentation of program performance and project reports and deliverables. For record retention purposes, the Project Director should maintain complete and full records on the project for at least three years after the project has been completed. Check with the Sponsored Programs Office for specific record retention and audit requirements.

Institutes and Centers and Other Sponsored Programs Activities

These accounts, along with contract and grant projects, are subject to audit by the Cal Poly Corporation’s and state auditors. The responsible director, with assistance from the Sponsored Programs, must make sure that all program and fiscal activities are in accordance with the University and CPC regulations and procedures that cover the account.

Operating Procedures

These Operating Procedures are broken into nine sections:

These operating procedures are not intended to be all-encompassing, but simply a handy reference to use in administering your grant, contract or other Sponsored Program account.  There are many other written procedures covering each area in greater detail. Most of the frequently asked questions are covered in these operating procedures, but there may be exceptions to these (other campus policies or sponsor terms and conditions) that apply. Contact the Sponsored Programs Office for administrative guidance at extension 6-1123.

Account Establishment

Contracts & Grants

Accounts are initiated when the CPC has a fully executed (university-approved) award with the sponsor. Sponsored Programs assigns a project number and enters the line item budgets in the expense accounts.

A Sponsored Programs Analyst reviews the award and sends electronic mail to the Project Director and other campus personnel notifying them of the established account and any specific terms and conditions of the award.

Institutes/Centers and Other Sponsored Programs Activities

Administrative support for Institutes or Centers is provided by Sponsored Programs. (CAP 905.2) 

Institutes, Centers and Other Sponsored Programs Activity accounts are established based on the completed Other Sponsored Project Activity (OSPA) set-up form and the approval of the VP of Research and Economic Development, unless otherwise specified. The Institute, Center or Other Sponsored Project Activity Director is notified of account establishment by e-mail.


Personnel Classifications (Definitions)
  1. University Faculty/Exempt Staff

Reimbursed Time
The CPC reimburses University for services rendered by faculty or staff.

Assigned Time
Services rendered by University faculty or staff without reimbursement by the CPC (cost-share).

Additional Compensation (ADD COMP)
University employees (faculty and exempt staff) working on a CPC operation or project will be employed by the CPC under the campus additional employment policy. These employees may work for the CPC up to 25 percent in excess of their normal University effort, and are not eligible for employer-sponsored benefits such as holidays, vacation and sick leave, medical coverage or retirement from the CPC. For non-exempt employees, see intermittent employee information within this section.

  1. Temporary CPC Employees
    Temporary employee are appointed to a sponsored project for a period of more than 180 calendar days and are eligible for employer-sponsored benefits. Recruitment is required. Contact Sponsored Programs for account allowability. You will work with CPC Human Resources to arrange for recruitment. All accrued vacation may need to be taken within established program periods. (Vacation for eligible employees only).
  2. Intermittent Employee
    Intermittent employees are appointed on a short-term or intermittent basis for jobs arising out of special projects, abnormal workloads, or emergencies, not to exceed 1,000 hours during the fiscal year. Intermittent employees are ineligible for employer-sponsored benefits. A full-time non-exempt University staff employee may be hired as an intermittent up to 25% of their normal University effort. A part-time non-exempt University staff employee may be hired by the CPC up to the balance of a full-time position not to exceed 1,000 hours during the fiscal year. PERS retirees may work up to 960 hours per calendar year without retirement penalties.
  3. Student Assistants
    Employment by the CPC of a currently enrolled California Polytechnic State University student, who is taking at least six undergraduate units per academic quarter. Students can be hired for a maximum of 20 hours per week during a quarter.
  4. Graduate Student
    Employment by the CPC of a currently enrolled California Polytechnic State University graduate student who is taking at least four graduate level units per academic quarter. Students can be hired for a maximum of 20 hours per week during a quarter.
  5. Volunteers
    A volunteer employee is an individual who performs work or provides services without compensation by the CPC. University faculty, staff, or students may fit within this category if services, when provided, were also not paid for by the University nor classified as Reimbursed or Assigned Time. University employees recorded volunteer time must be distinct from University duties. Volunteers shall otherwise fit within the personnel classifications of CPC compensated employees. Valuation of volunteer time (used for cost-sharing) shall be consistent with positions paid for similar work by the CPC.
  6. Consultants (Independent)
    An independent consultant is an individual or organization, not affiliated with the University or CPC that provides primarily professional or technical advice to the CPC in an independent contract relationship. No federal taxes are withheld, but an IRS Form 1099 may be prepared. Out-of-state consultants/guest lecturers performing their work in California may be subject to California income tax withholding.
  7. Guest Lecturers
    A person who comes to perform (lecture, play a musical instrument, sing, read poetry, etc.) before an audience. No federal taxes are withheld, but an IRS Form 1099 may be prepared. Out-of-state consultants/guest lecturers performing their work in California may be subject to California income tax withholding.


Employment Guidance
  1. Employment, Method of Payment, Compensation
    Employees are not hired on any project until the terms and conditions of employment, including salary, have been agreed upon and employment documentation is approved by CPC Human Resources. Payment for services rendered by any University employee for the CPC must be made through a payroll system. Time cards should be submitted by the scheduled due date for the pay period in which the work is performed. Late timecards may affect taxes withheld and justification may be required.NO overtime can be authorized for any personnel working on Sponsored Projects unless prior approval has been obtained through Sponsored Programs. Overtime is defined as any time over 40 hours per week (Saturday through Friday).Rate of pay will be the “same as rate paid for comparable positions,” or according to rate established by the Human Resources Director for unique positions.
    Pay increases are subject to sponsor restrictions and CPC Human Resources policies and procedures.
  2. Employee Orientation and Safety Training
    It is the responsibility of the Project Director to give each new employee an orientation. A Supervisor’s Checklist for New Employee Orientation is provided as a guide. Complete this document (or similar checklist) and maintain in your personnel files.Training is mandatory for every new employee and for any employee whose job duties may have changed. A general safety rules checklist, Supervisor’s Checklist for New Employee Orientation, is available at the CPC Forms and Procedures website. Training should include this general training, plus any specific hazards peculiar to the job. Handling/disposing of any hazardous materials that will be encountered must be covered, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) information. Supervisors must keep records of the type of training provided, the date, by whom and what was covered.
  3. Employment Changes
    Employee changes such as status, rate of pay, employment period, and project number should be handled by completion of a Personnel Information Form (PIF). A change of name requires the completion of a new W-4 and I-9 form in the Human Resources Office. Mailing address changes may be made on a Change of Address form.
  4. Rest and Meal Periods
    If an employee plans to work more than six hours in one day, he/she must take at least a 1/2 hour break after five hours. Timecards for non-exempt employees must reflect this break. Ten minute rest periods are allowed for every four hours worked and are not reflected on time cards.
  5. Vacations
    Vacation hours will be charged to the employee’s “HOME CODE,” and may need to be taken prior to the end of the contract/program.
  6. Drug-Free Work Place Policy
    Both the University and the CPC have adopted formal policies designed to create and maintain a drug-free work place. As a condition of employment, personnel must understand and comply with those policies. Any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace must be reported to CPC Human Resources. A copy of the Cal Poly Corporation’s Management Guidelines on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention are provided upon request.
  7. Sexual Harassment
    The CPC is committed to providing a workplace free of sexual harassment as well as harassment based on such factors as race, color, religion, national origin, age, medical condition, sex, marital status, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Sexual harassment is a violation of CPC policy and illegal. Employees who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action including dismissal and may be personally liable to the offended party under tort law.
  8. Political Candidates
    The funds of the CPC shall not be used to support or oppose any candidate for public office, or to support or oppose any issue before the voters of this state or any subdivision thereof or any city, municipality or local government entity of any kind. Any exceptions require Board of Trustees’ approval.
  9. Unauthorized Acts
    If a CPC employee has reason to suspect material fraud, misuse of funds, or other unauthorized act, the incident should be reported to the CPC Executive Director and/or the Director of Human Resources
  10. Emergency Treatment
    Should an injury/illness resulting from work being performed on a sponsored project occur, the first concern should be for the well-being of the injured employee.Notify emergency response teams (6-2222 on campus, 911 off campus) if that appears necessary. If medical (but not emergency) treatment is needed, the individual should be escorted to the appropriate locations listed below. Decisions to seek medical treatment should rest ultimately with the injured.


For life-threatening emergencies – call 9-1-1
As soon as reasonably possible, call CPC HR Office (756-1121) and let them know an employee has been injured and an ambulance is on the way. Provide name, and injury type.

For serious injury/illness (or when the following medical treatment facilities are closed) 

Sierra Vista Hospital
Phone: 546-7650
Address: 1010 Murray Avenue, San Luis Obispo
Hours: 24 hours, Sierra Vista Hospital Emergency Room

For injury/illness requiring medical treatment, but not life threatening, either:

Family & Industrial Medical Center
Phone: 542-9596
Address: 47 Santa Rosa St. San Luis Obispo
Hours: M-F: 8am to 7pm   Sat/Sun: 9am to 4pm

Med Stop
Phone: 579-8880
Address: 283 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo
Hours: M-F: 8am to 7pm   Sat/Sun: 8am to 4pm

For current and additional safety guidance, please refer to Cal Poly Corporation Human Resources. 

Effort Reporting (Personnel Activity Reports or “PAR”)

Documentation of personnel expenses is a federally-mandated expectation by which the salary charged to a sponsored project is certified as being reasonable in relation to the effort expended on that project. The Personnel Activity Report (PAR) is the mechanism used to certify such effort. 

  1. Roles and Responsibilities
    The Sponsored Programs Office role is to provide a PAR to all salary based employees with some effort on a federally funded sponsored projects. The faculty is responsible to complete the PARs in a timely manner as required.
  2. PAR Preparation
    PARS will be initiated by the Sponsored Programs Analyst and sent to appropriate faculty and staff on a quarterly basis, but no less than semi-annually.
  3. PAR Certification
    The PAR will reflect all income sources for the individual for the designated period of time. The employee is to review the effort and certify it is correct. If changes need to be made, the employee or PI should contact the Sponsored Programs Analyst. The employee or direct supervisor may sign the PAR. PARs must be returned in a timely manner. PARs are requested to be returned within two weeks of receipt.

Independent Contractors/Consultants

These guidelines provide management direction for the engagement of independent contractors/consultants.

Independent Contractor/Consultant

An independent contractor/consultant is an individual or organization, not affiliated with the University or CPC, providing primarily professional or technical advice under a written agreement or engagement letter. Such a relationship is distinct from an employment relationship. Guest lecturers are covered by a separate management guideline.

Employee Relationship

An employee relationship exists when the employer (CPC) has the right (whether or not it exercises the right) to supervise and control the manner of performance as well as the results of the service by the individual (employee). When such a relationship exists, the individual will be employed under the formal employment process. Employees of the University or CPC cannot act as independent contractors/consultants when performing services for sponsored projects. (CAP 231.1.5)

Management Policies

The services of a consultant may be secured when, allowable by the funds terms and conditions, and a determination has been made by the Project Director that the services are required because of urgent, special, temporary, or highly technical circumstances which cannot be handled by existing CPC or University staff during the course of their normal responsibilities and duties, and the engagement.

  • The use of independent contractor/consultant services is expected to be temporary and infrequent.
  • Independent contractor/consultant services should not be used to carry out a major portion of a program. Individuals responsible for directing a program or participating extensively in the administration of a program shall be employed through the formal employment process.
  • The services of an independent contractor/consultant shall not entitle the person to a standing other than as an “independent contractor/consultant” in any published report or document.
  • Independent contractor/consultant services entered into pursuant to sponsored contracts or grants shall conform to all provisions of the applicable contract or grant, both with respect to the propriety of the consultant relationship and the terms of that relationship.
  • The independent contractor/consultant agrees to perform all services on a “works for hire” basis.
  • All independent contractor/consultant services shall be formalized in a written agreement prior to the beginning of any service covered by the engagement.
  • Obtaining services of a contractor/consultant are considered a procurement activity, and the CPC purchasing policies and procedures of obtaining quotes or a sole source justification applies when applicable.

When the services of an independent contractor/consultant are required:

  • The Project Director initiates the necessary procurement processes and uses an Independent Contractor Agreement (or CPC Services Agreement for non-Independent Contractors) to initiate the service relationship.
  • The agreement is completed and signed by the Project Director and submitted to the independent contractor/consultant for review and signature.
  • The independent contractor/consultant signs the agreement and the Project Director returns the request form and agreement to Sponsored Programs.
  • Sponsored Programs will:
    • Review for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with CPC policies and procedures and funding agency regulations (if applicable).
    • Consult as appropriate with the Human Resources Manager on employer-employee relationship issues.
    • Where funding agency approval is required, provide assistance to the Project Director in obtaining necessary approval(s).
    • After approval, provide copies to the Project Director and the independent contractor/consultant.
Performance and Payment

After completion of services, payment process is/includes:

  • In accordance with the agreed upon payment schedule, the independent contractor/consultant submits an invoice to the Project Director.
  • The Project Director authorizes invoice to be paid based on satisfactory performance. (Sponsored Programs must be informed if services/performance is not as agreed.)
  • Project Director submits a Check Request with the invoice to Sponsored Programs to initiate payment.
  • The Sponsored Programs reviews the Check Request, and if found to be in conformance with the consulting agreement, submits the approved request to the CPC Business Office for payment and for issuance of a 1099 IRS statement. Under state law, California income tax may be withheld from payments.
  • The last payment request for an independent contractor/consultant agreement should be marked “final” by the Project Director indicating that all work has been completed.

Guest Lecturers

These guidelines provide direction for the engagement of a guest lecturer, not affiliated with the University or CPC, acting in the capacity of a guest speaker, artistic or musical performer, or as an instructor. Such services are normally on a one-time basis and generally should not exceed a period of one working week. Independent Contractor/Consultant arrangements are covered by separate guidelines.

Management Policy

The services of a guest lecturer may be secured only when the service required is of a special nature which cannot be met by existing CPC or University staff. No University or CPC employee can be engaged as a guest lecturer by the CPC for sponsored projects.

  • The use of a guest lecturer is expected to be temporary, infrequent, and normally on a one-time basis.
  • Guest lecturers cannot be used to carry out a major portion of the program, as their involvement is limited to that of a one-time or short-time basis.
  • The services of a guest lecturer shall not entitle the individual to a standing other than as a guest lecturer in any published report or document.
  • Guest lecturer services entered into pursuant to sponsored contracts or grants, and shall conform to all provisions of the applicable contract or grant, both with respect to the propriety of the guest lecturer relationship and the terms of that relationship.

When the services of a guest lecturer are required:

  • The Project Director initiates a Guest Lecturer Form.
  • After agreement on terms is reached between the Project Director and the proposed guest lecturer, the form is completed and signed by the project director.
  • The guest lecturer provides a W9 form, 1099 Taxpayer ID, unless otherwise directed.
  • In those exceptions where the guest lecturer is not available or is to be provided a check at the time of service (usually artistic or musical performers), the Project Director will submit the form to Sponsored Programs without the guest lecturer’s signature. The Project Director will make a notation indicating that the guest lecturer will sign a copy of the form before receiving payment for services rendered. A copy of the signed form should be returned to Sponsored Programs.
  • The Project Director submits the form to the Sponsored Programs Office.
  • The Sponsored Programs office performs the following actions:
  • Reviews for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with CPC policies, procedures, and funding regulations (if applicable).
  • Where funding agency approval is required, provide assistance to the project director in obtaining necessary approval(s).
  • The Sponsored Programs Office reviews the form, and if found to be in conformance with the agreement, submits the approved request to the CPC Business Office for payment and for issuance of a 1099 IRS statement. Under state law, California income tax may be withheld from payments.


A subcontract may be required if a portion of the work to be performed under an agreement is to be provided by an agency or organization other than the University or CPC. The need for a subcontract should be addressed during preparation of a proposal to a sponsor. The CPC requires the proposed subcontractor to provide written approval of its participation in the work proposed under the proposal. Soliciting bids or providing a sole source justification for the subcontract requires special procedures, as listed below. Procedures – Obtaining a Subcontractor (not identified/pre-approved by Sponsor) 

Procedure –(Subrecipient/contractor pre-approved by Sponsor)
  • Unknown Source – Request for Quotation (RFQ): If a detailed subcontract package was not approved by the sponsor as part of an award, your subcontract must be bid or Sole Source Purchase Justification form. Due to the fact that it is necessary to flow down sponsor terms and conditions in all subcontracts, appropriate sponsor terms and conditions must be included in solicitations so that they may be incorporated in the final subcontract. Sponsored Programs will prepare a standard subcontract template for inclusion in the Request for Quotation (RFQ). The following information should be provided by the Project Director to Sponsored Programs as part of the subcontract RFQ: 
    • Written request for a subcontract
    • List of potential bidders (including name, address, phone number).
    • Pre-proposal conferences. List the time, date, and place of any planned meetings with potential bidders to discuss RFQ requirements prior to the submission of the RFQ.
    • Sample transmittal letter.
    • Statement of work.
    • Performance milestones or schedule of work to be performed.
    • Inspection and acceptance conditions.
    • Evaluation criteria.
    • List of attachments.

Any other material deemed necessary to provide subcontractor with complete information regarding the technical, managerial, financial, and reporting requirements they will be expected to meet. Sponsored Programs reviews the information provided by the Project Director for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with CPC and sponsor policies. If all materials are acceptable, an RFQ package is prepared. The RFQ package is sent to the proposed bidders by Sponsored Programs.

Proposed bidders must submit their bids within a defined period of time. When the submission period has ended, the Project Director will be sent the bid packages received by Sponsored Programs. The Project Director will then evaluate the offers based on the criteria listed in the RFQ. Due to audit requirements, the Project Director must maintain a file of all materials related to review of the bidders. Sponsored Programs should be notified when the Project Director has chosen a bid.

Sponsored Programs will submit a subcontract agreement to the bidder for negotiation. When terms are agreed upon by both parties, the bidder will return the signed agreement to Sponsored Programs. Sponsored Programs will sign the agreement and return copies to the bidder and the Project Director for their records 

  • Sole Source If the services required are unique or one-of-a kind, and only one subcontractor exists to provide those services, the Project Director may submit a Sole Source Justification. In order to obtain a subcontract via a Sole Source Justification, the Project Director must obtain at least one bid and provide full justification, including reasonableness of cost, to support the selection of a subcontractor. Otherwise, it may be necessary to bid out the subcontract, which will require preparation of a Request for Quotation (RFQ) as above noted.Sponsored Programs will review the Sole Source Justification for compliance with sponsor and CPC policies. If the Sole Source Justification is in compliance, Sponsored Programs will submit a subcontract agreement to the organization proposed for negotiation. If the terms are acceptable, the subcontractor will return the signed agreement to Sponsored Programs. Sponsored Programs will sign for the CPC and return copies of the agreement to the subcontractor and the Project Director.


  • Subagreement Establishment In order to establish a subagreement with a subrecipient, the Sponsored Programs office will obtain a Subrecipient Commitment Form and necessary documents to conduct a compliance review prior to issuance of a sub agreement, which will include terms and conditions required by the Prime sponsor. The subagreement will be executed between the Cal Poly Corporation and the subrecipient’s authorized official.
Performance and Payment


  • It is the responsibility of the Project Director to closely monitor the work of any subcontractor to be certain that the work is being performed in accordance with the requirements of the subcontract.
  • The Project Director is responsible for making certain that the subagreementis completed within the period specified in the agreement. The Project Director is responsible for authorizing payment of the subrecipient’s invoices based on satisfactory performance of the subrecipients effort. In the event of any potential delays or breach in the terms and conditions of the agreement, the Project Director should notify Sponsored Programs as soon as possible.
  • In order to initiate payment to the subcontractor, the Project Director should submit a copy of the approved subcontractor invoice with a signature authorizing payment and confirmation programmatic performance is satisfactory.
  • Sponsored Programs shall review the invoice, and if it conforms with sponsor and CPC requirements, will submit the request to the CPC Business Office for payment.


The Cal Poly Corporation will continue to follow OMB Circular A-110 Procurement Standards and will utilize the grace period allowed for the implementation of the Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards.

What Can be Purchased

Contracts and Grants Supplies, equipment and other costs shown on the approved budget and all other non-budgeted items may require prior approval of sponsor. Contact Sponsored Programs for assistance.

  • Institute/Center Accounts and Other Sponsored Program Activities Purchases must be in conformance with the purpose for which the account was established and CPC policies and procedures.
Instruments of Purchase

Requisition: Use this method to have a purchase order issued.

  • Advance or Reimbursement: Use a Check Request form for a prepayment or reimbursement of a purchased item.  Attach the original receipt(s) for reimbursement
  • Petty Cash: No more than $100.00 per day may be reimbursed. Petty cash may not be used to purchase equipment, services, or other items which require prior approvals.
  • University Charge-back: When services or supplies are initially procured through University systems and subsequently billed to the project by the University. In order for this to occur, an appropriate University charge back account must be used, and your CPC project number must be included on the documents submitted to the University. Contact Sponsored Programs for the applicable charge-back account information.

Must be an allowable charge to the project.

  • If not on approved project budget, prior approval from sponsor may be necessary.
  • Any claim for payment to the Project Director requires approval of his/her supervisor.
  • Equipment (Also see Property Management Section.)
    • All equipment should be purchased using a Purchase Requisition.
    • For equipment purchases funded in part by a University account, forward the state requisition to Sponsored Programs prior to submission to the State Purchasing Office.
  • Bids (quotes)
    • Less than $5,000: Purchases shall be accomplished in a manner customary to the market place using sound business practices and adherence to purchasing policies
    • Between $5,001 and $24,999: Written price quotes must be obtained on all purchases. Documentation should include date, vendor name, contact person and telephone number, written specifications, description of item, amount, and any differences from other price quotes
    • Purchases of $25,000 or Greater: A request for purchase order must be accompanied by three formal bids. It shall be based on written specifications and on a solicitation/award process which recognizes competitive price, responsiveness to specifications and reputation of vendors. Solicitation of bids must be coordinated with Sponsored Programs.
  • Sole Source Must be completely justified on sole source justification form, and approved prior to purchase.
  • Purchase Restrictions Some contracts and grants require participation by Minority Owned Business, Woman Owned Business, Disabled Veteran Business, and Small Business Enterprises. Good planning of purchases will be necessary to comply with these requirements. Documentation of efforts to meet these requirements will be necessary. You can refer to the website maintained by the CA Department of General Services, Office of Small Business Certification and Resources, for a listing of certified enterprises. The website is located at Otherwise, you may contact the Sponsored Programs Office for further assistance in meeting these requirements.
  • Hazardous Materials Indicate & highlight “Hazardous Material” on the requisition form when ordering any hazardous substance. All personnel having access to the substance must be trained in the proper use of the material and procedures/precautions for safety, using the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provided by the vendor when the order is filled. A copy of the MSDS shall be kept on file where the substance is being used.
  • Requisition Process
    1. Obtain verbal or written quotes as required.
    2. Complete and sign the Requisition form. Attach quotes or Sole Source Justification form.
    3. Submit to the Sponsored Programs Office for processing and approvals. Once the Requisition and supporting documentation is reviewed and approved by Sponsored Programs, the Requisition will be processed with a Purchase Order being directed as specified on the Requisition form.
  • Check Request Process Prepare form and submit to Sponsored Programs for processing and necessary approvals. If the request is for reimbursement of an expense, attach the original itemized receipt(s). If the project director is to be paid directly, his/her supervisor must approve the expense.
  • Petty Cash Process (Items under $100) Items purchased under $100 may be reimbursed by the CPC cashier. If an individual other than the Project Director is being reimbursed, the Project Director signs the Petty Cash reimbursement form and puts the project number to be charged on each original receipt. If the Project Director is to be reimbursed directly, his/her supervisor must approve the receipt(s).
  • Procurement Card (P-Card)
  • CPC procurement card purchases are reconciled monthly. Once the item is purchased, and the monthly statement is obtained electronically, expenses must be assigned a proper org-key, object code, and description. The P-Card Statement, completed Log, and expense receipts are submitted to Sponsored Programs for review, approval and processing. Unallowable expenses will be directed to the card user’s identified discretionary account.



General Travel Information
  • All travel forms must be reviewed and signed by the Project Director (or authorized designee) and his/her supervisor, if needed.
  • Foreign travel is subject to International Center’s foreign travel process and may be subject to export controls.
  1. Contracts & Grants
    Travel must be an approved expenditure in the budget and sufficient funds must be available. If not already approved in the budget, prior approval from the sponsor may be required; contact Sponsored Programs. Foreign travel, even if budgeted, often requires prior formal approval by the sponsor. Contact Sponsored Programs if foreign travel is contemplated.
  2. Centers and Institutes and related Other Sponsored Programs Activity
    Must have sufficient funds and no travel restrictions for the account.
Travel Guidelines

Project Directors should refer to the most recent CPC travel guidelines in force during the time of their travel. Additionally, sponsors may impose more restrictive guidelines. Contact Sponsored Programs for additional information or clarification.

Travel Advances & Expense Reimbursement Procedures

All Travelers

  • May process a State Travel Request form (Travel 1 Form), which is expected to be completed prior to travel.
  • If an advance is needed, a University Travel 1A Form should be submitted (completing form appropriately) allowing sufficient time to issue the payment prior to departure.
  • The CPC can handle prepayment of costs. In these cases, prepare a separate Check Request indicating the advance request for each prepayment (vendor).
  • Prepayments must be reconciled and accounted for as advances when completing the Travel Expense Claim.
  • Travel advance checks can be picked up at the CPC Administration Building #15. If the check is to be mailed, indicate the proper address on the form.
  • To be reimbursed for authorized travel expenses and to clear accountability for advances and prepayments, employees are expected to submit a Travel Expense Claim form within 10 working days of return from trip. Complete all information requested on the form. If you are requesting reimbursement for meals, lodging, or incidentals, you should claim actual expenses up to authorized limits.
  • Motel/hotel receipts must be attached to the claim.
  • When submitting your claim, please be aware of the following:
    • Expenses in excess of the current maximum authorized allowance will not be reimbursed unless it is allowable and approved by necessary approving parties, including Sponsored Programs.
    • Attach a check if an advance was provided and it exceeded the total expenses claimed. The check should be made payable to Cal Poly Corporation.


Other Travel Regulations


  • Airlines
    All air travel must be economy or coach class and special, low-cost rates should be used when possible. If “first-class” is used, the CPC will be responsible for the economy rate reimbursement only. Students traveling as non-employees should refer to University Risk Management, University Release Agreement for additional requirements.
  • Commercial Automobile
    Only compact or intermediate size automobiles should be rented. Collision insurance for rental vehicle is an allowable expenditure (when not provided under contract); medical insurance or personal accident insurance is not an allowable expense for employees. However, purchase of medical and personal accident insurance is allowable for non-employees.
  • Private Vehicle
    Claimant may be reimbursed on a Travel Expense Claim at the authorized mileage rate. Expenses for gasoline or routine repairs shall not be allowed unless using a rental car. If the traveler can use air travel but chooses to use a private vehicle, he/she will be reimbursed on the basis of the authorized mileage rate or equivalent of a round-trip airfare, whichever is less. If air travel is the most reasonable mode of travel, and claimant chooses personal vehicle travel instead of air travel, meals and lodging are not reimbursable during the extra days necessitated when using a personal vehicle. In the event of an accident, the Cal Poly Corporation’s insurance policy is only applicable if the employee’s liability exceeds his/her personal liability insurance coverage. The CPC provides excess coverage for comprehensive collision, uninsured motorist, or medical payments. If a private vehicle is regularly used on project business, an employee should notify his/her insurance carrier.
  • Railroad Transportation
    Railroad Transportation: No more than actual fare shall be allowed. Special and round-trip rates shall be used whenever possible.
  • Lodging
    Each traveler is responsible for making his/her own lodging reservations as well as arranging for payment. If reservations are made at a hotel where the traveler is attending a conference, the conference’s special lodging rate must be requested.
    The CPC will normally pay a single occupancy rate for one traveler and not double occupancy or suite rates. Telephone charges are allowable on hotel bills. Mini-bar and video expenses are not allowable.
  • Foreign Travel
    Traveler is reimbursed actual expenses up to the rates obtained from the “Government Standard Regulations for Civilians in Foreign Areas.” Many contracts and grants require that the sponsoring agency give prior approval for any foreign travel; other restrictions such as required use of U.S. Air Carriers may also apply. The Sponsored Programs Office should be contacted when planning any foreign travel. All claims for travel expenses billed in a foreign currency must be converted to U.S. dollars and the conversion rate must be indicated on the Travel Claim form.


  • Original receipts shall be submitted for every item of expense, in excess of $40.00.
  • In cases where necessary receipts are not available (e.g. lost or not provided) a Declaration of Missing Receipt should be provided to document the details of the expense.
  • If a travel claim is utilizing both State and CPC funds, the original form and receipts must be sent to the State. The State will then process their portion of the claim, and send a verified copy of the claim and receipts to CPC Sponsored Programs for processing against your sponsored project.


Equipment/Property Management

General Equipment/Property Information

Equipment purchased on sponsored projects is described as any item with an acquisition value of $5000 or more and a useful life of one year or more. However, a sponsor’s definition may be more restrictive, please contact the Sponsored Programs Office for clarification.                                            

  • Screening of available equipment
    Proposed purchases should be reviewed prior to submitting a requisition to avoid unnecessary acquisition, inappropriate duplication of items, or items already available for shared use.
  • Property inventory
    Property inventories are performed and records updated annually as well as during project closeout.
    The inventory will be performed using the Cal Poly Corporation’s fixed asset ledger, which gives the property number, a description of the item, the vendor it was purchased from, its location, its acquisition date and cost to the project.


Property Responsibilities of the Project Director

The Project Director is responsible for all property purchased and assigned to their project. Lost, stolen, or destroyed property must be reported to the Sponsored Programs Office by the Project Director (or designee) as soon as he/she becomes aware of the loss, using a property survey form describing the items and the facts surrounding the loss. If theft is suspected, a campus police report must also be filed.

  • The CPC Business Office will notify the insurance company to regain applicable losses, less a deductible. If you intend to travel with an item of equipment or ship an item of equipment, please contact the CPC Business Office for detailed insurance-related procedures and for guidance related to export controlled activities, contact the Office of Research and Economic Development Export Control administrator.


Title to Equipment

Equipment purchased from project funds is intended for the exclusive use of the project during the period of the grant or contract. CPC is listed as the “Custodian” of the property until project termination. After the project terminates, the equipment is usually transferred to the University (with restrictions if sponsor requires) or returned to the sponsor.


Equipment Tracking
  • Equipment Tag
    The CPC, upon receipt of the invoice and receiving report of the equipment purchased, tags the equipment with a property number and records the equipment in the fixed asset ledger.
  • Equipment Location/Change
    If the equipment is moved off campus, Project Directors must send written notification to Sponsored Programs describing the circumstances (why it was necessary, where it will be located, how long it will be off campus, what security measures are being taken, and if in an individual’s home, that the property is covered by a homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy.)Project Directors should also notify Sponsored Programs if they are moving the equipment within the campus. The Sponsored Programs Office will then update the fixed asset ledger with the proper location. 
Equipment Security

Project Directors should take reasonable and prudent precautions to insure the security of project equipment. Equipment should be properly stored in locked facilities when not in use. Computer lock-downs should be used as appropriate.

Export Controls

Equipment determined to have export control restrictions by a U.S. governing agency is required to be safeguarded in accordance with the specified Technology Control Plan. Refer to the Office of Research Export Control Compliance administrator for guidance.

Project Monitoring and Account Closeout

Contracts and Grants            

Project Monitoring

The Project Director, as the principal administrator of the project, is responsible for monitoring program and cost activity throughout the project period.

Monitoring Highlights

Sponsored Project Activity Reports may not include all current obligations. Therefore, the Project Director should maintain a record of outstanding commitments.

  • Activity Reports will include all major items ordered through a purchase order and not yet paid for (listed in encumbered column).
  • Activity Reports do not include requisitions that have not been processed or projected expenditures. Only the Project Director and/or his administrative staff have this knowledge. Planned expenses must be taken into consideration when determining available funds.
  • Salary, wages and benefits should be analyzed to determine if sufficient funds exist for current project staff. If there are insufficient funds, call the Sponsored Programs Office for assistance in determining if other budgeted funds could be used or if a rebudgeting request to the sponsor is required.
  • Project expenditure status can be obtained by calling Sponsored Programs at Ext. 6-1123. A computer printout of that information can also be provided if desired. Project Director’s may also request direct on-line access to this information.
  • Maintain a close working relationship with Sponsored Programs staff. The Project Director and/or the administrative staff should meet with Sponsored Programs staff periodically during the course of the project to review financial status.
  • Project Directors are required to submit technical reports and deliverables as noted in their sponsored project agreement. When reports are submitted, please provide a copy of the report(s) to Sponsored Programs. When deliverables are submitted, please notify Sponsored Programs.


Project Account Closeout

The Project Director, in order to avoid project overruns, should contact Sponsored Programs to determine the fund balance for their project. Sponsored Programs will send out a reminder notice to the project director 30 days prior to project termination.

Sponsored Programs will arrange for a physical inventory of property and equipment for final disposition.

Institutes & Centers and Other Sponsored Programs Activity Accounts

Planned expenditures must be in conformance with the purpose of the account. Budgets and expenditures are closed out annually at fiscal year-end (June 30).


Activity reports which provide budget and actual direct expenditure data are electronically available for all externally sponsored contracts and grants, Centers and Institutes and other related sponsored programs accounts. These reports include the current indirect cost calculation at month end closing which is usually the 6th business day of the month following the month reported.

Activity Reports

Monthly reports provide financial data on a current month and project-to-date basis. The financial data consists of budget, actual expenditures, and encumbrances. Encumbrances represent purchase orders not yet paid. The top of the reports contain information showing the month the report covers, the project number, title, director, and the beginning and ending dates of the project.

There are two sections of the report. The first section shows the project-to-date activity.                                                 

The second section is the payroll cost distribution report which reflects payroll for all employees (student and non-student) on your specific project(s).

Special Reports

In addition to regular monthly financial reports, Sponsored Programs is able to provide additional financial reports on an account or transaction basis. Budget projection and advising is also available by request.

External Reports

Sponsored Programs prepares and submits financial and other reports as required to external sponsors of contracts and grants. These reports are generally financial in nature and most of them concern the request of funds to cover expenditures incurred. In addition, most sponsors require other final reports such as property, invention, or final technical reports.

The development and submission of a technical report is the responsibility of the Project Director. Sponsored Programs has the responsibility to monitor that reports have been submitted. This is particularly important since final payment for expenditures incurred may depend on receipt of the final technical report by the sponsor.

Sponsored Programs is also involved in responding to external requests for information from the Chancellor’s Office of CSU, governmental agencies, AOA surveys, and other organizations.