Is it an Unliquidated or Unobligated Training Grant?

Unliquidated vs. Unobligated, Training Grants

A NIH Training grant is awarded to eligible institutions “to develop or enhance research training opportunities for individuals, selected by the institution, who are training for careers in specified areas of biomedical, behavioral and clinical research” (NIH Grants Policy Statement).  Training grants are commonly referenced by the acronym NRSA = National Research Service Award.

The financial aspect of managing training grants comprises of two important elements, reporting and closeout.  Reporting requires tracking and monitoring of Trainees and closeout requires complete reconciliation of all years awarded.  Tracking and monitoring of each Trainee, includes monitoring of not only stipend, but also tuition/fees. Tuition/Fees and Stipends are considered Trainee costs and cannot be used for any other direct costs without prior approval from the agency. 

Trainees are appointed on an annual basis. In many cases, the Trainee appointment period may overlap budget periods. When the Trainee appointment period overlaps the budget period, a balance of unobligated or unliquidated funding occurs. These funds are often referenced as unexpended balances. Any unexpended balance resulting from stipend specifically is reported as “unliquidated” balance. Financial reports are prepared on a cash basis, obligation/stipend incurred by the non-Federal entity that have not been paid are considered unliquidated. Once the obligation/stipend is paid, it is then considered liquidated. Unliquidated balances are used to offset future funding. 

Upon receipt of your next NOA, you will notice the amount of new funding to your institution, reduced by the amount reported as unliquidated i.e. offset by NIH. Most training grants do not allow unexpended balances to be carried forward without prior approval. Even when carry forward is allowed, it may be restricted.

xTrain allows grantee institutions to electronically submit and track required paperwork for training grant and each trainee is required to have annual appointments via xTrain. 

All other unexpended balances are reported as unobligated. This implies that these funds are unused and unallocated to any one specific item.  Unobligated funds are the amount of funds authorized under a Federal award that the non-Federal entity has not obligated. The amount is computed by subtracting the cumulative amount of the non-Federal entity’s unliquidated obligations and expenditures of funds under the Federal award from the cumulative amount of the funds that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity authorized the non-Federal entity to obligate.

 Here are a few friendly reminders:

  • Closeout process occurs annually 
  • Remember unliquidated obligation. 
  • All Trainee complete termination in xTrain
  • All financial reports complete and all other reports must be received
  • No invention statements are required

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