Grant Cost Allowability During a Pandemic

Webinar • Thursday, May 14, 2020, 2020 • 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET

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Webinar Details

Prerequisites: Some knowledge of federal grant management and audit requirements is helpful

Recommended Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications

Program Knowledge Level: Basic

Advanced Preparation: None

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Management and Budget has given federal awarding agencies some needed flexibility in how they impose requirements on assistance awards. Those flexibilities, however, are still finding their way to recipients and subrecipients, and a critical portion of them address principles for charging costs to funded projects and programs.

In its guidance, OMB has stated that recipients and subrecipients can continue to charge salaries, wages and fringe benefits “based on their standard practices” related to absences. But those practices, if they exist, probably relate to short-term absences because of inclement weather and severe storms. Few address a disease pandemic.

OMB has instructed federal agencies that they can allow grantees during this crisis to charge some costs that are ordinarily unallowable. Beyond those brief instructions and a few examples are a whole range of costs that recipients and subrecipients have to figure out on their own how to pay for.

The challenges of operating current federal grants and preparing for new ones under the massive CARES Act show up on a daily basis. And, as the halting process of starting back up begins, there will be new situations that require allowability interpretations that will stand up to scrutiny later. So, during this webinar, you’ll learn about:

  • How OMB’s flexibilities on budget revisions and cost allowability intersect.
  • The continuing importance of the cost principles’ general tests of allowability.
  • Support for charging costs that were “unbudgeted.”
  • How to adjust time and effort reporting to accommodate telework and other worksite absences.
  • How to craft time-limited internal policies to address extraordinary situations.
  • How to formulate justifications for departing from normal costing practices.
  • Particular allowability challenges posed by marketplace shortages or price gouging.

Plus, there will be ample time for your questions to be answered by our presenter, Bob Lloyd, principal of Federal Fund Management Advisor™. Bob is a respected authority on federal policies affecting the award, administration and audit of grants, contracts and subawards.


  • Grant and contract managers
  • Sponsored projects administrators
  • Program managers
  • Principal investigators
  • Finance directors
  • Accounting staff
  • Internal auditors
  • External auditors

Hand-out Materials:

Attendees will receive presentation slides as well as access to background materials.

Allowable Charges

The costs of webinars sponsored by Federal Fund Management Advisor™ are allowable charges to your federal grants and subgrants. The cost principles issued by OMB under its uniform guidance (and applicable to all types of awardees) state, “The cost of training and education for employee development is allowable” (2 CFR 200.472).

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  • Understand special issues confronting pass-through entities contracting with foreign organizations
  • Know which clauses flow down when crafting a subaward
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