Uniform Guidance for Higher Education: Personal Services and Fringe Benefits
Higher education institutions applying for and receiving federal grants and cooperative agreements are in for some significant reforms that promise to increase competition for grant funds, add new administrative processes, change long-established principles, and impact the audits of organizations receiving federal grants.
White Paper: Uniform Grant Guidance for Higher Educational Institutions: Personal Services and Fringe Benefits Download Now
The Office of Management and Budget’s 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, commonly known as the Uniform Guidance (UG) but previously referred to as the Super Circular or Omni Circular, will apply to new awards and to additional funding (or funding increments) to existing awards made after December 26, 2014.
Personal services and fringe benefits
One area that has proven to be confusing is compensation for personal services and fringe benefits. The current guidance in OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, governs how these specific costs can be treated by educational institutions that are charging a portion of the costs to a grant, contract, or other agreement with the federal government.
While the new UG contains only minor changes regarding compensation for personal services and fringe benefits for higher education, the OMB has updated its guidance and includes additional areas such as extra service pay, personnel insurance costs, post-retirement health costs, tuition costs, and pension plan costs.
The new guidance allows federal agencies to approve alternative accounting methods for salaries and wages based on the achievement of performance outcomes. This includes areas that blend funding from multiple programs to achieve a more efficient combined outcome.
At more than 100 pages long, the new Uniform Guidance includes sweeping changes to the processes of applying for, managing, and auditing federal grants and cooperative agreements.
“It is critical that colleges and universities review these changes to stay in compliance,” advises Rebecca Field, a nonprofit manager for CliftonLarsonAllen. “Our professionals have burrowed deep into the guidance to find the issues that concern you most, and developed methods for implementing change.”
How we can help
CliftonLarsonAllen has prepared a white paper, Uniform Grant Guidance for Higher Educational Institutions: Personal Services and Fringe Benefits, that compares changes under the new UG with the current requirements under OMB Circular A-21 in the area of compensation for personal services and fringe benefits.
No matter how you are impacted by government regulations, CLA can help you find effective solutions for your needs.