10.7 No-Cost Extensions

1. Request No-Cost Extension

A no-cost extension extends the project period beyond the project end date, at no cost to the sponsor, to give the PI some additional time to complete project work. There is no additional funding, as the phrase "no cost" suggests. A no-cost extension should be requested from the sponsor at least 60 days before the award end date, when all four of the following conditions are met:

  • No term of the award specifically prohibits the extension
  • Funds are left in the project budget
  • There is a programmatic need
  • The project's originally approved scope will not change

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2. The sponsor retains the right to say “yes” or “no.”

An extension may not be granted, just because there is money left over. A GOOD explanation as to WHY the extension is needed, and how the money will be used.

Because of this reality, it is always a good idea to request the extension in enough time to manage an orderly accomplishment of the project work, and to have a contingency plan in case the sponsor does not approve the extension.

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3. Request No-Cost Extension from Stanford

Some federal sponsors that have given authority to Stanford to approve a one-time no-cost extension of grants are: the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, U.S. Department of‘ Agriculture and Department of Energy. These internal requests must be made at least 30 days in advance of the project end date. These extensions, although approved by Stanford University, must still be requested by the PI and the sponsor must be notified. They do not happen automatically! In fact, some agencies are now looking at reducing or even eliminating the approvals of no-cost extensions.


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