Glossary & Acronyms

Term-Acronym/Unit    n/a = No Acronym or no Unit of representation
Definition of term

Letters are omitted where terms do not exist.



Allocable Cost - n/a / Recharge & Indirect Cost

A cost, or a group of costs attributable to one or more cost objective, in reasonable and realistic proportion to the benefit provided. Those categories of costs that can be charged to a grant, such as salaries and equipment. Certain types of costs, such as the cost of alcoholic beverages are not allowable and may not be charged to a contract or grant. Refer to OMB Circular A-21 for allowable costs which can be charged to Federal contracts and grants. Back to top

Amendment - n/a

Any change to a contractual agreement needing official signature. Back to top

Assignable Square Feet - ASF / Capital Budget & Indirect Cost

The sum of all floor or surface areas of a building assigned to, or available for assignment to, an occupant or user, including every type of space functionally usable by an occupant or user. Back to top

Audit - n/a

A Formal examination of an organizations or individuals accounts or financial records. An audit may also include examination for compliance with applicable terms, laws, and regulations. Back to top

Authorized signature - n/a

The signature of a University official who is designated to give assurances, make commitments, and execute such documents on behalf of a University as may be required by federal and state agencies and other organizations that provide financial assistance to the University. The signature of an authorized official certifies that commitments made on grant proposals or contract agreements can be honored; and ensures that all sponsored agreements conform to federal regulations, agency guidelines, and University policies on behalf of the UC Regents. Back to top

Awarded Funds - n/a

Funds in the form of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement that have been obligated by a funding agency for a particular project. Back to top


Basic Gross Area - BGA / Capital Budget

The sum of all areas, finished and unfinished, on all floors of an enclosed structure (that is, within the environmentally controlled envelope), for all stories or areas which have floor surfaces. Back to top

Budget Adjustment - n/a / All

The act of amending a budget by moving funds between and within categories or line items. Back to top


Capital Equipment - n/a / All

An article of personal property not permanently attached to buildings or grounds and that has an acquisition cost of $5,000 per item ($1,500 prior to FY 2004-2005) or more (exclusive of sales and/or use tax, freight, and installation) and a life expectancy of more than one year. Back to top

Carry Forward - n/a / All

Unexpected funds carried from one budget period to another. Back to top

Core Financial Plan - CFP / n/a

Plans the chancellor’s sources of money. Back to top

Change order- n/a /  Indirect Cost & Capital Budget 

A Written order signed by the contracting officer, directing the contractor to make changes in a program. Back to top

Common Cost Allocations- n/a / Recharge

Recharge to allocate shared costs benefitting multiple funds. Back to top

Contract- n/a

A type of sponsored award used for procuring products or services with specific obligations for both sponsor and recipient. Typically, research contracts have a research topic and the methods for conducting the research specified in detail by the sponsor, although some sponsors award contracts in response to unsolicited proposals. A contract is generally considered to be for the benefit of the sponsor, while a grant is for the benefit of the recipient. Back to top

Control Point- n/a / Recharge

Designated UCSF representative on the upper level of the campus organizational hierarchy having oversight responsibility for subordinate units. Back to top

Cost Accounting Standards - CAS / All

Federally mandated accounting standards intended to ensure uniformity in budgeting and spending funds. Back to top

Cost Sharing - n/a / Indirect Cost

A general term where more than one party contributes to the total cost of a sponsored project.  Cost sharing can be in the form of "hard dollars," or in-kind contributions such as time committed to a project without reimbursement from the sponsor. Example: A university receives a grant for a project estimated to have a total cost of $100,000. The sponsor agrees to pay 75% ($75,000) and the university agrees to pay 25% ($25,000). The $25,000 is the cost-sharing component. Federal guidance identifies three types of cost sharing:  Mandatory, Voluntary Committed, and Voluntary Uncommitted. Back to top

Cost Sharing (Mandatory) - n/a /  Indirect Cost & Operating

Effort or resources beyond those funded by the sponsor, but required by a sponsor as a condition of award.  The value is to be contributed by the award recipient from other funding sources.  Fulfillment documentation of the Mandatory Cost Sharing is often required by the sponsor.  Costs of Mandatory Cost Sharing must be included in the same base as the sponsored award for F&A Proposals. Back to top

Cost Sharing (Voluntary Committed) - n/a / Indirect Cost

Quantifiable effort or resource pledged in a proposal’s narrative or budget, or in the resulting award, but where no or only partial sponsor funding is requested.  Fulfillment documentation of the Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing may or may not be required by the sponsor.  Costs of Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing must be included in the same base as the sponsored award for F&A Proposals. Back to top

Cost Sharing (Voluntary Uncommitted) - n/a / Indirect Cost

Effort or resource contributed to a project that are neither specifically committed in the proposal budget or award, nor required by the sponsor. Fulfillment documentation of the Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing is not required by the sponsor.  Costs of Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing need not be included in the same base as the sponsored project, and any associated effort is excluded from the effort reporting requirement in A-21 section J.10. Back to top

Cost Transfer - n/a /  Indirect Cost, Operating & Capital Budget

A formal process of moving expenses from one DPA-Fund-NCA to another. Special documentation may be required when sponsored awards are involved. Back to top

Cube - n/a

 Is a Data Warehouse, related to webLINKS. These can process financial reports. Back to top


Deficit - n/a / All

Financial situation where expenditure exceed fund availability. Back to top

Department Account - DPA / Recharge

The “Departmental Account” field as defined in UCSF’s general ledger system. A six digit field used to group financial transactions of departments of major financial statement functions within departments. Back to top

Depreciation - n/a / Recharge

The amortized cost of purchased equipment, calculated on a straight line basis with no salvage value using the useful life in the equipment Useful Life Schedule issued by Office of the President. Back to top

Direct Costs - n/a / Indirect Cost & Recharge

Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored award, instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy (A-21). Back to top

Disclosure Statement, DS2 Policy - DS2 / n/a

Disclosure Statement - The DS2 is the disclosure statement that discusses all accounting procedures related to direct vs. indirect costs. Back to top


Educational Funds - n/a / All

Portion of private ICR funds returned to UCSF from OP. Back to top

Effort Certification - n/a / Indirect Cost

Federal requirement of OMB Circular A-21 that all effort applied to federally sponsored contracts or grants be verified after the fact to see that effort reasonably reflects the planned distribution of pay. Back to top

Employee Benefits - EB / All

Paid by the employer (e.g., OASDI, Medicare, Worker's Compensation, Medical Insurance, etc.) Back to top

Encumbrances - n/a / Indirect Cost

A specific amount of funds that has been set-aside in an account for the receipt of an order or the payment of an invoice. Encumbrances reduce the available balance of an account. Back to top

Endowment - n/a

A fund usually in the form of an income-generating investment, established to provide long-term support for faculty/research positions (e.g., endowed chair). Back to top

External Audits - n/a / Indirect Cost

A review conducted by an external agency. Back to top

External Revenue - n/a / Recharge

Revenue derived from providing recharge products or services to external users. Back to top

External Sales - n/a / Indirect Cost & Recharge

An exchange of tangible or intangible property or services between the University and external customers for monetary consideration. External sales may be subject to federal and state taxes. Back to top

Extramural support - n/a / Indirect Cost

Funding for research, training or public service programs provided by federal or private sources outside the university. Back to top


Facilities and Administration Cost - F&A / Indirect Cost

In its 1996 revision of OMB Circular A-21, the Federal government replaced the term "indirect costs" with "facilities and administrative costs." According to OMB Circular A-21, F&A costs are "costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity." Examples include operation and maintenance expenses, and costs incurred for sponsored projects administration. Example: "The total cost of a sponsored project is comprised of the direct costs plus a portion of the F&A costs of the institution." Back to top

Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act - FFAMIA / Indirect Cost

Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act (FFAMIA)/P.L. 106-107 Enacted in 1999, this federal law is intended to make it easier for State, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for and report on financial assistance. The Act requires federal agencies to create a common system (Federal Commons) for electronic processing of all grant programs. Back to top

Federal Financial Disclosure - n/a

Form for financial disclosure for the National Science Foundation and Public Health Service. Back to top

Firm Fixed Price - n/a / Indirect Cost

A type of agreement whereby payment is not based on actual costs expended, but upon a mutually agreed upon price. Back to top

Fiscal Year - FY / n/a

A year of business activity other than the calendar year. At the University, the fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30 the following year. Fiscal years are associated with accounting and budget year transactions. Back to top

Fixed Fee - n/a / Indirect Cost

In a "fixed fee" award, the PI agrees to accomplish project objectives within a specific time frame for a set dollar amount per patient, per hour, or other unit. The total award amount is based on an estimated number of units and is subject to downward adjustment based on the actual number of units completed. Sponsor approval is required to exceed the estimated number of units. The fee per unit remains constant, even if the actual cost per unit is above or below that amount. Any over expenditures are the responsibility of the department, and earned unspent revenue does not revert to the sponsor. If the deliverable are not completed within the award period, the contract must be extended. Back to top

Fixed Price - FP / Indirect Cost

In a "fixed price" award, the PI agrees to accomplish project objectives within a specific time frame for a set dollar amount. If the deliverables are not completed within the award period, the contract must be extended. The award amount also remains constant, even if actual costs for the project are above or below it. Any over expenditures are the responsibility of the department, and unspent funds do not revert to the sponsor. In a Fixed-Price Contract/Grant A contract/grant for which one party pays the other party a predetermined price, regardless of actual costs, for services rendered. Quite often this is a fee-for-service agreement. Back to top

Fringe Benefits - n/a / Indirect Cost

Employee benefits paid by the employer. (e.g., FICA, Worker's Compensation, Withholding Tax, Insurance, etc.) Back to top

Full Cost - n/a / Recharge

All costs associated with providing recharge products or services. Back to top

Fund - n/a / Recharge

Funding source as defined in UCSF’s general ledger system. A five digit number that defines a discrete monetary source.  Identifies a specific project, program or group of activities that require financial tracking by source. Back to top

Fund accounting - n/a / All

Is the procedure by which financial resources are classified for accounting and reporting purposes in accordance with activities or objectives specified by donors, by regulations, restrictions or by limitations imposed by outside sources. Back to top


Garamendi Funds -  n/a

Type of indirect cost reimbursement, an example of use is generally capital/building costs. Back to top

Grant - n/a / Indirect Cost & Operating

An award given to the University for a specific purpose to support instruction, research or public service. "Grant" is also a specific type of award (as opposed to contract or cooperative agreement). In this context, "grant" is a pledge of support where the sponsor has little involvement in conducting the project. Back to top


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Indirect Costs Recovery Rate - n/a / All

A percentage (rate) applied to the sponsor supported project costs. Collection of indirect costs from external users overhead rate is applied to the internal cost-based recharge rate for products or services provided to external users.The rate is multiplied by a base amount, the product of which is the indirect costs the grantee will recover from the sponsor. The base amount can be the total direct costs (TDC) charged to a contract/grant or a portion of total direct costs. The later is usually referred to as modified total direct costs (MTDC). The rate, and base to which the rate is applied, are determined by negotiations with a sponsor. UC Davis has negotiated a number of different rates depending on the location (i.e. on-campus/off-campus), and the nature of the project (i.e. research, public service, instruction) Rates and base amounts for Federal contracts/grants are negotiated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). For non-Federal sponsors the indirect cost rates and base amounts are negotiated individually with each sponsor/program. Back to top

Indirect Costs - n/a / All

Costs that cannot be readily identified with or related to a specific activity or project defined in OMB Circular A-21. Back to top

Intellectual Property - n/a / Indirect Cost

Is a broad term that encompasses the various intangible products of the intellect of inventors. These include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, know-how, and other proprietary concepts, including an invention, scientific or technological development, and even computer software and genetically engineered microorganisms. Back to top

Inter-campus sub-allocation - n/a / Indirect Cost

A sub-award transferring funds between two campuses of the University of California is termed an inter-campus sub-allocation. The agreement takes the form of a brief memo from one campus to the other. As with other subawards, an intercampus suballocation from one UC campus typically passes on to the other campus the same terms and conditions of the prime award from the funding agency. Back to top


Janitorized Square Feet - JSF - Capital Budget

The sum of all floor or surface areas, within a building, and its related areas or Special Areas, except for private vehicle parking areas, that require or receive regular, scheduled Janitorized or custodial or service through institutional, contract. Back to top


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Leasehold Improvements - n/a / Recharge

An alteration or renovation to space that is leased and paid for by the University and which is capitalized in the University’s general ledger. Back to top


Maintained Gross Square Feet - MGSF (MSF) / Capital Budget & Indirect Cost

The sum of all building area and related area space, which require operation and maintenance of plant support, regardless of the source of funding for such support, and includes the sum of a building’s outside gross area. Back to top

Memorandum of Agreement - MOA / Indirect Cost

A contractual arrangement between the Washington University and a corporate sponsor that stipulates the terms and conditions under which specific work is performed. Back to top

Memorandum of Understanding - MOU / Indirect Cost

A contractual arrangement between the campus and another party that stipulates the terms and conditions under which specific work is performed (See MOA). Back to top

Modification - n/a / Indirect Cost

An award document that modifies any aspect of an existing award. Examples: approval to carry forward funds to a subsequent budget period, adding or deleting special terms and conditions, changes in funding levels, administrative changes initiated by the agency, change of principal investigator, etc. Back to top

Modified Total Direct Costs - MTDC / Indirect Cost

Total direct costs less certain budget categories. Budget categories to be subtracted from total direct cost for the federally negotiated IDC rate are as follows: Equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care and tuition remission, rental costs, scholarships, and fellowships as well as subgrants/subcontracts up to $25,000 shall be excluded from the modified total direct costs (from OMB Circular A-21). Back to top


Natural Class Account - NCA / Recharge

The “Natural Class Account” field as defined in UCSF’s general ledger system. A six digit number providing recording and summarization of transactions at the lowest level of classification by Balance Sheet items (Assets, Liabilities, Fund Balances), Revenues and Expenditures. Back to top

Net-Usable Area - NUA / Capital Budget

The sum of all areas on all floors of a building either assigned to, or available for assignment to, an occupant for a specific use. Back to top

New Award - n/a / All

A grant or contract to fund a new project - An award not previously awarded or a renewal or continuation award treated as a new award by the sponsor and given a new agency number. Back to top

No Cost (Time) Extension - n/a / Indirect Cost

An extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration data to allow the principal investigator to finish a project. Usually, no additional costs are provided. Back to top

Non Assignable Square Feet - NSF / Capital Budget & Indirect Cost

There are various kinds of areas within a building that are essential but which are not assigned directly to support programs. Back to top


Off the Top - OTT / Finance & Indirect Cost

Funds portion of federal ICR funds returned to UCSF from OP. Back to top

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 - OMB A-110 / Indirect Cost & Recharge

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, uniform regulations for each Federal agency to follow in regards to the administration of projects sponsored by the Federal government. In addition, each Federal agency has its own regulations that are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and explained in its policy handbook (if it has one). Back to top

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-133 - OMB A- 133 / Indirect Cost & Recharge

Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations. Back to top

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 - OMB Circ A- 21 / Indirect Cost & Recharge

Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions.  This document establishes uniform regulations that the University must follow in regards to determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions. Each Federal agency applies these laws in its own regulations that are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and explained in its policy handbook (if it has one). The OMB Circular is the backbone of agency regulations; the agency cannot impose  regulations that are inconsistent with the Circular or impose additional requirements. Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, defines direct and indirect costs for purposes of accounting for federal funds. Back to top

Office of Management and Budget Circulars - OMB Circulars / Indirect Cost & Recharge

Regulatory circulars issued by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), for example, OMB Circulars A-21, A-110, and A-133. Back to top

Opportunity Funds - OPP / All

Portion of federal ICR funds returned to UCSF from OP. Back to top

Other Support - n/a / Indirect Cost, Capital Budget & Finance

All financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual's research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts are not included. Back to top

Outside Gross Square Feet - OGSF50 / Capital Budget

Basic Gross Area + 50% of the reported Covered Unenclosed Area. Back to top

Overdrafts - n/a / All

An individual account in which the expenditures and encumbrances have exceeded the budget. An account is considered to be in overdraft if there is a negative balance available, regardless of the cause. Back to top


Parity Lien Debt Test - n/a / Indirect Cost, Capital Budget & Finance

Debt Service Coverage Ratio test comparing unrestricted net revenues available for debt service to amount of debt service principal and interest.  Ratio of Funds available to Funds committed for debt service must be greater than 1.25. Back to top

Patent- n/a / Indirect Cost, Capital Budget

A patent is a grant of property by the United States government to the inventor giving the owner of the patent the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the U.S. or importing it to this country. A U.S. patent is granted for 20 years. Back to top

Program Income - n/a / Indirect Cost

Generally program income is gross income earned by a research grant recipient from the activities, part or all of which are borne as a direct cost by the grant. Examples are fees for services performed under the grant, rental or usage fees charged for use of equipment purchased with grant funds, third party patient reimbursements for hospital or medical services paid from the grant, funds generated by the sale of commodities, such as cell lines or research animals developed from or paid for from the grant, and patent or copyright royalties. Back to top


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Rates - n/a / Recharge

Rates charged to users of recharge products or services. Back to top

Recharge - n/a / Recharge

A charging mechanism for products or services provided by a unit to other units within the University. Back to top


Salaries and Wages - S&W / Indirect Cost

Payments made to employees of the institution for work performed. Back to top

Short Term Interest Pool- STIP / All

Funds available for current expenditures that reside in campus funds maintained by The Regents of the University of California are part of STIP and all campuses participate in the distribution of STIP income. Monies received by the campuses are deposited on a daily basis into campus depository bank accounts, which are then transferred daily to The Regents' central bank accounts from which investments are made. Each campus participates in the investment up to its share of the pool, based on the campus financial fund balances, assets, and liabilities. STIP income earned is distributed at the end of each quarter to each of the campuses. Back to top

Single Source Acquisition - n/a / Indirect Cost

Issuing an award to a subcontractor without full and open competition. This may be done if an award is the result of collaboration (where the ideas, concepts, and methodology were developed by the two parties jointly). There are restrictions on the use of this means of procurement and documentation must show justification for using single source acquisition. Back to top

Small Business Innovative Research - SBIR / Indirect Cost

Agency administered programs supported by earmarked federal funds, making grants to small business entities. Back to top

Small Business Technology Transfer - STTR / Indirect Cost

Grant applications and/or programs to fund small business "teamed" with research institutions. Back to top

Sponsored Project - n/a / Indirect Cost

A project supported by an external funding source under a mutually binding agreement that restricts the use of funds to the approved project and stipulates other conditions with which the university must comply. Back to top

Subcontract, Subgrant, or Subagreement - n/a / Indirect Cost & Capital Budget

A document written under the authority of, and consistent with the terms and conditions of an award (a grant, contract or cooperative agreement), that transfers a portion of the research or substantive effort of the prime award to another institution or organization. Back to top

Subsidies - n/a / Recharge

Can offset expenses, year-end deficit or rates charged for specific recharge products or services. Back to top

Surplus - n/a / Recharge

A positive fund balance resulting when actual revenue/income is greater than actual cost. Back to top

Surplus Revenue - n/a / Recharge

Recharge revenue over and above cost, generated by charging external customers a rate over and above the internal cost-based rate. Back to top


Tangible Personnel Property - TPP / Indirect Cost & Capital Budget

Normally items that can be touched or weighed. Back to top

Task Order Agreement - TOA / Indirect Cost & Capital Budget

A legally binding document authorizing work and appropriating funds as a supplement to a basic contract. Back to top

Technical Report - n/a /  Indirect Cost, Capital Budget & Finance

A report submitted by an investigator on the progress and/or status of a project supported by sponsored funds. Narrative reports are part of the conditions of many sponsored agreements; may be submitted as an interim report, with continuation proposals, requests for supplemental funding, or at the termination of a sponsored project. Back to top

Terms of Award - n/a / Indirect Cost & Capital Budget

All legal requirements imposed on an agreement by the sponsor, whether by statute, regulation(s), or terms in the award document. The terms of an agreement may include both standard and special provisions that are considered necessary to protect the sponsor's interests. Back to top

Total Direct Costs - TDC / Indirect Cost, Capital Budget & Finance

The total of all direct costs of a project, does not include F&A costs. Back to top

Total Return Investment Pool - TRIP / All

The TRIP is an investment pool established by The Regents and is available to UC Campuses and certain other related entities. The TRIP allows UC organizations to maximize return on their long-term working capital, subject to an acceptable level of risk, by taking advantage of the economies of scale of investing in a larger pool and investing across a broad range of asset classes. Back to top

Total Project Costs - n/a / Indirect Cost, Capital Budget & Finance

The total allowable direct and indirect costs incurred by the institution to carry out an approved project or activity. Back to top


Unallowable Cost/s - n/a / Recharge & Indirect Cost

Unallowable cost means any cost which, under the provisions of any pertinent law, regulation, or sponsored agreement cannot be included in prices, cost reimbursements, or settlements under a Government sponsored agreement to which it is allocable. (CAS 9905.505). Costs not allowed on recharge activities, for example: administrative costs not related to administering the recharge, advertising for recharge products/services, bad debts, contingency or expansion reserves, entertainment, fines and penalties, and cost already paid for by the federal government. Back to top

Unrelated Business Income Tax - UBIT / Recharge

May apply to recharges with external revenue greater than 5% of total revenue. Recharge Unit should consult with the Controller’s Office. Back to top

Unrestricted Funds - n/a / All

Moneys with no requirements or restrictions as to use or disposition. Grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements are considered to be restricted funds, while gifts are usually considered unrestricted funds. Back to top

User Committee - n/a Recharge

A committee that includes representatives of users of a recharge activity. Back to top


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Waivers - n/a / Recharge

An exception to policy. Waivers must be in writing and directed to the Campus Budget Office. Back to top


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