Cost Transfers are necessary to ensure expenses are charged to the appropriate sponsored project or department. Cost transfers must be justified, documented, and completed in a timely manner to support the allowability and allocability of such costs.

NYU Approach

It is the policy of New York University that all cost transfers must be processed in compliance with Federal and other sponsor requirements. All cost transfers must be appropriately justified, documented and completed in a timely manner to support its allowability. Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for ensuring all cost transfers are executed in compliance with this policy.


Based on the Principal Investigator's (PI's) direction and approval, a retroactive cost transfer is justified in the following circumstances:

  • Correcting errors in clerical and/ or data entry.
  • Transfers between projects with the same award number that is continuing between years.
  • To transfer pre-award costs authorized in writing by the sponsor.
  • Pertinent information is received subsequent to the date of original entry
  • It was impractical or impossible to allocate charges at the time of the original entry
  • To transfer the costs recorded in a risk project to a discretionary/operating project when an award fails to materialize.

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Unacceptable Cost Transfers

Cost transfers between sponsored activities are not allowed in the following circumstances:

  • To cover an actual or anticipated cost overrun
  • To spend unexpended balances
  • To transfer a cost to a sponsored project after the submission of the final financial report
  • To circumvent award restrictions
  • To avoid cost overruns by charging another related project
  • To transfer an item to/from an award that has been closed 

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All payroll and Other than Personnel Services OTPS (non-payroll) cost transfers related to sponsored awards should be submitted within 90 days of the original date the transaction was posted in the University’s general ledger. If a cost transfer is over 90 days, additional reasons for the transfer must be provided; these include why the cost transfer is late and actions that will be taken to eliminate future late cost transfers. Cost transfers over 90 days are seldom approved.

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Documentation and Explanation

All cost transfers must include a detailed explanation and justification (i.e., rationale for allocation among projects) for the transfer. For example, an explanation that merely states that the transfer was made to “correct an error” is not sufficient.

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Authorization and Approval

Payroll:  The PI or designee must submit the PeopleSync action (retroactive adjustment) to their school/departmental Human Resource Officer (HRO) for approval. PeopleSync approvals are defined at the school/departmental level. Learn more about Fund 24/25 Payroll Cost Transfers, Retroactive Cost Allocations, and the PeopleSync Payroll Adjustment Process.

Other Than Personnel Services (OTPS):  OTPS transfers must be submitted through the Journal Entry Management System (JEMS) with an appropriate explanation. The department must maintain documentation, which shows that the PI approved cost transfers between closely related projects.

All transfers requested within 90 days of the original transaction date must be submitted by either the PI or designee, e.g., Departmental Administrator (DA).

All transfers requested over 90 days from the original transaction date must be approved by the School’s Fiscal Officer or designee

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Frequently Asked Questions

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