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Administrative Resources

Admin A to Z

This is an A to Z guide to administrative topics, from A cards to travel vouchers.


You may hear a lot of acronyms tossed around during any financial or employment process. Here's your decoder ring.

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An affiliate is normally not an employee, but a friend of INSTAAR. An affiliate actively collaborates with INSTAARs through research, teaching, outreach, or other projects; meets the academic standards of CU and INSTAAR; and has been appointed according to the Standing Rules of the Institute. An affiliate has a voting member of the Directorate as a sponsor.

INSTAAR offers affiliates an opportunity to further their own research interests or participate in the educational mission of the Institute.

Form to add an affiliate to Payroll and Benefit Services' HCM system as a "Person of Interest," so that the affiliate can receive access to CU systems.

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After the Fact purchases

In order for a unit to procure goods or services over $5000 from a vendor, the vendor must have a purchase order in hand. Failing to obtain the purchase order before committing to buy the goods or services results in an After the Fact purchase, and triggers a review and other steps.

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Allowable costs

OMB Circular A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," defines allowable costs for contracts and grants. Allowable costs must be:

  • Reasonable –  the prudent person principle
  • Allocable – can be shown to benefit the specific project
  • Consistent – consistently treated as direct or indirect cost

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Christopherson Business Travel

The official travel agency for CU:

  • phone: 303 694-8744    toll free: 1 855 462-8885
  • fax: 303 741-6329
  • business hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mountain Time.
  • emergency after hours: 1 800 787-2390 (must reference service code AI79).
  • assistance when booking online: email or call 1 888 535-0179 Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

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Compliance contacts

Wondering who to call for questions about compliance and your research (biosafety, export controls, NSF Responsible Conduct of Research)? Here's the list of people and their contact info.

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Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)

US government rules for determining costs on negotiated procurements like grants. Learn about CAS or download a CAS Exception Form.

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Cost sharing

The portion of a total sponsored project’s costs that are paid from sources other than funds provided by the sponsor. Learn more, or download a clear explanation from the University of Texas at Austin (their procedure is the same as ours).

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Cost transfer

In the sponsored research/CU world, cost transfer is when an expense previously allocated to one fund is transferred to a sponsored project fund. Learn more.

In the smaller INSTAAR world, the cost transfer authorization is a form for transferring funds from one speed type to another.

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The Departmental Administration Indirect Cost Recovery (DA-ICR) program returns a portion of the indirect cost recovery generated from a grant to INSTAAR and the PI's department(s). The split for any return is decided when the proposal is processed. The split is normally 87.5% to INSTAAR and 12.5% to the faculty member's department. “Non-normal” splits must be documented in writing.

For DA-ICR guidelines from the CU Research & Innovation Office, go to their Policies web page and search for DA-ICR.

You don't need approval for waivers for some small, outreach, and other projects—in other cases you do.  Here's how to tell the difference.

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Disclosure of External Professional Activities (DEPA)

University employees are generally encouraged to take on outside professional activities, such as consulting, textbook authoring, panel participation, etc. Filling out a DEPA manages any potential conflict of interest from these activities.  Learn more or log in to fill out the DEPA:

  • Go to
  • Click on top tab CU Resources.
  • Click on Faculty Reporting (left side column in the shaded area).
  • Scroll down the left hand column until the DEPA link become visible.
  • Click on the DEPA link and complete the form.

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Discrimination and harassment training

CU is committed to maintaining a positive working environment free from discrimination and harassment. Employees are required to complete periodic training on discrimination and harassment - here's how.

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The Electronic Personnel Effort Reporting System (ePERS) provides documentation to funding agencies that payroll costs are reasonably congruent with effort expended on sponsored projects. Learn more on CU's Campus Controller’s Office web pages if you really care for the details.  Or just complete your ePERS by going to the myCUinfo portal and logging in using your Identikey. Click on the CU Resources tab at the top, then "Business Applications" in the navigation menu on the left. Click the ePers link.

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Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action

CU is committed to equal employment opportunity (EEO) for all individuals based solely on individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, sex, pregnancy, national origin, creed, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or veteran's status. To ensure EEO, the campus takes affirmative action (AA) to recruit, hire, promote and retain qualified individuals from historically underrepresented groups.

Read the EEO/AA Policy or review CU-Boulder's Affirmative Action Plans.

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The Office of Contracts and Grants approves all equipment purchases made as part of contracts or grants in conjunction with the sponsoring agency. Learn more to keep you on the right track while talking with your accounting tech.

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Facilities & Administrative costs

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs were formerly known as indirect costs and overhead. These are costs necessary to support research and other sponsored projects, but that can't be readily assigned to individual projects: facilities operations, library services, and administration. Learn more about the details and CU rates.

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Faculty Computer Purchase Program

All CU-Boulder teaching faculty are eligible for a subsidy of $1200 every four years to upgrade their computers and incorporate technology into their teaching and learning. Learn how to buy a computer through the program.

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Fly America Act

Learn more about the law that requires U.S. federal grantees and employees to conduct air travel on U.S. flag airlines. The Open Skies Agreement provides some exceptions to the Fly America Act.

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Honoraria are token payments made as a gesture of appreciation for a one-time service, such as a guest lecture. Payment cannot exceed $5000; any payment over $2000 requires an officer signature. Use the honorarium form for any payment over $100.

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ICR (Indirect Cost Recovery)


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Indirect costs

Indirect costs are now known as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs. These are costs necessary to support research and other sponsored projects, but that can't be readily assigned to individual projects: facilities operations, library services, and administration. Learn more about the details and CU rates.

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When email just won't do:

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Various versions of INSTAAR logos are available in this zip file.

CU logos are also available.

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Matching support

Matching support can be requested from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Guidelines explain their policies and the time required to process requests.

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No-Cost Extension

An extension to a grant that allows additional time, usually a year, to complete the original Scope of Work without additional funds. Learn how to get one.

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Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

This office administers much of the research conducted at CU. Visit their web site or download an organizational chart.

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Open Skies Agreement

Agreements with other countries that provide exceptions to the Fly America Act in some circumstances.

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Organizational Prior Approval System (OPAS)

In certain cases on grants, CU can change direct cost allocations or set up accounts early. If you need to procure items early to ensure that you don't miss a key field season, or change the budget to reflect adjustments in equipment purchases or travel, talk to Catherine. Learn more about OPAS.

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Participant Support Costs

Costs included in a proposal budget that are directly related to transportation, per diem, stipends and other related costs for participants or trainees (but NOT employees) in connection with NSF-sponsored conferences, meetings, symposia, training activities and workshops. Learn more.

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Person of Interest

A Person of Interest is an affiliate, contractor, or other person who needs access to CU systems or to be tracked for compliance purposes.

Form to add a Person of Interest to Payroll and Benefit Services' HCM system.

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Everything you ever wanted to know, and then some, about the University policies regarding all kinds of property.

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Sole source procurement

Usually, a purchase of more than $5000 requires competition. But if only one good or service will do, from only one available source, you can use Sole Source Procurement (information and step-by-step guide).

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Tuition remission

All graduate students appointed as Research Assistants (RA), Teaching Assistants (TA), Graduate Assistants (GA), or Graduate Part-Time Instructors (GPTI) receive tuition remission as part of their compensation for services rendered. See the Graduate School web site for a training slide show and step by step guide on how to enter a TA/RA waiver.

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Visiting scholars can enter the U.S. on a number of different types of visas. Find out about these types and get help from CU's Office of International and Student Scholar Services (ISSS).

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