Budget Information

For budget preparation and post-award spending

Please see below some specific information about selected budget categories. Upon submitting a grant proposal, please be sure that you can justify the need for all budget items requested. Most applications request a detailed budget justification.  The project narrative should also reflect all aspects of the budget as needed to facilitate the project.  Once funding is received, be sure that you keep track of your budget. If you have not allocated adequate funds, contact the Office of Sponsored Research (OSP) about a budget reallocation.  A reallocation may have to be formally requested from the sponsor and/or RFCUNY.


RFCUNY grant funds are utilized to hire different types of project employees. For example, tutors, instructors, administrative assistants, and technicians are common RF positions. RF can support full­ time and part-time employees. Please note that in addition to the salary amount a grant is charged fringe benefit rates for full-time, Part time A (20-34 hours per week) and Part Time B employees (19 hours a week or less). Rates as of April 1, 2021 38% for Full time and Part time A employees and 9% for part time B employees. As of April 1, 2022 rates are 36.5% for Full Time and Part Time A employees and 8% for Part Time B employees. Annual increases of 2% should also be budgeted for staff. MTA Payroll tax of 0.34% should also be budgeted. For federal grants the amount must be budgeted as Other and not as fringe benefits. For other sponsors the fringe rates requested can be 38.34% and 9.34% and if activities will take place April 1, 2022 or later 36.84% and 8.34 %.

After receiving grant funding contact the OSP before you hire an employee, please email RDaniels@citytech.cuny.edu a completed City Tech RF Employee Processing Form. The form includes information about the process.

Summer salary

Full-time instructional CUNY faculty can receive summer salary from grants for work from June 1 to August 31 for conducting grant activities, if they are not teaching. Fringe benefits at 27.3% must also be budgeted. The CUNY Payroll Office remits summer salary payment. However, OSP must submit online for RFCUNY to charge the grant for summer salary.  If your grant is budgeted for summer salary, request a City Tech OSP summer salary form, if one is not sent to you before May 15th. Payment is typically issued the month following scheduled summer activities, e.g. payment for June work is issued in July.  As PI you will be requested to electronically certify all summer salary on your grant via rfcuny.org when the summer period ends.


Upon requesting travel funds on a grant, please be aware of the sponsor’s policies on travel. Some grants require travel to an annual project directors meeting, some may only allow domestic travel.  Please be sure to check guidelines to ensure that you are requesting allowable expenses. You must book your travel on a U.S. Flag carrier.  For PSC CUNY Awards all carriers used must be members of the “Open Skies” program.

After you are awarded travel monies and plan to travel you may request a partial advance of travel funds at least a month prior to your date of travel.  This would be based on your estimated costs and would cover 100% of your transportation and 80% of all other costs.  For PSC-CUNY awards advances are limited to 80% of your total travel budget.   You may also pay out of pocket. Upon return from trip a travel expense form must be submitted.  The travel advance and travel expense forms are available in electronic format on the RF web site.  Forms must be completed and uploaded to the Payment Request system at the RF web site with receipts.  Enter yourself as a new vendor if you are not already in the system and attach scanned copies of all receipts, boarding passes, hotel bills, credit card statements and meeting agendas or invitations to collaborate.  Travel must take place within the grant period, and if IRB is required for your research, within the approved IRB dates as well.


When requesting supplies and/or equipment please make sure that your request is within the sponsor’s guidelines. When creating a budget please note that any single item over $5,000 should be budgeted as equipment, anything less should be budgeted as supplies. For PSC-CUNY awards any single item over $1,000 is considered equipment but you still purchase it via the supply method.

When requesting supplies please make sure that your request is within your approved budget.  You can search for vendors by name in the RFCUNY Payment Request system to check if they have done business with RF CUNY before.  All supplies are to be shipped to the college and invoices should be addressed to yourself here at the college.   Ordering supplies is a two-step process.

Step 1: Placing an order

Items and orders under $5,000 are placed directly by the PI with vendor.  If they will not take an order via the email/telephone use a Small Order form available upon request from OSP. You would assign your own number, enter your grant number, list items or attach a quote and sign the form.  RF CUNY is tax exempt and the number is on the small order form.  If a vendor requests a tax exempt form please contact OSP.

Any equipment to be paid with RF funds that is either:

  1. a single item (equipment) costing $5,000 or more
  2. an order from a single vendor that totals $5,000 or more

must be ordered by RFCUNY. The PI must obtain a quote from vendor and submit with a Purchase Requisition form to RFCUNY to place order. An Equipment Screening Certificate must also be submitted for any single item over $5,000 requested. Email form and quote to PO@rfcuny.org.

Step 2: Requesting Payment

Upon receipt of items, either equipment or supplies, the PI must create an Payment Request at RF web site and attach a scanned copy of original vendor invoice and packing slip.  If the vendor is not currently in the RF database you will also be required to upload a W-9 form.  Payment will be issued directly to the vendor.

In rare instances a PI may purchase supplies using his/her own funds.  In this case you would request reimbursement via an e-payment request with yourself as the vendor.  You would need to attach the receipt and, if paid by credit card, a copy of your credit card statement.

Independent Contractors

An independent contractor is an individual or firm providing services free from direction and control of performance including the means and methods used.

Independent contractors fall into two categories:

  1. A company or firm providing service to the public or to a broad clientele.
  2. Individuals who are clearly in business for themselves such as self-employed physicians, lawyers, photographers, artists, construction contractors, electricians, and others in an independent trade, business or profession. This includes one-time professional lecturers and short-term professional consultants.

Before an independent contractor begins to work you must submit documentation to RF CUNY via Contract Manager.  The electronic system will walk you through the steps of determining whether an individual should be considered an employee or an independent contractor.

If the payment to an Independent Contractor is less than $5,000 you would complete the MOU information. You will also need to upload the attachments.
Attachment A: scope of work (what the contractor will be responsible for providing)
Attachment B: Payment schedule (deliverables and dates & amounts of payments that will be requested)
Attachment C: Additional Terms (on form)
Attachment D: Insurance Statement (on form)

Also required are the resume of the contractor, client list, and a W-9 form.  The contractor can begin work once the MOU is approved by RF and the funds encumbered on your account.  To pay the contractor for deliverables submit an E-payment request and attach a dated, numbered invoice that has been signed by the contractor.  RF CUNY would issue payment directly to the contractor.

If payment to an Independent Contractor is $5,000 or more complete the ICA in Contract Manager system.  You will still need to attach scope of work, client list, resume/CV, reporting/payment schedule, W-9, sole source justification and statement of need for hiring an independent contractor.  Upon approval, RF Legal Affairs would draw up a Contract and forward directly to the contractor for signature.  Once signed contract is received by RF CUNY and fully executed the funds will be encumbered on your account and the contractor may begin work. For payment to contractor submit an E-payment request and upload a dated, numbered invoice that has been signed by the contractor.  RF CUNY will issue payment directly to the contractor.

Subject Fees

If your grant includes cash, metrocards or gift card payments to subjects you must complete form RF037: Request for Petty Cash .You must explain why the funds are necessary, who will hold the funds and how they will be safeguarded.  You can request up to 80% of the amount budgeted.  You would create an Payment Request at RFCUNY website with yourself as the vendor and attach the signed form. Funds will be encumbered and a check will be issued to you from RF CUNY.  You will need to keep a strict accounting of how the funds are used.  Recipients will be required to sign a log upon receipt that includes the dollar amount, date of service and date of receipt of funds.   The receipt and proof of purchase of any gift cards or metro cards would be attached to an E-payment request along with log sheets upon completion of the distribution of funds. Any additional monies owed would be paid to PI.  Any unused funds must be returned to RF CUNY in the form of a check made payable to RF CUNY to reimburse the grant.

A note about PSC CUNY Research Awards

PSC CUNY Research Awards run from July 1st through June 30th.  A one-time extension through December 31st will be given to any PI making this request, no justification needed.

If you wish to change any of the budget items you need to include a justification for this new expense and explain why these monies are not being spent as originally budgeted.  All requests must be in writing and emailed to PSC_CUNY@rfcuny.org.

Additional information about PSC-CUNY Awards