Learn about the interest accrual, disposition and reporting process on sponsored projects at Columbia University.


In some cases, a sponsor dictates that the funds received for a sponsored project must be placed in an interest-bearing account and accrue interest while held in stewardship at the University. The sponsor will also indicate the disposition for the interest, i.e., whether it may be used the further the objectives to the project, whether it must be returned to the sponsor, or whether it may be retained for general purpose use.

This task outlines the interest accrual, disposition and reporting process at Columbia, and should be known to administrators so that they may appropriately utilize and report on interest earned.

When a project with an interest-bearing requirement is set up by SPA, an interest-bearing flag will be placed on the project, showing one of four possible values:

  1. Federal: Interest to Project
  2. Non-Fed: Interest to Project
  3. Non-Fed: Interest to Dean/PI
  4. Non-Fed: Interest to Sponsor

Once the project has an interest-bearing flag, the receivable balance will be monitored by OMB, and for the quarters in which there is a deferred balance (excess cash on hand) on the project, interest will be calculated and posted to the project using natural account 70405. If the interest flag is 1 or 2, the interest may be used to further the objectives of the project. If the flag is 3, it may be retained for general usage.

If the flag is 4, the interest may not be spent and the administrator should take careful measures to ensure they leave enough available balance to return the funds to the sponsor. Where interest is reported to the sponsor on financial reports, this will generally be handled by Sponsored Projects Finance.


Contact your Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF) Finance and Compliance Manager for information about the interest process.

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