Residual Balances

Learn about residual balances (retention of unspent cash) on sponsored projects at Columbia University.


Upon the termination of a project, any unexpended funds will be automatically returned to the sponsor unless the terms and conditions of the award permit the University to retain the residual balance (e.g., for fixed price awards). Principal investigators (PIs) and departmental administrators (DAs) should be aware of this process in order to facilitate prompt closure of projects and the appropriate disposition of unspent balances.

If an award is in the form of a fixed price contract and the terms and conditions explicitly state that the University may retain unexpended funds, the PI and DA may request that the residual balance be transferred to a non-sponsored project, including in the request the following information:

  • From the PI: an attestation that all project requirements have been satisfied and that all costs related to the sponsored project have been charged to the sponsored project
  • From the DA: an attestation that all costs relating to the sponsored project have been charged to the sponsored project

SPF will review the request along with the terms and conditions of the agreement, and if approved, will transfer the residual balance to the specified non-sponsored project.


Learn more about residual balances in the Sponsored Projects Handbook.


Contact your Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF) Finance and Compliance Manager for information about cash applications.

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