No Cost Extensions


A No-Cost Extension is an extension of the period of performance beyond the expiration end date of the award. Extensions are sometimes needed to allow the Principal Investigator to successfully complete the project.  As the phrase “no cost” suggests, there is no additional funding provided by the Sponsor.

A No-Cost Extension may be requested by the PI when all three of the following conditions are met:

  • The end of the project period is approaching.
  • There is a programmatic need to continue the research.
  • There are sufficient funds remaining to cover the extended remaining effort.

Requesting a No-Cost Extension

If you require a No-Cost Extension, please contact your Grants Specialist via email with the following attachments:

  • Award information, including the award number, award title and sponsor name
  • Justification Letter, detailing:
    • What unexpected event(s) delayed the progress and completion of the project
    • How the unexpected events were remedied
    • What progress will occur during the No-Cost Extension period to successfully complete the Scope of Work
    • How the No-Cost Extension will benefit the award’s results
  • Anticipated Balance, indicating the anticipated amount of funds remaining for the No-Cost Extension period
  • Compliance Information (if applicable), detailing the protocol type (e.g., IRB, IACUC, REHS), number, title, and expiration date

Extensions may be requested ONLY FOR PROGRAMMATIC reasons, such as the work took longer than expected. However, it is appropriate to state that sufficient funds remain to support the project for the additional period of time.

No-Cost Extension Deadlines

Sponsors require No-Cost Extension requests be submitted prior to the award’s current end date. Please notify our Grant Specialist as soon as possible upon determining the need for a No-Cost Extension request in order to ensure that there is adequate time for review, approval and adherence to Sponsor-specific guidelines and electronic systems.  Review the award document terms and conditions to determine applicability and prior approval requirements.  A few examples of Sponsor deadlines for No-Cost Extension requests are presented below:

Award Type Detail Example Deadlines
Federal On-time Extension with Prior Approval Exempt Some federal sponsors have delegated the responsibility for approving NCEs for awards to the Institution. For example, NSF, NIH, ARO, AFOSR, NEA, NEH, DOE and DoED allow an Institution to internally approve a one-time request to extend the end date of the project period up to an additional 12 months, unless otherwise noted in the award terms and conditions. Prior approval is required for any subsequent extension(s). For NIH, request is due between 0-90 days perior to award expiration.  For NSF, request is due at least 45 days prior to award expiration.
Federal, State, Municipalities, and Not-For-Profit Entities with Prior Approval Required Other federal, state, municipalities and not-for-profit sponsors require prior approval for NCE requests.  For example, ONR and State of New Jersey general require prior approval for NCE request.  If the sponsor has not delegated approval authority to the Institution, a written prior approval must be obtained by the Sponsor. For NSE, request is due at least 45 days prior to award expiration.

Note:  NSF requires that No-Cost Extensions requests be submitted via NSF’s electronic system. The PI or department administrator should initiate the request via and submit for SRP review / submit. The notification is received by Grants Contract Accounting and the Research and Sponsored Programs Grant Specialist. Once the request has been reviewed, confirmed and approved, the request will be submitted to NSF by our Grant Specialist.

Outcome of No-Cost Extension Requests

Our Grant Specialist will notify the PI if the Sponsor approves or rejects the No-Cost Extension request. The Sponsor always retains the right to refuse a No-Cost Extension request. Examples of reasons to refuse might include:

  • An extension may not be granted solely because there is money left over. Programmatic benefit must be justified.
  • Funding may have come prior from a prior year’s appropriation and cannot be extended.
  • The amount requested in the extension request appears excessive to the Sponsor.
  • Request falls beyond the required No-Cost Extension request deadline.

It is best to request the No-Cost Extension ahead of time to manage an orderly accomplishment of project work and to have a contingency plan in case the Sponsor does not approve the extension.