No-Cost Extension SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To extend a grant's project period without additional funding.


Under a no-cost extension, recipients can extend a grant's project period one time for up to 12 months through the eRA Commons if:

  • The “self-No Cost Extension” link in eRA Commons is available for the grant that's to be extended.
  • No term of award in the Notice of Award specifically prohibits doing so.
  • The project’s originally approved scope will not change.
  • No additional funds are required.
  • Some grant funds are remaining and will not be cancelled during any portion of the extension period under Public Law 101-510.
  • The grant does not have a fundable renewal application pending award.
  • One of the following conditions applies to the project:
    • Additional time required to complete the project or the orderly phase-out of the project. Note: Remaining funds balance must be enough to do either.
    • Continuity of support is required while a renewal application (Type 2) is under review.

Recipients need NIAID prior approval if any of the following situations apply:

  • There is no “self-No Cost Extension” link in eRA Commons or the Commons' self-No Cost Extension was missed when the link was available (active up until the last day of the project period).
  • They request an additional no-cost extension(s).
  • The grant is a multiyear funded award.

NIAID requires direct approval from the Grants Management Program (GMP) Director to extend grants more than 2 fiscal years beyond the final project period. 

  • After 5 fiscal years, any funds remaining from the first of the 5 fiscal years in the grant’s Payment Management System account will be cancelled regardless of a project's completion status, without any opportunity to get the money back.
    • For example, if recipients have carryover funds remaining from the first year of their award, they will lose that money on the first day (October 1) of the sixth fiscal year after the initial award, even if they have a no-cost extension. NIAID will not approve any extension that will not allow a recipient to reconcile funds before the fund cancellation. This equates to NIAID’s not extending any grant in the fifth fiscal year (past March 31 of the fifth fiscal year).

First Extension Requests

Follow the steps below. If the first extension request is submitted after the project period end date or is submitted for a multiyear funded grant, follow the instructions under Subsequent Extension Requests instead. For requests submitted after the project end date include an explanation for the late request as well as a corrective action plan describing how the organization will prevent this from happening in the future.

Principal Investigators and Recipients

  • Ensure all required certifications and assurances are up to date, including approvals for human subjects assurances and animal welfare assurances.
  • In the eRA Commons, enter your no-cost extension before the last day of the final budget period.
    • NIH's IMPAC database updates your budget and project period end dates and notifies your grants management specialist (GMS).
    • If you miss the deadline, contact your GMS to check if you can still take a no-cost extension. Additional prior approval steps are required.

Subsequent Extension Requests

Follow the steps below for all subsequent extensions, as well as for an initial extension on a multiyear funded grant. Note that NIAID rarely approves more than one extension, which requires sufficient justification. NIAID almost never approves a third extension and will entertain only a request that has a very strong justification based on an exceptional and unusual circumstance. Note that NIH policy limits multiyear funded grants only one extension of up to 12 months.

Principal Investigators and Recipients

  • At least 30 days before the end of your extension period, submit your request in the eRA Commons Prior Approval Module or send your extension request in writing to your GMS.
    • Include the following information in your request:
      • The extension period requested, no more than 12 months.
      • The amount of funds remaining.
      • A detailed budget and budget justification reflecting your proposed plans to use the remaining funds during the extension.
      • A scientific rationale for continuing the project including an explanation of work to be done during the extension.
      • Explain in detail why you could not finish your project on time.
    • If the assigned GMS has not acknowledged receiving the request within 3 business days, recipients should contact the GMS to confirm that the request was received.
  • NIAID allows only two no-cost extensions for its grants. If a recipient believes it has a significant and unusual need and justification to request a third no-cost extension, the project director/principal investigator (PI) should contact the grant’s assigned program officer immediately to discuss the possibility of approval before requesting. (Note: This is not applicable to multiyear funded grants.)
  • If you send your request by email, make sure the institutional business official signs your request.
    • As PI, you do not have to sign, but your institution must have your signature assurance on file.
  • If your extension is approved, your institution must ensure that all necessary human subjects and vertebrate animal reviews are performed as required during the extension period.
    • If your institution does not follow these requirements, we may suspend or terminate this award, withhold support, audit disallowances, or take other appropriate action.
    • You do not need to include the approvals in your extension request.

Grants Management Specialists

  • Make sure extension requests comply with NIAID policy.
  • Verify that recipients have updated all required certifications and assurances [e.g., federalwide assurance, System for Award Management (SAM)].
  • Send a copy of the request to the program officer for review.
  • If you and the program officer concur, ensure the no-cost extension is awarded via a revised Notice of Award.
  • If you and the program officer do not approve a request, email the reason for disapproval to the institutional business official and PI. Copy the program officer and upload the email to the Official Grant Folder.
  • If other approvals are required above the GMS and program officer, make sure you follow internal policy for approval.
  • Complete requests for no-cost extensions within 30 days of receiving all necessary documents.

Program Staff

  • Review extensions.
  • Work with the GMS on any extension request.
  • Approve or disapprove based on scientific need.
  • Email your recommendation to approve or disapprove to the GMS. Include the request as an attachment.


Check your Notice of Award for your grants management specialist's contact information or see GMP Assignments by Geographic Region and Program Code.

Contact for NIAID Staff—GMP Director

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at


NIH Grants Policy Statement, Administrative Requirements

NIH Grants Policy Statement, Administrative Requirements, Requests for Prior Approval

Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP

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