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, grantees can extend a grant's project period one time for up to 12 months through the eRA Commons if

  • The “self-No Cost Extension” function in eRA Commons allows it for that particular grant type.
  • No term 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 revert to the U.S. Treasury during the extension under Public Law 101-510.
  • The grant does not have a fundable application pending award.
  • One of the following conditions applies to the project:
    • Additional time is required to complete the project or the orderly phase-out of the project.
    • Continuity of support is required while a renewal application (Type 2) is under review.

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

  • The “self-No Cost Extension” function in eRA Commons allows it for that particular grant, but they missed the self-No Cost Extension deadline.
  • They want additional no-cost extensions.

NIAID requires direct approval from the Grants Management Program director to extend grants more than two fiscal years beyond the final project period.

  • After five fiscal years, funds from a budget period return to the U.S. Treasury regardless of a project's status, without any opportunity to get the money back.
    • For example, if grantees 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.

First Extension Requests

Follow the steps below. If the first extension request is late, follow the instructions under Subsequent Extension Requests instead.

Principal Investigators and Grantees

  • 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.
    • If you miss the deadline, contact your grants management specialist 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 extensions except your initial one. Note that NIAID rarely approves more than one extension. 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.

Principal Investigators and Grantees

  • At least 30 days before the end of your extension period, send another extension request in writing to your grants management specialist. Include the following information:
    • 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 requesting a third extension, program and the chief grants management officer must approve a waiver. You must provide significant justification for the waiver to be approved.
  • If you send your request on paper, 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 a grantee has 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 award 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 into eGrants.
  • If other approvals are required above the grants specialist and program officer, ensure to follow internal policy for approval.
  • Complete requests for no-cost extensions within 30 days of receiving all necessary documents.
  • See the GMP No-Cost Extensions SOP for more information.

Program Staff

  • Review extensions.
  • Work with the grants management specialist on any extension request.
  • Approve or disapprove based on scientific need.
  • Email your approval or disapproval to the grants management specialist. 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

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NIH Grants Policy Statement, Administrative Requirements

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

Prior Approvals for Post-Award Grant Actions SOP

December 2, 1994, Guide notice, Change of Procedures for Implementing No-Cost Extensions Approved by Grantees Under Expanded Authorities (Federal Demonstration Project)

Content last reviewed on March 4, 2016