ATE Answers Budgets

ATE Answers

Budgets & Subawards

Managing your ATE grant funds is a complex process. Much of what you need to know is detailed in the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide but that document can be overwhelming at first. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) created a video series, Understanding Financial Management of ATE Awards, that provides an excellent overview of the administration and record-keeping associated with awards.

Meeting with your college grants accounting office upon receipt of your award letter is critical to your grant’s success. The grants administrator sets up the college chart of accounts for your grant and sends out subawards and contracts as applicable to your project. You and your grants administrator will need to understand the award letter, the award terms and conditions, the indirect cost agreement, and requirements that accompany the award.  

Special Situations


  • You may have questions related to project management during the COVID-19 public health emergency. AACC, ATE Mentor-Connect, and ATE Central have produced a webinar, Addressing Questions on ATE Grants Management During COVID-19, covering topics such as no-cost extensions; supplemental funding requests; changes in project objectives, deliverables, timeline, and scope; budget adjustments; evaluation plans; and annual reporting.

Moving Funds

  • You are allowed to move money between budget lines or from one year to another under certain conditions depending on whether or not the grant is awarded as a Standard Award (all funds for all years at the same time) or as a Continuing Award (funds are awarded one year at a time). You can usually move funds without NSF approval as long as the scope of project does not change, the change is considered minor, and it does not involve Participant Support funding.
  • If the move would require moving money from Participant Support, the change requires the approval of your program officer. The request for moving money from the Participant Support line should be submitted via the Notifications/Budget Activities section of
  • Note that you cannot use Year 2 or Year 3 funds in Year 1 if your grant is a Continuing Award.

No-cost Extensions

  • If your project has not completed all of its activities and you still have money left, you can apply for extra time through a no-cost extension. Please contact your program officer first to discuss the situation. You are eligible for a no-cost extension but if you intend to change the objectives, scope, or methodology of the project, you need prior NSF approval.
  • There are two types of no-cost extensions: grantee-approved and NSF program officer-approved. Do not make new commitments or spend project money after your original end date before you know that your project has been given a no-cost extension. In addition, be aware that most NSF-appropriated funds have a limited period of availability for expenditure before the appropriation cancels. 
  • For additional guidance, refer to this quick-reference chart: No-cost Extension Procedures 2020 PAPPG.

If you have a question about managing your NSF ATE grant and haven’t found the answer on this site or in the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide, please contact your program officer or feel free to send an email to  A coach from our experts roster with many years of experience managing NSF ATE grants will respond within 24 hours.