Evaluation, Reporting, Recordkeeping and Closeout
Evaluation and Reporting
Grants typically require that both financial and programmatic reports be submitted based on a predetermined schedule. Development and submission of financial reports are the responsibility of the Office of Finance and Budget staff. Project directors are responsible for programmatic reporting.
From day one, project directors and project administrators should always focus on the intended outcomes of the project – achievement of outcomes is how the success of the project will be determined by the funder and by the College. Achieving outcomes in federal grants has become even more critical based on the new grant compliance regulations put into effect on Dec. 26, 2014. Inability to achieve approved objectives and outcomes may lead to negative financial consequences, including loss of grant funding. Outcomes should drive all activities, and then the activities should drive your spending.
Clear and specific parameters of the data needed for the evaluation of your project should be established at the start of project implementation. Project directors should email Thomas Hoke, director of institutional effectiveness and research, immediately upon award receipt to set up a meeting to discuss how best to establish a process to obtain the data needed for project evaluation. The Department of Institutional Effectiveness and Research is an invaluable resource to project directors who need specific data requests.
While reporting content and requirements will vary for each grant, the internal process for drafting review and submission of reports remains the same. At the initial grant management meeting, reporting requirements and due dates established by the funder will be reviewed, and project directors will learn more about how to submit drafts of their reports to the Grants Department as part of the submission process. In addition, to strengthen the College's ability to be proactively responsive to any potential risks related to timely spending and attainment of outcomes, the Executive Team has established an internal process for monitoring grant progress on a quarterly basis. William Osborne, coordinator of Grant Support and Effectiveness, coordinates the internal review process and submission of all programmatic reports, as well as the internal quarterly reporting process. If you have any questions about programmatic reporting, please contact William Osborne at ext. 4631.
Recordkeeping and Closeout
Project directors are accountable for maintaining proper documentation of grant activities and spending. Relying on informal notes or your memory is not enough to meet audit standards to prove that an activity or an expense was allowable. While not a guarantee, keeping detailed records could help you and the College avoid the consequences of noncompliance due to lack of documentation.
All grant records must be maintained for a period of five years from the date of submission of the final grant financial report. Project directors should work with their administrators to secure a location for physical file storage. The final set of electronic files must be sent to the Grants Department for storage; however, we also recommend that you keep a copy for yourself. At the initial grant management meeting, recordkeeping requirements will be reviewed. The Grants Department will provide project directors with guidance regarding the material necessary to retain, as well as a recommended filing system for the retained records and documents.
Federal grant awards have very specific requirements regarding the closeout of a grant, including record retention, equipment and supply inventory, final expenditures and final reporting. Prior to the end of your grant period (usually four to six months in advance of the grant end date), the Grants Department will provide a summary closeout form to help guide you through the process, and she will remain a resource to help you ensure that all closeout obligations have been met.