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Sponsored Project Accounting and Compliance (SPAC)

Office of the Controller


Sponsored Project Accounting and Compliance (SPAC) provides support to the University in administering sponsored projects.  Sponsored projects can be research, instruction or public service involving funding from an outside source under a legal arrangement.  SPAC works closely with the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs(OSRP).

SPAC assists the Principal Investigators with the oversight of the finance and regulatory administration of grants and contracts.  We interpret policies of private and government funding agencies to ensure that expenditures adhere to regulations and guidelines. We implement MSU Denver procedures related to grants and contracts post-award management. 

We also complete Federal Financial Reports, sub-recipient monitoring, billings, reimbursement draws, audit responses, and Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act reporting.

MSU Denver is an enterprise of the state of Colorado.  We are primarily self-supporting and receive the majority of our funding from tuition.  As such, our accounting practices follows Governmental Accounting Standards Board(GASB).

To begin the financial management of your award, Banner access is required.  First, establish Banner Account. Once a Banner account has been created, you must request access to Banner Finance using the Banner Finance Security Request Form

The information below is to assist you in the financial management of your award.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Charli Pringle-North
Sponsored Project Accounting and Compliance Manager

(303) 615-7131

Position Role:
Full-Time Staff

Campus Box Number:

Directory Profile


Area of Responsilities:

  • Manages the Grant/Loan Accountant and the Compliance Officer.
  • Manages all Grant and Contract post award activities.
  • Provides fiscal support to all Principal Investigators.


FOAPAL is an acronym that stands for each component of the Chart of Accounts.  This combination string is used to capture financial transactions and enable the recovery of financial information and reporting.

F (Fund)

Where did the money come from? IE: 4xxxxx = grants / 2xxxxx = contracts

Organization (O)

Who is responsible for the money?

Account (A)

What type of transaction is taking place?

Program (P)

What is the functional purpose?

Activity (A)

(optional) Used to track specific activities in a department.

Location (L)

(optional) Used to track specific activity in a department.

*For additional information about FOAPALs, please review our FOAPAL Training.

Each grant and contract will receive a unique Fund, Organization, and Program combination for managing your dollars. The Fund Code for all grants will change each grant year.  

For your convenience, please review this list of SPAC Frequently Used Account Codes.


***Effective 7/2/18, pursuant to the Uniform Guidance 200.320, two documented quotes are required for purchases where the cumulative spend exceeds $10,000 from one single vendor.  When submitting a Purchase Requisition (PR) or Special Purchase Order (SPO), please attach these quotes.  If the purchase is through a credit card or check and the quotes were not attached to a PR or SPO, please include the quotes with the credit card statement or check request form.
How do I pay a Vendor?
  • Take the Purchasing training.

  • Vendor payments may be charged to a Corporate Card or by submitting a Payment Request Form with supporting documentation to Accounts Payable. A clear and concise business purpose and a completed IRS W9 Form is required. 

  • International payments can be made through a wire transfer. Please use the . 

  • If payment is $100 or less per vendor, per fiscal year (FY), either use the University issued Corporate card or submit a completed Payment Request Form with supporting documentation to Accounts Payable.  

  • If payment is between $100.01-10,000.00 per vendor, per FY, a Special Purchase Order (SPO) Form (GOODS)  is required, unless you are using a mandatory or state awarded vendor or using a Corporate card. 

  • If payment is over $10,000.01 per vendor, per FY, a Purchase Order (PO)  is required, unless you are using a mandatory or state awarded vendor. 

  • Items over $25,000.00 may be subject to the BIDS process.

  • Please see the Purchasing Manual for requirements regarding State and Mandatory Awarded vendors, as well as the BIDS process. 
  • Payments to vendors can be charged to a Corporate card or a completed Payment Request Form with supporting documentation.  
  • To request a University issued corporate card:  please complete the on-line Corporate card and Purchasing training.
    • After successfully completing the training, the Corporate Card Administrator will reach out to you with further instructions. For detailed instructions, please refer to the Corporate Card Handbook.
  • To reallocate my corporate card: All corporate cards must be reallocated by the due date (5 calendar days following the cycle close).  This date fluctuates based on the statement cutoff.  However, the general date is approximately 25th of each month.  An email reminder from Wells Fargo and the Corporate Card Administrator will be sent.  For detailed instructions please refer to the reallocation procedures

How do I pay for travel?
  • Review the Travel Guide, then take the Travel training.  A Travel Authorization (TA)  form is required for all travel. Please see the Travel Checklist for further instructions. 

  • For travel that does not require overnight stay, please use the following form:
  • If your grant includes study abroad travel, then please attend a Study Abroad workshop. These workshops are provided semi-annually through Accounting Services, Cashiering Office, and the Office of International Studies. 

  • Contact the Office of International Studies at 303-352-7001 for more information on training dates.
How do I pay an Honorarium?
  • Definition: a payment in recognition of acts or professional services for which there is not a customary price, normally a lump sum amount. These may also be referred to as a service stipend. 
  • Taxation and reporting:  The payee will be issued a 1099-MISC.
  • Payment processing: Service stipends are paid through our Accounts Payable Office by using a Payment Request Form that includes all supporting documentation & an IRS W9 form.
  • Examples: Speaking engagements, supervising student teachers, invited professor.
  • Use your FOAPAL and account code:  6667--Honorariums



How do I pay a new employee?
  • For employees paid from the grant, please refer to the new employee corner with Human Resource (HR).  Orientation and all required new hire paperwork must be completed, reviewed and approved before the employee can start employment.
  • Use your new FOAPAL to charge the salary to your grant or contract.
How do I pay an employee supplemental pay for working on the grant?
  • Complete a Salary Supplemental form (SUP) with proper approvals and then submit to Human Resources (HR).  Use your new FOAPAL to charge the salary to your grant or contract.
Salary Supplementation
Salary Supplementation Instructions
How do I pay a new or existing employed student?
  • A New Student Hire Packet and new student employment orientation will need to be completed before the start date of a student.  The completed packet should be brought by the student, with all required signatures, to orientation.  During the onset of a semester, this process can take up to 2 weeks.  Follow the steps at the links below to hire a new student. Use your new FOAPAL to charge the salary to your grant or contract.  The account code for students is 6191. 
New Employee Corner
New Student Employment Orientation 



How do I pay a Stipend?

Student Employee Service (MSU Denver Work-Related) Stipends

  • Definition: Payment to any student employee who is required to perform services, now or in the future, as a condition of receiving these funds.
  • Taxation and reporting: Service stipends are subject to tax withholding. An IRS Form W-2 is issued.
  • Payment processing: Processed through Payroll. Complete Student Employment Form (SEF).
  • Examples:  Assistant teaching, internships/clerkships, research or other academic work.
  • Use your FOAPAL and account code: 6193— SS-Stipends

Student Service (Non-MSU Denver Work-Related) Stipends

  • Definition: Payment to any student who is required to perform services that are funded through the terms of the award, now or in the future, as a condition of receiving these funds.
  • Taxation and reporting: Nontaxable and not reportable (No W-2 and No 1099-MISC)
  • Payment processing: Processed through Accounts Payable.
  • Use your FOAPAL and account code:  7850—Stipends
  • Please email HR @

Non-Service Stipends

  • Definition: Non-service stipends are amounts paid to individuals who do not provide any services, and which are not academic awards.
  • Taxation and reporting:  The payee may be issued a 1099-MISC.
  • Payment processing: Non-service stipends are paid through our Accounts Payable Office; if paid to a student, non-stipend payments are included in calculating a student’s eligibility for financial aid. If paid to an employee, the payment is processed through payroll.
  • Examples: Token payments and other monetary awards, completing a survey, providing grades, proof of attendance. 
  • Use your FOAPAL and account code:  7850—Stipends
  • Submit a completed Payment Request Form form to Accounts Payable.

Sub-recipient / Subcontractor

Requirements to pay a sub-recipient or subcontractor
  • A sub-recipient or subcontractor is a pass-through entity that receives a sub award to carry out part of the Federal program.  Generally, these vendors are mentioned in the award documentation.
  • Payments to these entities must use account expense code 6664 in the FOAPAL. In addition, if indirect cost recovery (ICR) is restricted on these payments, a unique location code will be required. This code will be provided during the onboarding process of the award, if required. 
  • Account expense code 6664, provides information for reporting in accordance to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATC).



How do I award scholarships?
  • During the onboarding of your award, GCA will work with you in establishing the proper process. We work closely with Financial Aid and the Burser's Office. 

Cash Participants

How do I provide cash to participants?
  • This is only for awards that have been approved by the grantor for cash distribution. 
  • Please complete the . Submit this form,two weeks prior to the required distribution date. The form must be submitted to

Cost Share

How do I use Cost Share?
  • Cash match is institutional funds that may be provided to leverage federal and state awards. 
  • If your grant charges ICR and receives cash match, the location code CMATCH must be used in the FOAPAL when making payments with these funds.  This notifies banner not to charge ICR on your cash match dollars.   This will be provided to you during the onboarding of your award with your FOAPAL.
  • Follow the same procedures as paying a Vendor. 
  • For more information on cost share, please see the OSRP webpage

Expenditures must be allowable, allocable, reasonable and consistency:

Allowable: Only those expenses that benefit a project may be charged to that project.

Allocable: Only those expenses that benefit a project may be charged to that project.

Reasonable: Costs must reflect what a “prudent person” would pay.

Consistency: Costs must be handled consistently by following MSU Denver policy.

Allowable and unallowable costs are defined in OMB Circular A-21, the Uniform Guidance, and in the terms of each specific awards.

The following links provide a description of allowable expenditures by agency:

Department of Education 
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Library of Congress-TPS
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
21st Century
National Institute of Health
All other Federal Awards

The principal investigator(PI) is responsible for overseeing the spending of the award. SPAC aids the PI with the following tools:

  • Grant Inception Reports can be automatically emailed to you based upon your desired frequency.  These reports are requested during the on-boarding of your award or by emailing
  • Banner Finance Manual provides methods to review your funds.
  • Accounting Services offers an in-class training once a month. Please see the Controller's website for the next available training dates: Banner Finance Training
  • PI excel workbook is under construction.  This uniform workbook will extract banner information directly into a preset format for easy financial review. This will allow you easy access to your financial records in an easy to view format.  This workbook is expected to be completed by November 2017. 

Sponsored Project Accounting and Compliance is available for regularly scheduled financial reviews. 

Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) Fund are fees charged to a grant at a pre-negotiated rate reimbursing the University for indirect costs.  If your grant charges these fees, an ICR Fund will be established at the time your Grant Fund is opened. 

For a detailed description of this fund and its allowable expenses, please refer to the Facilities and Administrative Rates Policy.   

Your notice of award and the congratulations letter from OSRP will provide your award number and documents. The following are some of our agencies:

Department of Education
National Science Foundation  
Department of Health and Human Services
Library of Congress

For help in developing a grant proposal, identifying potential sources of funding or information about funding from various agencies, contact the Office of Sponsored Programs by clicking here.


For assistance in the implementation of a grant once it has been funded and any training or computer access that will assist the PI in the management of the grant, contact the Sponsored Project Accounting and Compliance manager at 303-556-5007.

Principal Investigator Super Circular Training

To being the Principal Investigator (PI) Super Circular training, click the link below. Please use Internet Explorer while viewing this training.

PI Super Circular Training

SPAC Forms & Resources

Banner Finance Manual

This is intended to help train staff and faculty how to navigate Banner Finance. This manual helps the user understand a FOAPAL (the accounting codes) and it identifies helpful screens (forms). In addition, this manual provides detailed information to assist the end user when reading the Banner screens and reports - to help them understand the details of their payments and other activity in Banner.

Use this form to obtain or remove access to Banner forms and reporting. Needs to be completed before your award can be created in the Accounting System and before you can begin spending your award.

Federal Grant Procurement Standard Notice

OMB Uniform Guidance-Notice of the Federal Grant Procurement Standard 

Human Resources

Employee forms, policies, guidance, and resources.

Office of sponsored Research and Programs

Resources to assist in obtaining awards.

Signatory Authorization Form

This is used anytime the primary signer, alternate signer or administrative point of contact changes for a particular FOAPAL. It is important to keep this information updated to keep the payment process efficient.  Also submit this form, along with the Banner Chart of Accounts Form, when requesting a new fund or org.

Travel & Accounts Payable

Forms and guidance while traveling or purchasing.

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