No-Cost Extensions

A no-cost extension extends the project period beyond the original project end date. As the phrase “no cost” suggests, there is no additional funding. A no-cost extension may be requested by the PI when all three of the following conditions are met:

  • The end of the project period is approaching, AND
  • There is a programmatic need to continue the research, AND
  • There are sufficient funds remaining to cover the extended effort

Some federal sponsors have delegated to MIT the authority under grant awards to approve a one-time no-cost extension not to exceed 12 months. If authorized, an internal no-cost extension request should be made at least 30 days in advance of the project end date to RAS. The extension, although approved by MIT, must be requested by the PI. RAS will notify the sponsor of the approved extension.

If the sponsor has not delegated this authority, a written request must be made.

The sponsor always retains the right to say “no.” Examples of reasons to say no might include:

  • An extension may not be granted solely because there is money left over. Programmatic benefit must be justified
  • Funding may have come from a prior year’s appropriation and cannot be extended
  • The amount requested in the extension request appears excessive to the sponsor

Because of this, it is always a good idea to request the extension in enough time to manage an orderly accomplishment of project work, and to have a contingency plan in case the sponsor does not approve the extension.

Written requests for no-cost extensions should be prepared by the PI and then endorsed and submitted by RAS. Some sponsors have developed electronic systems to handle no-cost extension requests and approvals. Call your RAS representative if you have questions.