Processing Staff Effort

The Effort Reporting System allows Full-time, tax-levy college employees to document and certify their time and effort used to perform sponsored research. Employees receive their uninterrupted annual salary payments while performing research. The college receives reimbursement for associated staff effort through sponsored funds. Staff Effort is processed through Staff Effort Notices (SEN) submitted by the Grants Office, and approved and documented by RFCUNY. Grant offices and faculty are required to calculate staff effort, complete an SEN and certify their effort.

Calculating Staff Effort

The staff effort calculation is based upon the Full-time academic year annual salary:

 Divide the annual salary by 9 (or 12 for eligible staff); the result is the monthly base.

The nine month academic year is defined as September 1 to May 31 of the following year. For eligible staff, the full 12 month calendar year applies.

While it is not a requirement, the majority of SEN submissions request documentation of effort over an entire semester. Full semesters are represented by the following dates:

  • Fall Semester: September 1 – January 15 (4.5 months, half of the academic year)
  • Spring Semester: January 16 – May 31 (4.5 months, half of the academic year)
  • Summer period: June 1 – August 31 (3 months, only eligible for 12 month staff)

The amount of time an employee contributes to sponsored activities during the specified time period is represented as a Percentage (%) Effort. The % Effort is determined at the college based on its own criteria (e.g., credits, hours, etc.).

When the annual salary, time period and % effort are determined, apply the following equation to calculate the staff effort total, which may be applied to the sponsored account as a charge and/or cost sharing:

Annual Salary/9 months (or 12 for staff) x % Effort x Time Period = Charge to Award/Cost Sharing

Completing Staff Effort Notices

To process a staff effort notice, the signature of an appropriate academic representative (principal investigator [PI]) and an administrative representative (grants officer) is required in addition to completion of the required fields:

  • RFCUNY Project Number
  • Principal Investigator Name
  • Purpose of Project
  • Project Budget Period
  • Employee Name
  • Project Position
  • % Effort
  • Salary Charge to Award
  • Cost Sharing (Mandatory, Voluntary Committed and/or Unrecovered Costs)
  • Beginning Time Period
  • Ending Time Period
  • Name of CUNY Unit to Receive Credit
  • Annual Salary Information (Name, Annual Salary Rate and Effective Dates)

Once fully processed, the staff effort salary charge and associated fringe benefits become encumbered on the submitted sponsored account.

  • Completely retroactive SENs will be expensed at the end of the month in which they are entered.
  • Partially retroactive SENs will be expensed for the retroactive portion at the end of the month in which they are entered. The portion that includes future dates will be proportionally expensed at the end of each future month involved.
  • SEN with time periods included all future dates will be proportionally expensed at the end of each future month involved.

Certifying Effort

Staff effort certification is semester based. Once a semester has fully passed, a PI must certify the submitted level of effort on their account(s) using the Effort Reporting system. 

Essential Forms

Sponsored Programs


Victor Sekelsky
Grants & Contracts

Lisa Lamontagne

Cynthia Vargas

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