Processing Staff Effort

In order for a college to receive reimbursement from sponsored funds for associated staff effort, a Staff Effort Notice (SEN) must be submitted for each individual released from their academic salaried activities during the fiscal year. To begin this process, Grant Offices are required to calculate staff effort and then create SENs in accordance with the procedure outlined below. Staff Effort Notices are then submitted to RFCUNY by the Grants Offices to initiate the signature process via DocuSign. All needed parties (Principal Investigator, Grants Officer, etc.) will have the ability to review the document before signing electronically through DocuSign. RFCUNY Project Administrators then review all signed SENs to verify the documents are in line with the terms and conditions of the applicable sponsored award before processing. The Effort Reporting System allows Principal Investigators (PIs) to certify related staff effort charged to their sponsored awards after the end of each semester as outlined in the Federal Uniform Guidance. Employees receive their uninterrupted annual salary payments while performing sponsored activities.

Calculating Staff Effort

Staff effort is calculated using the employee’s annual full-time Institutional Base Salary (IBS):

Faculty IBS/9-months (or 12-months for eligible non-teaching staff) = Monthly Salary Base

When calculating faculty effort use the 9-month academic year which begins on September 1 and ends on May 31. For eligible non-teaching staff, usually HEOs, the full 12-month calendar year applies.

SEN submissions should be submitted by semester. The Effort Reporting System tracks semesters as follows:

  • 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 (%) of Effort. The % of Effort is determined at the College based on its own criteria (e.g., credits, hours, etc.).

After the monthly salary, time period and % of 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 for the period:

Monthly Salary x Time Period x % Effort = Charge to Award/Cost Sharing

Completing Staff Effort Notices

To process a Staff Effort Notice the PI (or appropriate College representative) and Grants Officer must complete the following 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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