Rebudgeting Approval

The awarded budget is a good faith estimate of the resources Duke will need in order to complete the proposed scope of work. Most sponsors recognize that as projects move forward the needs of the project might change. The PI may need to hire more staff or there may be a need for more supplies or an essential piece of equipment might break.

In general, these changes may not be a problem for the sponsor; however, the requirements for how to make these changes vary widely from sponsor to sponsor and even from project to project. The award terms and conditions will dictate who has the authority to make the changes and whether or not the sponsor requires prior, written approval.

Many times small changes are okay, but there are foundations that require prior approval if one line item is changing by more than 10% or $1,000. On a federally funded fixed-price contract, rebudgeting is not an issue as long you complete the scope of work. Again, the terms and conditions of the specific agreement will dictate the requirements and ORS can assist with making the determination of whether or not the sponsor’s prior approval for rebudgeting is required.

The FDP Matrix  is a good place to start with many of our biggest federal sponsors, but that guiding document does not override the terms and conditions of a specific award.

Definition of Significant Rebudgeting: Significant rebudgeting occurs when expenditures in a single direct cost budget category decrease by more than 25 percent. Such dramatic changes could represent other issues that need to be addressed as well, for instance a change in scope or unanticipated cost overruns. Changes in Scope and the need for more funding both will require the sponsor’s prior approval and should be addressed even if Duke has the authority to approve the rebudget.

GAP 200.160 and the Step by Step Instructions linked above provide details on how to calculate the changes when line items that are exempt from F&A are involved and how to access, fill out, and route the ReC (Rebudget and CAS) form. The Duke Rebudgting form can be accessed from the Grants Management Tab in Duke @ Work.

If sponsor approval is not required.


  • Completes Rebudget ReC form in Duke @ Work.
  • Routes form to ORS.


  • Assistant Director reviews the ReC form and approves or returns with a request for changes.
  • When ORS approves, SAP is automatically updated.

If sponsor approval is required.


  • PI writes a letter requesting permission to rebudget noting the amounts and the justification.


  • Reviews the letter and countersigns.


  • Sends the letter to the sponsor.
  • Receives sponsor approval.


  • Completes ReC form, attaches the sponsor approval letter and routes it to ORS.


  • Assistant Director reviews the ReC form and documentation and approves.
  • SAP is automatically updated.