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45.03 - Determination of Sponsored Project Versus Gifts


  • Position: Office of Sponsored Programs Director
  • Email:

Last updated: February 13, 2024

A. Purpose. This policy addresses the policy and process for determining the classification between “gifts” and “sponsored projects.”

B. Scope. The policy applies to any external funding agreements in which questions arise over whether the agreement is a gift or a sponsored project (grant, contract, etc.).

C. Definitions.

C-1. Sponsored project.. A sponsored project is the result of an authorized proposal or application submitted by the University that could result in an agreement between the University and the sponsor. The university accepts the awarded funding based on an agreement in writing and assumes an obligation to provide a deliverable in exchange for such funding. Examples of a deliverable include but are not limited to the following: performing research to accomplish, a specific objective, providing a service, producing a product, or committing to a specific line of scholarly or scientific inquiry. Separate accountability and oversight for the funds received is generally applicable. State and federal financial assistance funds are almost always classified as a sponsored project.

C-2. Gift. A gift can be made in the form of a contribution of cash, check, credit card charge, ACH/wire, marketable security, personal or real property or crypto currency. A gift can be based on a proposal or application. The term “gift” may also include grants made with philanthropic intent. By accepting a gift, the university assumes no liability to provide a deliverable, only the obligation to use the gift for the general purpose(s) stipulated by the donor. Overall, there will be no reporting requirements and there should not be a specific commitment for personnel effort or milestones. However, periodic reporting and a final accounting could be required by the donor without jeopardizing classification as a gift. Usually, there are no separate accountability requirements for each contribution, and the amounts received may be commingled with contributions received for similar purposes.

C-3. Deliverable. A deliverable is an item of value (tangible or intangible) expressly noted as an exchange item, and resulting from a funded sponsored project.

D. Policy. In the event that classification of a sponsored project or gift will be is unclear, personnel in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and, Foundation Gift Administration (UIF) staff will jointly decide the proper classification and administration of the award. The decision may include consultation with personnel in the offices of Strategic Corporate Partnerships or Strategic Foundation Partnerships. The unit who that intends to submit the proposal or receive the funding must submit the appropriate determination request in advance to allow OSP and UIF and Strategic Partnerships time to review and jointly determine how to best to classify the proposal or funding.

E. Procedure. The UI has established the following determination procedure for classifying a proposal as a gift or a sponsored project:

E-1. The principal investigator or project director should submit a ticket for Gift vs Grant Determination to OSP and UIF via the ITS Service Catalog website for Office of Sponsored Programs/OSP Administrative and Technical/Gift vs Grant Determination.

E-2. OSP and UIF coordinate the process and are the only entities authorized to make this determination.

E-3. OSP or UIF will notify the PI of the decision, and UIF will provide the appropriate IRS 501(c)(3) letter if needed.

  1. If the proposal is determined to be a gift, the PI submits it directly to the funder under the UI Foundation’s name and 501(c)(3) status. When the funding arrives, the UI Foundation applies it to the appropriate gift designation. Funds will be made available in the appropriate UI gift index via the Foundation’s monthly gift budget/reimbursement process.
  2. If it is determined to be a sponsored project, the PI enters the proposal in the University's electronic research administration system and uses the University of Idaho’s name and 501(c)(3) status. When the funding notification arrives, OSP creates a separate index and fund for tracking purposes and deposits the monies received into the appropriate sponsored project index.

F. Contact Information.

Version History

Updated Feb. 13, 2024

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119