No-Cost Extension (NCE) for NIH Grants

NIH Standard Terms of Award include the provision for grantees to extend the final budget period of a previously approved project period one time for a period of up to 12 months, without additional NIH funds, and without prior approval. This action, called a No-Cost Extension (NCE), must be taken before the project period ends. An email notification is automatically sent to the grants management specialist. No further action is required by the recipient.

IMPORTANT: AHRQ Only AHRQ Recipients: Recipients of Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awards can use the Status module in eRA Commons to request a No-Cost Extension. However, the specific terms of the AHRQ NCE are different from those for an NIH grant. If you are a AHRQ grantee, please see the alternate topic No-Cost Extension (NCE) for AHRQ Grants for the requirements and steps to request an NCE.

Policy: Extension of Final Budget Period of a Previously Approved Project Period without Additional NIH Funds

Grantees may extend the final budget period of the project when the following conditions are met:

  • If no additional funds are required from the NIH awarding office
  • If there will be no change in the project’s originally approved scope
  • If no term of award specifically prohibits the extension

In order to mandate an extension, one of the following criteria must be applicable:

  • Additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to ensure adequate completion of the originally approved project
  • Continuity of NIH grant support is required while a competing continuation application is under review
  • The extension is necessary to permit an orderly phase-out of a project that will not receive continued support

NOTE: The fact that funds remain at the expiration of the grant is not, in itself, sufficient justification for an extension without additional funds.

To facilitate this process, use the No-Cost Extension feature in the eRA Commons Status module, which allows signing officials (SOs) to request an NCE of between 1 and 12 months. Accessible through Status search results, the link for accessing the feature is available 90 days before the project end date and is removed at midnight on the project end date.

IMPORTANT: NIH requires grantees to use the No-Cost Extension feature, either in the Status module as shown here for automatic approvals, or in the Prior Approval module, and will not accept requests via any other channels. Use the Status module for NCEs if your grant is eligible for an automatic NCE, in which case an “Extension” link appears in the Actions column of Status grant search. If not eligible for an automatic extension, you can still request prior approval for a NCE when the grant meets certain conditions, described in Requesting a No-Cost Extension with Prior Approval.

To submit a No-Cost Extension:

  1. Search for a particular grant using the Status - General Search option.
  2. Select the Extension action from the three-dot ellipsis menu on the Status Result - General Search screen.
    The Extension action does not appear if the project period was previously extended by the awarding office. Any additional project period extension beyond the one-time extension of up to 12 months requires using the Prior Approval module to request an extension.

    ClosedThe Request One-time Project Extension screen opens.

    Extension screen

    Figure 15: Request a One-time Project Extension Screen

  3. Select the number of months by which to extend the grant by selecting an option from the Months for Extension drop-down list. Selecting an option updates the date in the This will extend the project to text box.
  4. Mark the checkbox acknowledging the terms of the extension. In extending the final budget period of the project period, the grantee agrees to update all required certifications, including human subjects and animal welfare, in accordance with applicable regulations and policies.
  1. Click the Request Extension button.

A green success message appears letting you know that the extension request was submitted successfully.

NOTE: When an extension without cost is submitted but cannot be processed due to an internal business error, the action Extension Error will appear under the three-dot ellipsis menu of a grant in Status search results. This action will continue to display until the error has been corrected. Instructions will be given on whom to contact if you need to have the error corrected before resubmitting. Once the error has been corrected, the No-Cost Extension will be processed, and the appropriate notifications sent.