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New Award

If you have received notice of a new award, congratulations!  Please send the award notification to  See the tabs below for additional information about setting up your new award.

Grant or Gift?


Grant or Gift?

In a Report of the Office of the Auditor General to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, August 1, 1978, titled “University of California: Review of Privately Supported Research,” the State Auditor General concluded that in many cases monies awarded to the University which should have been classified and processed as grants were classified and processed as gifts.

To clarify this situation and to insure greater consistency among campuses, the President issued a policy entitled Review of Gifts/Grants for Research on July 8, 1980.

Following are the guidelines used to distinguish grants or contracts from gifts:

In general, classify funds as gifts when the following characteristics exist:

  • Donor does not impose contractual requirements;
  • Funds are awarded irrevocably, (no obligation to return unspent funds);
  • No obligation or agreement to share data/research results with donor; donor willing to sign gift agreement relinquishing intellectual property and data rights to University.  Donor may request progress reports.
  • Qualifies for tax treatment as charitable contribution by donor

In general, classify funds as grants when the following characteristics exist:

  • Provision for audits by or on behalf of the grantor;
  • The grantor is entitled to receive some consideration such as a detailed technical report of research results or a report of expenditures;
  • Testing or evaluating of proprietary products is involved;
  • The research is directed to satisfying specific grantor requirements (e.g., terms and conditions stating a precise scope of work to be done rather than a general area of research);
  • A specified period of performance is prescribed or termination is at the discretion of the grantor;
  • Funds unexpended at end of period shall be returned to the grantor;
  • Patent rights requested by grantor.

In many situations not all of the above characteristics will be present, and therefore, the decision as to whether a particular award should be considered a gift cannot be made based upon the presence or absence of a single characteristic or criterion. Rather, one must look at the award as a whole in order to make a judgment as to its proper classification.  Your Sponsored Programs award analyst is able to assist you with this determination.

Regardless of whether an award is designated as a gift or a grant (or a contract), it will be subject to the research review process as well as to the administrative rules and procedures which apply to all University funds. The processing of gifts does not include the application of indirect costs, but may include assessment of a campus gift fee. Processing of grants and contracts will include the application of indirect costs in accordance with University policy (see Rates).

Gifts are processed by The Office of Development ( Phone: (530) 754-GIFT (4438)
Fax: (530) 754-2294