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Records Management


All sponsored program contracts entitle audit rights to sponsors for at least three years after the program completion date. Projects are periodically audited by external agencies. Consequently, Clemson University must maintain a close working relationship with the University’s cognizant audit agency, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Federal audits can be one of three types:

  • Audit of direct costs under general expenditure systems (e.g., time and effort reporting, prior approval system, consulting system)
  • Compliance audit with Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance
  • Individual award audit for all award expenditures

In addition to external audits, the University’s office of internal auditing continuously audits sponsored programs. Grants and Contracts Administration coordinates each audit and arranges for any files, documentation or discussion with other campus personnel required by the audit team. All questions regarding allowability of expenditures, contract modifications, etc. are to be directed to Grants and Contracts Administration to ensure an accurate audit report.

Grants and Contracts Administration may find it necessary to contact departments or principal investigators to request information about a specific contract or grant during an audit. It is the responsibility of each department to keep accurate records supporting all sponsored program costs for a minimum of three years after the sponsoring agency accepts the final report. Departments must also maintain copies of progress reports, documentation of the selection process used to hire consultants, and of time and effort expended for the same period. If a cost is disallowed on a specific grant or contract, a campus review will determine who is responsible for its repayment.

Records Retention

Federal and state agencies, as well as many private sponsors, local agencies, and foundations, require the University to maintain all project-related records for a minimum of three years after the acceptance of the final report for audit purposes. Consequently, principal investigators and project directors should ensure that their department retains complete grant files for a minimum of three years after project termination. After that date, contact Grants and Contracts Administration to ascertain whether a longer retention period is necessary.

Grants and Contracts Administration maintains federal project records for two years after final closeout, and all other project records are maintained for one year. After the retention period, project records are moved to the University’s Records Center and are retained for two more years.