Appendix H - Definitions


Definition Index

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Acquisition Cost

Acquisition cost means the cost of the asset including the cost to ready the asset for its intended use.


Allocation means the process of assigning a cost, or a group of costs, to one or more cost objective(s), in reasonable proportion to the benefit provided or other equitable relationship.

Assistance Listings

Assistance listings refers to the publicly available listing of Federal assistance programs managed and administered by the General Services Administration, formerly known as the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

Assistance Listing Number

Assistance listing number means a unique number assigned to identify a Federal Assistance Listings, formerly known as the CFDA Number.

Assistance Listing Program Title

Assistance listing program title means the title that corresponds to the Federal Assistance Listings Number, formerly known as the CFDA program title.

Audit Finding

Audit finding means deficiencies which the auditor is required by §200.516(a) to report in the schedule of findings and questioned costs.


Auditee means any non-Federal entity that expends Federal awards which must be audited under subpart F of this part.


Auditor means an auditor who is a public accountant or a Federal, State, local government, or Indian tribe audit organization, which meets the general standards specified for external auditors in generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS). The term auditor does not include internal auditors of nonprofit organizations.


Budget means the financial plan for the Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity approves during the Federal award process or in subsequent amendments to the Federal award. It may include the Federal and non-Federal share or only the Federal share, as determined by the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity.

Budget Period

Budget period means the time interval from the start date of a funded portion of an award to the end date of that funded portion during which recipients are authorized to expend the funds awarded, including any funds carried forward or other revisions pursuant to §200.308.

Capital Assets

Capital assets means: Tangible or intangible assets used in operations having a useful life of more than one year which are capitalized in accordance with GAAP. Capital assets include: 

  • Land, buildings (facilities), equipment, and intellectual property (including software) whether acquired by purchase, construction, manufacture, exchange, or through a lease accounted for as financed purchase under Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards or a finance lease under Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) standards; and
  • Additions, improvements, modifications, replacements, rearrangements, reinstallations, renovations or alterations to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life (not ordinary repairs and maintenance).

Capital Expenditures

Capital expenditures means expenditures to acquire capital assets or expenditures to make additions, improvements, modifications, replacements, rearrangements, reinstallations, renovations, or alterations to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life.


Claim means, depending on the context, either: 

  • A written demand or written assertion by one of the parties to a Federal award seeking as a matter of right: 
    • The payment of money in a sum certain; 
    • The adjustment or interpretation of the terms and conditions of the Federal award; or 
    • Other relief arising under or relating to a Federal award. 
  • A request for payment that is not in dispute when submitted.


Closeout means the process by which the Federal awarding agency or passthrough entity determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work of the Federal award have been completed and takes actions as required.

Cognizant Agency for Audit

Cognizant agency for audit means the Federal agency designated to carry out the responsibilities described in §200.513(a). A list of cognizant agencies for audit can be found on the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) website.

Cognizant Agency for Indirect Costs

Cognizant agency for indirect costs means the Federal agency responsible for reviewing, negotiating, and approving cost allocation plans or indirect cost proposals developed under this part on behalf of all Federal agencies. The cognizant agency for indirect cost is not necessarily the same as the cognizant agency for audit.

Compliance Supplement

Compliance supplement means an annually updated authoritative source for auditors that serves to identify existing important compliance requirements that the Federal Government expects to be considered as part of an audit. Auditors use it to understand the Federal program’s objectives, procedures, and compliance requirements, as well as audit objectives and suggested audit procedures for determining compliance with the relevant Federal program.


Contract means, for the purpose of Federal financial assistance, a legal instrument by which a recipient or subrecipient purchases property or services needed to carry out the project or program under a Federal award. For additional information on subrecipient and contractor determinations, see §200.331.


Contractor means an entity that receives a contract.

Cooperative Audit Resolution

Cooperative audit resolution means the use of audit follow-up techniques which promote prompt corrective action by improving communication, fostering collaboration, promoting trust, and developing an understanding between the Federal agency and the non-Federal entity

Cost Allocation Plan

Cost allocation plan means central service cost allocation plan or public assistance cost allocation plan.

Cost Objective

Cost objective means a program, function, activity, award, organizational subdivision, contract, or work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, products, jobs, capital projects, etc. A cost objective may be a major function of the non-Federal entity, a particular service or project, a Federal award, or an indirect (Facilities & Administrative (F&A)) cost activity, as described in subpart E of the 2 CFR 200.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing or matching means the portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds or contributions (unless otherwise authorized by Federal statute). See also §200.306.

Disallowed Costs

Disallowed costs means those charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award

Discretionary Award

Discretionary award means an award in which the Federal awarding agency, in keeping with specific statutory authority that enables the agency to exercise judgment (‘‘discretion’’), selects the recipient and/or the amount of Federal funding awarded through a competitive process or based on merit of proposals.


Equipment means tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000.


Expenditures means charges made by a non-Federal entity to a project or program for which a Federal award was received.

Federal Audit Clearinghouse

Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) means the clearinghouse designated by OMB as the repository of record where non-Federal entities are required to transmit the information required by subpart F of 2 CFR 200.

Federal Award

Federal award has the meaning, depending on the context, in either paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition: 

  1. The Federal financial assistance that a recipient receives directly from a Federal awarding agency or indirectly from a pass-through entity, as described in §200.101; or 
  2. the instrument setting forth the terms and conditions. The instrument is the grant agreement, cooperative agreement, other agreement for assistance.

Federal Award Date

Federal Award Date means the date when the Federal award is signed by the authorized official of the Federal awarding agency.

Federal Awarding Agency

Federal Awarding Agency means the Federal Agency that provides a Federal award directly to a non-Federal entity.

Federal Financial Assistance

Federal Financial Assistance is assistance that entities receive or administer in the form of: grants, cooperative agreements; loans; and loan guarantees among other types of Federal assistance.

Federal Share

Federal share means the portion of the Federal award costs that are paid using Federal funds.

Final Cost Objective

Final cost objective means a cost objective which has allocated to it both direct and indirect costs and, in the non-Federal entity’s accumulation system, is one of the final accumulation points, such as a particular award, internal project, or other direct activity of a non-Federal entity.

Financial Obligations

When referencing a recipient or subrecipient’s use of funds under a Federal award, means orders placed for property and services, contracts and subawards made, and similar transactions that require payment.

Fixed Amount Award

Fixed amount award means a type of grant or cooperative agreement under which the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity provides a specific level of support without regard to actual costs incurred under the Federal award.

General Purpose Equipment

General purpose equipment means equipment which is not limited to research, medical, scientific or other technical activities.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

Generally accepted accounting principles has the meaning specified in accounting standards issued by the GASB and the FASB.

Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS)

Generally accepted government auditing standards means generally accepted government auditing standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States which are applicable to financial audits.

Grant Agreement

Grant agreement means a legal instrument of financial assistance between a Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity and a non-Federal entity that is used to enter into a relationship the principal purpose of which is to transfer anything of value to carry out a public purpose authorized by a law of the United States. A grant agreement is distinguished from a cooperative agreement in that it does not provide for substantial involvement of the Federal awarding agency in carrying out the activity of the Federal award.

Improper Payment

Improper payment means any payment that should have not been made or that was made in an incorrect amount under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements.

Indian Tribe

Indian Tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Intermediate Cost Objective

Intermediate cost objective means a cost objective that is used to accumulate indirect costs or service center costs that are subsequently allocated to one or more indirect cost pools or final cost objectives.

Local Government

Local government means any unit of local government within a state.

Major Program

Major program means a Federal program determined by the auditor to be a major program in accordance with 200.518 or a program identified as a major program by a Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity in accordance with 200.503(e).

Management Decision

Management decision means the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity’s written determination, provided to the auditee, of the adequacy of the auditee’s proposed corrective actions to address the findings, based on its evaluation of the audit findings and proposed corrective actions. 


Micro-purchase means a purchase of supplies or services, the aggregate amount of which does not exceed the micro-purchase threshold. 

Micro-purchase Threshold

Micro-purchase threshold means the dollar amount at or below which a non-Federal entity may purchase property or services using micro-purchase procedures.

Non-Discretionary Award

Non-discretionary award means an award made by the Federal awarding agency to specific recipients in accordance with statutory, eligibility and compliance requirements, such that the agency has no ability to exercise judgment (“discretion”). A non-discretionary award could be determined specifically or by formula.

Non-Federal Entity (NFE)

Non-federal entity means a State, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient.

Non-profit Organization

Non-profit organization means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including institutions of higher education, that is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; is not organized primarily for profit; and uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization. 

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Notice of funding opportunity means a formal announcement of the availability of funding through a financial assistance program. The notice of funding opportunity provides information on the award, who is eligible to apply, the evaluation criteria for selection of an awardee, required components of an application and how to submit the application. 

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Office of Management and Budget means the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget.

Oversight Agency for Audit

Oversight Agency for Audit means the Federal awarding agency that provides the predominant amount of funding directly to a non-Federal entity unless OMB designates a specific cognizant agency for audit. 

Participant Support Costs

Participant Support Costs means direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.

Pass-through Entity

Pass-through entity (PTE) means a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program.

Performance Goal

Performance goal means a target level of performance expressed as a tangible, measurable objective, against which actual achievement can be compared, including a goal expressed as a quantitative standard, value, or rate.

Period of Performance

Period of performance means the total estimated time interval between the start of an initial award and the planned end date, which may include one or more funded portions, or budget periods. 

Personal Property

Personal property means property other than real property. It may be tangible, having physical existence, or intangible. 

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Personally identifiable information means information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. 

Program Income

Program income means gross income earned by the non-Federal entity that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the Federal award during the period of performance. 

Project Cost

Project cost means total allowable costs incurred under an award and all required cost sharing and voluntary committed cost sharing, including third-party contributions. 

Questioned Cost

Questioned cost means a cost that is questioned by the auditor because of an audit finding.

Real Property

Real property means land, including land improvements, structures and appurtenances thereto, but excludes moveable machinery and equipment.


Recipient means an entity, usually but not limited to non-Federal entities that receives an award directly from an awarding agency. The term recipient does not include subrecipients or individuals that are beneficiaries of the award. 

Renewal Award

Renewal award means an award made subsequent to an expiring award for which the start date is contiguous with, or closely follows, the end of the expiring award. 

Simplified Acquisition Threshold

Simplified acquisition threshold means the dollar amount below which a non-Federal entity may purchase property or services using small purchase methods. 


Subaward means an award provided by a pass-through entity, usually but not limited to non-Federal entities. Does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such an award. 


Termination means the ending of an award, in whole or in part at any time prior to the planned end of period of performance. A lack of available funds is not a termination. 

Third-Party In-Kind Contributions

Third-party in-kind contributions means the value of non-cash contributions (i.e. property or services) that benefit a project or program and are contributed by non-Federal third parties, without charge.

Unexpended Financial Obligations

Unexpended financial obligations means financial obligations incurred by an entity that have not been paid.

Unobligated Balance

Unobligated balance means the amount of funds that the non-Federal entity has not obligated. 

Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing

Voluntary committed cost sharing means cost sharing specifically pledged on a voluntary basis in the proposal’s budget on the part of the non-Federal entity and that becomes a binding requirement of the award.


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