Prior Approvals

To avoid subsequent disallowances or disputes based on unreasonableness or nonallocability, written prior approval must be requested from the sponsor.

A complete list of items that require "Prior Written Approval" can be found here - see SubPart E - Cost Principles.


  • Foreign travel policies of federal and non-federal sponsors vary. Foreign travel may require prior approval from the funding agency. As much as possible, foreign travel should be included in the budget proposal and budget justification, however there are times when foreign travel is relevant to a sponsored project and should be charged to the award, but was not included in the proposal. The traveler must review the terms and conditions of their award and the sponsoring agency before making travel arrangements. In the event there is a conflict between a sponsored agreement policy (terms and conditions) and Penn State's Travel Policy, the more restrictive policy applies.


The Federal Demonstration Partnership Terms and Conditions Matrix (applies to awards containing Phase V Research Terms and Conditions) can help determine whether a federal sponsor has allowed Universities to approve foreign travel on a sponsored award without prior agency approval. Additional information can be found here.

  • Further details about Federal Travel Regulations along with the Fly America Act for federal sponsors and state Travel Regulations for the Pennsylvania Commonwealth sponsors can be found here.
  • When traveling abroad, as part of a sponsored research project, an export control review may be required. Additional information on export compliance can be found here and RAG40.
  • Subcontracts or Subawards
  • Equipment
  • Addition of Human Subjects or Animals, see RP03 and RP04
  • No-Cost Extensions
  • Inclusion of Carryover - may require sponsor's prior approval; check the award documents