No-Cost Extension

A no-cost extension (NCE) allows a grantee to extend the project period end date, usually up to 12 months, without additional funding.

Purpose of a No-Cost Extension

The purpose of an NCE is to give the Principal Investigator (PI) and their team extra time to complete the existing scope and objectives of the project.

A request for an NCE will not be approved for the sole purpose of using unobligated funds.

Can I Request an NCE?

Grantees can request an NCE if:

  • No additional funds are required;
  • You will not complete the project activities by the scheduled project end date, and no change in the project’s originally approved scope is needed*; and
  • No term of the award prohibits an extension.

* An NCE is a continuation of the original award, and a PI must continue to commit effort during that period.

When to Request an NCE

The timeline to request an NCE will depend on the funder’s requirements.

The table below provides information related to some funders’ requirements.

Sponsoring Agency First NCE Subsequent NCE References
NIH As early as 90 days before the project end date and anytime before the expiration date. At least 30 days before the end of the project period – Prior approval required.
NSF At least 10 calendar days prior to the expiration date. At least 45 days prior to the expiration date. Prior approval required.
USDA-NIFA 30 days prior to the award end date. 30 days prior to the award end date – Prior approval required.

Please contact your Grants Officer (GO) for any questions regarding the timeline to request an NCE.

How to Request an NCE

NCEs are requested as per the funder’s instructions. The funder’s terms and conditions will help determine the method of submission for NCE requests. Please contact your GO for help in determining the right method of submission.

Information related to key methods of submission is below:

  • For NIH and CDC grants, request an NCE request by submitting via eRA commons.
  • For NSF, request an NCE via
  • You need to use email to request and NCE from USDA NIFA.
  • For private foundations, please refer to the specific foundation website or terms of the award.The GO will submit the request via the proper method on behalf of the Principal Investigator.