Science Support

AEI 2011-01, Modifications to SM 501.1 Section 12, Special Rates

Issuance Date: December 8, 2010

Expiration Date: Retain Until Superseded


1.  Purpose.  This Instructional Memorandum (IM) provides updated guidance on U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) bureau-level assessment special rates policy and procedures.  Specifically this IM updates Section 12, H. (1) and replaces SM Chapter 501.1, Section 12, H. (2).  All other policy governing the application of special rates will still apply as instructed in the Survey Manual Chapter 501.1.

2.  Scope.  This IM applies to all requests for application of the USGS bureau-level assessment special rate.  

3.  Approval Authority.  The approval chain of authority will be as follows:

A.  Cost Center Manager.

B.  Regional Executive.

C.  Administrative Program Coordinator.

D.  Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information.

4.  Policy.

A.  New Special Rate Request Electronic Web-Form.  Special Rate Request Form 9-3122 is now available through the Lotus Notes electronic web form site (  All new and renewal requests will be processed using the electronic form.  The new form provides step-by-step instructions through the HELP link and contains links to the USGS Survey Manual and the USGS Financial Operating Procedures guidance.  After completing the form, the originator routes the form for review and approvals. 

(1)  Special rate requests include the following:

(a)  Cost center/allocation organization name, number, full address, and contact information.

(b)  The current indirect cost center rate (exclusive of facilities rate).

(c)  Customer name and contact information (the non-USGS organization funding the agreement).

(d)  Total gross amount of the customer agreement with a breakdown by fiscal year.

(e)  The total gross amount of the agreement for which a bureau-level special rate is being requested, also with a breakdown by fiscal year.

(f)  The type of third party to whom the amount is being transferred/awarded, e.g., a university, and, if known, the name of the third party.

(g)  The type of funding mechanism being used, e.g., a grant or cooperative agreement.

(h)  The reduced indirect rate the cost center will apply to recover its indirect costs (0-3 percent) should the bureau-level special rate request be approved.

(i)  A copy of supporting documentation, e.g., a copy of the proposed/draft reimbursable agreement, will be provided with the request.

B. Renewals.  It has been USGS policy to review requests for bureau-level assessment special rates on an annual basis.  Due to the consistency of the bureau special rate of 3 percent since fiscal year 2004, the renewal policy is being modified.   A Special Rate Request may be submitted for the full term of the agreement, up to 5 years.  Any agreement exceeding 5 years in length will require a new request prior to the beginning of the sixth year commencement/approval between the USGS and the customer party.  Existing agreements approved for 1 year under the previous policy should be submitted for renewal up to 5 years.  Cost centers are encouraged to submit special rate requests early in the negotiation process in order to effectively create accurate budgets. 

6.  Roles and Responsibilities.

A.  Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information.  The Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information will serve as the USGS approval authority for application of USGS bureau-level special rates.

B.  Chief, Office of Accounting and Financial Management. The Chief, Office of Accounting and Financial Management, will:

(1)  Develop Bureau financial operating procedures as relate to recording special rates in the financial system.

(2)  Ensure all customer agreements coded in the system have received mandatory approval from the Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information.

(3)  Oversee reporting requirements associated with burden projections encompassing all bureau-level assessments to include special rates.

C.  Regional Executive.  The Regional Executive will review and approve/disapprove special rate requests prior to submission to the Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information.

D.   Administrative Program Coordinator.  The Administrative Program Coordinator will review special rate requests to ensure that all required elements are included in the request prior to submission to the Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information.



/s/ Kelly L. Bradley for                                                                       December 8, 2010

_________________________________________                          _________________

Karen D. Baker                                                                                               Date
Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information