Property Administration

Jump to section:

University Titled Equipment
Federally Titled Equipment
Property Records for Equipment
Deliverables to Sponsor
Transfer of Equipment from a Former Institution
Transfer of Equipment to a New Institution
Loss, Damage or Theft of Equipment
Property Control Systems Analysis from ONR

The property clause of your sponsored agreement or the applicable agency guidelines will specify the title-holder of equipment purchased with sponsored funds or equipment received from the sponsoring agency. When federal funds are used to acquire equipment, it is important that the principal investigator understand the approved use and accountability differences between federally-titled equipment and university-titled equipment purchased with federal funds. Please contact Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) with any property requirement or title questions.

University Titled Equipment

Most equipment purchased on grants and contracts is titled to the University of Arizona.

Restrictions on the use of University Titled Equipment Acquired with Federal Funds

The University must use the equipment on the project or program for which it was acquired as long as it is needed. This requirement continues whether or not the project or program continues to be supported by federal funds and the property cannot be used for another project or committed in a proposal without approval from the federal awarding agency. When no longer needed for the original project or program, the recipient may use the equipment in connection with their other federally-sponsored activities, in the following order of priority:

  1. Activities sponsored by the federal agency which funded the original project
  2. Activities sponsored by other federal awarding agencies
  3. Any research program in a similar research field

During the period of time equipment is used on the project or program for which it was acquired, the principal investigator and department head shall make it available for use on other projects or programs only if such other use will not interfere with the work on the project or program for which the equipment was originally acquired. Preference for such other use mirrors the priorities listed above for equipment use after the original sponsored project has ended.

Disposition of University Titled Equipment Acquired with Federal Funds

When the University no longer needs the equipment for the project or program, the equipment may be used for other activities in accordance with the following standards.

  • For equipment with a current per unit fair market value of $5,000 or more, the University may retain the equipment for other uses provided that compensation is made to the original federal awarding agency or its successor. The amount of compensation shall be computed by applying the percentage of federal participation in the cost of the original project or program to the current fair market value of the equipment.
  • If the University has no need for items of equipment with a current per unit fair market value of $5,000 or more, the principal investigator should contact the property administrator in SPS to begin the process of requesting disposition instructions from the federal awarding agency.

Federally Titled Equipment

Title to federally owned property remains vested in the Federal Government. Federally owned property can be used only on an active award(s) to which the equipment has been assigned by the awarding federal agency. Any use of equipment other than for the authorized project requires that the University request approval from the awarding agency. It is imperative to contact SPS property administrator as soon as the equipment is no longer used on the authorized award.

The University is required to annually submit a listing of federally owned property under the custody of the University to the awarding federal agency. The SPS property administrator is responsible for submitting these inventory reports.

Federally owned property is acquired by:

  • Charging the cost of the equipment directly to a federal grant or contract with applicable Federal title property clauses
  • Federally titled equipment transferred to the University is called Government Furnished Equipment (GFE). Federally titled equipment acquired on one University award and transferred to another project is also treated as GFE

Government Furnished Equipment must also be included in the University's property record system. The principal investigator and the department business office are responsible for notifying the SPS property administrator of the receipt of GFE and requesting University property tags (S-tags) for each item from the Financial Services Office Property Management Team.

Upon completion of the award or when the property is no longer needed for the project, the Sponsored Projects Services Office property administrator reports the property to the federal awarding agency, requesting disposition instructions. The awarding agency has the option of

  • Approving use on another project
  • Approving transfer of the title to the University
  • Requesting the equipment be returned to the agency
  • Authorizing sale of the equipment and reimbursement to the original federal agency

Some non-Federal sponsors may also retain the title of equipment purchased on grants and contracts and may furnish or loan equipment to the University. Tagging of such equipment is necessary to ensure property reports and requests of disposition are send timely.

Property Records for Equipment

Equipment records shall be maintained accurately and shall include the following information:

  • A description of the equipment
  • Manufacturer's serial number, model number, federal stock number, national stock number, or other identification number
  • Funding source of the equipment, including the sponsor award number
  • Whether title vests in the University or the Federal Government or other sponsor
  • Acquisition date (or date received if the equipment was furnished by the Federal Government) and cost
  • Split funding information, if more than one source of funding
  • Location, use and condition of the equipment and the date the information was reported
  • Unit acquisition cost
  • Ultimate disposition data, including date of disposal and sales price or the method used to determine current fair market value where a recipient compensates the awarding agency for the federal share


A physical inventory of all capital and sponsor titled equipment is taken every two years. The department head or designee will investigate and determine the cause for any differences between information determined by the physical inspection and that shown in the property records. The location, condition, current utilization, and continued need for the equipment will be verified as part of the physical inventory.


Adequate maintenance procedures shall be implemented to keep the equipment in good condition.

Replacement of Equipment

When acquiring replacement equipment, the investigator may use the equipment to be replaced as trade-in or sell the equipment and use the proceeds to offset the costs of the replacement equipment, subject to the approval of the original awarding agency. The principal investigator needs to inform the property administrator in the Sponsored Projects  Services Office when an item of federally-titled equipment is approved by the federal sponsor for trade-in or sale. The property administrator will issue instructions for the removal of the item from the University's equipment records and retain a copy for the project's property audit file.

Deliverables to Sponsor

When a contract provides for the acquisition, assembly, or fabrication of equipment for delivery to the sponsor, the principal investigator must furnish the property administrator in Sponsored Projects Services copies of shipping documents as proof of the delivery of the equipment to the sponsor. The Property Administrator will issue instructions for the removal of the item from the University's equipment records and retain a copy for the project's property audit file.

Transfer of Equipment from a Former Institution

A principal investigator transferring to the University of Arizona from another institution is required to register equipment from the former institution in the University property system. This provides insurance coverage for these items. The principal investigator needs to provide their departmental business manager a list of these items, including the description, serial number, model number, and title holder. Any documents of loan, title holder, or approval of transfer from the former institution need to be attached to the list of inventory items. The business manager will forward the list of inventory and supporting documents to the SPS property administrator.

Transfer of Equipment to a New Institution

If the University of Arizona principal investigator plans to transfer equipment funded by grants/contracts to another institution, refer to the following policies and procedures:

See the Award Transfer page for all award transfer subjects and procedures.

Use of University Equipment for Non-University Purposes

Equipment acquired with sponsored funds may not be used to provide services to nonfederal outside organizations for a fee that is less than private companies charge for equivalent services. The fee revenue is treated as Program Income. If the equipment is owned by the Federal Government, use on other activities not sponsored by the Federal Government is permissible only if authorized by the original awarding agency.

Loss, Damage, or Theft of Equipment

Any loss, damage, or theft of equipment shall be investigated, fully documented and reported immediately to campus police and the Office of Risk Management. A delay in reporting loss, damage, or theft may jeopardize insurance recovery. If the equipment is owned by the Federal Government, the principal investigator must promptly notify the Sponsored Projects Services Office property administrator and the original awarding agency. Property inventory records also must be updated. 

Additionally, lost or stolen devices containing University data should be reported through the online questionnaire located on the Univerity's Information Security Lost or Stolen Device website.

Property Control Systems Analysis from the Office of Naval Research

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) annually reviews the University of Arizona property system on behalf of the Federal Government. The Sponsored Projects Services Office will send each department a list of federally titled equipment a couple months before the review. The data should be checked for accuracy and the equipment should be inspected for proper location, use, and condition. The University takes the ONR review very seriously. An unsatisfactory rating of our Property Control System has serious implications for our federal research programs.

Reference: Property Management Policies & Procedures ManualOMB Uniform Guidance, Property Standards, Sections 200.310 - 200.316

See Core Facilities for information on University of Arizona service centers. 

Subscribe to the UArizona Impact in Action newsletter to receive featured stories and event info to connect you with UArizona's research, innovation, entrepreneurial ventures, and societal impacts.

Subscribe now