Subrecipient vs. Contractor Determination

Under the Uniform Guidance the term “vendor” was replaced with “contractor.”  When the university provides funds from a federal award to a non-federal entity, the non-federal entity receiving these funds is classified as a subrecipient or a contractor based on the nature of the agreement and characteristics described in 2 CFR § 200.330.

Subrecipient vs. contractor determination must be made and documented at the proposal stage using the Checklist for Determination of Subrecipient or Contractor

  • University must use subrecipient’s negotiated F&A rate or provide a 10% MTDC “deminimis” rate (or another negotiated rate with the subrecipient).
  • Fixed amount subawards require written prior approval from the federal agency.


  • Contractor – Contractor means an entity that receives a contract.  A contract is a legal instrument by which a non-federal entity purchases property or services needed to carry out the project or program under a federal award. (Uniform Guidance § 200.22, § 200.23)
  • Subaward – Subaward means an award provided by a pass-through entity to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a federal award received by the pass-through entity.  It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual that is a beneficiary of a federal program.  A subaward may be provided through any form of legal agreement, including an agreement that the pass-through entity considers a contract (Uniform Guidance § 200.92)
  • Subrecipient – Subrecipient means a non-federal entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to carry out a part of a federal program; but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such program.  A subrecipient may also be a recipient of other federal awards directly from a federal awarding agency (Uniform Guidance § 200.93)