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Sub Recipients and Vendor Contracts

Often it is necessary to enter into subcontracts with private businesses, governmental agencies or other academic institutions to carry out particular program elements of an award. The mechanism for doing this is a vendor contract or sub recipient agreement.


Sub recipient: Research Foundation defines a sub recipient as an "entity receiving government financial assistance when the assistance is initially received by another entity that distributes the assistance for the government program that created and provided the assistance".

Vendor: Research Foundation defines a vendor as "an organization providing foods or services that are related to the administrative support of the federal assistance program".

Sub recipient vs. Vendor Relationship

When making the determination the substance of the relationship is more important than the form of the agreement, however the relationship can be difficult to determine. The Research foundation office should be contacted for guidance in asking this determination. The following is a listing of sub recipient and vendor characteristics:

Sub recipient Characteristics:

  1. Perform measured goals meeting the program objectives

  2. Responsibility for programmatic decision making.

  3. Responsibility for applicable program compliance requirements.

  4. Use of funds passed through to carry out a program as compared to providing goods or services for a program of the prime recipient.

  5. Determining eligibility for assistance.

Vendor Characteristics:

  1. Provides goods and services with normal business operations.

  2. Provides similar goods or services to many different purchasers.

  3. Operates in a competitive environment.

  4. Program compliance requirements do not pertain to the goods or services provided.

Contact Information

Office: Beaumont 260
Phone: (518) 564-2155
Fax: (518) 564-2157

Research Foundation at SUNY Plattsburgh
Kehoe 815
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901