There are very clear factors that differentiate a Grant and a Gift. It is important to be able to recognize the difference so that the grant/gift is set-up appropriately. Grants are set-up by Sponsored Programs Accounting and are assigned grant account numbers. Gifts are set-up by the Budget Office and are assigned Department ID accounts.

Below is a list of ways one can differentiate a gift that should be set up as a Dept ID and an award which should be set up as a project/grant.

Please note that in some cases it may not be readily apparent if the award is a grant or gift. In these cases Sponsored Programs Accounting will review the documentation and decide which classification is most appropriate.

Grant Vs. Gift



Gift/Department ID


Represents an “exchange transaction”
in which each party receives commensurate value
Represents a “contribution,” an unconditional transfer of cash which is voluntary and non-reciprocal..


Usually has reporting requirements or specific restrictions on how the money can be spent. No reporting
No restrictions

Time Period

Usually has a specified time period over which the work will be done (a start date and an end date). No specific time period


Sometimes requests that unused funds must be returned to the awarding agency/foundation/corporation. Usually all the money is received upfront. Tufts is given unconditional rights to the funds and funds do not need to be returned to the sponsor.