University of Vermont

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Sponsored Project Administration - SPA

217 Waterman Building . 85 South Prospect Street . Burlington, Vermont 05405 . (802) 656-3360


Prepare Budget 

Direct Costs
  1. Personnel (Salaries and Wages) - updated January 2018
  2. Administrative and Clerical Salary - new November 2017
  3. Graduate Student Salary and Tuition - updated March 2018
  4. Post Doctoral Associates and Post Doctoral Fellows (Trainees)
  5. Consultant Services
  6. Fringe Benefits
  7. UVM Core Research Facilities (VACC, MRI and more)
  8. Animal Care Costs
  9. Travel Costs
  10. Equipment
  11. Subawards/Subcontracts
  12. Genomic Array Costs
  13. Participant Support Costs
  14. Computers, Computing Devices
  15. Non-Travel Meals, Refreshments and Food Related Items
  16. Patient Research Care and Human Subject Costs - new December 2017
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs or Indirect Costs
  1. F&A or Indirect Costs
Cost Sharing and Matching
  1. Cost Sharing

1. Personnel (Salaries and Wages) - updated 01/19/18

Personnel costs are likely going to be your biggest expense. Typically personnel will come in at about 80 percent of your budget, with equipment, travel, and supplies at around 20 percent.

UVM employees, faculty and staff, committing time to the project should be listed in the personnel section of the budget with their institutional base salary, committed time or effort devoted to the project, and amount being requested from the sponsor.

For Example:

Name Title Appt Type % Effort Months Inst. Base Requested Salary Inflate Factor Year 1 Year 2
Faculty Principal Investigator 9 25% 2.3 $100,000 $25,000 3% $25,000 $25,750
Post Doc Scientist 12 50% 6.0 $45,000 $22,500 3% $22,500 $23,175
Grad Student Technician 12 50 6.0 $25,000 $12,500 3% $12,500 $12,875

When budgeting for salaries and wages of UVM personnel on sponsored projects please refer to UVM’s Effort Management Policy on Sponsored Agreements. Many items below will reference this policy.

Salary levels and job classifications included in a proposal budget are best estimates only and do not constitute advance approval. Grant funds may not be used to augment the total salary or rate of pay of UVM employee.

Use Institutional Base Salary

See page 2 of Effort Management Policy on Sponsored Agreements)

The Institutional Base Salary (IBS) of an individual shall be used for estimating, accumulating, and reporting salary charges to sponsored agreements and to ensure compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants Policy Statement, and other applicable federal laws and regulation that permit salary and wage charges to be made to sponsored agreements.

Institutional Base Salary - IBS Definition

IBS is the base annual salary set by the UVM for an employee’s regular appointment, whether that employee’s professional effort for the University is spent on research, teaching, outreach, administration, patient care, or other activities, and whether that employee is appointed full-time or part-time.

Contact your SPA Research Administrator or your unit administrator for IBS of UVM employees for budgeting purposes.

Budget in Person Months rather than Percent Effort

Most sponsors are now requesting effort devoted to the project be presented in person months. Conversion of percentage of effort to person months is straight-forward. To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your effort associated with the project times the number of months of your appointment.

For example:

  • 25% of a 9 month academic year appointment equals 2.25 (AY) person months (9 x 0.25= 2.25)
  • 10% of a 12 month calendar appointment equals 1.2 (CY) person months (12 x 0.10 = 1.2)
  • 33% of a 3 month summer term appointment equals 1.00 (SM) person months (3 x 0.33= 1.00)

For additional help converting percent effort to person months, see the handy NIH Percent of Time & Effort to Person Months Calculator (Excel)

1% Minimum Effort is Required of Principal Investigators and Key Personnel

See page 4 of Effort Management Policy on Sponsored Agreements)

For compliance with OMB Memo M-01-06, all sponsored projects, unless waived by UVM Costing thru SPA or meets an exception as noted below, will require a minimum 1% effort commitment of Principal Investigator and key personnel to ensure oversight of financial, scientific and compliance aspects of a sponsored activity, and must be in proportion to the size and scope of the project.

Include in Budget / Do not Cost Share

All time of UVM employees devoted to a sponsored project including the 1% minimum time commitment should be budgeted for as a direct charge and not cost shared, unless it meets the UVM Cost Share Guidance or there are sponsor limitations outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).


Faculty-committed effort is not required for equipment and instrumentation grants, doctoral dissertation grants, student augmentation grants and individual fellowships. No commitment of effort is expected from faculty mentors on individual training grants or institutional training grants.

Salary Caps

To ensure an individual's salary is not over a sponsor’s salary limitation (cap), use the salary cap when budgeting. The difference between the individual normal salary and the cap is considered cost sharing.

NIH Salary Cap

Congress limits on the direct salary that an individual may receive under an NIH grant to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Executive Level II salary is currently $189,600 effective January 7, 2018. See NOT-OD-18-137. NIH Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 – Most recent)

Dr. Catamount’s institutional base salary is $225,000, which exceeds the NIH Salary Cap of $189,600. Dr. Catamount will devote 1.20 calendar months on the NIH award.

In summary:

Faculty Base Salary: $225,000
Salary Cap: $189,600
Calendar Months on NIH grant: 1.20
  • Normal Monthly Budgeted Amount:  (Calendar Months / 12 Months) x Base = (1.20 CM / 12 Months) x $225,000 = $22,500
  • Capped Salary on NIH Grant: (Calendar Months / 12 Months) x Salary Cap = (1.20 CM / 12 Months) x $189,600 = $18,960

The difference between the normal faculty salary and the capped amount is considered cost sharing.

  • Amount Over the Cap:  Normal Recovery - Maximum Salary Applied = $22,500 - $18,960 = $3,540

For the 1.20 months, budget for $18,960 with $3,540 being costs shared.

2. Administrative and Clerical Salary

Budgeting Administrative and Clerical Salaries as a Direct Cost - UG Sections 200.413, 200.430 - The Uniform Guidance (UG) applicable to federal funding clearly states salaries of administrative and clerical staff should normally be treated as F&A (indirect costs) however, direct charging of administration and clerical costs may be appropriate to a federal award only if all of the following conditions are met.

  • Administrative or clerical services are integral (necessary) for the performance of the project or activity;
  • Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
  • Such costs are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the Federal awarding sponsor; and
  • The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.
If you believe your project meets all the conditions above, you must specifically budget for the time devoted to the project and corresponding salary of the administrative or clerical position and provide in the budget justification a narrative that explains how these administrative and clerical services are integral or necessary for the performance of the project or activity.
A SPA Exemption Needed
  • If awarded, SPA will require a Direct Cost Justification Form be completed, reviewed, and approved by SPA for administrative and clerical salaries to be direct charged to federally funded projects

3.  Graduate Student Salary and Tuition

At UVM, Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) reasonable compensation for work performed on a sponsored project is comprised of the following; salary, fringe benefits and tuition.  

All proposals should include all components of a GRA’s compensation package, unless prohibited by the sponsor regulation.  For reference see: April 2015 memo from Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate College.

GRA Salaries
  • When budgeting for GRA salary (often referred to as stipend) use at least the minimum amounts as noted below. Amounts greater than the minimum can be used but first check with the Department's fiscal office to determine what the appropriate GRA should be in the academic unit.
  • A full time GRA is equal to a 0.5 FTE (20 hours/week).
 Maximum Graduate Student Compensation on NIH Research Grants
  • The maximum amount NIH will award for total graduate student compensation on a NIH research grant is equal to the Postdoctoral zero-level Kirschstein-NRSA stipend in effect when NIH issues the grant award.  
  • The amount is currently set at $48,432 ($4,036 per month).  
  • See (NOT-OD-18-175) until otherwise changed.  
  • The compensation amount includes salary or wages, fringe benefits, and tuition remission. 
  • These guidelines apply to graduate students who are supported by NIH research grants and cooperative agreements, not training grants.
Fringe Benefits
  • Fringe benefit must be included in the SPA budget worksheet and proposal budget when a graduate student salary is also included.
  • InfoEd's proposal budgeting system will calculate the fringe automatically, using the most current rates in effect at the time of proposal creation.
  • For fringe benefits see UVM Fringe Benefit Rate Matrix hosted by Cost Accounting

Tuition is part of the GRAs compensation package. Unless prohibited by sponsor regulations, all proposals that include GRA salary must also include the appropriate tuition amount as follows;

All Schools/College/Program (except CEMS):
  • For full time (0.5 FTE, 10 credits) - FY18 rate of $6,460.
  • For half time (0.25 FTE, 5 credits) - FY18 rate of $3,230.
CEMS has mandated the equivalent of 12 rather than 10 credits of tuition at the in-state rate be included in budgets:
  • For full time (0.5 FTE, 12 credits) - FY18 rate of $7,968.
  • For half time (0.25 FTE, 6 credits) - FY18 rate of $3,984.
Current tuition rates are available at the Graduate College Tuition and Fees website.
Frequently Asked Questions

4. Post-Doctoral Associates and Post-Doctoral Fellows (Trainees)

There are two types of post-doctural appointments at the University: 
  • Post-Doctoral Associate: If the primary purpose of the grant is to accomplish specific research aims, the individual is considered a post-doctural associate. Under this appointment a post doctural associate is an employee carring out work under the direction of a principal investigator and receiving a salary for that work. As salaried employees, post doctural associates are eligible for UVM benefits available to salaried employees. 

  • Post-Doctoral Fellows: If the primary purpose of the grant is the training or development the individual is considered a post-doctural fellow. Under this appointment a post-doctural fellow is a trainee and normally appointed to a fellowship or training grant and receives a stipend rather than salary. UVM provides health insurance only (single or family coverage) to fellow and trainees.

5. Consultant Services

  • Consultants differ from subawards in that consultants provide professional advice or services for a fee. 
  • Consultants are normally not an employee of UVM. 
  • Consultant services are budgeted as a direct charge, normally in the "Other" category.
  • Investigators should request a quote from the consultant as back-up documentation for pricing. 
  • Consultant Services should be justified in the budget narrative describing the specific expertise the consultant will be providing in support of the project.
  • Notes:
  • UVM faculty devoting time to a sponsored project should be budgeted for in the personnel line with the appropriate salary amount and fringe corresponding to the effort devoted to the project.
  • UVM faculty may not be paid as consultants from UVM sponsored projects. 
  • Intra-UVM consulting by and between faculty is a UVM expectation for collaborations to occur without additional compensation.
  • Federal employees may not be paid from grant funds.

6. Fringe Benefits

  • All proposals must use the approved fringe benefit rates in effect at the time the proposal is submitted.  
  • InfoEd’s proposal budgeting system will calculate the fringe automatically, using the most current rates in effect at the time of proposal creation. 
  • UVM’s fringe rates are approved annually by US Department of Health and Human Services and included in the F&A Rate Agreement - hosted by Cost Accounting Services.
  • For Fringe Benefits see UVM Fringe Benefit Rate Matrix hosted by Cost Accounting.

7. UVM Core Research Facilities (VACC, MRI and more)

UVM offers numerous shared core facilities and research resources that provide access to specialized instruments, technologies, services, as well as expert consultation and other services to our researchers and clinical investigators. In general, these core facilities recover their cost, or a portion of their cost, thru user fees that are charged to an investigator's funds, often to NIH or other federal grants. The costs of such centralized core and shared research resources should be budgeted as a direct cost. 

To determine the correct pricing for your proposal budget, please visit UVM Core Research Facilities and Services.

8. Animal Care Costs

The Office of Animal Care Management charges for animal care on a per diem basis and develops a rate for different species annually. Current rates and projections may be obtained from the Office of Animal Care Management.

9. Travel Costs

Allowable as a direct cost where such travel will provide direct benefit to the sponsored project. For example, funds may be requested for field work, attendance at meetings or conferences necessary to accomplish proposal objectives, or disseminate its results, or other travel associated with the proposed work.

Best Practice is to budget for all known travel required to complete the project and disseminate results. When budgeting for travel costs please refer to UVM’s Travel and Expense Reimbursement for most up to date information.

Domestic Travel
  • Reimbursements are subject to the UVM travel regulations and payment rates.
Foreign Travel
  • For international travel, the Fly America Act must be followed, where typically only American flag carriers may be used.  Sponsor prior approval may be required for foreign travel, per the terms of an award. Please read those awards carefully. For assistance in budgeting international travel, see the U.S. Department of State’s foreign per diem and hotel plus meal payment rates.

10. Equipment

An item of equipment is defined as that which has a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.

Identify and justify all items of equipment that are necessary for the performance of the project being proposed.  When establishing your equipment budget, allow for inflation price adjustments or discounts, cost of shipping, installation and maintenance costs and any other cost that is associated with the equipment’s procurement.

Some equipment may be fabricated, i.e., made up of several required components which individually cost less than $5,000, however the fabrication result is a single piece of equipment costing $5,000 and will be recognized by UVMs Property Office as an inventoried piece of equipment.

11. Subawards/Subcontracts

Subrecipient Selection Process

The Principal Investigator is in the best position to select a subrecipient that will be included in a proposal. In general, the selection is based upon the subrecipient's faculty and staff technical expertise and their ability to perform a portion of the scope of work being proposed to the sponsor.  Principal Investigators have a responsibility to ensure the subrecipient selected has the technical capabilities to perform the work and the proposed budget is reasonable.

For all proposed subawards that will be included in a UVM proposal, Principal Investigators are asked to obtain from the subrecipient, a subaward proposal that has been administratively approved by the subrecipient’s authorized official.  This authorized subaward proposal shall be submitted to SPA with the UVM proposal package.

At a minimum, a subrecipient’s proposal should include the following:

  1. Endorsement from the subrecipient’s Authorized Official. This endorsement is provided in many different formats.  For example, signed budget pages, a letter of intent that covers the subcontract proposal, or a signed agency cover sheet or face page.

    • A clear Statement of Work (Scope of Work) to be performed by the subrecipient.
Statement of Work - Defined
  • Is the section of a subaward that describes the work to be undertaken by the subrecipient
  • It does not have to be long and detailed
  • It should be a concise narrative summary of the work to be undertaken by the subrecipient
  • If the prime proposal does not clearly distinguish between the prime award and subaward efforts, the Principal Investigator (in collaboration with the subrecipient) must write a separate Statement of Work for the subaward.
  • The Principal Investigator knows better than anyone what he/she expects from the subrecipient
Statement of Work – may include
  • Objective or purpose
  • Period of performance
  • A general description of the actions to be performed by the subcontractor and the expected results
  • A list of detailed work requirements. List tasks and what is expected. This should provide both technical and performance specifications.
  • Performance, quality and timeliness requirements. This includes required or acceptable levels of performance on each specific task measured in terms of accuracy, response time, and speed.
  • Workload requirements. A description of levels or size of contractual effort.
  • Personnel requirements. Minimum qualifications or skill levels expected in the contractor's staffing.
  • Government-furnished equipment and other resources to be furnished to the subcontractor.
  • Reporting requirements. Describe any reports to be submitted by the contractor to show progress.
  1. A corresponding Budget and Budget Justification
  1. A completed UVM Subrecipient Commitment & Audit Certification Form, unless subrecipient is participating in the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse Project. If that is the case, SPA will use the information available from that site for risk analysis purposes.
When required, subcontractors may need to provide additional information, such as
  • Biographical Sketches of Key Personnel
  • Current and Pending Support of Key Personnel
  • Representations and Certifications
  • Detailed Budget Information
  • Negotiated Facilities and Administrative Cost Agreement
Budgeting Subaward or Subcontractor Costs

When preparing the overall project budget, include the total costs of each subaward or subcontract (Directs + Indirects =  Total costs), as one line item in the UVM direct cost budget.  When using the federal base of MTDC, only the first $25,000 of each subaward or subcontract is included in the calculation of UVM indirects.

Subaward Indirect (F&A) Costs  (UG sections 200.331, 200.414)

Under the Uniform Guidance, Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs should be budgeted for subrecipients as follows:

  • If the subrecipient has a federally negotiated F&A rate, the negotiated rate must be included in all proposed subawards. 

  • If the subrecipient does not have a federally negotiated F&A rate, under the Uniform Guidance no F&A can be budgeted or subrecipient may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely.

  • For Foreign Institutions, see Subawards to Foreign Institutions
Budgeting for Fixed Price outgoing Subawards (UG Sections 200.201, 200.332)
  • Federal sponsor prior approval will be required in order for UVM to issue a fixed price subaward rather than a cost-reimbursement subaward.   The total cost of each fixed price subaward may not exceed $150,000.

  • UVM may consider using fixed price subawards with foreign subrecipients, clinical trial site agreements and occasionally with small businesses or other organizations. To expedite sponsor approval, Investigators who are contemplating a fixed price subaward must include the following or similar statement in the budget narrative:

“The budgeted subaward for (Insert Subrecipient name) will be issued as a fixed price subaward. The University of Vermont will consider this fixed price subaward approved if the award is made and no contrary guidance has been provided by the Sponsor to the University in the award notice.”

If you need assistance in determining whether the anticipated subaward would be issued as a fixed-price subaward or cost-reimbursable, please contact the SPA Research Administrator.

12. Genomic Arrays Costs

Summary:  Reimbursement Policy - Application of F&A Rate

This policy will be applied prospectively to new commitments established by competing awards and by administrative supplements.  Effective for new competitive segments of awards (defined as new, renewal and revision) and administrative supplements to enhance the use of GA on a project, when total purchases for GA will exceed $50,000 per year in any year of the project, the F & A rate reimbursement will be applied to a limited GA cost of $25,000 in addition to the $50,000 threshold for each respective year of the award. 

  • Example I: GA is budgeted at $50,000 for each year of the project: GA costs would be treated as supplies and reimbursed in accordance to our customary procedures for supplies.

  • Example II:  Award is for three years and GA is budgeted at $75,000 in year one and $150,000 in years 2 & 3 respectively.  For each budget year the F & A rate will be applied as follows:  

  • Year one  - applied to the $75,000: The first $50,000 as supplies plus the first 25,000 over the $50,000 ($25,000 rebudgeted in the consortium/subcontract line item) for a total of $75,000;

  • Year two and three - applied to $75,000 each year:  The first $50,000 will be awarded as supplies and receive full F&A.  The remaining balance ($100,000) will be treated as consortium/subcontract costs where the first $25,000 will also receive full F&A.  Any remaining portion (in this example $75,000) of each year respectively will be excluded from the F&A cost base calculation in accord with this policy bulletin.

13. Participant Support Costs

Participant support costs are direct costs for items, such as stipends, subsistence allowances, travel, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not UVM employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. These costs are defined by Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.75.

  • Budget for Participant support costs only in cases where the original Funding Opportunity Announcement specifically allows Participant Support Costs
  • Participant support costs are excluded from the MTDC base when calculating F&A costs.

This category is NOT used for the following, unless specifically allowed by sponsor written instructions or sponsor prior approval:

  • For general travel to conferences or to bring collaborators together to meet and discuss the project
  • For payments to participants in human subject research studies
  • For any other purpose or for non-participant support categories of expense 
Separate Project will be Established for Participant Support Costs:
  • Awarded Participate Support Costs will be established in a separate project and may only be used for the approved Participant Support Cost expenditures. 


14. Computers and Computing Devices

The Uniform Guidance allows the direct charging of computing devices, costing less than $5,000 as a material and supply cost provided they are essential and allocable to the project. Computing devices are recognized to have almost unlimited capacity and do not have to be solely dedicated to the performance of a federal award, in order to be charged 100% to a single award. Where allocating the cost to a single award the computer devices are expected to be primarily used to support the performance of that federal award.

UVM considers essential to mean necessary for the performance of the project or activity being supported by the federal award. 

Examples of essential, might include: 

  1. used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data necessary for the performance of the project or activity; 
  2. used to create information electronically, including printing, transmitting, receiving and visualizing the information in support of the performance of the project or activity; 
  3. used in training, instruction, or curriculum development activities funded by the federal award; or 
  4. other circumstances demonstrated as essential.
  • If you believe computer devices and/or accessories are essential and allocable to the performance of your project and meets the conditions above, you should budget for the computer devices and/or accessories and provide in the budget justification a narrative that explains how the items are essential to the performance of the project.
Modular Grants
  • In the case of NIH Modular Grant applications, computing devices and/or accessories should be itemized and justified in the internal UVM detailed budget.

15. Non-Travel Meals, Refreshments and Food Related Items

To charge non-travel meals, refreshments of food related items to a federal or non-federal sponsored project, the following must be demonstrated:

  1. The cost must be integral to the goals and objectives of the allowable event as presented in the proposal or proposal budget and funded by the sponsor, otherwise sponsor approval may be required.

  2. The cost must be reasonable, that is, must reflect the action a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the cost was incurred.

  3. The cost may not exceed UVM guidelines or amounts specifically stated by sponsors, whichever is less.

  4. The cost is not otherwise prohibited by UVM regulations, sponsor regulations, or under the terms of a specific sponsored project.

  5. In the event of a business meal the following must be demonstrated:

  • The business meals should have been included in the proposal or proposal budget and funded by the sponsor, otherwise sponsor approval may be required.

  • The business meal was integral to the advancement of the project being funded.

  • A clear and compelling reason why the business could only be conducted over a meal.

  • The business meeting must include external participant(s).

  1. NSF funds may not be used for meals, refreshments and hotel expenses of grantee employees who are not on travel status.

For more details and examples where allowable: See Meals, Refreshments and Food Related Items Charged to Sponsored Projects.

16. Human Subject Costs and Patient Care Costs - new December 2017

When preparing and managing budgets it is important to understand the difference between Patient Care Costs and Human Subject Costs.  Below you will find some helpful guidance and links to assist you in your budgeting process.

Patient Care Costs

1.    What are considered a Patient Care Cost?

  1. Patient care costs are defined by NIH are: “Research patient-care costs are the costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to individuals participating in research programs. The costs of these services normally are assigned to specific research projects through the development and application of research patient-care rates or amounts (hereafter “rates”)”.

  2. When budgeting indicate in detail the basis for estimating Patient Care Costs, including the number of patient days, estimated cost per day, and cost per test or treatment.

  3. Routine services include the regular room services, minor medical and surgical supplies, and the use of equipment and facilities for which a separate charge is not customarily made.

  4. Ancillary services are those special services for which charges customarily are made in addition to routine services, e.g., x-ray, operating room, laboratory, pharmacy, blood bank, and pathology.

  5. If both in-patient and out-patient costs are requested, provide information for each separately.

  6. Outpatient care expenses (People Soft account 61027) and Inpatient care expenses (People Soft account 61028) are those costs associated with the above definition.

  7. Patient Care Costs are exempt from F&A.

  8. Awarded Patient Care Costs may not be rebudgeted into or out of without prior NIH approval.

For further information and guidance on what is included in Patient Care Costs and what is allowable on your research grants, please refer to the NIH grants policy statement, sections:

Human Subject Costs

1.    What are considered Research Human Subject cost?

  1. Research Human Subject costs are the allowable expense reimbursements to individuals who are participating in a research project as a human subject, where the information or data collected is used for study purposes. The individual may be reimbursed for travel, paid an amount for subsistence and incentives such as cash or gift cards.

  2. These expenses are not exempt from F&A.

  3. The accounts associated with Research Human Subjects fall under budget level F6000 as follows:

  • 61024 – Research Subject Pay
  • 61040 – Research Subject Incentive
  • 61041 – Research Subject Travel
  • 61042 – Research Subject Subsistence

17. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs or Indirect Costs

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs, fund other items researchers need in order to conduct their work that cannot be specificially allocated to a single project, like the operating costs of UVM's research facilities; electricity, heating, air conditioning and other utilities; laboratory safety equipment, information technology, and the libraries. In addition, F&A is used to recover the costs of research administration, accounting, integrity, and compliance programs required for the proper stewardship of federal funds.

Given the significance of F&A to the institution, UVM expects full recovery of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs associated with extramural funding.
Budgeting for F&A Costs in Proposals
  • All proposals and agreements for external funding must include full F&A costs by using the appropriate UVM Federally Approved F&A Rate, in effect at the time of proposal submission, subject to sponsor limitations, as noted below.
  • UVM does recognize some sponsors and programs (normally non-profits) have F&A recovery limitations that are less than UVM's federally approved rates, including prohibiting indirect costs. These lower rates will be accepted as long as the sponsor has a published rate limitation in their proposal guidelines (request for proposal, request for application, funding opportunity announcement) or is published on the sponsor's website, or be confirmed in writing by the sponsor's grants office and such limitations are equitably applied by that sponsor to all applicants.
F&A Types
  • The type of the F&A rate is determined by the location of project activities (i.e., on-campus, off-campus) and the purpose of the project (i.e., Research, Public Service, Instruction, V-CHIP, Extension, Experiment Station).
  • In situations where a project has a mix of activities and/or the work is performed both on campus and off campus, ONE rate may be applied to each proposal. It will be determined by where the majority of activity is performed and consideration of the purpose of the overall project. The rate will be used for the entire duration of an award's competing segment.
Requesting a Reduction of F&A Costs
  • F&A waivers or reductions is lost revenue to the college, therefore, all F&A reductions greater than allowed by the guidance above, must be submitted thru the College Dean or designee and if approved will forward their recommendation to the Executive Director of Research Administration ( or to the Director of SPA ( for final determination.
  • Requests must be made prior to the proposal submission and present a compelling reason for the reduction, the importance of the individual project, why it is in the best interest of the college to reduce the F&A, and address the ability of the department or college to financially forego the F&A that would otherwise have been recovered. 
Transfer Awards
  • For awards being transferred to UVM from another institution where UVM’s F&A costs exceeds those of the previous grantee institution, UVM will accept the lower rates to ensure that the Principal Investigator will maintain the direct costs needed to complete the project for the duration of the award’s competitive segment. 

  • UVM rates will apply for future competing segments.

Base Definitions
  • The F&A rate is applied to a base of direct costs in order to determine the F&A cost. Base definitions are defined below;
  • Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). Total direct cost minus your modifiers of equipment, patient care, tuition, participant support costs, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, fellowships, and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. F&A cost = MTDC base x F&A rate.

  • Total Direct Costs (TDC). All direct costs are included. There are no exclusions or modifiers. F&A cost = TDC base x F&A rate.

  • Total Funds Awarded (TFA). You will need to do a conversion to a TDC rate.

  • Examples of TDC equivalents follow:
  • 15% TFA is equivalent to 17.6% TDC

  • 22% TFA is equivalent to 28.2% TDC

  • 30% TFA is equivalent to 42.8% TDC

  • Conversion of a TFA rate to a TDC rate:

  • You can convert 15% of Total Funds Awarded (TFA) to Total Direct Costs (TDC) as follows:

  • Allowable indirect costs = 0.15 TFA

  • Direct costs = 0.85

  • 0.15/ 0.85 = 17.6% TDC

USDA/NIFA Indirect Costs Rates
  • Indirect costs may be limited by legislation under NIFA awards.  

  • Please refer to the NIFA Indirect Cost Chart

  • While the chart is provided for reference purposes, NIFA applicants should pay particular attention to any indirect cost limitation identified in the applicable request for applications (RFA) and awardees should pay particular attention to any indirect cost limitation identified in an award.

18. Cost Sharing

Cost sharing occurs when UVM contributes quantifiable resources to a sponsored project beyond the amount paid for by the sponsor.

Types of Cost Sharing
  • Mandatory Cost Sharing

    • Required by the sponsor as a condition for applying and being selected for funding. Mandatory cost sharing will be accounted for and is reportable in financial reports being submitted to the sponsor. Any change to mandatory cost sharing must be approved by the sponsor.

  • Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing

    • Consistent with the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200.99), voluntary committed cost sharing means cost sharing specifically pledged (quantifiable) on a voluntary basis in the proposal’s budget or budget justification.

  • Binding Obligation

    • Mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing represents a binding obligation once an award has been accepted.

  • Not considered Cost Sharing

    • Commitments made in other sections of the proposal, including but not limited to Facilities and Resources, Other Support, and Letters of Support, do not meet the definitions of Cost Sharing.

UVM Cost Sharing Guidance at time of Proposal
  • Cost sharing is limited to mandatory cost sharing; however, voluntary committed cost sharing is allowed where the academic unit has determined that such a contribution is necessary to ensure a competitive proposal.

  • Where mandatory cost sharing a copy or web link to the funding opportunity, regulations or guidelines must be submitted to SPA with the proposal.

  • Where cost sharing is not mandatory or necessary for the competitiveness of a proposal, Principal Investigators and departments should refrain from making such commitments voluntarily.

  • In all situations, the use of cost sharing should be kept to a reasonable level because of the burden that cost sharing places on institutional or departmental resources.

  • Cost sharing occurs when UVM contributes quantifiable resources to a sponsored project beyond the amount funded by the sponsor.

Cost Share Approvals

All cost sharing, mandatory (reportable), voluntary committed (not reportable) included in a proposal is approved as part of the routing of a proposal using InfoEd.

  • Dean or designee - Approves cost sharing from college funds.
  • Department Chair or designee - Approves cost sharing from department funds.
  • Provost or designee – Institutional level cost sharing (normally collected by separate approval letter and not part of the InfoEd proposal routing process)

Cost Sharing is easily located on the SPA Budget Worksheet which is attached to the InfoEd Reveiw Dashboard in routing approval process. 

National Science Foundation Cost Sharing Policy
  • The National Science Foundation prohibits voluntary cost sharing.
  • Voluntary cost sharing found in a NSF proposal is grounds, for return without review or decline.
  • NSF only allows mandatory cost sharing when required by the NSF Program Announcement.
  • See the NSF Cost Share Policy and Related NSF FAQs.
Eligible Cost Sharing contributions must meet all of the following criteria
  1. Are verifiable from UVM’s accounting records;
  2. Are necessary and reasonable for the accomplishment of project activities;
  3. If federal, are allowable under Uniform Guidance – Part 200, Subpart E—Cost Principles;
  4. Are not included as contributions to any other sponsored award;
  5. Are not from another sponsored award, except where the Sponsor specifically allowed; and
  6. Where cost sharing on federal projects must be from non-federal sources.

last updated 05/14/18

Last modified July 25 2018 11:27 AM

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