University of Vermont

Sponsored Project Administration - SPA

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Cost Policy on Sponsored Agreements - Updated December 27, 2014

10-08-12 - PeopleSoft Accounts and F-Levels link updated (scroll down toward bottom)

Please find below some helpful information about UVM's Cost Policy on Sponsored Agreements, which went into effect on July 1, 2012.  The policy provides guidance for properly allocating expenses to all sponsored projects, including federal formula fund awards. This page also includes updates based on the new Uniform Guidance.

Cost Policy on Sponsored Agreements 

Training Power-Point link

  • Among other things, the Cost Policy addresses the concept of charging expenses in a consistent manner as either a direct or indirect cost.

  • Costs that are typically considered indirect may only be directly charged to federally funded sponsored projects (or as cost share on those projects) in “unlike circumstances.”  

  • If an unlike circumstance exists, it is perfectly allowable to directly charge these typically indirect costs and therefore we have form to evaluate and document the process.

  • The form is entitled the Direct Cost Justification Form and should be completed and approved prior to proposal submission, if there is a known unlike circumstance identified at that time, or after the award is accepted and set up.

  • The Direct Cost Justification Form is required before any of the following costs, shown along with their respective F level budgetary account, may be directly charged to a federal project:

Cost CategoryF Level Budget Account
Adminstrative & Clerical SalariesUnder existing F5000
General Supplies & ServicesF6002
Computer Supplies & ServicesF6020
UtilitiesF6301
Memberships & SubscriptionsF6006
Equipment MaintenanceF6510
Work OrdersF6007
Telephone and TelecomF6320

Uniform Guidance Implementation

Administrative Salaries

A list of Administrative titles is available here.

Effective December 26, 2014 through the Uniform Guidance, the federal government has allowed the direct charging of administrative salaries when the following conditions are met:
  • Administrative or clerical services are integral to a 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 agency; and
  • The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.

When administrative salaries are considered integral to a project, investigators must continue to complete the Direct Cost Justification Form, describing the integral nature of the administrative or clerical staff member’s effort is to the work of the project.

When integral to the work, administrative or clerical salaries must be included in the budget and budget justification of the proposal. Please note that the Direct Cost Justification Form must be submitted and approved by SPA staff prior to proposal submission.

When administrative or clerical salaries are not included in the proposal but are determined later to be integral to the work, prior approval from the sponsor is required before directly charging the effort. Prior approval must be obtained either via annual progress reports or via separate letter to the sponsor’s administrative office and in accordance with the sponsor’s prior approval requirements. 

Examples of Administrative salaries that are integral to the project:

  1. A financial administrator on a program project who coordinates with numerous different departments and multiple subcontractors to ensure that the appropriate personnel effort is correctly charged, all expenses have been posted, etc. 
  2. An administrative professional whose role is to collect sample information from all participants on a periodic basis and enter it in the participant database to facilitate analysis by the researchers.
Computing Devices

The Uniform Guidance categorizes computing devices as supplies. They may be directly charged to a sponsored project if the following conditions are met:

  1. Devices are essential to the project; and
  2. Allocable to the project.

Examples of essential computing devices are:

  1. Computing devices in a lab that supports multiple sponsored grants. There are two lab techs and a Principal Investigator who use these computers regularly. In this case, the allocation of the computers onto these various grants would be based on an acceptable allocation methods, consistent with allocations methods used for scientific supply purchases. Departments should maintain adequate documentation that should be available upon request to support why the computing devices are essential and allocable to the project.
  2. Computers used for data crunching and analysis for a particularly large and ongoing project. Because the computer is used primarily but not 100% for the large and ongoing grant, it may be used for data analysis in support of other activities, including sponsored projects, as well. In this case, the computer can be solely charged to the large and ongoing grant.
Process Flows

Please find below the link to the process flow documents that can help you figure out when the form is needed and how it will work.

Please find below a comprehensive spreadsheet which identifies all expense accounts with their associated budgetary account prior to July 1, 2012 and on and after July 1, 2012.

We also made changes to financial reports in PeopleSoft.

Please find below a document that contains the information clarifying the changes.

For FAQs and additional examples & allocation methods, please visit UVM’s Cost Accounting Services website.

Last modified January 06 2015 12:15 PM

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