Direct Costs, F&A Costs, and Cost Sharing
1. Personnel (Salaries and Wages)
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.
Budgeting Salary: Include as a direct cost line item appropriate salary amounts for all project personnel corresponding to the amount of time they are devoting to the project.
Effort Commitments: Unless sponsor regulations or directions state otherwise, Principal Investigators and key personnel are expected to commit a level of effort to the project in proportion to the size and scope of the project.
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 (IBS), committed time or effort devoted to the project, and the amount being requested from the sponsor.
In cases where there is no time commitment identified for the Principal Investigator, and the project is not exempt from UVM's minimum PI effort rule, a 1% minimum time commitment will be entered at time of award.
Budgeting Project Personnel Example:
|Personnel||Role||Appt Type||% Effort||Months||Inst. Base||Requested Salary||Inflate Factor||Year 1||Year 2|
|John Doe||Principal Investigator||9||25%||2.3||$100,000||$25,000||3%||$25,000||$25,750|
|Jane Smith||Post Doc Assoc||12||50%||6.0||$45,000||$22,500||3%||$22,500||$23,175|
When budgeting for salaries and wages of UVM personnel on sponsored projects please refer to UVM’s Effort Management Policy on Sponsored Agreements (PDF). 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 (PDF)
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.
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 a 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.
- 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
See page 4 of Effort Management Policy on Sponsored Agreements (PDF)
For compliance with OMB Memo M-01-06 (PDF), all sponsored projects, unless waived by UVM Costing or meets an exception as noted below, will require a minimum 1% effort commitment of the Principal Investigator to ensure oversight of financial, scientific and compliance aspects of a sponsored activity.
Proposals selected for Funding that did not include a PI minimum effort
To satisfy this University policy requirement, at time of award set-up, SPA will automatically include the 1% PI minimum time commitment and request a chartstring be provided. SPA is not looking for approvals and no approvals are needed. This is a UVM policy requirement.
Exceptions to the 1% PI minimum (No committed effort is acceptable)
- equipment and instrumentation grants
- doctoral dissertation grants
- student augmentation grants
- individual fellowships
- travel awards (funds are devoted to defray cost of attending professional conferences)
- conference awards (funds are devoted to defray the costs of UVM hosted conference)
- industry funded clinical trials
- clinical trials funded by federal National Clinical Trial Networks
- faculty mentors on training grants
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 tracked in the UVM accounting system and effort reporting system. Salary over the cap is not used to meet any cost share requirements, but is required to be tracked within UVM. No approvals are required for over the cap salary. Approval of coverage is automatic.
NIH Salary Cap
Congress limits the rate of pay an individual may receive under an NIH grant to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale.
The current Executive Level II salary is $197,300, with an effective date of January 5, 2020. See (NOT-OD-20-065).
NIH Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 – Most recent)
Dr. Catamount’s institutional base salary (IBS) is $225,000, which exceeds the NIH Salary Cap of $197,300.
Dr. Catamount will devote 1.20 calendar months on the NIH award.
Faculty IBS or Base Salary: $225,000
Salary Cap: $197,300
Time budgeted for on the NIH grant: 1.20 calender month or 10% effort
- Base Salary Monthly Amount Budgeted:
- (Calendar Months / 12 Months) x Base
- (1.20 CM / 12 Months) x $225,000 = $22,500
- Salary Cap Monthly Amount Budgeted:
- (Calendar Months / 12 Months) x Salary Cap
- (1.20 CM / 12 Months) x $197,300 = $19,730
- Amount Over the Cap:
- Base Salary - Salary Cap Recovered
- $22,500 - $19,730 = $2,770.
- For the 1.20 months, budget salary at $19,730 with $2,770 being covered by the University. This amount will be reflected as a cost share, but for internal accounting purposes only.
2. Administrative and Clerical Salary
Administrative and clerical salaries can be direct charged to a federally funded project, if the following Uniform Guidance Section 200.413, conditions must be met;
- Administrative or clerical services are integral or necessary to accomplish the scope of work being funded to the project or activity;
- Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
- Such costs are explicitly included in the budget proposed to the federal sponsor or have the prior written approval of the Federal awarding agency;
- The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs;
Budgeting Admin/Clerical Support
When creating proposal budgets you will need to do an excellent job justifying the administrative and clerical positions as being integral or necessary to accomplish the scope of work, project or activity that is being proposed.
Admin/clerical costs not explicitly included in the budget proposed to the federal sponsor will not be allowed as a direct charge.
At Time of Award Setup
If your proposal is selected for funding, SPA at time of award set-up, will release the Admin/Clerical funding for those positions that were explicitly included in the sponsor approved budget and meet the costing criteria as set forth above. The Direct Cost Justification Form in no longer required since these costs must now be explicitly included in the awarded budget.
3. Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) 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, and tuition.
All proposals should include all components of a GRA’s compensation package unless prohibited by the sponsor regulation.
- Salary is budgeted for in the salary line.
- Fringe is budgeted for in the fringe line.
- Tuition is budgeted for in the other expense line.
GRA Salary (see Graduate College GRA Rates and Details)
When budgeting for GRA salary 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 the amount of use.
GRA Salary Table
Pay Rates are based on a full-time GRA. (0.5 FTE = works 20 hours/week)
Academic Year 2020-2021
(9/1/20 - 8/31/21)
|CAS including Graduate Program in Material Sciences||$16,675||$22,233||$20,525||$27,377|
|CALS including Graduate Program in Food Systems||$18,096||$24,128||$22,706||$30,275|
|Grossman School of Business||$16,675||$22,233||$20,525||$27,377|
|Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources||$19,695||$26,260||$21,195||$28,260|
Ph.D. Graduate Programs
GRA Fringe Rate
- Current Rate is 8.5%
GRA Tuition (refer to April 2015 Tuition Memo (PDF) and Graduate College Tuition Rates)
Unless prohibited by sponsor regulations, all proposals that include GRA salary must also include the appropriate tuition amount.
GRA Tuition Table
Tuition is based on the Vermont Resident rate of $683 per credit.
Academic Year 2020-2021
(9/1/20 - 8/31/21)
|School/College/Program||Credits||Tuition to Include in Budget|
|Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources||6 credits/half-time||$4,098|
|All Other School/College/Programs||5 credits/half-time||$3,415|
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 $50,004 ($4,036 per month).
- See (NOT-OD-19-036) until otherwise changed.
- The compensation amount includes salary, fringe, and tuition.
Fellowships and Training Grants
- The NIH NRSA’s will provide funds for Tuition and Fees, Training Related Expenses, and Institutional Allowance, per NOT-OD-19-036.
- UVM allows all required fees to be requested in all Fellowship and Training grants, unless prohibited by the sponsor guidelines.
- Student Fees are not charged on Research Grants, but may be charged on Training Grants.
- Please work with your college or department fiscal office to make sure these costs are budgeted correctly.
4. Post-Doctoral Associates and Post-Doctoral Fellows (Trainees)
There are two types of post-doctoral 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-doctoral associate. Under this appointment, a post-doctoral associate is an employee working under the direction of a principal investigator and receiving a salary for that work. As salaried employees, post-doctoral 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-doctoral fellow. Under this appointment, a post-doctoral fellow is a trainee and normally appointed to a fellowship or training grant and receives a stipend rather than salary.
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.
- 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 federally approved fringe benefit rates in effect at the time the proposal is submitted.
- UVMClick proposal budgeting system will calculate the fringe automatically, using the most current rates in effect at the time of proposal creation.
- Fringe Benefits include such items as FICA, Worker's Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, insurance, pensions, tuition remission and employee assistance programs.
- UVM’s fringe rates are approved annually by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and included in the F&A Rate Agreement (PDF).
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.
- Reimbursements are subject to the UVM travel regulations and payment rates.
- 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.
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. Equipment Maintenance and Repairs
Budget amounts in the “Other Category” for equipment maintenance and repair costs that are necessary to keep equipment being used in support of the sponsored project in efficient operating condition, unless the maintenance cost has been included in the price of a new piece of equipment being purchased.
To be an allowable direct charge the cost must be necessary, reasonable and directly allocable to the supported activity. For example if the project uses a piece of equipment for approximately 50% of the time, 50% of the repair or maintenance cost would be allocable as a direct charge to the award.
Subrecipient Selection Process
he Principal Investigator is in the best position to select a subrecipient that will be included in a proposal. The Principal Investigator has a responsibility to ensure the subrecipient selected has the technical capabilities to perform the work and the proposed budget is reasonable.
What’s Needed At Time of Proposal
For all proposed subawards that will be included in a UVM proposal, Principal Investigators are asked to obtain from the subrecipient, an administratively approved subaward proposal. 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.
2. A clear Statement of Work to be performed by the subrecipient.
Statement of Work
- Is the section of a subaward that describes the work to be undertaken by the subrecipient
- It should be a concise narrative summary of the work to be undertaken by the subrecipient
- Period of performance
- 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.
- Reporting requirements. Describe any reports to be submitted by the contractor to show progress.
3. A corresponding Budget and Budget Justification
4. 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.
5. Additional Information, when required, 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
UVM Budgeting of 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 assigned SPA Research Administrator.
13. Genomic Arrays Costs
- Budgeting for Genomic Arrays for NIH Grants, Cooperative Agreements and Contracts
- Notice Number: NOT-OD-10-097, May 13, 2010
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.
14. 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.
15. 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:
- used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data necessary for the performance of the project or activity;
- used to create information electronically, including printing, transmitting, receiving and visualizing the information in support of the performance of the project or activity;
- used in training, instruction, or curriculum development activities funded by the federal award; or
- 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.
- In the case of NIH Modular Grant applications, computing devices and/or accessories should be itemized and justified in the internal UVM detailed budget.
16. Non-Travel Meals, Refreshments and Food Related Items
Best practice is to always include in grant applications and proposals, where not prohibited, explicit details of events, meetings, seminars and food related costs in support of those events.
Follow Sponsors Guidelines: Federal Examples
- NIH Grants Policy Statement, see 7.9.1 Selected Items of Cost Meals
- NSF PAPPG, NSF funds may not be used for meal, refreshments and hotel expenses of grantee employees who are not on travel status.
- NIFA Terms and Conditions, see Allowable Costs - Meals
- Uniform Guidance, See 200.438 Entertainment costs, 200.456 participant support costs, 200.474 Travel costs, and 200.432 Conferences.
Charging Food Related Costs to Sponsored Projects
- 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.
- 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.
- The cost may not exceed UVM guidelines or amounts specifically stated by sponsors, whichever is less.
- The cost is not otherwise prohibited by UVM regulations, sponsor regulations, or under the terms of a specific sponsored project.
- 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 an external participant(s).
If you are trying to charge a business meal expense to a sponsored project on 9/1/18 or after, a new budget line (F6053, account 60553) will need to be created in PeopleSoft in order for the transaction to be posted. Please contact your assigned SPA Financial Analyst for assistance. The FAs will work with you to determine if the expense is allowable and identify the correct budget account code to use when posting the expense to the sponsored project.
For more details and examples where allowable: See Meals, Refreshments, and Food Related Items Charged to Sponsored Projects.
17. Human Subject Costs & IRB Fees
Budget IRB fees in proposals, where the following is true:
a. funding is not from a federal.
b. funding is not from the State of Vermont.
c. less than full F&A is being paid.
d. not prohibited by the sponsor.
$3,500 Initial Applications (expedited & full)
$2,500 for Annual Review (expedited & full)
$1,000 for New Study, Reliance on External IRB
2. Human Subjects Costs
a. Human Subject costs are the allowable expense reimbursements to individuals who are participating in a research project as a
human subject. Please ensure your approved IRB protocol included such costs, otherwise you will need to amend the protocol
b. Human Subject costs are not exempt from F&A.
c. The accounts associated with Human Subjects costs fall under budget level F6000 as follows:
61024 – Research Subject Pays
61040 – Research Subject Incentive
61041 – Research Subject Travel
61042 – Research Subject Subsistence
When making a payment to a Human Subject always use the Payment Acknowledgment Form. If you have questions concerning payments contact the Disbursement Center.
-- New October 2018
18. Patient Care Costs
1. What are considered a Patient Care Cost?
- 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”)”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If both in-patient and out-patient costs are requested, provide information for each separately.
- Outpatient care expenses (People Soft account 61027) and Inpatient care expenses (People Soft account 61028) are those costs associated with the above definition.
- Patient Care Costs are exempt from F&A.
- 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:
19. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs or Indirect Costs
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs, fund items researchers need in order to conduct their work that cannot be specifically 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.
- An excellent COGR Publication that explains F&A and its value: F&A Reimbursements and Why it Works (PDF)
For F&A Rates see:
- F&A Rate Table (PDF) hosted by Cost Accounting
- UVM's most recent F&A Agreement (PDF) with HHS dated July 12, 2019
NIFA limits indirect costs for the overall award to 30 percent of Total Federal Funds Awarded (TFFA) or the institutions federally approved F&A rate, whichever is less. If the prime recipient includes a subaward, the 30% TFFA maximum includes the subrecipienst indirects.
- NEW! Indirect Cost Caps - Frequently Asked Questions
- NIFA’s Indirect Cost Chart on a program-by-program basis.
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.
Sponsored Published F&A Limitations
- 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.
- 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 (email: Brian.Prindle@uvm.edu) or to the Director of SPA (email: Sonya.Stern@uvm.edu) 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.
- 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.
- 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 (PDF)
- 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.
20. Cost Sharing