In most cases, food and food related items charged to a sponsored project is very restrictive. UVM has three distinct types of food related charges.

1. Travel meals, reimbursed through UVM’s established Travel Policy (PDF).
2. Sponsored provisions, food purchases on sponsored projects served during a UVM hosted training, workshop,
    conference, and seminar approved by the sponsor.
3. Business meals, which are different from travel meals and sponsored provisions and must meet both
    UVM's Business Meal, Hospitality and Amenity  Policy (PDF) and Sponsor Regulations.

At Time of Proposals

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, see Proposal Preparation Instructions, Proposal Content, Budget and Budget Justification, Section xiii (b) Meals and Coffee Breaks
  • 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

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:
             a. The business meals should have been included in the proposal or proposal budget
                 and funded by the sponsor. Otherwise, sponsor approval may be required.
             b. The business meal was integral to the advancement of the project being funded.
             c. A clear and compelling reason why the business could only be conducted over a meal.
             d. 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.

Examples of Allowable Food Cost:

           • Example 1:

A visiting scientist was included in the grant application to be at UVM for 2-weeks working on the funded research project. The costs associated with hosting the visiting scientist would normally fall into the travel category covering airfare, accommodations, and meals. In this scenario, the SPA often sees the meal component charged incorrectly as a business meal, which gives the appearance of an unallowable expense.

• Example 2:

A seminar is held, as described in UVM’s institutional training grant. The seminar's purpose clearly contributes to the projects training goals. Refreshments, snacks, and lunch is served, as outlined in the sponsor approved the budget. In this scenario, the SPA often sees these expenses incorrectly charged as a business meal, rather than correctly coded as a sponsored provision, account 60557.

Documentation for Sponsored Projects

1. Consistent with UVM policies, to allow food-related costs on a sponsored project, documentation that satisfies the requirements
    outlined above must be on file and provided to SPA’s Research Finance and Reporting Team.

2. In addition, to the above for food costs or meals severed at seminars, workshops or meetings, the following documentation must be
    provided to SPA’s Research Finance and Reporting Team or made available in PeopleSoft:
             • Names of those in attendance, affiliation, and relationship to the activity sponsored project.
             • Time and location of the meeting.
             • Itemized receipts (normally available thru PeopleSoft).

SPA Review

SPA’s Research Finance and Reporting Team will review food-related costs charged to sponsored projects to confirm such costs are allowable. Food charges that cannot be demonstrated as the allowable cost will need to be removed from the sponsored project.

Account Usage

Using the correct account when charging sponsored projects is important.

• Travel reimbursement domestic, (F6050, 60503 – travel meals or 60541 – non-employee travel)
• Travel reimbursement foreign, (F6052, 60523 – travel meals or 60542 – non-employee travel)
• Sponsored provisions, (F6000, 60557)
• Business meals, (F6053, account 60553)

PeopleSoft Chart of Accounts Overview

For a description of the University’s account codes, please refer to the PeopleSoft Chart of Accounts Overview.


If you have any questions, please contact Sponsored Project Administration for budgeting assistance and SPA’s Research Finance and Reporting Team for expenditure assistance.




Updated 12/18/19