Salaries and Wages of Project Personnel
Supplies and Materials
Equipment (Major & Minor)
Computers and Software
Travel (Domestic & Foreign)
Patient Care Costs
Student Fees & Tuition Remission
Membership to Professional Organizations
"Other" Direct Costs
Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs
Salaries are budgeted in proportion to the time each person commits to the project. Include in the salary information:
- the individual's name and payroll title;
- percentage of time that will be spent on the project;
- current or anticipated salary; and
- the amount to be charged to the award
Consistency with the LLU Wage Book
All salaries charged against grant funds should be consistent with the University "Wage Book." The recommended salary escalation for cost-of-living/merit raises is 3% per year of the award. Note: if non-University personnel are listed, the appropriate LLUAHSC entity pay scale of reference should be used.
Consistency with Percent Effort
Salary requested cannot exceed percent effort spent on the project. Sponsored funds may not be used to add to the total salary or rate of salary of any personnel. See LLU's Primer on Effort Reporting for more information.
Sponsor Limitations on Salary
Some federal sponsors (including NIH) impose salary limitations for certain programs, as well as limitations on graduate student compensation. Budgeted salaries must conform to sponsor restrictions. Salary in excess of imposed caps must be paid by non-federal sources.
Salaries of administrative and clerical staff are normally not allowed as a direct cost because they are considered administrative costs and are included in the F&A rate calculation. However, direct charging of administrative and clerical staff may be appropriate where a "major" project explicitly budgets for administrative or clerical services and the individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project. See the F&A Primer for more information.
Fringe benefit rates differ according to the job title and classification. In addition, different LLUAHSC entities have different rates. Apply the most current benefit rate used for each person listed in the personnel section of the proposed budget. Current rates can be found on the Budget Planning Rate Guide for Sponsored Projects.back to top
Supplies that are for technical use on a project are allowed in the proposal budget as direct costs. Generally these include minor equipment, the cost of animals for animal research (animal per diem costs should be listed under "other" direct costs), lab chemicals and supplies. The justification can include an itemized list of anticipated costs, why the costs are necessary, and how the project will benefit.
General office supplies (e.g. pencils, letterhead paper, postage, memo pads, USB drives, laser pointers) are NOT allowable direct cost items as they are considered facilities and administrative costs and are included in the F&A rate. See LLU's F&A Primer for more information.
back to top
Major equipment is defined as non-expendable, tangible property having a useful life of more than one year with a unit cost (including purchase and/or construction) greater than $2,500. List each item of major equipment separately in the proposed budget. The budget justification should describe the method used to estimate equipment expenses, so be sure to retain vendor quotes as support documentation. The cost of major equipment is excluded when calculating the F&A costs. See LLU's F&A Primer for more information.
Minor equipment can be defined as equipment valued below the $2,500 capitalization threshold with a unit cost between $500 and $2,499. Minor equipment should be listed under supplies and materials
Computers are NOT typically allowed as direct costs when not used exclusively for a specific project. Laptops, computers used for general administration purposes, and general use software are almost never allowable -- they are usually considered to be facilities and administrative costs that are included in the F&A rate calculation. However, desktop computers and/or software purchased for dedicated use on a sponsored project may be allowed as a direct cost IF:
- the computer and/or software is specified in the proposal budget & justification; and
- this direct cost is approved by the sponsor; and
- this direct cost conforms to all cost accounting standards imposed by the federal government (i.e. the cost is allocable, allowable, reasonable, and consistent).
See LLU's F&A Primer for more information.
Travel costs must benefit the proposed project, such as fieldwork and/or attendance at scientific meetings to present the project.
Domestic travel should be listed separately from foreign travel (i.e. travel outside Canada and the United States and its territories/possessions) in the proposed budget. In accordance with General Services Administration regulations, personnel of federally funded research must use U.S. flag air carriers as much as possible for air travel between the United States and a foreign country, or between foreign countries.
In the budget justification, include the purpose, destination, dates of travel (if known) and number of individuals for each trip. If the dates of travel are not known, specify the estimated length of trips (e.g. 3 days).
A consultant is a specialist, not employed by the institution, who offers professional expertise or service to a project.
Note: If the consultant is using his/her institution's facilities to perform the work, that institution may require the consultant to be identified as a sub-contractor to the project rather than a consultant.
Be sure to include in the proposal a letter of commitment from the consultant showing her/her willingness to participate in the project. Include in the budget justification:
- the consultant's name and title;
- consultant fee or daily salary rate (be aware the some sponsors put an upper limit on daily consultant rates);
- number of days engaged;
- travel expenses and per diem/subsistence rate (DO NOT include these under Travel)
First, determine the journal(s) and other venues in which project results may be published. Estimate (based on historical experience) the number of pages to be published, then use the journal's established page rate charge(s) to calculate the total publication costs to include in the proposal budget.
Patient care costs are the costs of routine and ancillary medical services provided by hospitals and clinics to either inpatients or outpatients who could also be participants in research projects. These costs do not include personal expense reimbursement, such as patient travel, consulting physician fees, or any other direct payments to patients, including inpatients, outpatients, subjects, volunteers, and donors. Current rates for patient care, special services, tests or treatments can be obtained by contacting the appropriate business office for the services to be used.
Stipends are monetary assistance provided by students who have no obligation to work for the money they are provided. These are generally living allowances and are usually fixed by the sponsor and sums may vary within the level of study. If not specified by the sponsor, an appropriate stipend level may be developed in consultation with the department chair or dean.
Stipends do carry tax implications for the recipients. If the person receiving the stipend is set up as a student in Payroll, they are exempt from FICA taxes, but are responsible for federal and state withholdings based off W-4 and state SDI.
Membership costs in professional or scientific organizations are usually considered facilities and administrative costs, therefore may NOT be included as a direct cost in the budget unless specifically approved by the sponsor and included in the budget proposal. The membership must have a direct benefit to the sponsored project. Costs of membership in any civic or community organization, country club, social, or dining clubs are NOT allowable.
The "other" direct cost category includes costs that don't fit in the other cost categories discussed on this page, or as requested by the sponsor's budget form. Generally such costs include animal per diem costs (the cost of animals should be listed as a supply), human subject honoraria, computer time, maintenance and other service agreements/charges, space rental, alterations or renovations, equipment rental, etc.
Facilities & Administrative (F&A, also known as indirect) costs help reimburse the institution for the actual operating expenses that support research. These include the infrastructure of buildings, equipment, management, administrative and fiscal systems, and staff to carry out the activities of the organization.
The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, defines F&A costs as "those incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore not identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity." Some common F&A costs include:
- salaries/benefits for administrative & clerical staff
- general office supplies
- computers and general use software
- memberships to professional organizations
- telephones, cell phones and pagers
- library expenses
These items could be considered direct costs IF they:
- conform to OMB-21 cost accounting standards (i.e. are allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistent);
- are included in the proposed budget and justification;
- are necessary to meet the project's objectives;
- have a direct benefit to the project; and
- are approved as a direct cost by the sponsor.
See LLU's F&A Primer for more information.