Fringe benefits are charged to sponsored projects at a rate of 28% of
direct salary costs. For example, a technician with an annual salary of
$24,000 that has a 100% time of effort on the project, would charge the
agency $6,000 in benefit costs. A research scientist, with an AY salary
of $55,000, and a time of effort of 33% during the school year would
incur $4,584 of benefit costs that must be charged to the grant.
Student Stipends, Benefits and Tuition
stipends may vary according to funding source and resources within the
Department. Appointments may be administered for 12 months or from
August through May, with separate contracts for the summer months of
June and July. Benefit rates for graduate student stipends (and
undergraduate when appropriate) are charged at a rate of 8%. If
necessary, the school will contribute to the FICA taxation as a
matching contribution to the project.
Tuition may change from one year to the next, therefore, it is
best to request current tuition rates from the Business Office or the
OSP. For multi-year projects, it is best to factor in a 4% increase in
the tuition rate for each subsequent year of funding. Tuition charges
should not be included in the wages and salary category (it can not be
included for the indirect costs charges), but rather in the “Other”
Supplies and Materials
Supplies are usually considered to be the consumable items used in
support of project objectives. Items such as laboratory notebooks,
diskettes, software, printer paper for research data and reports,
report binders, cartridge replacements and other such materials can be
justified as consumable supplies if it is demonstrated that these items
are used only in the conduct of the project and not for other purposes.
If these supply items are purchases to support activities of project
personnel that do not include the said funded project, they are
considered office supplies and may not be allowable costs.
The estimated cost of consumable supplies and materials should
be indicated in the proposed budget. Shipping charges are allowable
charges. Generally, a break-down of supply items by broad categories is
acceptable. A detailed list of individual items by name is not
necessary. However, contract awards may require a detailed itemization
Major items of equipment should
be itemized by descriptive name, estimated cost and source of supply
(if known). An adequate justification should be provided both in the
proposal narrative and budget justification. It is important to show
how the proposed equipment is relevant to achieving the specific aims
or overall goals of the project. If the item is already available on
the campus, the necessity of a duplicate should be clearly justified.
Shipping and/or installation charges associated with equipment
acquisitions should be included in the cost of the equipment item.
Agencies may allow for
specialized services whenever these costs are justified. For example,
if computing services are needed to analyze large sets of data in the
proposed study (e.g., surveys or complex statistical analyses), or
animal housing and maintenance are required, these services may be
included as part of the total direct costs. Some degree of itemization
may be necessary to justify costs (i.e., number of animals at a cost of
$.55/day per animal for a two month experimental period).
Many different categories of needs are directly associated
with research or programmatic thrusts. It is the responsibility of the
PI to anticipate and prepare for the necessities required to execute a
successful project. Costs associated with equipment upkeep may be
allowed. Such items as service contracts for equipment necessary to
achieve the goals of the project are legitimate requests, unless
stipulated otherwise by the funding agency. Library acquisitions,
publication costs, radioactive use permit cost, hazardous waste
disposal costs are all costs that may be allowed.
is mandated for all business transactions. Not only must goals be
clearly stated, there must be a point at which it is apparent that
these goals have been obtained. For this reason, evaluation is a major
item for any project. At times it may be necessary to hire consultants
for evaluation of a project. Recently, many agencies are requiring this
component and may even indicate an acceptable percentage of the direct
costs that should be spent on evaluation.
Consultants may be required to execute the project. Federal
agencies may have established maximum daily rates of pay for
consultants. If unsure of the policy for your proposed funding source,
please contact the OSP for help. Be sure to include all costs including
travel, per diem, consultant fee, reports (or other deliverables) and
any other items necessary to successfully complete the proposed work.
If subcontracts are not a part of the grant application, consultants
may actually be collaborators. Be sure to include all costs that are
required for the consultant to be effective. The University must enter
into a formal agreement with the consultant prior to the initiation of
The cost of a subcontract is usually shown as a single line item. A
formal proposal from the subcontractor (including a statement of work,
a detailed budget, period of performance, deliverables, and key
personnel) should be included to support the cost proposed. The PI
should explain why and how the proposed subcontractor was selected and
include the number of bids obtained (if appropriate). A subcontracted
effort requires a formal agreement between the University and the
subcontractor, signed by the Provost and Vice-President of Financial
Affairs of Fisk University and an upper level management person of the
subcontracting organization. The PI should consult staff in the OSP for
information regarding indirect cost policies on subcontracts.
Indirect costs are the real
costs of Fisk University’s operations which are not readily
identifiable to a particular project. Full recovery of these costs is
expected on all grants or contracts, up to the level allowed by the
sponsor’s written policy. Indirect cost rates are determined through
negotiations with a federal agency and are applicable to all federally
sponsored projects. Presently, this rate for Fisk is 61.0% of salary
and wages, excluding fringe benefits.
Funds may be requested to cover
travel costs associated with the proposed project. Agencies often
require a breakdown of travel costs by trip, reflecting the purpose,
point of travel, number of persons, transportation costs, lodging and
per diem. If foreign travel is requested, detailed justification is
required. Information concerning travel reimbursement rates for Fisk
University is found is the Business Office Manual available from the
Office of the Vice President of Financial Affairs.
The cost-sharing requirements
of agencies and requests for proposals vary. Cost-sharing requirements
may be specific (i.e., requiring a certain percentage of funds) or may
require some form of other resources to ensure that the University has
a commitment to the proposed project. Agencies (especially federal
agencies, although not exclusively) requiring cost-sharing expect the
cost-sharing commitment to be clearly identified within the proposed
budget and will further stipulate that any cost-sharing included in an
award budget is a condition of the award and is subject to audit.
Therefore, it is important that any cost-sharing commitments be cleared
through the OSP before the budget is finalized and they should be
incorporated into the project if the award is received.
The OMB Circular A-110 states that: “All contributions, including cash and third party in-kind,
shall be accepted as part of the recipient’s cost sharing or matching
when such contributions meet all of the following criteria
Unrecovered indirect costs may be included as part of cost
sharing or matching only with the prior approval of the Federal
- Are verifiable from the recipient’s records.
- Are not included as contributions for any other federally-assisted project or program.
- Are necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of project or program objectives.
- Are allowable under applicable cost principles (i.e., A-21).
- Are not paid by the Federal Government under another award, except
where authorized by Federal statute to be used for cost sharing or
- Are provided for in the approved budget when required by the Federal awarding agency.
- Conform to other provisions of the Circular, as applicable.
The general position of the University is to
minimize cost sharing to that amount either required by the agency or
deemed necessary to position the grant application in a more
competitive stance. OSP staff may be able to help identify possible
sources of cost sharing from the University, therefore, PIs are urged
to discuss cost sharing commitments well in advance of the submission
deadlines to avoid “last minute” problems, misunderstandings and/or
non-submission of a grant application. For example, if cost sharing (or
faculty time bought with external funding) includes faculty release
time, it is imperative that discussions are held well in advance so
that teaching loads can be adjusted and appropriate plans are in place
which will not compromise the curriculum quality.
Cost sharing commitments should be indicated clearly in the proposal to
the sponsor and on the Proposal Information Sheet required for all
grant applications. If cost sharing is not a specified requirement of
the sponsor, it may be desirable to elucidate a ‘statement of support
and commitment (not auditable)’ in lieu of cost sharing. Such a
statement should be shown as an addendum to, but not be considered a
part of, the budget. Again it is re-iterated, answers to questions and
help should be sought early in the budget process from staff in the