Indirect costs—also referred to as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs— are costs not specifically identifiable for any one project or program, but are valid expenses of conducting research, instruction, and other sponsored activities. Examples include building use, equipment depreciation, operation and maintenance of college facilities, student services, and departmental administration, and administrative support offices.
Westminster College’s current federal negotiated indirect cost rate is 32% of all non-equipment costs. This rate should be used in proposals to all funding agencies that allow for full indirect costs. The rate is reevaluated every four years and is scheduled to be reevaluated in 2022. Many funding agencies do not allow for any indirect costs, while other funders set a cap or maximum percentage on allowable indirect costs for a specific funding opportunity.
At Westminster College, indirect costs are applied as follows:
- 50% to Westminster General Fund
- 25% to Provost Research Fund
- 25% (or minimum $1000) to Funded Project
This allocation is evaluated annually by the Provost, with feedback from the Sponsored Projects Subcommittee.
Indirect Cost Calculation Guidance
A description of how the portion of indirect costs directed back to the project will be used must be provided and approved by the dean prior to proposal submission. The specific use of indirect costs should not be detailed on the budget submitted to a funding agency.
Salary and Benefits
Faculty can write a salary for themselves (at the same monthly equivalent as their full-time contract) into a grant budget to cover any time not covered in their full-time contract with the college. For example, a faculty member on a 9-month contract earning $63,000 a year is eligible to bring in up to 3 months of salary from external funding at a rate of $7,000 a month to cover time dedicated to funded projects.
Undergraduate researchers are typically paid at a rate of ~$9.40 per hour or ~$3,000 for an 8-week summer research season unless otherwise specified in the authorizing legislation or grant solicitation. Contact the Career Center for current pay rates for student employees.
All faculty, staff, and student salaries in a grant budget must be accompanied by funds to cover fringe benefits. This includes 7.65% on top of all salaries (faculty, student, and staff) to cover the employer portion of FICA. Salary paid from grants to faculty can also be accompanied by the employer’s retirement contribution, but this must be paid for out of the grant budget. Salary reimbursed from grants for staff can also be accompanied by the employer’s retirement and insurance contribution. Contact Human Resources or read about employee benefits for current retirement rates.
You can do one of the following with benefits:
- Directly write benefits into the grant budget as a direct cost under fringe benefits
- Deduct benefits from any total amount budgeted for salaries
- Have benefits come out of any indirect costs directed back toward the project
Equipment is typically defined as property that has an expected useful life of more than one year and costs $5,000 or more per item. Any items that do not meet both of these criteria are considered materials or supplies by most funding agencies, although some allow or use a lower purchase price of $2,000 when defining equipment.
The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for paying for gas from grant funds when using Westminster vehicles for project-related purposes funded by external grants. When gas is $3/gallon the rate will be roughly $0.27/mile for a 12-passenger van and $0.23/mile for a minivan. If a college van is not available, the PI will need to rent one and pay for gas and the rental cost from grant funds.
VIEW VEHICLE USE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Requirements for matching funds or cost sharing can be met through a combination of “soft” and “hard” matches by the college. Soft matches are financial commitments that the college has already budgeted to fund apart from your projects, but which will contribute to your project. Hard matches are financial commitments that are not budgeted by the college and will need a funding source identified. Work with your dean or supervisor to identify funding. In kind donations can also be used as match in many cases. In some cases, matching funds are not required but can be a vital component of a competitive proposal.