Direct costs are the costs specifically identified with a particular project and should meet the OMB Circular requirements for "reasonable, allocable, allowable, and must be consistently applied" across the institution. For additional information, see Cost Sharing (Matching). All of the direct cost items are listed first. Categories used by most agencies include
Among the various budget components, the salaries and wages category is one of the most crucial. Individuals who are mentioned by name in an agency budget are defined as key personnel. Key personnel are those who have skills, expertise, or knowledge that is an integral part of the work and whose assignment could not be easily duplicated or replaced. Reviewers often request the salary base per annum or period of assignment, the type of appointment (e.g., 9 months and/or summer or 12 months), and the level of effort to be spent on the project by each participant. Effort may be expressed either as a percent of effort or person months and in terms of hours worked and hourly rates for OPS employees.
Salaries and wages should reflect the current compensation level of employees and should build in annual salary increases for multi-year budgets. Summer salaries for faculty should be projected at the rate of one-ninth of their academic year salary for each month. Note that some agencies have restrictions on summer salaries and the maximum allowed salary rate which may be charged against the project. The agency guidelines should be reviewed to determine if such limitations apply to a proposed budget.
The salaries and wages of faculty and staff who are directly associated with the university constitute appropriate direct costs in proportion to the time each expects to spend on a project. Grant funds may not be used to augment the total salary or rate of pay of UWF faculty or staff; they are replacement funds, releasing a percent of time and work assignment of the regular employee for work on the project.
Salaries charged against grant funds must follow a scale that is consistent with the policy and regular practices of UWF. To obtain guidance on pay levels, job categories or employment policy, contact the Office of Human Resources (OHR) at (850) 474-2694 or your RSP Grants Specialist.UWF has two broad employment categories:
Extra state compensation (ESC or overload) is generally not allowable for payment from federal funds and limitations on the amounts are set by university policy for other types of funding sources. Whenever ESC is included in a budget, it should be specifically approved by the agency as an allowable cost. (back to top)
OPS employees (non-student) do not receive health insurance and have a separate composite percentage rate based on Workers' Compensation, Unemployment Compensation and Medicare. Students enrolled in less than six (6) semester hours will be assessed this OPS employee rate. Students enrolled in more than six (6) semester hours in any given term will be assessed a minimal rate for student employees to cover only Workers' Compensation.
Permanent equipment is defined as non-expendable property having an acquisition cost of $1,000 or more and a useful life expectancy in excess of two years. Equipment must be listed in the budget with a justification. Some agencies require price reference and detailed descriptions and cost quotations. Government agencies will normally not approve purchase of general office equipment or furnishings (e.g., calculators, typewriters, desks, chairs, copy machines, and air conditioners). Many agencies will make approval of specialized equipment for scientific purposes dependent on whether it is or is not readily available at the institution.
If freight and installation charges are to be billed on the same invoice as the piece of equipment, these charges should be included in the acquisition cost. Service contracts should be listed in the "other" direct cost category as they are expense items and not part of the equipment acquisition costs. (back to top)
Direct charging of general office supplies should be restricted to projects with a high demand for these items and must be in compliance with the OMB Circular A-21. All such charges must be project-specific and justified in the budget. Even though supplies are estimations, it is advisable to have a breakdown of these items by general classification as substantial amounts are usually challenged by agency reviewers.
In federal program budgets, the category of Supplies is usually restricted to specialized needs such as laboratory supplies, educational materials and supplies, maintenance or construction supplies (if applicable), and computer or technology related supplies. Refer to the individual agency guidelines for any items which may be restricted or not allowable in this category. (back to top)
Consultant or lecturer charges for travel, lodging, per diem and professional fees may be included as a single direct cost item. Federal employees may not be paid from grant funds. University faculty may not receive extra state compensation as a consultant and should be included in the salaries portion of the budget.
OMB and some federal agencies may limit for the rates paid to consultants. Paid consultants should be used when the specific expertise does not exist on campus or is not readily available and must be justified in the budget justification. Paid consultants are not considered employees of UWF and will be paid under rules for consultant services for independent contractors. Refer to instructions and forms for Consulting and Professional Services from Procurement and Contracts.
Contractual or Third Party Costs
When subcontracts are planned, the total required dollar amount must include the direct costs as well as F&A costs of the subrecipient at their cognizant agency’s approved rate. These will appear as a direct cost in UWF's budget and are subject to the assessment of UWF’s F&A on the first $25,000 of each subcontract. Usually, all individual line items of the subcontract must be detailed on a separate budget page or outlined as unit deliverables.
The need for subcontracting part of the proposed research must be justified in the narrative. In addition, subcontractors should indicate in writing their intent to provide services. Please refer to Subcontracts for further details. Prior to inclusion of a subcontractor, the investigator should contact his/her RSP Grants Specialist to request a review of the subrecipient’s eligibility to be awarded a portion of the budget. Documentation of a subrecipient’s eligibility must be established before their participation may be included as part of a proposed budget. (back to top)
Only those programs which specifically allow construction costs or capital improvement costs may include these costs. Consult the sponsor’s guidelines for whether this is an allowable cost. Projects containing funds for construction or capital improvements usually require coordination with both campus Facilities Development and Operations and the State of Florida Clearinghouse Single Points of Contacts. Proposals requesting such funds should allow at least 1 month for this coordination. (back to top)
Other direct costs include long distance telephone charges, field trips, participant travel to and from institute or conference, equipment maintenance and repair, facilities rental, some types of data processing, postage, freight, computer services, conference fees, participant payments, and/or statistical or technology service center fees. According to the OMB Circular A-21, direct charging of certain costs such as telephone charges, postage, and data processing, must be project-specific, justified in the budget, and restricted to projects with a high demand for these items. The usual test for such expenditures is that all expenditures related to a project be “reasonable, allowable, allocable, and consistently applied according to University policy.”
Investigators may budget the anticipated costs of publishing the results of research such as the cost for reprints, page charges, editorial assistance and illustration costs, if necessary. However, on federal grants, this budget category may not include charges for publication of books, monographs or pamphlets which will need special agency approval.
Human Research Participant Costs
Human Research Participant costs are those charges that are usual and customary for a particular process or procedure. Indicate in detail the basis for estimating costs in this category.
Tuition Payments for Graduate Students
Proposals which include salary for a graduate student should also include appropriate tuition in the budget, if allowed by the funding agency. The Research Project Budget Model (Excel) provides for a line item to estimate tuition based on in-state tuition rates for an average of 6 semester hours per student per term.
Training Costs (Training Grants Only)
This category may include fees, tuition, trainee travel costs and stipends. While the budget cost category reflects the total required cost, investigators should still provide individualized breakdown of costs for each trainee to allow agency reviewers an independent assessment of the level, scope and need for the training activity. Agencies may have specific rules and regulations for training costs. (back to top)
Sum of the categories above. (back to top)