A detailed budget is required with every proposal, even if the sponsor requires a general budget or only a total dollar amount. Before OSU can authorize a proposal, it must be reviewed for compliance with all university, state, and federal policies.
The budget is a listing, by category and item, of money needed to conduct a project. It is a project's price tag, a financial mirror of the narrative portion of the proposal. The proposal budget is composed of direct costs, F&A (or indirect) costs, and a budget justification.
Direct costs are all costs that can be directly attributed to the conduct of the project and are specified in the proposal budget. These costs can be readily identified and are itemized by name and amount.
A budget justification page immediately follows the budget to explain any item in the budget that may be questioned by the reviewer or any sponsor representative. It is often helpful to indicate how cost estimates were derived for each of the direct cost items unless already obvious. The justification page should be organized in the same order as the budget itself, although not every item in the budget may require justification.
All direct cost budget items should include an appropriate increase for each future budget year in all categories, especially salaries. If the sponsor guidelines specify otherwise, follow the sponsor guidelines. Budgets will be charged actual salary levels and increases regardless of the salary budgeted. In some direct cost categories such as travel or paper costs, the rate of inflation may vary considerably. Use appropriate and reasonable rates of inflation and explain the basis for your inflated rates in your budget justification.
The following cost categories are associated with various proposal activities. The allow ability for including the cost in your budget is dictated by federal and university policy. Some budget costs are included in the OSU F&A (indirect) cost calculation and are not allowable when listed as direct costs in a proposal budget. Other costs are unallowable by federal policy. The following categories of items are applicable to subawards as well as proposals sent directly to the sponsor from OSU.
Buildings cannot be purchased or constructed on restricted funds without specific sponsor approval.
Construction projects are defined as projects that add to, or change existing physical spaces. They must also meet the following criteria:
Capital Construction costs cannot by paid on restricted funds without specific sponsor approval and identified in the budget as separate line-item(s) If approval is given to construct a building, an 8XXXX plant fund will be established to record the costs.
Capital Construction costs, including architectural design costs are not charged overhead.
Costs included in this category include network, server, and computer/software maintenance charges. Computer operations that do not meet the following criteria may not be listed as a direct charge in the budget.
Only these OSU units have received approval for these charges to be shown as a direct cost:
See Fees and Services.
The purchase of personal digital assistants, laptop computers, watches, digital cameras, video equipment and other unique electronic items with sponsored project funds must be in conformance with OMB Circular A-21, part D.1.
Entertainment costs cannot be requested in federal grant proposals per OMB A-21. These costs may be allowed for proposals to non-federal sponsors if specifically approved by the sponsor and the PI provides sufficient detail of how the costs will be used. The costs would be exempt from indirect costs.
Equipment is defined as any piece of tangible personal property with a unit value of $5,000 or more, a life expectancy of more than one year, and which is not consumed in the normal course of operation, unless the sponsor specifies otherwise. Equipment includes both purchase and fabrication of equipment and vessels. (see Fabrication below).If sponsor guidelines differ from OSU's policy, the PI needs to provide a copy of the sponsor guidelines and sponsor guidelines supersede the above.
Equipment service contracts can be included in budgets if the equipment is also included in the budget (or in the case of continuing awards from the same sponsor). The service maintenance contract cannot be for a time past the end date of the agreement.
Definition: Supplies and minor equipment created into an identifiable unit by fabrication and meets the following criteria:
Total finished value =>$5,000 and has a useful life of > 1 year.The ownership or “title-to” code must be the same for the entire fabricated unit. Funding sources cannot be mixed so part of the fabricated unit is owned by the Federal Government or another outside entity and the remaining part(s) is owned by the university. Free standing, movable as an entire unit, not permanently attached to a structure, and will not lose its identity when installed in other property. Unit must be complete in itself. It will be added to, accounted for, and removed from capital inventory as one unit or record. All pieces stay together until entire unit is sent to Surplus.
Assembled parts must be integrated, permanently attached to each other, and essential in the performance of the unit. A basic schematic diagram with a description must show how the parts are integral to the unit.
A fabricated unit with all assembled parts must be physically found in one location at all times. Parts which do not meet this requirement are considered individually for capitalization.
If fabricated, assembled or constructed equipment that meets the above definition will be capitalized and added to the equipment inventory. The faculty member and department will be responsible for pre-approval prior to purchasing of any parts or items for the fabricated unit. This includes a basic schematic diagram of the proposed fabricated unit with explanations of the integration of the parts. Fill out the pre-approval form.
These costs are for professional fees, e.g., consulting and legal fees, services rendered by commercial firms; service charges by institutional service departments; and fees assessed by other state agencies. Generally, all services must be performed within the award period. Consulting costs are normally identified separately in the budget and may also be called Personal Services Contracts (PSC). OSU employees and graduate students may not be listed as consultants on OSU budgets.
Entertainment and Interdepartmental Refreshment costs are not an allowable budget item. Hosting Groups and Guests, meals/expenditures for hosting official guests, can be directly charged to sponsored project funds when hosting a speaker or other activity appropriate to the award.
Maintenance and repairs cover buildings, grounds, and equipment. They are intended for ordinary expenses of a recurring nature, including maintenance contracts. Outside labor charges for maintenance and repair services are included.
Normally, memberships are considered to be institutional and not individual (personal). To be a direct expense, the membership must be necessary toward the goals or functions of the program. OMB Circular A-21 require that all expenses charged to grants and contracts be identified with the sponsored work.
Fees charged for services or testing by OSU labs or other OSU units are allowable if these costs are listed in the OSU Fee Book.
This category is used for all remaining costs, or may include some of the prior categories if the sponsor so defines.
Reminder: utility and building operations/maintenance costs are normally not allowed as a direct charge to sponsored agreements where the activity takes place at an OSU-owned facility. Utilities are only allowed when the activity is off-campus and when the utility is separately metered. When the activity is based on-campus, the utility cost is part of the cost recovery for indirect costs. The exceptions to allowing on-campus charges to utilities include:
Rates that are established presume nine credit hours for summer session and full-time status (12-16 hours) during the academic year. For the summer session, add the additional amount shown for each hour over nine hours. The student must pay any hours above the 16 hours in the summer session. Full tuition remission must be charged for all GRA and GTA appointments. Tuition remission not allowed by a sponsor is a cost-share expense that must be identified in the budget and on the proposal routing form. Appointment must be between .3 FTE and .49 FTE GRA tuition must correspond with the terms of appointment and salary included in the budget period.
Tuition on fellowships must be at a rate appropriate for the person applying (i.e. resident, non-resident, international). Full tuition remission must be charged unless the following exceptions apply:
Participant support costs refer to costs paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees attending conferences, meetings, symposia, training activities and workshops. A participant must be an individual who is attending in the context of a "trainee."
Office space or buildings that are utilized for non-OSU purposes are not allowed as a direct cost item or cost share item. However, if space (or buildings) is rented and that space is used exclusively for research or programmatic uses (other than administrative), this is an allowable direct cost (F&A would not then be charged to this item). Justification and explanation of rental space usage must be included in the budget justification.
Salaries and wages include an itemization of all OSU employees and students involved with the activity and who are either paid from the sponsor budget or who are cited for cost sharing. See Budget-Personnel for further details on the salary and wage category.
Salaries of administrative and clerical staff are not normally charged as a direct cost budget item, as they are included as part of OSU’s Facilities & Administrative (F&A) rate calculation. In exceptional circumstances, direct charging of administrative and clerical salaries may be appropriate where all of the following conditions are met:
*OSU has determined that integral means: (1) the services are essential, vital, or fundamental to the project or activity; AND (2) a minimum of 15% FTE is budgeted in the proposal’s budget year.
PI’s will be expected to describe how these administrative or clerical services are integral to the project/activity in their proposals. For modular budgets, administrative/clerical staff must be listed in the Personnel Justification within the Budget Justification section of the proposal, along with each person’s FTE.
"Research supplies" are allowed when directly related to technical use on the project (e.g., computer paper, research notebooks, survey forms). General office supplies (e.g., pencils, letterhead paper, memo pads) are not allowable budget items (these items are accounted for in the F&A rate calculations). In no instance should research supplies be requested to replenish an inventory (supplies purchased are to be used with the activity).
These are subaward agreements written by OSU to another entity to perform a portion of the sponsored agreement. Go to Subawards for additional information.
Travel costs follow the OSU policies for travel. Foreign travel is eligible to use the U. S. Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates (also available on the OSU travel website). For travel rates and policies see the OSU Travel Website.
The U.S. Department of State provides information on travel advisories for foreign travelers visiting other countries.
All international travel using federal funds must be by U.S. flag air carriers if service by such a carrier is available. Cost is not a factor in determining availability. The first or last leg of travel from or to the U.S. must be by a U.S. flag air carrier in almost all instances. Business class is permitted. See section 602 Fly America Act.