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Cost Sharing for Project Management

Cost sharing in a nutshell

Cost sharing consists of the portion of the total costs of a sponsored project that is obligated to the university or a third party. These funds are generally contributed from the department’s general fund, an indirect cost return fund or other non-restricted funds identified by the appropriate department personnel. Funds obtained under another research project (grant or contract) are generally not allowed for use to meet cost sharing obligations.

Click here for a more in-depth description of cost sharing.

Examples of allowable cost share include:

  • Salary and fringe (release time)
  • New equipment
  • Travel
  • Materials and supplies
  • Publication costs
  • Forfeited indirect costs
  • Startup funds
  • Tuition
  • Research and/or Graduate Assistants

Allowability is determined by the sponsoring agency guidelines.

Major types of cost sharing obligations and how they differ

The major types of cost sharing are mandatory, voluntary committed and voluntary uncommitted. The following provides a brief explanation of each:

Mandatory – The funding agency requires the university to contribute funds to accomplish the goals of the research project. The mandate is typically stated in the Request for Proposal (RFP). The researcher must specifically state the cost sharing details in proposal documentation.

Voluntary Committed – Although the agency does not require cost sharing, the university has indicated that it plans to either contribute effort or other funds, to aid in the accomplishment of the research goals. If the university includes this commitment in the proposal documentation, the university must adhere to it and track it separately in the financial management system. The commitment may either be found in the budget, or within the budget justification or a project narrative.

Voluntary Uncommitted – The department plans to contribute effort or other funds, to the project but the obligation was not stated in the proposal submitted to the agency. The university is not required to track this obligation separately in the financial management system.

How are cost sharing expenses recorded, reported (when appropriate) and reconciled?

Recording and Reconciling – The University is required to track both mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing obligations in the financial system. Funds are tracked in an account set up from the Notice of Award sent by the grant coordinators to Research Accounting. Budgets are funded, reconciled and updated by Research Accounting. A separate, companion account to the award is set up for cost sharing.

Reporting – In most cases, agencies that require a mandatory cost sharing obligation, also require the university to report those costs on a periodic basis. This way, they are given assurance that the university is contributing as stated in the proposal. Cost sharing expenditures are reported to the agency via the Financial Status Report (FSR). The FSR is completed by Research Accounting/GSURSF.

ORSSP cost sharing process/procedures responsibilities:

  • Fund establishment – grant coordinators through Research Accounting
    • Budget funding, updating, reconciling and account termination – Research Accounting
    • Reporting – Research Accounting/GSURSF

Last updated: 8/9/2019