Budget Preparation

UNLV must ensure that we develop a proposal budget that requests sufficient funds to accomplish the scope of the work and that complies with federal, state, and sponsor-specific rules and regulations. Budgets are typically broken down into budget periods within a project period (term of entire project). The budget period is typically set by the agency, usually in one-year increments. The budget must include a listing of all the direct costs and indirect costs associated with the project. OSP can help facilitate the budget development process by discussing the project with the PI and ascertaining which costs should be included and sharing knowledge regarding allowable costs and indirect cost calculations. Some common budget elements include:

  • Salary and wages
  • Fringe benefits
  • Materials and supplies
  • Travel: domestic and foreign
  • Consultant services
  • Capital equipment
  • Tuition remission
  • Subcontracts
  • Other direct costs, examples of which may include:
    • Publication costs
    • Imaging
    • Equipment maintenance agreements
  • Facilities and administrative costs

All proposals and their respective budgets must be reviewed by OSP prior to submission. The budget is reviewed to ensure that all potential costs have been identified, that fringe benefit and F&A rates are used and calculated correctly, and that it conforms to solicitation requirements and federal, state, and university policies and procedures.

Allowable and Unallowable Costs

UNLV is subject to the cost principles and methods under Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.400 "Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.", which requires that costs must be allowable, allocable to a sponsored agreement, reasonable, and consistently treated. A cost is allocable to a particular sponsored project if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable to the project in accordance with the relative benefits received. As a recipient of federal funds, UNLV must follow policies and regulations that govern compensation for employees, including additional compensation for outside consulting.

Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.400 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards Establishes principles for determining costs that are:

  • Reasonable: Defined as the action that a prudent person would take under the circumstances and determined by UG 2CFR 200.404.
  • Allocable: A cost is allocable to a particular cost objective if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable to such cost objective in accordance with relative benefits received or other equitable relationship and under the principles and methods described in UG 2CFR 200.405.
  • Allowable: Costs must conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in 2 CFR 200.400 or in the agreement terms and conditions as to types or amounts of cost items.
  • Consistently treated: Costs must be given consistent treatment through application of generally accepted accounting principles appropriate to the circumstances as dictated by cost accounting standards.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is a contractual obligation committing the university to share in the costs of a sponsored project. Cost sharing is normally in the form of direct costs that would be allowable and utilized to support the grant or contract, such as salary or other direct cost items. When cost sharing is met by in-kind contributions, the university will also claim as cost sharing the fringe benefits and F&A costs that it would have earned had the costs been charged as a direct cost to the grant. In certain circumstances, with the sponsor’s approval, cost sharing may also take the form of F&A costs (where the reimbursement of F&A costs is waived or reduced by the sponsor). The university's share of a cost-sharing commitment may come from several sources; however, the originating department is responsible for securing the required funds. A PI should NEVER commit to cost sharing until approved by the appropriate university authorities.

Some sponsors require institutional cost sharing/matching on their grants and contracts as a matter of statute, regulation, or policy. Individual solicitations may also indicate a cost-sharing/matching requirement. In these cases, UNLV follows its long-standing practice of meeting published cost-sharing/matching requirements for targeted programs.

It is UNLV’s policy not to cost share/match on a voluntary basis. Voluntary cost sharing occurs when a principal investigator includes cost sharing in a proposal when the sponsor does not require it. Voluntary cost sharing, including proposed faculty effort and other types of direct costs, is discouraged.

It is important to realize that whether cost sharing is required by the sponsor or is offered by UNLV or the PI voluntarily, once an award is made, all cost-sharing commitments are considered to be mandatory and, as such, represent binding obligations of UNLV.