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Budget Development Guide

Our Pre-Award Services Research Administrators are available to assist you with budget development. Please contact us at and a Research Administrator will be assigned to assist you.

You may choose to develop a draft budget yourself using our Internal Budget Template. Information about Boise State University’s rates for standard budget categories are available under Quick Links below.


Additional Information

Cost Sharing Guidelines

Some funding agencies require the grantee institution to demonstrate its financial commitment to the project, or the commitment of other funding sources, by sharing in a project’s costs.


  • Cost sharing is defined as project costs not borne by the sponsor. Cost sharing funds may come from an outside source in the form of cash contributions, volunteer services, or donated property; from the University’s own funds (e.g., personnel effort without salary recovery); or from shared resources or facilities. If the award is federal, only acceptable non-federal costs qualify as cost sharing.
  • Matching funds, if required by the funding agency, are raised from non-federal outside sources to increase the level of support provided by the funding agency. Such funds must be identified by the donor or funding source for use as matching funds.
  • In-kind contributions represent the value of non-cash contributions provided by the University or non-federal third parties to a sponsored project when such contributions directly benefit that project and are generally counted as cost sharing.
  • Direct-cost cost sharing is the provision of faculty and staff time and related fringe benefits, tuition and other resources as direct support for the project, as well as their related indirect costs (if applicable). Commitments made by departments, colleges, or other units must be detailed in the proposal and appropriate approvals must be provided.
  • Indirect (F&A) cost sharing occurs any time the University agrees to recover less than the federally negotiated indirect cost rate. Approval from the Office of Sponsored Programs / Vice President for Research is required if an indirect cost rate is lower than the University’s approved rate. The appropriate F&A rate can also be applied to direct-cost contributions.
  • Mandatory cost sharing is required by the sponsor as a condition of the award. Ordinarily this requirement will be indicated in the program announcement.
  • Voluntary cost sharing is not required by the sponsor but is nevertheless offered in the proposal by the investigator. Often this is in the form of contributed effort. Cost sharing that is proposed voluntarily by the investigator becomes mandatory (also known as “voluntary committed” cost sharing) once the award is made. The University strongly discourages voluntary committed cost sharing because the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR § 200.306(a)) states that voluntary committed cost share is not expected and cannot be used as a factor in the merit review of proposals.
  • Committed Cost Sharing is a contribution of effort or other costs that are quantified in the proposal narrative, budget, budget justification, or in the award document. Committed cost sharing may be either mandatory or voluntary.

Principal Investigators' Responsibilities

Committed cost sharing represents a binding commitment by the University to a sponsor and, as such, is subject to audit under federal and other sponsor regulations. Any quantifiable cost offered in the proposal becomes a legally binding and accountable commitment of the University upon award. Cost sharing must be documented in the same way as other charges. Once a cost sharing commitment is made, the principal investigator is required to measure, track, record, and be prepared to report the commitment.

Unfulfilled cost sharing commitments or lack of documentation may result in a reduction of costs allowed against the sponsored project and a return of funds to the agency. Also, the cost sharing commitment is not automatically reduced when an award is reduced. Should the awarded amount be reduced from the proposed amount, the committed cost sharing may need to be adjusted accordingly, particularly if the awarded budget requires a change in the scope of work.

Cautionary Guidance

Cost sharing commitments stated in the budget narrative, project narrative, letters of support or anywhere in the proposal document constitutes a legally binding agreement by the institution to provide that cost share if the proposal is funded, even when not required by the sponsor.

By using language in proposals that cites percentage of time, salaries, or specific levels of support, principal investigators commit to cost sharing, often unintentionally. In all instances where cost sharing is specified and quantified, the principal investigator and University are obligated to account for and track these commitments along with funds awarded by the sponsor.

Facilities and Administrative Cost Rates

Facilities and Administrative costs are true costs, which must be remanded to Boise State University in order to support the infrastructure necessary to provide services for externally funded projects.

Current Facilities and Administrative Cost Rates (PDF) (Effective 7/1/2018)


F&A: F&A costs are general operating costs incurred by the University in support of research, instruction, and other sponsored activities. Typically, F&A costs cannot be readily attributed to, or directly charged to, specific individual projects. F&A costs should be included as a separate line item in the budget of each proposal submitted to external funding agencies.

On-campus:Projects that do not qualify as off-campus (as defined below).

Off-campus: For all activities performed in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project(s), the off-campus rate will apply. Grants and contracts will not be subject to more than one F&A rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project.

Research: Sponsored Research means all research and development activities that are sponsored by federal and non-federal agencies and organizations. This term includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

Research seeks fuller knowledge of a subject and involves investigation aimed at the discovery of new facts or revision of accepted theories. Research projects may include laboratory work, testing and evaluation, questionnaires, pre-and post-tests, and statistical analysis.

The following are standard definitions of the types of research:

Basic ResearchApplied ResearchDevelopment
Research undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without any particular application or use in mind.Research conducted to gain the knowledge or understanding to meet a specific, recognized need.The systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including the design and development of prototypes and processes.

Instruction: Sponsored Instruction means the teaching and training activities of an institution established by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. These activities may be offered for credits toward a degree or certificate or on a noncredit basis, and may be offered through regular academic departments or through separate divisions, such as summer school or extension. (Research training is not included; it is included under Research, above.)

“Instruction” is the proper code when the primary purpose of the project involves training, curriculum development, instruction, demonstration, or efforts to improve pedagogical methods. Instructional projects may include some elements of research, particularly if new techniques of instruction or curriculum content are being developed. This does not change the definition of the project to “research.”

Other Sponsored Activities (OSA): “Other Sponsored Activities” are programs and projects sponsored by federal and non-federal agencies which involve the performance of work other than instruction and organized research. Examples include health service projects, community service programs, service and technical assistance projects, such as student assistance to corporations and government, and conferences. This category also includes sponsor-designed testing, clinical trials, evaluations, non-credit community education.

Note: If a proposal is solely to purchase equipment, the project should be coded according to the principal use of the equipment, e.g., research, instruction, or other.

Projects which cannot be easily coded into one of the above categories should be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Modified Total Direct Costs: (MTDC): The “modified total direct cost” is the base on which the F&A rate is charged. It is the sum total of all direct costs less equipment in excess of $5,000 per unit, capital expenditures, tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subgrant and subaward in excess of $25,000.

Federal Flow-Through: If funds requested from a sponsor originate with a federal agency, the funds are considered to be “federal flow through” and the F&A rate used for federal grants and contracts may be used if allowed by the sponsoring agency.

Current Rates by Sponsor Type:

Refer to F&A rate agreement: Current Facilities and Administrative Cost Rates

(Includes County, Municipal, Health Districts and Joint Planning Entities) 20% of the Total Direct Costs

The federal F&A cost rate is used

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