Direct Costs

Materials and supplies are project-specific, expendable, and cost less than $5,000 per item. Budgets should clearly itemize supply lists when they are over $1,000. Be sure to differentiate between expendable supplies used in the lab/office and supplies used for fieldwork.

Supplies should always be referred to as "project supplies" in the budget and justification. Since office supplies are not easily identifiable for a specific project and perceived for common use, they are normally an indirect cost and cannot be included.

A sponsored project may include relationships with contractors, consultants and subreceipients.» The pass-through entity holds the responsibility for deciding whether any given arrangement constsitutes a subaward (carrying out an intellectually significant portion of the sponsored award, creating a financial assistance agreement) or a contractor agreement (obtaining goods and services, creating a procurement relationship).

Determining the appropriate relationship at proposal stage is critical to ensure appropriate accounting for costs and compliance requirements.» Misclassification may result in delays in processing, inaccurate calculation of costs (example, failure to include or exclude F&A costs), and time to request approval for project changes.

A contract is defined in Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200.330) as follows:

A contract is for the purpose of obtaining goods and services for the non-Federal entity's own use and creates a procurement relationship with the contractor. See »200.22 Contract. Characteristics indicative of a procurement relationship between the non-Federal entity and a contractor are when the contractor:

  1. Provides the goods and services within normal business operations;
  2. Provides similar goods or services to many different purchasers;
  3. Normally operates in a competitive environment;
  4. Provides goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of the Federal program; and
  5. Is not subject to compliance requirements of the Federal program as a result of the agreement, though similar requirements may apply for other reasons.

In determining whether an agreement between a pass-through entity and another non-Federal entity casts the latter as a subrecipient or a contractor, the substance of the relationship is more important than the form of the agreement. All of the characteristics listed above may not be present in all cases, and the pass-through entity must use judgment in classifying each agreement as a subaward or a procurement contract.

For assistance in determining whether an entity should be considered a subaward or a contractor, please use this checklist.

Some examples of contractor based relationships (list not all inclusive):

  • Air/vessel charters
  • Animal care costs
  • Consultants
  • Publication costs/page charges
  • Sample analyses
  • Shipping of equipment/commodities to field locations
  • Toll/communication charges
  • UAF recharge center costs

Quotes for contractor-based services should be included with the proposal for review as backup. Some sponsors require quotes, so it is best practice to always secure and include a current quote.

Equipment Acquisition:

Equipment is defined as any item which will retain its usefulness beyond one year. UAF's threshold for equipment is $5,000 per piece of equipment/unit. F&A costs are not charged on equipment.

Quotes for equipment should be included with the proposal for review as backup. Some sponsors require quotes, so it is best practice to always secure and include a current quote.

Equipment Fabrication:

Please see the policy/procedures on Fabricated Equipment



An honorarium is a payment representing a token of appreciation paid to an individual for participation in a special, and typically non-recurring, activity at a University event for which payment is not required or traditionally set where no deliverable or result is requested.  This method of payment is usually made as a “thank you”. 

Normally an honorarium is given in conjunction with an academic activity.  An honorarium is primarily intended to confer distinction or to symbolize respect, which is not required by law, and is not a fee charged by the recipient.  An honorarium is a payment made without the giver recognizing themselves as having a liability or legal obligation, where no specific deliverable or result is requested, expected, or produced.  No honorariums should be paid to a University employee.

Honoraria are typically paid to persons of scholarly or professional standing expertise with the intent of showing good will and appreciation for a voluntarily service to the university.

Allowable Payments

 a.) Honorarium payments generally are not allowed to be charged to Federal funds unless the sponsored project specifically authorizes such payments. Payments for the conduct of seminars, workshops, and for giving special lectures may be allowable charges to certain Federal grants if it can be established that such a service benefits the project.

b.) Non-government sponsored projects may be charged for honoraria where appropriate and with the specific approval of OGCA

For the advisory committees, honorariums would be an appropriate form of payment. In order to qualify, the individuals must not be aware they are receiving payment in advance. Per UAF policy, "Any compensation, monetary or non-monetary, negotiated, committed to, or otherwise forming an obligation to pay, made in advance is, by definition, not an honorarium. It is a fee, and is subject to the applicable regulations of the University, IRS and other relevant agencies."

More info can be found here:  

Alternatively, if a fee is being agreed upon in advance, this should go through procurement as a service contract. 

Honorarium Guidance

Following are allowable honoraria payments. All have a short duration period of service:

  • Payment to a guest speaker. A guest speaker is someone who possesses advance knowledge of a particular subject area and speaks about that subject area to a group or organization with which he or she is normally not involved.  
  • Participation as a judge in a writing or photo contest;
  • Participation in a panel discussion;
  • A special lecture or short series of such lectures;
  • Appraisal of a manuscript or an article to be submitted to a professional publication;
  • Reviewing research findings prior to the final report being published.


An honorarium is not appropriate and must not be used:

  • To pay for services requiring an executed contract and/or a purchase order;
  • To pay faculty, staff, student employees or students for their services;
  • To replace or circumvent procedures for paying consultants;
  • To pay professional motivational speakers who perform such services as a career and charge a fee to participate in the event;
  • To pay a recurring activity or service;
  • To pay for the services of a facilitator in a small group workshop. A facilitator’s job is to get others to assume responsibility and take the lead. This person is a guide or a discussion leader who contributes structure to the workshop;
  • To pay for performances including comedic, dramatic, musical or other similar artistic performances;
  • To pay for personal services provided in the connection of a bona fide business, trade or profession such as reviewing or editing an article by a publisher;
  • To pay a faculty, staff or student employee for their services;
  • To pay expense reimbursements, if applicable, these should be submitted separately on a payment request form;
  • As an award to an individual where the primary intent is to confer distinction on, or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration for the recipient;
  • When the services require access to University proprietary information (such services are considered consulting);
  • Solely as a reimbursement in lieu of undocumented expenses.
  • To pay a foreign visitor (nonresident alien) not approved to work in the United States Note, B visa holders may accept an honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity or activities (lasting not longer than 9 days at any single institution), if the individual has not accepted such payment or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period.

Determining if an Honorarium is Appropriate

Use the following questions as a guide to determine the appropriateness of an honorarium request. If any question is answered “yes”, the payment does not qualify as an honorarium:

  1. Is the payment being made to a business, corporation or partnership?
  2. Was the amount and timing of the payment negotiated between the University and the individual?
  3. Is there a contractual agreement?
  4. Are the individual’s services recurring?
  5. Is the individual an employee or student employee?
  6. Did the individual set the price?


Payments will be made in accordance with applicable tax regulations and law.

The University is obligated to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form 1099 all U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens receiving cumulative remuneration greater than the annual threshold amount of $600.


Participant Support Costs (PSC)

Participant Support Costs (PSC)  are payments to individuals for training through a workshop, conference, seminar or other short term instructional or information sharing activity funded by a sponsored award.


  • Distinguish participant support costs from honoraria, human subjects payments, and fellowship support;
  • Provide guidance on the use of participant support costs;
  • Describe the responsibilities of the PI/unit

This guidance addresses fundamental concepts related to participant support costs and offers some examples. Participant support costs are allowed by a number of Federal agencies and other sponsors. Participant support costs are defined by the Uniform Guidance in §200.75 and referenced in Uniform Guidance §200.456.

Participant support costs means direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects.[1]

Participant support costs are typically incurred for projects that include an education or outreach component. NIH indicates that participant support costs are allowable only if specified in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). These types of costs are most commonly included:

Participant Support[1]

• Attendee at a workshop, conference, or symposia funded by a sponsored project

• Short term educational project/training activity including programs such as, but not limited, to:

• NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

• NSF Research Experiences for Teachers program (RET)

• NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

• NIH National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research Summer Research Training Program


Funds provided for participant support costs that are not spent cannot be rebudgeted for use in other categories unless prior written approval has been obtained from the sponsor.

Participant support costs are budgeted in a separate category in the application budget and must be accounted for separately. OGCA sets up a separate fund under the award to isolate participant support costs and to ensure that F&A is not applied against these costs. Please contact OGCA prior to proposal submission if you have any questions regarding participant support costs.

[1]This does not include NIH Kirschstein-NRSA programs.

  1. What are participant support costs?

Participant support costs are costs to support individuals who are receiving a training opportunity as part of a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short-term instructional or information sharing activity funded by a sponsored award. Costs may include stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants (not employees). Also see #3 and #4 below.

A participant does not perform work or service for the project or program. The participant is not required to deliver anything or provide any service to the university in return for these support costs.

  1. What types of sponsored projects may include participant support costs?

Projects with an educational or outreach component may include participant support costs. For example, a project may be in support of professional development and continuing education activities for secondary school teachers/educational professionals. Participant support costs for this project may include registration fees for the event, transportation to/from and lodging during the event, as well as a per diem allowance to cover meals and incidental expenses.

  1. What costs can be included in participant support costs?
  • Stipend: A stipend is a set amount of money to be paid by UAF directly to the participant.
  • Travel: Travel includes the costs of transportation and associated travel-related expenses and must follow sponsor guidelines as well as UAF policies and guidelines. The sole purpose of the trip must be to participate in the project activity.
  • Subsistence Allowance: The cost of a participant’s housing and per diem expenses necessary for the individual to participate in the project are generally allowed, provided these costs are reasonable and limited to the days of attendance. Participants who live in the local area are not entitled to subsistence payments, although they may participate in meals and breaks provided at the meeting or conference.
  • Other: Certain other costs in support of the participant’s involvement may be allowable, including training materials or laboratory supplies. See Fees example below. Check the funding solicitation or FOA for guidance and contact OGCA with questions.
    • Fees: The fees paid by or on behalf of a participant in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia, or training projects are generally allowable costs. Additionally, these fees may include laboratory fees, passport or visa fees for foreign participants, and registration fees.
  1. What costs cannot be included as participant support costs?

Participant support costs do NOT include the following types of payments:

  • Travel for project PI or staff
  • Travel for a consultant providing services to the University, project, or program
  • Honoraria paid to a guest speaker or lecturer
  • Conference support costs such as facility rental or media equipment rental
  • Agreement with a provider for multiple training events (i.e., an ongoing contract with specific terms and conditions)
  • Travel to bring collaborators together to meet and discuss the project
  • Incentive payments to an individual who agrees to participate as a human subject in a research project
  1. What are some examples of what might or might not be considered participant support costs?

Some examples that would be considered participant support costs:

  • An NSF project has been awarded an REU supplement. The REU supplement will enable 5 undergraduate students from around the country to participate in a summer research project with a UAF PI. The students will be paid a stipend and provided housing and food over an 8-week period. The stipends and room/board would be considered participant support costs.
  • The UAF is awarded a grant from a Federal agency to host an educational workshop in Washington, DC. Individuals (the audience is primarily postdoctoral fellows from around the country) will apply for financial support to attend the conference. The financial support will cover the costs to travel to and attend the workshop. Travel costs, as well as lodging/meals during the event, would be considered participant support costs.
  • The UAF receives an award from the NSF that includes an REU component. The REU component allows the PI’s lab to support undergraduate student positions during the academic year over the course of the three-year grant. The students will be mentored and will assist with various research projects, e.g., media preparation, plant tissue culture, cloning, and mutant analysis. The student support would be considered participant support costs.
  • NSF provides an award to UAF that includes an RET activity. The PI will host a teacher over the course of the summer who will gain research experience, and then use that knowledge to develop educational materials and activities. The teacher will pilot the activities with students and present the materials at regional conferences with fellow teachers. The teacher’s summer stipend, supplies for the activities, and travel to regional conferences would be considered participant support costs.

Some examples that would not be considered participant support costs:

  • The UAF is part of a scientific collaboration involving PIs from five different institutions. The UAF PI hosts a meeting with her Co-PIs and other scientists to discuss project progress. Collaborators must travel to Fairbanks to attend the meeting. The costs for this meeting of scientific collaborators to discuss the project would not be considered participant support costs.
  • As part of a conference grant, a UAF PI invites an expert in the field to talk about her recent discoveries that were featured in a prominent scientific journal. In order to support the expert’s attendance, the grant provides an honorarium of $2,000. The honorarium for the speaker would not be considered a participant support cost.
  1. What costs may not be budgeted as participant costs?
  • Payments to guest speakers, trainers and/or individuals providing peer review or evaluation services
  • Expenses for the PI or other project team members to attend the workshop, conference, or symposia supported by an UAF sponsored award.  These must be budgeted in the “travel” category
  • Food expenses for the PI or other project team members. These must be budgeted in Other Direct Costs
  1. What costs do NOT qualify as participant support costs?


• Payment to a guest (non-UAF) subject matter expert for speaking at a conference, symposium, or workshop

• Payment for participation on an advisory board related to a sponsored project

Human Subjects

• Incentive payments to encourage individuals to participate in research study and provide private data/information through intervention or interaction.  This includes participation in surveys and interviews.

Additional Resource: Office of Research Integrity


• Support for individual with strong ties to UAF working toward their degree and who may or may not be providing services to UAF, the sponsor, or other third party

Examples of fellowships include:

• NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA)


The terms “participant” and “participant support costs” are sometimes used interchangeably when referring to trainees, human subjects, or human subject incentive payments.  Financial transactions involving stipends or incentives in research administration context are not interchangeable. 


Participant Support Costs vs. Human Subject Payments


Participant Support Costs

Human Subject Payments

Supports non-employees while participating in sponsored project funded conferences, workshops, and training activities


Provides compensation or incentives to individuals serving as subjects in research studies



Requires prior approval from the awarding agency



Requires an approved IRB protocol



Charges will assess F&A in Banner



Separate fund will be created in Banner



Employees may participate or receive payment





Study Subject Payments and/or Participant Incentives are defined as a payment or series of payments made to individuals for participating in research or sponsored activity projects (e.g., clinical trials).

Participant Support Costs are defined as direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. (2 CFR 200.75) Participant support costs paid to the participant as stipends and/or allowances are considered taxable income by the IRS.

Note: Participant support costs, such as actual travel expenses, paid as a reimbursement of allowable costs (i.e., expenses connected to participation in the project that are paid for by the participant, substantiated by receipts that are provided within a reasonable period of time, and reimbursed by UAF are not considered taxable income by the IRS.


  1. When are participant support costs allowed?

Participant support costs are allowable with prior sponsor approval, per the Uniform Guidance. In addition, individual agencies may have specific policies restricting the use and allowability of participant support costs. NSF has historically allowed participant support costs, for instance, in the REU and RET programs.

NIH only allows participant support costs if they are explicitly identified in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Other Federal and non-Federal sponsors may allow participant support costs under some circumstances. Review the funding solicitation for specific instructions and contact OGCA with any questions prior to proposal submission.

  1. Should participant support costs be identified in the budget/budget justification?

Yes, participant support costs must be explicitly identified in the budget and budget justification. For instance, the NSF budget form has a section specifically for participant support costs. If the budget form you are using does not have such a section, but you plan to include participant support costs, please explicitly identify any participant support costs in the budget and budget justification.

Participant support costs are excluded from the MTDC base when calculating F&A costs. Identifying participant support costs will help ensure prior sponsor approval is requested and, if awarded, that OGCA sets up a separate fund with appropriate F&A.

  1. Can I rebudget participant support costs into another budget category after an award has been received?

Maybe. Generally, it is not allowable to rebudget from the participant support costs category into other budget categories unless prior written approval has been obtained from the sponsor. If approval is obtained from the sponsor and funds are moved from participant support costs into other budget categories, F&A costs will be applied to the rebudgeted funds as appropriate.

  1. If participant support costs were not included in the original award, can I add a participant support component to my project?

Maybe. Adding a participant support component to the project will need prior approval from the sponsor.

With the sponsor’s approval, one option to fund this new component would be to rebudget unused funds into participant support costs. OGCA can assist with submitting a prior approval request to rebudget funds for this purpose. The other option would be for the PI to request a supplement for participant support costs. A supplemental proposal would need to be submitted.

If approval were obtained for participant support costs, OGCA would set up a new fund under the award in order to separately account for these costs and apply a 0% F&A rate as required by the Uniform Guidance.

  1. What kind of documentation should a department/unit keep on file for participant support costs?

Similar to other award-related expenses, a department must maintain back-up documentation for all participant support costs. This would include a list of program participants and evidence of attendance of participants, such as a daily log or similar documentation.

  1. Are participant support costs treated differently in the Uniform Guidance than they were in OMB Circular A-21?

Yes. Previously, in A-21, the definition of MTDC did not address participant support costs. In the Uniform Guidance, the definition of Modified Total Direct Costs addresses participant support costs. This means, for awards from any agency that are made under the Uniform Guidance, participant support costs (similar to equipment) should be excluded from the base used to calculate F&A costs.

  1. Are payments to research subjects/participants considered participant support costs?

No. A payment to an individual who agrees to participate as a human subject in a research project is not a participant support cost and should be budgeted as Other Direct Costs in the project proposal. Information on payments to research subjects/participants is available at Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

  1. Are costs to support pre- or post-doc trainees in a training grant considered to be participant support costs?

The answer depends on the sponsor. Generally, costs for training grant programs are not considered participant support costs. Training grant programs are not typically short-term experiences and are not consistent with the types of experiences considered to be participant support activities. Trainees are also actively engaged in the scope of work, where participants do not perform work or service for the project or program.

  1. What if a sponsoring agency representative requests that I move student hourly employee costs to the participant support costs budget section?

It depends. If UAF has determined that student hourly employee is the appropriate role, then a compelling justification should be sent to the sponsoring agency representative about why that determination was made. Guidance from the National Science Foundation is that the institution determines whether a student hourly employee or participant is appropriate for the project.

However, for the NSF REU program, any student involved would be considered a participant. The NSF REU program is intended to provide a practical educational experience for undergraduate students, to develop their research skills while being mentored. Given the goals of the NSF REU program, it is not possible to have both student hourly employees and participants – all students on an NSF REU project should be considered participants.

  1. Special Considerations
    Participant support costs should be considered as only those costs that can directly be attributable to an individual participant rather than costs that support all participants collectively.

Costs for project organizers (such as PI, co-I, etc.), speakers, and program facilitators or coordinators, even where these individuals may also participate as a program participant, are NOT considered participant support costs.

  1. What is the difference between a stipend and an incentive?

Stipend:  payment to an individual who is attending a conference/workshop/or other short term educational training activity. It may also be applicable to those on a training grant or fellows with no service obligations 

Incentive: cash or cash equivalent payments (such as gift cards or course credit) for participation in a research study

  1. Can individuals from other entities receive participant support costs?

Assuming they meet the sponsored project criteria for participants, the following groups may receive participant support:

  • Students, Scholars and Scientists from other institutions
  • Representatives of private sector companies
  • Teachers
  • State or local government agency personnel
  1. If participant support is for training activities or “traineeships”, does that mean internship costs are also participant support?

Participant support opportunities may be considered “traineeships” but not all traineeships are related to participant support. Interns are trainees who receive information to advance their knowledge, skills, and experience; however, interns also provide services to UAF, the grant sponsor/program, or a third party. Service providers, such as interns, are not participants. 

  1. Can individuals receive both a stipend for the training received and a salary for training they provide to others on the same project?

They may not.   If any portion of an individual’s activity is classified as salary, then all payment to that individual is salary.  Example: The individual will participate in the training but will then train others as part of a sponsored project.   Though the individual is first trained, the training of others is a service and therefore the entire expense is a personnel expense, not a participant support cost.


  1. What costs are generally included in the participant support costs category?

Sponsors generally stipulate allowable costs for the participant support category which normally includes:

  • Event registration or tuition fees
  • Travel (airfare, mileage, lodging, per diem)
  • Training materials
  • Participant supplies*
  • Stipend

Participant support costs may also include, only if permitted by sponsor's guidelines:

  • Health Insurance allowance
  • Subsistence: meals and catered food*

Read the sponsor’s general guidelines, the specific FOA.

*The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Policy office has stated that room rental fees, catering, and supplies should not be budgeted in participant costs in NSF proposals. If essential for project completion, include request in Other Direct Costs category.

  1. Do all sponsors allow participant support costs?

No.  Below are some general guidelines but to make a definitive determination, the sponsor’s guidelines and the FOA must be carefully read.

Federal Sponsors -
In General

Federal Programs -
FOA Specific

Non-Federal Public
& For Profits

Foreign Sponsors

May be allowed if relevant to program and not precluded by FOA

Allowable if relevant to the program and if permitted by FOA. 

Not typically allowed unless sponsor’s program is intended to support students

Not typically familiar with the concept but may be allowed for specific situations


PI/Department/Unit Responsibilities

  1. The PI and RA/unit should be familiar with the specific requirements set forth by the sponsor and also comply with UAF requirements:
  • Confirm that sponsor’s guidelines and/or FOA allow for participant support costs to be budgeted.
  • Determine whether the proposed costs are participant support costs, human subject incentives, or fellowship and budget accordingly
  • Budget costs in accord with UAF standard cost practices such as approved per diem rates, competitive airfare, etc.
  • Include a proposal budget justification which fully explains all the individual costs (e.g. stipend, travel, supplies, meals and catered food, etc.) and the number of anticipated participants.
  • Ensure participant support costs are approved by the sponsor prior to expenditure
  • Ensure participant support costs are allowable, allocable, and reasonable
  • UAF PI must monitor subaward invoices which include participant costs to ensure they are being accounted for separately and that they are allowable and allocable
  • Determine what, if any, sponsor restrictions exist for example:
  • Does the sponsor require prior approval to rebudget the funds to another direct cost category?
  • Does the sponsor require that unspent participant support costs to be returned to them?
  • Take note that:
  • Participant support costs will be placed in a separate account to allow for compliance
  • Participant support cost balances may not be used to offset project overruns
  1. Identify and Recruit Participants
  2. Disburse payments to participants/monitor expenses
  3. The PI/unit should also retain records detailing:
  • Criteria by which participants in the program were selected
  • Copies of applications of selected participants, with documentation as to how they met the selection criteria
  • List of program participants and documentation of their participation in the program (signed check-in lists; email acceptance from participants; etc.)




Budgeting a person for full-time employment technically equals 10.5 months. Why?

  • There are 2080 total work hours in a year (80 hours » 26 pay periods in a year)
  • The average leave accrual rate is 6.46 hours per payperiod (per Statewide BOR Regulations 04.06) or 167.96 hours per year
  • There are 12 holiday days per year (New Year's - 2 days, MLK, Spring Break, Memorial Day, Fourth of July - 2 days, Labor Day, Thanksgiving - 2 days, and Christmas - 2 days)
  • Leave hours + holiday hours = 263.96 hours/year
  • 2080 − 263.96 = 1816.04 hours full time (without leave and holidays)
  • 1816.04 » 12 » 2080 = 10.477 months or 10.5 months

(Note: Faculty and staff may not charge more than their base salary rate to a sponsored project. See Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR »200.430 - Compensation—personal services.)

  1. Verify the salary figure in NBAJOBS in Banner, or ask your fiscal technician for the most up-to-date hourly salary figure for all faculty and other personnel in your budget.
  2. Multiply this number by 173.33 (174) hours. This will give you salary per month.
  3. Multiply by the number of months in your budget.
  4. Multiply this figure by the appropriate leave benefit percentage (see current benefit rates here). This will give you the "loaded salary." Check with your fiscal technician to determine the job classification for each person listed on your budget.
  5. Take the "loaded salary" and multiply it by the appropriate staff benefits rate (see current benefit rates here).
  6. List the staff benefits figure on the "fringe benefits" line of your budget.

Example of a faculty member's (E-class F9) salary:
$40/hr » 173.33 hrs/month » 2 months » 1.014 leave benefit rate = $14,061 loaded salary
$14,102 loaded salary » 0.275 staff benefit rate = $3,867 in staff benefits
Total salary and benefits = $17,928

Budget Increases and Salary Projections on Proposals


 Often, proposals need to be submitted with multi-year budgets. It is standard for the University to use a 2.5% rate increase for employees on all years after the initial fiscal year (outyears) unless a sponsor provides an alternate rate within a policy statement, program announcement or other guidelines for the program. If there is reason to expect a promotion, larger salary increase or other impact that would provide a reason to use a higher rate, and the sponsor does not cap the rate, please provide a justification for the use of a higher rate.

 The Office of Grants & Contracts Administration offers the following guidance regarding salary increases: “When allowed by sponsor, these increases should be included in the budget calculation. Increases must be reasonable, allocable and justified in the proposal”. OGCA reviews proposals to make sure any salary increases are allowable by the sponsor and the appropriate fringe benefit rate is used.

How is overtime determined?

Overtime is paid at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, for hours worked over 40 hours per week. Sick leave, holiday leave or annual leave hours do not count as hours worked in a week in determining overtime. For example, if an employee uses 8 hours annual leave on Monday and works 40 hours Tuesday – Saturday, all time will be at the regular rate of pay. Leave and benefits do not accrue on overtime pay.

Student salary calculation

Check with your Fiscal Officer/Business Office for student salary as it varies between each unit/department.

A student working 20 hrs/wk for two semesters (E-class GN or SN) plus extra time on holidays may work a total of 760 hrs. A student working 40 hrs/wk all summer (E-class GT or ST) may work 560 hrs. FT summer work also accrues staff benefits of 8.6%. Total hours for a whole year: 1320 hours.

Calculating a student stipend: ($ hourly rate)»(1320 hours)
Calculating student benefits: ($ hourly rate)»(560 hours)(.086)

Graduate students

  • Stipends
    Graduate student compensation will be gradually increasing to bring the stipend rates up to national norms, click here for current rates.
  • Tuition
    You must request tuition for a graduate student researcher unless the sponsor will not pay tuition costs (include documentation w/proposal). If you wish to supply tuition from another source, include a memo confirming the source and available funds with the proposal.
  • Health Care
    Since FY08, all proposal budgets including graduate students must also include health insurance for the graduate students. The UAF Graduate School has released the new graduate student health insurance rates for the 2015/2016 academic year (Graduate school website).

    Fall: $858
    Spring + Summer: $1,503
    Summer Only: $645 (offered only in specific cases)
    Annual equivalent: $2,361

    Student health care fees should be listed as a separate budget line item under benefits, which is built in to our internal spreadsheet template.

    Student health care are subject to F&A (account code 1949) if they are provided to the student as part of a research or teaching assistantship. When these costs are included as part of a scholarship or fellowship, they DO NOT recover F&A and are excluded from the MTDC base (account code 6105).

Undergraduate students


Sole Source Justification and Cost/Price Analysis for Subawards Under Federal And State Contracts


Defining a Subaward


What is a Subaward?


A subaward is when a portion of UAF's sponsored project is passed through to another entity in order to complete a portion of the sponsored project's scope of work. It does not include payments to a contractor or payments to an individual that is a beneficiary of a program.

A subaward agreement is formal written agreement made between UAF and another institution or organization to perform an intellectually significant portion of UAF’s SOW (Statement of Work) under a UAF sponsored project.

A subaward must include a clearly defined, intellectually significant SOW to be performed by the subrecipient's personnel, using its own facilities and resources. The subrecipient takes full responsibility for adhering to the terms and conditions of the subaward including those flowed down from UAF's sponsor, and assumes creative and intellectual responsibility and leadership as well as financial management for performing and fulfilling the subrecipient's SOW within the subrecipient's approved budget.

A subaward SOW may include fabrication of specialized equipment to be used for the UAF sponsored research project as a project related asset or as a deliverable to the sponsor.

Subawards differ from procurement contracts used to acquire goods or services from vendors.


Distinguishing Between a Subaward and a Procurement Action


The agreement is likely a subaward if you can answer “yes” to the following questions (should meet most criteria below):

  • Is the Scope of Work /Statement of Work of assigned to the entity intellectually significant? (as opposed to executing something designed or directed by UAF)
  • Will the entity’s performance be measured against whether the objectives of the sponsored program are met? (The work should directly support the objectives of the sponsored project SOW)
  • Does the Subrecipient have responsibility for programmatic decision-making? (The entity is responsible for independently making decisions that support the objectives of the SOW)
  • Will the Subrecipient assume responsibility for adherence to applicable sponsor program compliance requirements? (Subawards are subject to more stringent compliance and contractual requirements than procurement/consulting arrangements)
  • Is the work being performed significant to the objectives of the project?
  • Could the entity’s work result in intellectual property development or publishable results (including co-authorship)?

The agreement is likely a procurement action if you can answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Does the entity provide the goods and services within its normal business operations? (This is something they do for everyone)
  • Does the entity provide similar goods or services to many different purchasers?
  • Does the entity operate in a competitive environment?
  • Will the entity provide goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of UAF's sponsored project?
  • Will UAF own the work product of the entity?
  • Will the entity be carrying out the work at the instruction of UAF? (E.G. administering surveys created by UAF or collecting data for UAF to analyze)
  • Does the entity not have the infrastructure to comply with direct requirements of UAF's sponsor?


Subaward vs. Consultant


The difference between a consultant and a subrecipient typically comes down to who is going to own the work. While the work of a consultant may be intellectually significant, if UAF is going to own what the entity/individual produces, then it is likely a consulting arrangement. Also, as subawards cannot be between UAF and an individual (as opposed to an entity), any arrangement with an individual would be consulting rather than a subaward.


Subawards in Proposals


These documents are required for any outgoing subaward issued from UAF OCGA. Proposal Stage documents are required for the review prior to endorsement of a proposal containing a Subaward. Required for new, renewal, and supplemental proposals.


FDP Expanded Clearinghouse - Changes to Use of Subrecipient Commitment Forms


UAF is participating in the national FDP Expanded Clearinghouse pilot, which began on August 18, 2016. In order to reduce the administrative burden related to incoming and outgoing subawards, pilot participant central offices will be relying on institutional information from profiles housed on the FDP website, instead of institutional information from individual previous Subrecipient Commitment Forms. The previous Subrecipient Commitment Forms typically require completion of institutional information about our F&A rates, fringe benefit rates, audit status, COI policy status, Federalwide Assurances, etc.

If UAF is receiving a subaward from, or issuing a subaward to, another FDP Expanded Clearinghouse participant institution, we should discontinue Subrecipient Commitment Forms. Instead of the previous Subrecipient Commitment Form, institutions will be asked to fill-out a short Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent.

The list of FDP Expanded Clearinghouse pilot participants is available on the UAF FDP Expanded Clearinghouse Pilot Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent below and also on the FDP website.


Subrecipient Selection & Evaluation


The University Principal Investigator (PI) and department are required to evaluate the subrecipient during proposal preparation to assess technical expertise and financial viability of the organization and key personnel.

The PI selects a subrecipient based upon the organization's technical expertise and potential ability to perform a portion of the scope of work successfully, within an infrastructure that meets certain federal internal control and policy requirements.

  • PIs are responsible for assessing the technical adequacy of subrecipients and the appropriateness of their proposed budget.
  • OGCA/Procurement validates the adequacy of the internal control and policies of the selected subrecipient via its risk assessment process and ensures that the organization meets the criteria of a subrecipient (not a consultant or a vendor).

Once a potential subrecipient has been identified, the PI must take the following steps to ensure that the chosen organization is qualified to be an UAF subrecipient.

We recommend that the PI/department complete the information gathered on the forms below will help document information that may be requested by auditors. 

  • Fair & Reasonable Subaward Cost Analysis (Assistance Mechanisms): Subawards under Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Nonfederal Contracts is used to justify subrecipients under Grants and Cooperative Agreements and does not need to be forwarded to OGCA, but should be kept in the department/unit files.
  • Fair & Reasonable Subaward Cost Analysis (Contracts): Subawards under Federal Contracts is used to justify subrecipients under Federal Contracts. This must be forwarded to OGCA with the complete proposal.


Proposing a Project with Subawards


Once the potential subrecipient is identified to support the objectives of a proposed sponsored research project, and it is determined that a subaward is the appropriate mechanism, the PI assisted by the department administrator obtains the subrecipient proposal elements from their subrecipient.

The proposal should be compiled in the format required by the sponsor and UAF then forwarded to the institutional official for review.  The proposal must include the following elements for each named subrecipient to be endorsed by institutional official.

  • The subrecipient's scope of work/statement of work (SOW), including a clear description of the work to be performed, proposed timelines, and deliverables.  The SOW should be detailed to ensure expectations are clear and can be enforced in case of disagreement between UAF and the subrecipient.
  • The subrecipient's budget and budget justification, including the subrecipient's direct and indirect costs, calculated using both the subrecipient's F&A and fringe benefit rates, and verifying any committed cost sharing.
  •  The Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent completed and signed by the subrecipient's institutional official.
  • (Federal Contracts Only) A Fair and Reasonable Cost Analysis & Sole Source Justification, if the funding mechanism is known to be a Federal contract at time of proposal.  The PI's signature on this form certifies s/he has selected the subrecipient in accordance with Uniform Guidance, and determined their costs are reasonable with respect to the proposed SOW. 

In addition, the PI certifies s/he has reviewed the subrecipient's proposed budget to ensure all proposed costs are allowable under the sponsor's anticipated terms and conditions.  PIs are responsible for working with their subrecipients to modify proposed budgets to bring them into conformance.

  • Additional elements which may be required by UAF and/or UAF's sponsor.

On very rare occasions, a PI may recognize the need for outside involvement on a project but is either unable to identify the best subrecipient by the time of proposal submission.  In these instances, proposals may be submitted with a subrecipient To Be Named.


Integrating the Subrecipient's Proposal into UAF's Proposal


The PI, assisted by the department/unit administrator, integrates the subrecipient’s statement of work into the proposal and includes the full amount of the subrecipient’s budget (including the subrecipient’s F&A) as a direct cost line item in the UAF budget.  The subrecipient’s proposed costs must be separate from UAF’s costs.

When calculating UAF’s budget, it is important to apply the F&A UAF will collect for administering the subaward based on the sponsor’s inclusion/exclusion criteria.  While the federal government includes the first $25,000 in its F&A base, other sponsors may have different criteria.

About F&A for Subawards: There are two types of F&A costs on subawards: those earned by the subrecipient and those earned by the UAF. If a federal program has a published statutory F&A cap (e.g., USDA-NIFA caps F&A at 42.857 percent of TDC unless otherwise noted in solicitation), that rate must be used both by UAF and all of its subrecipients.

For all other federal programs, if a subrecipient has a federally negotiated F&A rate, it must be applied to the base budget (i.e., the Modified Total Direct Costs). If the entity does not have a negotiated F&A rate, a de minimus rate of 10 percent (10%) of modified total direct costs (MTDC) should be used instead, per OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200), Section 200.331 Requirements for Pass-Through Entities. For subawards under non-federal prime sponsors, the F&A rate and base will vary. Please consult with OGCA Pre-Award if you have any questions.

About Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC): All direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs, and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.

About Fixed Price Subawards: While NIH has now waived prior approval on fixed price clinical trial subawards, prior Federal agency approval is required to enter into new, non-NIH clinical trial fixed price subawards, which may not individually exceed the simplified acquisition threshold which was recently raised to $250K (including supplements and modifications).

For foreign organizations, keep the exchange rate in mind. All subaward payments are paid in US dollars. Wire payments may incur a processing fee that must be paid by the department/unit.

Download a Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent signed by subrecipient’s PI and subrecipient’s authorized representative. If the subrecipient is participating in the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse, you need to request a Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent  with Page 1 filled out. The other necessary information can be obtained from the entity profile in the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse.

If the sponsor is an agency implementing Public Health Service Financial Conflict of Interest, verify Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) policy on the FDP FCOI Clearinghouse. If subrecipient does not participate in the clearinghouse, they must agree to use UAF’s Financial Conflict of Interest.  The FCOI documentation MUST be on file for all listed subawards in a proposal.


 Subrecipient Proposal Review and Submission by UAF


At the time of proposal review, endorsement and submission is submitted in accordance with UAF's proposal guidelines, the institutional official will do the following:

  • Review the Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent
  • Review the subrecipient’s scope of work to verify that a subaward is the appropriate vehicle to fund the work
  • Review the subrecipient's budget and budget justification
  • Review the proposal for compliance with UAF and sponsor policy
  • Submit the full proposal to the sponsor for consideration


*Initiating an Unanticipated Subaward after a Proposal Is Submitted


If a subrecipient was not included as part of the proposal documentation, the sponsor may require prior approval to add a new subrecipient to the sponsored project.  All subaward paperwork should be completed at the time the subrecipient is identified.

  • If the subaward is under a grant, the prime sponsor award terms and conditions may require prior approval or notification for adding a new subrecipient.  Read the terms and conditions carefully and confer with OGCA if you need guidance.  Be prepared to wait at least 30 days for a response from the sponsor for prior approval of the new subrecipient.
  • Use UAF’s AwaRE Form to seek sponsor approval for new subaward if approval is required.
  • If a subaward is under a federal contract, the sponsor may require UAF to obtain written approval or notification to enter into the subaward even if the sponsor approved the subrecipient at the proposal review and acceptance stage.  A federal sponsor may require: a detailed written cost analysis of the subrecipient’s proposal, a certificate of cost and pricing data together with A Fair and Reasonable Cost Analysis & Sole Source Justification and a small business subcontracting plan (FAR 52.219-9).





A subaward is a legally binding agreement issued when a substantive portion of the sponsored project will be performed by another entity.


UAF issues subawards to other entities when they will be working in collaboration with an UAF PI to perform a substantive portion of a grant or contract’s programmatic effort.   To determine if UAF will need to enter into a subaward, consult the FDP Subrecipient vs. Contactor Checklist tool.


Yes.  When another entity wants UAF to assist them in fulfilling a substantive portion of their externally funded sponsored research, they will issue a subaward to UAF.


A sole source justification is an explanation of why a subrecipient is uniquely qualified for this particular project.   Cost alone is not a satisfactory reason.   It must also address the technical expertise of the Subrecipient PI.


Yes.   Subawards are issued as cost reimbursable or fixed price.   A cost reimbursable agreement is based on actual project expenditures incurred during the performance period, up to an agreed amount.  Fixed price agreements are issued when performance is based on deliverables, each of which is assigned a lump sum amount.


The type of subaward is determined on the individual factors of project.   However, the following is illustrative of when it might be one type of the other:

Cost Reimbursement Subawards

Fixed Price Subawards

The prime award made to UAF is cost reimbursable

The prime award made to UAF is fixed price

The subrecipient is a domestic entity

The subrecipient is a foreign entity

The subrecipient assessment risk level is low

The subrecipient risk level is high



Each subrecipient is assessed for risk prior to the issuance of a subaward agreement.  Reasons for a high-risk designation include, but are not limited to:

  • Foreign entities that are governed by laws, regulations, and financial systems which do not align with the United States
  • Domestic entities with significant audit findings without a defined corrective action plan
  • Subrecipients without an external audit, internal control policies, or a sound financial system
  • Subrecipients where UAF will have limited visibility into the subawardee's operations


Approximately 5% of all subawards issued are fixed price.  The other 95% are cost-reimbursable.


Generally fixed price subawards are issued when:

  • The award to UAF is fixed price
  • The subrecipient is classified as high risk
  • The subrecipient is a foreign entity
  • The subrecipient is required to provide specific deliverables in addition to, or in lieu of, technical reports


Yes, it will facilitate sponsor approval at award time.


Justification for the fixed price subaward should be included.  The following language is recommended in the budget justification: “UAF anticipates the issuance of a fixed price subaward to [Name the subrecipient here] documented in this proposal and is requesting prior agency approval.  This Subrecipient meets the criteria described in Subpart C- 200.201(b) and if this proposal is awarded, UAF will consider this subaward approved.”


Yes, fixed price subawards may not exceed $150K, including supplements and modifications. The $150K is the industry standard threshold for fixed price subawards to mitigate the risk. If there is a need for the limitation to be increased, a strong justification will be needed. 


If it is known at proposal time, contact OGCA to discuss options.   If it comes up after the award, contact OGCA for guidance.  OGCA recommends discussing with OGCA Pre-Award and Procurement.


Yes, UAF will issue multiple subawards with separate and distinct scope of works.


Both proposed cost reimbursable and fixed price subawards need to be clearly described in the subrecipient's scope of work; clearly outlining subrecipient responsibilities, required deliverables, and specific due dates for each milestone. Wherever possible, the request for subaward should be included in the proposal to expedite sponsor approvals, where required.


For fixed price subawards to be issued using federal/federal flow through funds, sponsor approval is required. There is also a cost limitation on fixed price subawards which caps at $150,000.  Federal sponsors do not have the ability to approve over the cap fixed price subawards.


Many sponsors, though not all, require prior approval to add a subaward that was not budgeted.   Regardless of whether prior approval is needed or not, the unit will need to submit an UAF’s AwaRE Form  to OGCA. After review, OGCA will forward the request to the sponsor.  If no prior approval is required, the AwaRE Form   will trigger the establishment an account and the beginning of the subawards issuance process.


The following should be attached to AwaRE Form  Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent (for Expanded Clearinghouse members or  non-members, scope of work, budget/budget justification, deliverables, and other terms the PI needs included in the subaward.


Issuing is the responsibility of UA procurement. Monitoring subawards is a joint responsibility lead by the PI and Procurement.


Regular contact will allow the UAF PI:

  • to ensure that the subaward objectives/scope of work is proceeding as planned and described to the sponsor.
  • to monitor the quality of work being submitted and identify issues that arise in a timely manner.
  • to facilitate review of invoices for reasonableness, allowability and allocability.


  • Makes programmatic decisions and controls the method of work, as needed, in order to complete the scope of work outlined by UAF in the subaward agreement.
  • Expends funds and manages the project in accordance with all applicable UAF and prime sponsor requirements.


  • Ensure the scope of work is clear up front.   By this it is meant that the scope of work describes only the portion of the work the subaward PI is responsible for, that it is clearly outlined by specific objective and that any deliverables, such as reports, have been clearly identified.
  • The UAF PI is also responsible for the receipt and review of technical reports and other deliverables submitted by the subrecipient.  Before providing approval to process an invoice, it is critical that the PI has received the required results and deliverables.   This is the only opportunity to hold the other institution responsible for the work they were subcontracted to do.


  • Ensure that the PI is aware of the UAF requirements, including the need to seek the other entity’s approval before including their work in the UAF proposal
  • Assess the potential risk associated with issuing a subaward to other entity.
  • Assist the PI in preparing what the non UAF entity should include in their scope of work
  • Obtain the contact information for the administrative contact at the other entity
  • Contact the other entity’s administrative contact early to provide guidance on the required documentation needed to initiate a subaward, including upcoming deadlines.

If the subawardee’s work occurs early in the project, delays in obtaining the executed subaward agreement with the non UAF PI’s institution can significantly hinder the UAF PI’s work.  

Following the above steps can help alleviate delays.


It might be tempting to await word that an award is forthcoming prior to obtaining official subrecipient documents, but delaying in this way can cause a number of issues:

  • The subawardee (aka as subrecipient) can decline to participate in the project if they did not sign off on their institution’s inclusion in the proposal.
  • The budget may not be accurate, potentially impacting the UAF PI who may need to pay for additional costs out of their own project to meet the subawardee’s institutional policies.
  • The subaward issuance may be significantly delayed while the RA seeks the required documents.
  • If the subawardee is new to federal support, registering and waiting approvals for the SAM system can potentially result in delays
  • If the research includes human or animal subjects, the subrecipient will need IRB/IACUC approvals, which can result in a time delay.
  • If the sponsor requires PS FCOI Compliance and the subrecipient is not compliant, a delay in issuing the agreement can occur.
  • If the subawardee’s work occurs early in the project, delays in getting the executed subaward agreement with the non-UAF PI’s institution can significantly hinder the UAF PI’s work.  

Ensuring that all paperwork is received timely can help alleviate delays.


The scope of work should not be a reiteration of the overall proposal being submitted.   Rather it should define only the specific work to be performed by the subrecipient.   Within this scope of work, it is important that the tasks to be performed are clearly outlined and that any expectations for reports or deliverables are listed.  The scope of work is going to be part of the legally binding agreement that will be issued.   This document is the basis for determining the timeline for expected progress and how the research will move forward.   If the scope of work is unclear, it can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, or grants that cannot/do not meet their objectives.


Working with foreign subrecipients can be challenging.   They often do not have processes which parallel those in the United States.   This may create difficulties completing the Subreceipient Statement of Collaborative Intent.   Working early with OGCA to determine what information will be required when the subrecipient does not have the same practices can save time and alleviate potential problems.


A DUNS number and registration in SAM are federal requirements for participating in projects funded by US government funds. One suggestion here is to help the foreign subrecipient’s administrative contact with the registration process by clearly explaining what they need to do to register.   Navigating through United States' regulations can be difficult for the foreign subrecipient and may lead to significant delays for the project. If the PI speaks their language, he/she may need to assist with translation.


The entity must provide an original, signed and notarized, letter using the appropriate letter template.  This letter must be on the entity's letterhead and must state that the organizational official registering the organization is the authorized Entity Administrator.  Complete the appropriate template using the instructions provided for domestic (requires login) or international (requires login) entities.


Foreign subrecipients generally need to be provided funds at the start of the project.  Many do not have the ability to do the work prior to receiving these funds.   To assist with this, foreign subawards can generally be issued a fixed price agreement where a portion of the funds are given upfront with the balance provided on a specific schedule of concrete deliverables.   For this reason, it is critical that the scope of work be specifically worded to accommodate this type of arrangement.


Tuition & Fees

Per Graduate School standing policy, tuition must be included for a graduate student research assistantship unless the sponsor will not pay tuition costs (include documentation with the proposal). If you wish to supply tuition from another source, include a memo confirming the source and available funds with the proposal.

Please note that students must be in the state for 2 years to qualify for the in-state tuition rate, or they can apply for resident status after residing in the state for one year under the university's "bona fide resident" provision. Students having non-immigrant visa status are not eligible for Alaska residency.

For budget planning on proposals, OGCA recommends 2 years of out-of-state tuition. Full time graduate students are enrolled in 9 credits each semester (18 credits for academic year).

For current tuition and fee rates, please visit the UAF Financial Aid Office page.


Fellowships and scholarships are exempt from F&A recovery.»


First determine what travel expenses the granting agency will allow (travel costs to meetings, conferences, field sites or other project related travel), and then itemize the cost of each trip. Break down by location, per diem, ground transportation costs, number of participants, and number of trips. If you don't know the exact location of a planned meeting, a placeholder city should be used for budgeting purposes.

Per diem rates consist of a lodging component and a meals + incidentals expenses (M&IE) component.


Domestic Travel


International Travel


Sample Travel Table Justification


Year 1 Itemized Trip





# of Travelers


Travel to relevant XYZ meeting to collaborate and disseminate information on research results








$224night x 2





$71/per day x3




Ground Transportation



















Trip Total



As a general guideline, a national two-three-day trip can be budgeted at $1,500 to $2,000; an in-state trip can be budgeted at around $1,200; and an international trip at $3,000 to $4,000 depending on location. It is often important to show how the trip was costed in your justification. Consider the cost of:

  • Mileage: Per mile rate determined annually by the IRS (Updated yearly on Jan 1st, 20xx)
  • Airfare: Based on actual cost; check online for rates for estimated time of year and destination
  • Meals Per diem (foreign): Budget by destination city.
  • Ground Transportation: Ubers, Taxis, car rentals, airport parking, etc.