Budget Development

Budget Development

Budget preparation is a critical part of any grant application. The Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration (OSPRA) can work with you, other University offices, other universities, as well as state and federal agencies to make sure that your budget meets requirements.

Importantly, if you are requesting released time as part of a research or other project, it is critical that you contact the OSPRA to get the correct information. The cost of released time varies from person to person, and the proposal will meet significant delays in the approval process if released time is not budgeted for appropriately. The OSPRA will gladly act as your liaison, gathering the information you need and ensuring that the approval process goes smoothly. The links below provide key information on writing a successful budget:

Direct and Indirect Costs

Following Office and Management (OMB) A-21, Direct Costs are defined as "those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy." Examples of direct costs may include salaries for the principle investigator and students, specific kinds of equipment, or supplies, such as chemical reagents, necessary to conduct the work. In all cases, direct costs must be:

  • Reasonable - what a prudent person would spend;
  • Allocable - limited to that portion of expenses directly benefiting the project; and
  • Consistently treated as direct charges

Indirect costs (ID costs or, alternatively, Finance and Administrative costs) are defined as "those that are incurred for common or joint objectives." Said another way, indirect costs are costs that cannot be specifically attributed to an individual project. Examples of indirect costs may include the services of the accounting staff, cost of utilities for a building housing your research project, office supplies, postage, or salaries for departmental support personnel.

Importantly, indirect costs are typically figured as a percentage of your budget rather than as a single fixed cost. For Millersville, the federally negotiated rate is 48.0 percent of wages and salaries. Alternatively, if the funding agency is unwilling to pay ID costs at the negotiated rate, then you may ask for 8 percent of the total budget.

Importantly 30 percent of ID costs returned to Millersville will directly benefit the originating faculty, department and school, and an additional 20 percent will be used for faculty professional development.