Sponsored Programs and Research Services

Allowable and Non-Allowable Charges to Federal Grants

This section provides guidance for the allowability of costs on research, training, and other sponsored work performed by colleges and universities under grants, contracts, and other agreements with the Federal Government. It is important to note that these principles apply to all CSU sponsored programs unless award documentation explicitly states otherwise.

  1. Advertising: Allowable only for recruitment of staff trainees, or research subjects,procurement of goods and services, disposal of scrap or surplus materials, and other specific purpose (as indicated in the terms of the award) necessary to meet the requirements of the grant supported project or activity. Recruitment materials must be support by the University.
  2. Alcoholic Beverages: Not allowable
  3. Alterations & Renovations (A&R): Alteration and renovation is defined as work required to change the interior arrangements or other physical characteristics of an existing facility or installed equipment so that it may be more effectively utilized for its currently designated purpose or adapted to an alternative use to meet a programmatic requirement. New construction is unallowable unless specifically authorized. Other A&R cost are subject to many limitations and restrictions. Please contact SPRS or the OGA for guidance.
  4. Alumni/ae Acivities: Costs incurred for, or in support of, alumni/ae activities and similar services are unallowable.
  5. Animals: Allowable for acquisition, care and use of experimental animals.
  6. Bad Debts: Not allowable.
  7. Books and Periodicals: Allowable as a direct cost when required for the conduct of the project. Where an institution has a library, books and periodicals should generally be provided as normal library service and treated as indirect costs.
  8. Communications: Allowable as direct costs incurred for local and long distance telephone calls, telephone surveys, telegrams, postage, etc. but only when they can be specifically identified to the project that are consistently treated as direct costs
  9. Conference Grant Costs: Allowable
  10. Construcion Services: Allowable only when the program legislation includes specific authority to construct facilities.
  11. Consulant Services: Allowable. A consultant is an individual hired to give professional advice or services for a fee but not as an employee of the hiring party.  SPRS will write the consulting agreement after receipt of the completed request for consulting template that is submitted to sprscontracts@csuohio.edu.
  12. Donor Costs: Allowable for payment to volunteers or research subjects who contribute blood, urine samples and other body fluids or tissues that are specifically project related.
  13. Drugs: Allowable with restrictions and limitations.
  14. Dues: Allowable for organizational membership in professional organizations or societies if it can be shown that such membership is necessary to accomplish the objectives of the projects.
  15. Entertainment: Not allowable.
  16. Equipment: Allowable when specifically allocable to the project. General-purpose equipment (office furniture or general use personal computer) is normally not allowable. Computers used ONLY on the grant-funded project are allowable if identified in proposal or approved by granting agency.
  17. Fund Raising: Not allowable.
  18. Insurance: Allowable when required because of the special risks peculiar to the project. General insurance is usually treated as an indirect cost.
  19. Interest: Not allowable unless specifically authorized.
  20. Land or Building Acquisition: Not allowable unless specifically authorized.
  21. Library and Information Services: Generally allowable when specifically required for the conduct of the project and identifiable as an integral part of the grant. Usually treated as indirect cost.
  22. Lobbying: Generally not allowable; if allowable, must be disclosed.
  23. Maintenance and Repair Costs: Allowable if costs incurred for necessary maintenance, repair or upkeep of property neither adds to the permanent value of the property nor appreciable prolongs its intended life but keeps it in an efficient operating condition.
  24. Meals: Allowable, if business conducted relates directly to the project and is reasonable, but not for purposes of entertainment.
  25. Publications: Allowable, only if project related.
  26. Other Publication Costs: Books, monographs, and pamphlets are allowable. The cost of a single expenditure may not exceed $25,000; costs exceeding $25,000 require prior approval.
  27. Recruitment: Allowable subject to conditions and restrictions. These costs include “help wanted” advertising costs, travel costs to pre employment interviews incurred by applicants, and travel costs of employees while engaged in recruiting personnel. Project funds may not be used for a prospective trainee’s travel costs to or from the grantee institution for the purpose of recruitment. However, other costs incurred in connection with recruitment under training grants may be allocated to a grant.
  28. Relocation: Allowable in other than change of grantee institution situations when such costs are incurred incidental to a permanent change of duty assignment (no less than 12 months) for an existing employee working on a grant or a new employee with restrictions.
  29. Rental or Lease of Facilities or Equipment: Allowable with prior approval.
  30. Salaries and Wages: Allowable. These costs are allowable to the extent that they are reasonable and conform to the established, consistently applied policy of the organization, and reflect no more than the percentage of time actually devoted to the funded project. Salaries and wages for general clerical assistance are normally not allowable because they are included in indirect costs.
  31. Overtime Premiums: Can be allowable, but must be disclosed in grant application or approved in writing by sponsor. Limitations exist based on institutional personnel policies, union contracts, etc.
  32. Compensation of Students: Tuition remission and other forms of compensation paid as, or in lieu of, wages to students (including fellows and trainees) performing necessary work are allowable provided that:
    1. There is a bona fide employer employee relationship between and the student and the institution for the work performed;
    2. Tuition or other payments are reasonable compensation for the work performed and are conditioned explicitly upon the performance of necessary work;
    3. It is the institution’s practice to similarly compensate students in non-sponsored as well as sponsored activities.
  33. Supplies: Allowable as they directly relate to the project.
  34. Trainee Costs: Allowable under pre- and post-doctoral training grants if permitted by authorizing statute or governing programmatic regulations. For each individual to be trained, such costs include a stipend and tuition and fees, including the costs of medical insurance required of a trainee as a condition of his or her participation in the training program and required of all students of similar standing, regardless of the source of funding which are directly associated with and necessary to the individual’s training and are incurred within the period of grant supported training. Grantee institutions may re-budget funds into or within the trainee cost category (stipends, tuition, and fees including medical insurance), but may not re-budget funds awarded for trainee costs into another budget category without prior approval of the sponsor.
  35. Travel: Allowable as direct cost where such travel provides direct benefit to the project. Travel costs are limited to that allowed by the CSU travel policy. When traveling by air, economy class must be used when available. U.S. flag air carriers must be used to the maximum extent possible; their use shall not be influenced by factors of cost, convenience or personal travel preference. Exceptions to use of U.S. flag carriers should be well-documented (and recommended to be completed prior to travel).  See the NIH link for guidance.