Sponsored Programs and Research Services

Cost Share Guidance for Proposals

Cost Sharing or Matching, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance, is the portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds or contributions (unless otherwise authorized by Federal statute). Cost sharing may be "mandatory" or "voluntary." Voluntary cost sharing may be "committed" or "uncommitted." Cost Sharing or Matching that is not required by a funding agency but is included in a proposal narrative or budget is considered voluntary committed cost sharing, and becomes a binding requirement of a Federal award. Cost Sharing or Matching that is provided by the University but is not included in a proposal budget or narrative is voluntary uncommitted cost sharing.

CSU strongly discourages all cost sharing for sponsored programs due to the impact it has on overall funding resources for the University and the burdensome accounting and monitoring needed to ensure compliance with sponsor requirements and financial regulations.

OMB Uniform Guidance, in Section 200.306 and Appendix I 2.C,  clarifies cost share requirements as follows:

  • Funding announcements must state whether there is required cost sharing, matching, or cost participation without which an application would be ineligible
  • If cost sharing is not required, the announcement must explicitly say so
  • Voluntary committed cost sharing (institutional cost share proposed but not required) is not expected in federal research proposals and cannot be used as a factor during the merit review of applications or proposals, but may be considered if it is in accordance with Federal awarding agency regulations and specified in a notice of funding opportunity. Criteria for considering voluntary committed cost sharing and any other program policy factors that may be used to determine who may receive a Federal award must be explicitly described in the notice of funding opportunity.

Contact SPRS if you have any questions about whether a funding opportunity requires cost share. If a funder requires (mandatory) cost share, contact your department chair, dean, and the Office of Research, who will determine a) if cost share resources can be made available and b) the benefit to the University if cost share is committed to the program. The Vice-President for Research reserves the right to approve voluntary cost sharing (committed or uncommitted) for a sponsored program on a case by case basis.

Adapted from University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Berkeley, and University of Texas - El Paso policies.