Prepare a Budget

Find information in this guide for creating accurate and appropriate budgets for your grant proposals and contracts.

Topics

Getting Started—The Basics

This page contains information on what you should know if you have never before prepared a budget for a sponsored project.

Why is a proposal budget important?

  • It justifies your request and shows how you calculated costs.
  • It provides a financial "blueprint" for your project if you are funded.
  • It shows that you—and the University—will manage the sponsor's funds, which are usually public money, responsibly.

Three key words: Allowable, Allocable & Reasonable

If you remember nothing else when calculating costs for your proposal budget, it is this: the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Section C says, "The recipient institution is responsible for ensuring that costs charged to a sponsored research agreement are allowable, allocable, and reasonable ...."

What does allowable, allocable, and reasonable mean?

  • Allowable: Costs must not be expressly prohibited by the sponsored program regulations, the sponsored agreement, the University's own policies, or the Federal Cost Principles (found in OMB Circular A-21). Costs must be treated consistently by applying the generally accepted accounting principles appropriate to the circumstances (such as the Federal Cost Principles).
  • Allocable: Costs are incurred solely to support or advance the work of a specific sponsored research award (and only during the sponsor-approved project period).
  • Reasonable: Costs must be able to withstand public scrutiny, i.e., objective individuals not affiliated with the institution would agree that a cost is reasonable and appropriate.

Tips for Budgets

  • Calculate what the project will cost, and make sure your budget is realistic; do not "pad" costs - but don't short-change yourself in an effort to be more "competitive" either (though you will want to check whether or not the sponsor has a maximum request amount).
  • Be sure everything in your budget is referenced in the project description/project narrative—and be sure everything mentioned in your project description that would incur cost is shown in the budget.
  • Discuss your project and its costs with your chair/director and/or your dean.
  • Start early!!
  • Check to see if cost-sharing is required.
    • If so, where will it come from?
    • Discuss this with your chair/director and/or your dean.
  • Read the sponsor's guidelines!
    • Does the sponsor have a minimum and/or maximum request amount?
    • Does the sponsor want you to use a specific budget form?
    • Do they require a budget justification as well?
    • Check to see if the sponsor REQUIRES certain items (example: travel to a conference or planning session).
    • Check to see if the sponsor DOES NOT ALLOW certain items (example: salaries & wages, foreign travel, F&A/indirect costs, etc.).
  • You may find it helpful to refer to the Start and Manage Projects section of this website when constructing your budget.

Paying Appalachian State University Personnel

If allowed by the sponsor, you may include costs in your budget for people's participation on a sponsored project. There are a variety of policies, guidelines, and procedures at the federal, state, and University levels that affect how you should calculate this appropriately.

These pages provide guidance on estimating salaries and benefits for people working on your sponsored project who are employed at the University.

 

Calculating Salaries for Faculty, Staff & Postdocs

Introduction

  • You should include full salary and benefits for all Appalachian employees' participation on a sponsored project as direct costs or cost share commitments in the proposal budget.
  • Salaries and wages are determined by the amount of time spent by each person on the project (time and effort).
  • For faculty, calculate a dollar value for each person's time and effort using his/her current 9-month base salary (which does not include compensation for administrative duties, summer teaching, etc.). Sponsored Programs' budget templates will help you calculate this appropriately and accurately.
    • Example: If the project requires 25% effort of a faculty member during the academic year, you should include 25% of his/her current base salary in the budget.
  • For further explanation of time and effort, view the videos at the end of this page presented by the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA).
  • Section 4.1.1 of Appalachian's Supplemental Pay Policy states,

    "For a full-time member of the faculty or EPA staff, the salary approved by the Chancellor, Board of Trustees, or Board of Governors is the base salary to be paid during the contract period. No additional compensation may be paid for University duties that are generally related to the position to which the individual is appointed during the Contract Period."

  • To help you calculate the amount of supplemental compensation faculty are eligible to earn outside the contract period (i.e., the summer) or, in rare exceptions, during the academic year, you may use the Supplemental Pay Tracking Template (XLSX).
  • Keep in mind sponsors must provide written approval of any supplemental compensation to be paid during the academic year before it occurs.
  • Be sure to discuss academic year effort on sponsored projects with your chair and dean well in advance of preparing to submit your proposal. They will need to know if they should plan for a replacement instructor for classes you normally teach.
  • Remember, any payments to Appalachian personnel will be processed through Payroll; therefore fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, medical, and retirement) need to be calculated on all salaries for people employed at the University.

Hiring Postdoctoral Scholars

For guidance on salaries for postdocs you wish to include on your sponsored project, please contact Tim Burwell in Academic Affairs at 828-262-2070, or email him at burwellth@appstate.edu.

Time and Effort Reporting

Relevant Policies for Calculating Salaries and Time & Effort

Video Guides to Time & Effort Reporting Presenting by NCURA

Paying Students

Undergraduate Students

  • Must be enrolled at Appalachian either part-time or full-time
  • Are paid an hourly rate as a student temp
  • Must at least be paid at current minimum wage**
  • Salaries must include payroll deductions***

Graduate Students

Graduate students may be paid as a student temp or via a graduate assistantship.

Grad students paid as a student tempGrad students paid via a graduate assistantship
  • Must be enrolled at Appalachian either part-time or full-time
  • Are paid an hourly rate; minimum of $13.33 per hour**
  • Must include payroll deductions***
  • Must be enrolled full-time at Appalachian and must qualify for an assistantship
  • Must be paid minimum of $8000 per academic year (20 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester) or $1500 per summer term (20 hours per week for 5 weeks)
  • You should request higher salary amounts to off-set the cost of tuition and fees. We suggest a calendar year stipend of $27,000 to offset the total cost of attendance for an out-of-state student.
  • Must include payroll deductions***

** Payment for students varies from department to department; you should consult your chair or undergraduate and graduate program directors in your department for what is acceptable and usual payment for student temps and graduate assistantships.

*** RE: Payroll Deductions/Fringe Benefits: Depending on the level of enrollment (minimum of 6 credit hours) a student may not be exempt from FICA and disability tax. Additionally, student workers are subject to income tax reporting and taxation.  Lastly, student employees may now be eligible for health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act, depending on the total number hours worked in the UNC system; the fringe benefits rate listed here for students accounts for this possibility. 

Tuition 

Enter the tuition (including out-of-state rate when appropriate) under Other Direct Costs unless instructed otherwise in the sponsor's guidelines.

Hiring Temporary Employees

You may wish to include other professionals not currently employed at Appalachian, but whom you would like to hire as a temporary employee if your project is funded.

  • Examples: technicians, physicians, veterinarians, systems experts, computer programmers, site/program coordinators or managers, design engineers
  • Consult with Human Resource Services to verify the appropriate salary and fringe benefits for new positions that would be classified as SPA (Employees Subject to the State Personnel Act).
  • Be sure to discuss with your chair and/or dean any space and/or equipment new personnel will need to do their work, if your project is funded. You should do this well in advance of your project being funded.

Calculating Fringe Benefits & Payroll Deductions

Fringe benefits for faculty, staff, and students working on your sponsored project are allowable as direct costs in proportion to the salaries charged to the grant.

Generally, sponsors will allow you to list a single, flat percentage for fringe benefits. Here are the current rates:

  • 31.14% for 9-month faculty
  • 44.16% for 12-month Staff and EPA Administrative (Employees Exempt from the State Personnel Act) personnel
  • 8.65% for students and non-student temps
  • Note: Depending on the level of enrollment (minimum of 6 credit hours) a student may not be exempt from FICA & Disability tax. Additionally, student workers are subject to income tax reporting and taxation. 
  • Inflate the fringe rates by 0.5% for each subsequent year for all personnel on multi-year projects.
  • Always check this page for the current fringe benefits rates for Appalachian personnel, as they change over time (and not necessarily on a regular schedule).

Here is a breakdown of what is included in fringe benefits; use these percentages if a sponsor requires you to break out individual fringe benefits:

  • Social Security: 7.65%
    • Apply the Social Security rate to all Appalachian personnel in your budget.
  • Medical: 8.55% for faculty; 17.10% for staff (SPA and EPA Administrative); 11.51% for students and non-student temps
    • Apply the medical insurance rate to all persons in your budget who are at least 75% FTE (3/4 time employees).
    • Note: student and non-student temporary employees may now be eligible for health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act, depending on the total number hours worked in the UNC system
  • Retirement: 13.03% (Optional Retirement Programs, TIAA-CREF, Prudential, etc., for Faculty); 17.013% (State retirement system for Staff)
    • Apply retirement to all persons in your budget who are at least 75% FTE (3/4 time employees).
    • Do not apply retirement to employees hired on a temporary basis.
    • If uncertain about the status of temporary employees, contact Human Resource Services (HRS).
  • Reserve for Unfunded Benefits: 1.0%
    • Includes workers compensation, unemployment, and other terminal benefits. 
    • Apply the rate for the Reserve for Unfunded Benefits to all Appalachian personnel in your budget.

 

Paying Non-Appalachian State University Personnel

These pages provide guidance on including people in your budget who are working on your sponsored project but who are not, and will not be, employed by Appalachian State University.

Paying Consultants/Contractors

If allowed by the sponsor, you may include people who are not employed at Appalachian for their participation on your sponsored project. You would pay them as a consultant or contractor via a work order—as opposed to paying them via a subrecipient agreement with their institution—when:

  • They provide professional services (defined as unique, technical, and/or infrequent functions performed by an independent contractor qualified by education, experience, and/or technical ability to provide services);
  • They need little or no oversight or direction;
  • They are not involved in the overall project design and/or development;
  • They are not listed as co-authors on publications reporting project results;
  • They do not use their institutional resources but instead conduct work on their own time (evenings, weekends, vacation/holidays), using a home office and personal equipment (such as a personal computer).

Examples of professional services consultants/contractors might provide include marketing analysis, auditing, statistical analysis, project/program evaluation, translation services, website and software development/design, and editing services.

When including consultants/contractors in your proposal budget, keep in mind:

  • You should obtain a letter of intent from each individual that includes:
    • Services to be performed;
    • Period of time in which those services will be performed;
    • Daily rate of compensation.
  • Payment for a consultant's services may not exceed the daily equivalent of the current maximum rate paid to an Executive Schedule Level IV Federal Employee.
  • You may need to include his or her CV or resume in the proposal so the sponsor can verify skills and credentials.


Including Subrecipients

You may wish to pay a colleague(s) at another university or institution for their participation on your sponsored project. You would pay them via a subrecipient agreement with their institution—as opposed to paying them individually as a consultant or contractor—when:

  • They are collaborating with you on the scope and direction of the whole project;
  • They are involved in the overall project design and/or development;
  • They would be listed as co-authors on publications reporting project results;
  • They would be using institutional resources, such as offices, office computers, labs, etc.;
  • They would be overseeing students at their institution;
  • They would be conducting project activities as part of the research/scholarly endeavors expected of them in their position at the institution.

Note: There may be times when it is more appropriate to pay another institution/organization via a professional services agreement, rather than a subrecipient agreement. Learn more about the difference between a professional services agreement and a subcontract

When including subrecipients in your proposal, keep in mind:

  • In your proposal budget and budget justification, you will need to break out all costs for the subrecipient separately just as you do for the overall project: salaries and wages, student salaries, fringe benefits, travel, supplies, F&A costs, etc.
  • You will probably need to include your colleague's CV/ biographical sketch and list of current and pending grants, the same as you will do for yourself and any colleagues from your own institution; so request that information from your colleagues well in advance.
  • When including a subrecipient in a proposal, your colleagues' institution's sponsored programs office will need to provide the following items to Sponsored Programs here at Appalachian before the proposal is submitted to the sponsor:
    • Subrecipient Commitment Form (PDF) signed by that institution's authorizing official;
    • Scope of work;
    • Budget for the subrecipient's costs only;
    • Budget justification for the subrecipient's costs only.

Under reporting requirements mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), Appalachian must now verify that all subrecipients and vendors paid a cumulative amount of $25,000 or more in federal funds have both a:

Please note: The University cannot issue a subrecipient agreement or purchase order until these requirements are met. Effective October 1, 2010, a DUNS number and CCR CAGE Code (a 5-digit federally assigned identifier) are required at the point of proposal submission.


What are CCR and DUNS?

CCR

Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the primary registrant database for the U.S. Federal Government, collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions. Any institution or entity conducting business with the U.S. Federal Government, including subcontractors or subawardees, must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration.

DUNS Number

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-digit identification number provided to a registered entity by Dun & Bradstreet. The federal government requires that all applicants for grants and contracts have a DUNS number. The federal government will use the DUNS number to better identify related organizations that are receiving federal funding. The DUNS number assignment is FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for grants and contracts. 

See Institutional Data for Grant Forms for information on Appalachian State University's CCR or DUNS number. 

Paying Human Subjects

If you have human subjects involved in your sponsored project, you may wish to compensate them for their participation.

The total cost is usually entered in the budget under the section for Other and should be detailed in the budget justification (ex: $100/participant for 50 participants).

Paying Participant/Trainee Costs

If you will be holding a workshop, conference, or institute as part of your sponsored project, you may wish to include payment to those who attend (i.e., participants) as an incentive for their participation, if such costs are allowed by the sponsor.

The total cost is usually entered in the budget as Participant/Trainee Stipends and should be detailed in the budget justification (ex: $100/participant for 50 participants).

Note: Fees for instructors at a workshop, seminar, institute, etc. should not be included with stipends for the participants—since they are leading and not participating in those sessions. They should be paid separately as a consultant and listed as such in your budget and budget justification.

Non-Personnel Direct Costs

There are a variety of direct costs you might include in your proposal budget that are not related to salaries and wages. The total cost for each category is usually entered as a separate line item in the budget and should be explained in detail in the budget justification.

 

Equipment

Equipment is tangible, nonexpendable property having a useful life of more than one year and costing $5,000 or more per unit. Each piece of equipment should be listed separately in the proposal budget and budget justification.

Things to keep in mind when including equipment in your project:

  • The sponsor may require you to include quotes from one or more vendors; check the sponsor's guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposal) for their requirements.
  • Review the Purchasing Equipment page in the Start and Manage Projects section of this website for more information on procedures you will be expected to follow when your project is funded.
  • Check the guidelines/RFP to see if the sponsor will pay for maintenance and service of the equipment during the project period; some will not. If not, talk with your chair and dean about who will fund these costs.
  • Check with your chair and dean to see who will pay for the long-term maintenance and service of the equipment after the funded project period ends.
  • Check with your chair and dean about whether or not space and infrastructure (structural support, electrical, etc.) will be available for the equipment if your project is funded. You may also need to consult with the Physical Plant and/or Planning, Design and Construction to assess space and infrastructure needs.
  • Check with the Physical Plant and/or Planning, Design and Construction to determine their costs for installing the equipment and/or any supporting infrastructure, and include those costs in your proposal budget (as Other Direct Costs).
  • Obtain approval from the appropriate department chair if you propose to use a resource that is not a standard facility, e.g., an expensive microscope in someone else's lab where there is no reason to expect that you would necessarily be given free access, because the person who runs that instrument is not a named co-investigator or collaborator on your project.

Travel

If allowed by the sponsor, you may include expenses for transportation incurred by project personnel at Appalachian (i.e. principal investigator, co-principal investigators, graduate and undergraduate students, etc.). Enter the total amount for all such expenses on the line for travel in your proposal budget, which may include:

  • Mileage reimbursement;
  • Airfare;
  • Baggage fees;
  • Daily parking at airport;
  • Ground travel, such as airport shuttles, taxis, etc.;
  • Per diem for meals**
  • Lodging***

**Current Appalachian per diem rates for meals and lodging

***Federal per diem rates by city for lodging

Note: Use federal per diem rates for lodging only, not meals; and if you use the federal rate for one trip, you must use it consistently for all trips in your project.

A few other things to keep in mind when budgeting for travel:

  • Costs for travel related to sponsored projects must conform to Appalachian's current travel policies (see section 510, Travel and Transportation, in the Policy Manual).
  • Depending on the sponsor's guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals), you may need to break out the costs for each trip in the budget justification, including the location (if known), purpose, number of persons traveling, and expenses included.
  • Travel for consultants should be included in their consulting fee.
  • Travel for colleagues at other institutions who are included as subcontractors should be included in the separate subcontract budget.
  • Conference registration fees should typically be budgeted under Other Direct Costs.

Materials and Supplies, Including Computers

Materials and supplies are expendable items that cost less than $5000 per unit (tangible, nonexpendable property having a useful life of more than one year and costing $5,000 or more per unit should be listed in your budget as equipment).

Provide a breakdown of the materials and supplies you need, a description of them, and why they are necessary in your budget justification. Also show how you calculated the cost of the items.

A note about computers: Only computers that are necessary for carrying out the work of the proposed project should be included in your budget (for example, a laptop for a grad student to use doing field work). Office computers should not be charged to a grant.

Other Direct Costs

Other direct costs include items that cannot be attributed to any other budget category. This line item in your budget should not include unexplained "miscellaneous" items. Be sure items are detailed and justified in the budget justification.

Items may include:

  • Marketing or advertising costs;
  • Space or equipment rental;
  • Insurance for shipping equipment;
  • Fees for use of labs or other campus services (for fees to use Appalachian's Dewel Microscopy Facility, please see https://casmifa.appstate.edu/facility/access-fees);
  • Fees for professional services provided by other institutions/organizations (See when it is more appropriate to pay another institution/organization via a professional services agreement, rather than a subcontract.)
  • Publication costs (which may be its own separate line item depending on the sponsor's budget form/guidelines), which include the costs of documenting, preparing, publishing, disseminating and sharing research findings and supporting material; consider both page charges and reprint costs.
  • Costs for communication/postage (which may be its own separate line item depending on the sponsor's budget form/guidelines), including long-distance phone charges. For the most current U.S. Postal Service rates, please see https://postoffice.appstate.edu

Difference Between a Professional Services Agreement and Subcontract

There may be times when it is more appropriate to pay another institution/organization via a professional services agreement, rather than a subcontract. If the former situation applies, the institution/organization is called a vendor. In your budget and budget justification, list this payment under Other Direct Costs rather than on the line for subcontracts.

What is the definition of a professional service?

Professional services can be defined as unique, technical, and/or infrequent functions performed by an independent contractor/vendor qualified by education, experience, and/or technical ability to provide services.

  • In most cases, these services are of a specific project nature, and are not a continuing, ongoing responsibility of the institution.
  • The services rendered are predominately intellectual in character, even though the contractor may not be required to be licensed. 
  • Examples of professional services typically utilized include laboratory analyses, project/program evaluation, marketing analysis, auditing, statistical analysis, translation services, website and software development/design, and editing services. 

Subcontractor vs. Vendor

An organization is considered to be a subrecipient of an award (or subcontractor) when it:

  • Determines who is eligible to receive financial assistance;
  • Has its performance measured against whether the objectives of the program are met;
  • Has responsibility for programmatic decision-making; 
  • Has responsibility for adherence to applicable program compliance requirements;
  • Uses the funds to carry out a program of the organization as compared to providing goods or services for a program of the pass-through entity.

In contrast, an organization is considered a vendor when it: 

  • Provides goods and services within normal business operations;
  • Provides similar goods and services to many different purchasers;
  • Operates in a competitive environment;
  • Provides goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of the program; 
  • Is not subject to compliance requirements of the program.

F&A or Indirect Costs

F&A Resources

Sample F&A distribution tables using the Allocation of Credit from AGrants (PDF)

Appalachian's Facilities and Administrative Cost Policy in the Policy Manual

About Facilities & Administrative Costs

F&A (Facilities & Administrative) costs are those costs incurred for common or joint objectives that cannot be specifically attributed to an individual project—as opposed to direct costs, which are costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project relatively easily and with a high degree of accuracy.

  • F&A costs are sometimes also referred to as "indirect costs," "overhead," or "administrative expenses."
  • F&A costs promote research and scholarly activity at the institution. Unless the sponsor restricts the rate, all budget proposals from Appalachian should include the current rate.
  • The F&A rate is established by negotiation with a cognizant federal agency. For Appalachian, it is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. See Appalachian's current Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (PDF). 

Rates

Appalachian's on-campus F&A rate: 37% MTDC** for projects with a start date on or after July 1, 2016.

Appalachian's off-campus F&A rate***: 19% MTDC for projects with a start date on or after July 1, 2016.

Please note: the agreement and rates shown are subject to change when a new Rate Agreement is negotiated. Always check here for the current rates.

**MTDC stands for "Modified Total Direct Costs." This means that F&A will be charged on all direct costs in your proposal budget except those items excluded by Appalachian's indirect cost rate agreement and the Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance (i.e., equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs of off-site facilities, participant support costs, student tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, as well as that portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000).

***The off-campus rate applies only to projects administered in facilities not owned by the University and to which rent is directly allocated to the project.

View a memo about the special F&A rate for University projects conducted in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (PDF).

Examples of Items Sponsors Expect to Be Covered by F&A

These items should therefore not be included in your proposal budget as direct costs:

  • Services of University accounting staff and research administrators
  • Cost of utilities for buildings housing research projects
  • General office supplies, office computers, postage, local telephone service, and communications infrastructure
  • Salaries of personnel engaged in providing departmental support activities (such as departmental administrative assistants)

Why Must I Include F&A?

  • F&A reimburses the University for the costs incurred to support research.
  • F&A policies must be applied fairly and equitably to all sponsored programs in order to comply with audit expectations.
  • Appalachian may refuse to accept a grant or contract if the full negotiated rate is not included.

In addition to infrastructure, F&A dollars support:

Calculating Cost Share/Cash Matching

Sometimes a sponsor requires you to match the funds they will give you. They may require a 1:1 match (i.e., you must match the funds received dollar for dollar) or some other percentage. You should include the projected cost share in your proposal budget, and it should be itemized just like the costs you include in your request. Additionally, you must describe the cost share and its source(s) in your budget justification.

  • Cost share can include items or services with a cash value (such as equipment or faculty members' time and effort).
  • It can also include the value of donated space or unpaid volunteer time (which is usually referred to as an in-kind contribution).
  • Third-party match is cost share from another institution or organization.

Note: If you include a subcontract with another institution/organization on a project that requires match, you may ask them to provide cost share as well. This would be third-party match.

Additional things to keep in mind with cost share:

  • Always read the guidelines carefully for whether or not cost share is required, and if so, how much (1:1, 25% of the total project costs, etc.).
  • Federal grants must use non-federal money as cost share.
  • Items shown as cost share must generally be accounted for during the approved project period (not before or after) and only for that particular sponsored project (and no other projects).
  • Discuss possible sources of cost-share with your chair and/or dean.
  • All cost-share must be documented in the same manner as actual expenditures.
  • Documentation of cost share can be audited, just as expenditures paid for by the sponsor.

Remember: Like all costs paid by the sponsor, all cost share must be allowable, allocable, and reasonable!

Writing a Budget Justification

Most sponsors require you to submit a budget justification (sometimes also called a budget narrative) in addition to an itemized budget. This allows you to explain the need for each line item in the budget, as well as show the breakdown of calculations used to arrive at the amount in each line of the budget.

Click here for an example of a budget justification (PDF) that you may want to use as a general outline of what to include in your budget justification.

Helpful Tips

  • When constructing a budget justification, follow the same order as that in the itemized budget or sponsor's budget form, so reviewers can easily compare the two documents.
  • Check to see if the sponsor limits the page length for the justification.
  • Be sure everything in your budget and budget justification is referenced in the proposal description/narrative as well—and be sure everything mentioned in your proposal description that would incur cost is explained in the budget and budget justification!
  • Double-check what expenses the sponsor will and will not allow, as these differ from sponsor to sponsor.
  • Remember, all costs must be reasonable, allowable, and allocable:
    • Allowable refers to costs that may be charged to a grant or contract.
    • Allocable refers to costs that are necessary for the success of the project.
    • Reasonable refers to actions a prudent business person would employ.
  • You may also find it helpful to refer to Start and Manage Projects when constructing a budget.

Using Budget Templates

Sponsored Progams has created budget templates which will help you calculate items in your proposal budget accurately and appropriately (especially time and effortfringe benefits, and F&A), even though sponsors will often require you to submit a budget in a format of their own choosing as well.

Templates

Form TitlePurposeVersion Date
Fellowship Template (XLSX)The Fellowship Template is used when preparing applications for individual fellowship proposals.  PLEASE NOTE: this template is currently in Draft mode, so please download a new copy each time it is needed to ensure you have the most recent version.

07/10/2018

MTDC Template (Modified Total Direct Costs) (XLSX)The MTDC template is the most commonly used template for federal grants and corporate sponsors. It calculates F&A on all costs with the exception of equipment over $5,000, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs of off-site facilities, participant support costs, student tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, as well as that portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.

10/28/2019

NIH Template (National Institutes of Health) (XLSX)The NIH template should be used for all NIH projects. It calculates F&A on all costs with the exception of equipment over $5,000, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs of off-site facilities, participant support costs, student tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, as well as that portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.

07/10/2018

NSF Template (National Science Foundation) (XLSX)The NSF template mirrors the budget categories on NSF's FastLane budget form. It calculates F&A on all costs with the exception of equipment over $5,000, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs of off-site facilities, participant support costs, student tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, as well as that portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.

07/10/2018

TDC Template (Total Direct Costs) (XLSX)The TDC template is used when F&A is being charged on all items in the budget. If you have a contract with a state agency, foundation, or non-profit agency, you will probably use this template.

07/10/2018

General Tips for Using Budget Templates

  • You need to save the template to your desktop first because the formulas in the cells are locked.
  • List all faculty/ staff personnel at Appalachian and their current 9-month base salary (for faculty) or annual salary (for 12-month EPA Administrative and SPA personnel) on the worksheet tab for the current fiscal year, even if your first project year begins at a future point in time. Because the template includes formulas which automatically increase salaries by 3% each year, and the cells containing those formulas are locked, you cannot enter salary amounts for non-student Appalachian personnel on any but the first tab.
  • The F&A rate is set to default to Appalachian's current negotiated rate. If the sponsor does not allow F&A, you may change this amount to 0. If the sponsor requires a reduced amount, enter that rate in place of Appalachian's current rate.


Sample Budgets and Justifications

This page shows examples of budgets and budget justifications for federal sponsors, multi-year projects, etc.

Sample Budgets for Federal Sponsors

Others

Sample Budget Justifications

Budget Checklist

Here is a helpful checklist you may want to refer to when developing your budget for grants and contracts.

  • Is your budget realistic? Have you avoided inflating costs? 
  • Are all costs included in your budget allowable, allocable, and reasonable
  • Is everything in your budget referenced in the proposal description/narrative? Likewise, is everything mentioned in your proposal description which would incur cost shown in the budget?
  • Have you included any items that may be required by the sponsor, such as travel to a conference or planning session, and allocated funds for that appropriately?
  • Have you double-checked the sponsor's guidelines/RFP (Request for Proposals) to see if they do NOT allow certain kinds of expenses, such as personnel, foreign travel, F&A (Facilities and Administrative), or indirect, costs, etc. and excluded those items from your budget?
  • If including a subaward/subcontract on your proposal, have you received a letter of commitment from that institution's sponsored programs office, along with a scope of work, budget, and budget justification?
  • Have you included cost share or cash match, if required? If so, have you received approval from the department/college/unit which will be providing that cost share?
  • Have you included F&A (Facilities and Administrative), or indirect, costs if allowed by the sponsor?
  • Have you used one of Sponsored Programs' budget templates to insure that time and effort and fringe benefitshave been calculated accurately for all personnel (faculty, staff, and students)?
  • Have you used the sponsor's budget form or format (if applicable) to enter your costs? 
  • Have you written a budget justification if required? 
  • Have you discussed any academic year effort on your proposed project with your department chair/director?
  • Have you double-checked your math?