Cost sharing means that part of the costs of a sponsored project are charged to a source other than the sponsor (e.g. the University). A common cost-share item is the cost of time that faculty members commit to a project that is paid for by the University. Sometimes a program requires cost sharing for large equipment awards i.e. the University must pay a portion of the equipment cost. This is known as required cost sharing.
Occasionally, it is clear that cost sharing is desirable even if not required. Such contributions are known as voluntary cost-sharing, and usually take the form of time for people; e.g., faculty and staff release time. Voluntary cost sharing should be minimized whenever possible. If cost sharing is included and the proposal is funded, the promised cost share must be documented as having been provided, whether or not that requirement is specified in the award document.
Some costs, such as supplies, do not lend themselves readily to documentation and audit, so using these items as cost share should be avoided if possible. If a project does not recover Facilities and Administrator’s (F&A) costs at the appropriate negotiated rate, the un-recovered F&A costs can be shown as part of the cost-sharing budget. Un-recovered F&A costs are computed by taking the difference between the F&A costs that the project should have recovered (calculated at the appropriate negotiated rate), and the actual amount of F&A dollars recovered.
Equipment Cost Sharing: some sponsors require and others view positively an institution’s willingness to share in the cost of large equipment purchases. As part of its effort to enhance the research infrastructure at the university, Missouri State University will contribute up to 50% of equipment costs. This must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.
Many sponsored agreements require that the university and/or a third party contribute a portion of the costs of the project being performed. Documentation and accounting for cost sharing is as important as documentation of costs charged to the sponsor. The applicant will be expected to state a specific amount of matching funds which includes cash or in-kind contributions, (e.g., personnel, facilities, equipment, etc.)
Cost sharing requirements may be met as follows:
To report cost-sharing expenditures, Principal Investigators (PI) work with Missouri State University grants accountants who report the expenditures to the sponsor as part of the regular fiscal reporting. If cost sharing is to be provided by a third-party agency (other than through a subcontract), documentation equivalent to that cited earlier is required from that agency. The PI is required to obtain the following documentation:
Salary Costs—Grant project personnel such as faculty members, graduate assistants, undergraduate students, postdoctoral associates, technicians, and other support personnel, and interviewers and evaluators. For each person involved in the project, list name (if known), position and percentage of time on the project. Include annual salary increases, effective each July 1. When projects are charged for personnel salaries, the associated fringe benefits are also charged.
Other Personnel - Persons who are hired specifically to work on sponsored projects (e.g., graduate assistants) have direct appointments to the project, and their salaries are paid directly from project funds. If project funding ends, the appointments end. Some points to consider when budgeting fro Graduate Assistants include: