Grant Budget Preparation Principles

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called "Uniform Guidance) is a "government-wide framework for grants management" – it is an authoritative set of rules and requirements for Federal awards. These regulations impact federal funding proposals and the way grants and contracts are managed at F&M.

These principles govern costs that may be charged to the government by educational institutions either directly or indirectly. F&M generally applies these same cost principles to the expenditure of non-federal funds as well, although in some cases non-federal sponsors define allowable/unallowable costs differently than federal sponsors.

When preparing a grant budget, F&M follows these cost principles which determine allowability of costs charged to a sponsored project. Any cost charged to a sponsor must be (1) allowable, (2) allocable, (3) reasonable, and (4) consistent. Though these principles may change depending on the project, they must be used to determine whether the costs are appropriate for a sponsored project.

  1. A cost is allowable when it serves a business purpose, is permissible according to F&M policy and federal regulations, and is permissible for a sponsored project according to the terms and conditions of the sponsored agree­ment
  2. A cost is allocable to a specific grant, function, department, or other components, known as a cost objective, if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable to that cost objective in accordance with the relative benefits received or other equitable relationship. A cost is allocable to a grant if it is incurred solely in order to advance work under the grant; it benefits both the grant and other work of the institution, including other grant-supported projects; or it is necessary to the overall operation of the organization and is deemed to be assignable, at least in part, to the grant.
  3. A cost is reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired or applied and the associated dollar amount reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the prevailing circumstances
  4. A cost is consistent when like expenses are treated in the same manner under like circumstances. Recipients must be consistent in assigning costs to cost objectives. All costs must be treated consistently for all work of the organization under similar circumstances, regardless of the source of funding.

Elements of a Proposal Budget

A budget is a key element of most grant proposals. An effective proposal budget outlines the proposed project in fiscal terms and helps reviewers to determine how the project will be conducted. Budget information about activities planned and personnel who will serve on the project provides reviewers with an in-depth picture of how the project will be structured and managed. Budget details usually reveal whether a proposed project has been carefully planned and may ultimately be feasible.

Always refer to F&M's Budgeting Parameters Tool when planning your budget. This contains important general institutional information, budgeting guidelines, and provides information about the rates currently applicable to specific cost categories. 

Please complete one of the sponsor-specific or general budget templates below and upload it into the online External Grant Proposal Form.

 If you need assistance completing the budget worksheet, please contact Molly Dellinger, Grants Management Coordinator, at 

The following is a list of possible costs that may be charged to a sponsored project if allowed by your particular sponsor.


           a. Sabbatical supplement (25% or 2.25 months of IBS) 
           b. Junior Faculty Leave (50% or 4.5 months of IBS)
           c. Summer months (varies by funder but set by the institutional limit of 2.5 months)         


           a. Postdoctoral Associates
           b. Oher Professionals (Technician, Programmer, Etc.)
           c. Graduate Students
           d. Undergraduate Students
           e.  Secretarial - Clerical (If Charged Directly)
           f.  Other

FRINGE BENEFITS:  (refer to the F&M's Budgeting Parameters Tool for current rate)

EQUIPMENT: Equipment is defined as a tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the proposer for financial statement purposes, or $5,000. It is important to note that the acquisition cost of equipment includes modifications, attachments, and accessories necessary to make the property usable for the purpose for which it will be purchased. Items of needed equipment must be adequately justified, listed individually by description and estimated cost. Addition equipment costs include non-expendable equipment, accessories, freight, installation.

TRAVEL:  Domestic and Foreign - fieldwork, conferences, subsistence costs, transportation, registration fees

PARTICIPANT SUPPORT:  stipends for participants, human subjects or informant fees, housing, travel for participants


  • Materials and Supplies: Questionnaire forms, Animals and animal maintenance supplies, Chemicals, Glassware, Electronic components, Audio and video tapes or CDs, Film and film processing supplies, Equipment rental
  • Publication Costs
  • Consultant Services
  • Computer Services
  • Subawards (a.k.a.: subagreements, subcontracts)
  • Other

INDIRECT COSTS (a.k.a. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs; refer to F&M's Budgeting Parameters Tool for current rate)