Budget Development

The budget is the financial complement to the proposal's statement of work illustrating the faculty's need for monetary and other support to complete the comprehensive project. 

The budget and justification give the Principal Investigator a clear opportunity to demonstrate efficiency and discretion with potential funding awards. 

All budgets must be in compliance with the federal Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) and applicable grants and contracts regulations for Institutions of Higher Education (OMB Circular A-21 and A-110).

Although the formats are different for each agency, in general the costs which comprise a budget are the same.  These are direct costs and indirect costs.  Listed below please find these costs that are considered when developing the budget. 

Most importantly, all costs must be necessary and reasonable to the completion of the proposal goals and objectives and allocated proportionately to the specific proposal. 

Direct Cost: Salaries

                                                                 

Salaries should include each eligible Lamar Univ. position/person included in the project.  Salary is calculated by using the individual salary rate (as verified in Banner) and the percentage of time devoted to the project based on actual tasks.  Each year an annual increase will be utilized by the PreAward Specialist.  Faculty should notify ORSPA staff if tenure or promotion will occur during the project period and the projected annual amount and start date.   For grants requiring a person month calculation an explanation and calculator are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_faqs.htm#g2

Several sponsors restrict faculty salary (e.g. NSF limit of two months) or do not permit any funds to be used for salary.  If no funds are permitted, yet faculty effort is required, this constitutes cost sharing as required by the sponsor.  The University Cost Share policy, should be followed.  The Application for Matching Funds form should be completed documenting the Department/College's match for the project.  In addition, this time is tracked by the University and is included when calculating time available to faculty for research and other purposes.

Student, Graduate Student and Post Doctoral salaries are calculated utilizing University Career Center rates. 

             

Direct Cost: Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefit rates are calculated at actual costs for Employer
Contribution of Social Security, insurance and retirement benefits for
all faculty and staff.  Please contact a PreAward Specialist for
additional information.

Direct Cost: Supplies

New requirements require diligent estimation of supplies that tie
directly to the project.  Faculty is strongly encouraged to bring their
list of supplies/supply cost categories with them to the preliminary
budget meeting.  Supplies are expendable items with a useful life of
less than one year or a unit cost under $5,000.  Supplies will be
itemized according to category (e.g. glassware, chemicals, etc.). 
Office supplies, postage, telephone costs, and memberships are generally
not allowed as these are items provided through the Department and
these costs are recovered through the F&A (Indirect) rate charged to
the project.

Direct Cost: Equipment

Equipment is defined as any item with a unit cost of $5,000 or greater
and a useful life of one year or more.  Include shipping, installation
and fabrication costs.  Items less than $5,000 should be included with
supplies.  A group of lesser items that will be fabricated into an item
of equipment with a value of $5,000 should be included under this line
item.  Faculty seeking equipment funds should bring a copy of the
projected costs estimates to the budget meeting for documentation
purposes.

Direct Cost: Travel

Under the Uniform Guidelines requirements, effective 12/26/2015, travel
is calculated based on actual costs.  Faculty should list the conference
name, number of travel days, projected location and purpose of the
travel.  Utilize the per diem rates for the location for hotel and
meals.  Use mapquest.com for mileage travel (including to and from
airport).  Include the cost of airfare, public transportation, hotel,
meals, conference registration, parking etc. as applicable.  Faculty are
encouraged to identify their travel/conferences, for each year in which
travel is requested, prior to the budget development meeting with ORSPA
Specialists.

Direct Cost: Participant Support

These expenses are typically included for training projects,
conferences, symposia, etc. for non-University employees, including
student trainees.  This does not include costs for Graduate Research
Assistants.  This category does not include participant payments for a
research study.

Direct Cost: Consultants/Professional Services

Proposals which include consultant or professional services should
include specific cost estimates for the work to be performed
(reimbursement rates), the dates the services are to be performed, and
the tasks to be completed.  Consultants do not include faculty or staff
employed by the University.  If a University employee is included in the
project for any purpose, these should be included in the Salary line
item.  Most proposals require a letter of commitment to the project
which includes the aforementioned information as well as the
Consultant's curriculum vitae.

Direct Cost: Sub-awards and Sub-contracts

A sub agreement is a contract or award to another organization who will conduct a portion of the work contained within the proposal.  The Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200 Section 200.330 now requires a case-by-case determination of whether the agreement "casts the party receiving the funds in the role of a subrecipient or a contractor."  Lamar University has a Sub-Recipient and Contractor Determination form, to be completed by faculty, designed to assist researchers in completing that determination.  Once the determination is completed, all Sub-recipients are required to complete and return the Sub-Recipient Commitment Form to ORSPA prior to submission of the proposal.

Sub-agreements are partially excluded from the Indirect (F&A) rate and the PreAward Specialist will determine applicability for the proposal budget.

If Lamar University is going to be a subrecipient in another institution's proposal, faculty should establish a budget with the PreAward Specialist based on a complete scope of work.  These documents, accompanied by a completed Internal Routing Sheet, should be submitted to the ORSPA office for institutional review and approval.  Generally the prime entity will request a letter of collaboration to be submitted from the Lamar University ORSPA office to the prime entity Authorized Organizational Representative.  For Lamar University submissions, the Associate Provost for Research is the Authorized Organizational Representative.  The ORSPA office will review and then submit all documentation to the prime entity.

Other Direct Costs

These costs typically include items such as research publications,
payments to human subject participants, and other project related costs
not proposed previously within the budget.    These do not include costs
that are normally charged within the Indirect Cost category unless
special exceptions exist within the scope of the project. 

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs, also known as Facilities and Administrative Costs
(F&A) are charges that cannot be directly tied to project.  These
are costs recovered by the University through the federally negotiated
indirect cost rate.  All proposals, unless stated otherwise in the
Funding Announcement of a federal, state or philanthropic foundation,
are charged the full indirect cost rate.  The PreAward Specialist will
apply the indirect cost rate to the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)
during your budget meeting.  The MTDC base includes all direct costs
except equipment, participant support, capital expenditures, rental cost
of off-site facilities, scholarships, fellowships, and the portion of
each sub agreement in excess of $25,000 (first year).

Budget Justificaiton / Budget Narrative

This document serves as the narrative description of the proposal
budget.  Faculty utilize the budget justification to explain and defend
the reasonableness of the budget through a detailed description of each
cost category.   The length and detail of the Justification is generally
found in the funding opportunity announcement as set by the sponsor
agency.