​​​​​Charging Costs to Federal Grant Awards

The Uniform Guidance indicates what costs may (and may not) be charged to federal grant awards and under what circumstances.  Following are four sets of guidelines that distill key information from the Uniform Guidance on this topic.

​General Standards

The attached guidelines list the general standards--including allowability, reasonableness, and allocability--that must be met to charge a cost to a federal grant award under the Uniform Guidance.   See the guidelines.​

Particular Items of Cost

In addition to general standards, the Uniform Guidance also includes an extensive section on the allowability of over 50 particular cost items.   The attached guidelines compile the information in that section, classifying the cost items into three groups:  those deemed unallowable, with limited exceptions; those that are allowable under limited circumstances; and those that are generally allowable as long as certain qualifications and restrictions are met.  See the guidelines.

Administrative Costs

In terms of sponsored projects, “administrative costs” are expenses for items, services, and personnel that tend to be general purpose rather than project specific.  For this reason, they are typically recovered as part of the indirect costs charged to grant awards.  The attached guidelines further explain what administrative costs are and surveys the standards that must be met for such costs to be directly charged to federal awards under the Uniform Guidance.  See the guidelines.​

Costs Requiring Prior Approval

The Uniform Guidance also identifies some costs as requiring the prior written approval of the awarding agency before they can be charged to a federal grant award.   The attached guidelines list those costs and provides definitions of them drawn from the Uniform Guidance.   See the guidelines.