UF Cost Sharing Policy
It is the policy of the University that only mandatory cost sharing is offered to sponsors. Mandatory cost sharing requirements are usually defined by law, statute, agency regulations, or written in the application guidelines for a specific program. When there is mandatory cost sharing a copy of the request for proposal (RFP), regulations or guidelines must be submitted with the proposal.
This cost sharing policy does not preclude exceptions that allows voluntary committed cost sharing be offered that is judged to be appropriate under certain circumstances to leverage a project. Consistent with the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200.99 and 200.306), Voluntary committed cost sharing means cost sharing specifically pledged (quantifiable amount of resources) on a voluntary basis in the proposal’s budget or budget justification. Commitments made in other sections of the proposal, including but not limited to, Institutional Environment & Commitment, Facilities and Resources, Other Support, and Letters of Support, do not meet the definition of Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing. However, the University STRONGLY suggests not committing any resources outside the budget as it can be brought in as cost sharing at the Sponsor’s discretion.
All cost sharing, except over any salary cap, must be approved by the College Dean, Department Chair, or Unit Director (or any of their delegates) and forwarded with the proposal to the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP).
To facilitate cost sharing approvals the UFIRST – Proposal SmartForm has electronic routing capability that collects the required responsible units approval on all cost sharing, except over the salary cap, which does not require approval.
Cost sharing contributions must meet all of the following criteria:
- Are verifiable from the University’s accounting records;
- Are necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives;
- Are allowable under 2 CFR 200 Subpart E—Cost Principles;
- Are not included as contributions for any other sponsored award; and
- Are not deriving from another sponsored award, except where the Sponsor specifically allows.
Types of Cost Sharing
Mandatory cost sharing is required by statute or as condition of a specific solicitation/program announcement. It will normally appear in the award document from the agency. Mandatory cost sharing expenditures are tracked and documented and will be reported back to the sponsoring agency in a Financial Report.
Voluntary committed cost sharing is created if a proposal budget or budget justification specifically includes cost sharing where none was required. If funded, the PI and the University are “committed” to provided the project with the indicated support. Voluntary committed cost sharing expenditures are not normally reported back to the sponsoring agency, however, it is still required the University track and document these costs as they are subject to audit.
Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing represents contributions to a sponsored project made after the award is received. For example, the PI decides to spend more time on the funded project than proposed and not charge the sponsor for the increased effort. Uncommitted cost sharing is not planned and is not accounted in the UF cost sharing system.
Cost Sharing At Time of Award
When the University accepts an award with mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing, the University is making an agreement with the sponsor that is subject to audit. DSP will capture the mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing amount on the UF Notice of Award (NOA).
Contracts & Grants Accounting (C&G) will enter the amount noted on the NOA into the University’s effort commitment and/or cost sharing system, provide assistance with tracking, and provide official reporting for such cost sharing to the sponsor.
Cost sharing met through payroll and fringe benefits is identified through the University’s effort certification process. The Principal Investigator and his or her staff have the responsibility to ensure the cost sharing commitment is met and to provide C&G the necessary documentation to support any non-payroll cost sharing on a regular (preferably monthly) basis.
Changes in any mandatory cost sharing will require sponsor approval.
National Science Foundation Cost Sharing Policy
The National Science Foundation prohibits voluntary cost sharing. If a Principal Investigator includes any voluntary cost sharing in a proposal being submitted to the NSF the investigator runs the risk that the proposal will be returned without review or declined. NSF only allows mandatory cost sharing when required by the NSF Program Announcement. See the NSF Cost Share Policy and Related NSF FAQs.