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Budgeting Overview

Sponsor’s Budget Forms and Formats

The Sponsor’s forms and format for budget and budget narratives should always be used.

Pay attention to Sponsor’s guidelines. They provide information concerning budget limitations, specific cost considerations, requirements for cost sharing, and other special financial information. Failure to adhere to a Sponsor’s budget or program guidelines may jeopardize funding for the proposal.

Budget Escalation Factors

For multi-year proposals, DSP recommends using  up to a 3% escalation factor for those recurring direct costs found in each budget period, such as Salary and Wages, Travel, Equipment, and Material and Supplies. For Tuition as part of a Graduate Student Research Assistant compensation, use the escalation factor found on the Tuition Table.  Do not escalate F&A rates. The most currently approved and published rates at the time of proposal must be used.

Federal Grant Budget Tips

Most federal grant applications are now submitted electronically through UFIRST to These federal grant applications require the use of the standard form and format called the SF-424 Budget Information Forms. Below are links to the NIH and NSF Budget Tips and Reminder pages that are applicable to almost all federal agencies.

Cost Groups

Most budgets are composed of two kinds of cost groups: direct costs and F&A (facilities and administrative) costs.

  • Direct costs are those budget line items that support performing the scope of work and are reasonable, easily identifiable and allocable to the project. The Principal Investigator is responsible for spending the direct costs on allowable costs such as project personnel salaries, associated fringe benefits, materials, supplies, travel, and equipment.
  •  F&A (facilities and administrative) costs are expenditures that cannot be allocated to a specific project. Indirect costs are collected and expressed as a percentage of the F&A costs. F&A costs normally pay broad categories of costs such as sponsored programs administration, research compliance, purchasing, accounting, libraries, custodial services, building depreciation, and utilities.

When preparing your budget, all direct cost items are usually itemized first and totaled. The appropriate F&A cost percentage rate is then assessed against the appropriate base of the allowable direct costs. 

Charging Costs Directly or Indirectly to Sponsored Projects

Any normally F&A costs such as postage, office supplies or administrative support salaries must be clearly identified in your proposal budget and be properly justified. To comply with the Federal government’s Uniform Guidance, codified at 2 CFR 200, which incorporates the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) 48 CFR 9905.501, 9905.502, 9905.505, 9905.506, the University of Florida has determined the following costs shall normally be treated as indirect (F&A) or unallowable as a direct charge to a federally funded award unless a CAS Exemption is approved.

Visit Charging Costs Directly or Indirectly to Sponsored Projects webpage for more information. 

Budgeting Administrative Support, Computing Devices and Fixed Price Subawards

Visit the Uniform Guidance: Budgeting Considerations webpage for more information on a few cost items that need attention when preparing proposal budgets under the new Uniform Guidance.

Costing Guidelines and Policies

View information on Cost Principles Policies, Procedures and Directives on the General Counsel’s Regulations page under the Research section.