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Participant Support Costs

Participant support costs are defined by Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.1  as direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. For the purposes of this policy, employees include UF faculty, staff, postdocs, student assistants, graduate assistants and interns.

  • Participant Support costs is a budget category that is excluded under 2 CFR 200’s definition of MTDC for the purposes of F&A.  When the MTDC base is applied, participant support expenses should not be charged F&A.  However, when there is a TDC or TFFA (Total Federal Funds Awarded) base, participant support should be charged F&A just as tuition, equipment or any other modifier would be in those situations.  Though Participant Support does require its own project due to re-budgeting restrictions, this separate project should still follow the same IDC base as the main award.
  • Please note that some sponsors (i.e. NSF) have special conditions surrounding participant support costs which may differ from the normal treatment of the costs at the University. These special conditions should be considered when budgeting for participant support.

All of the following criteria are required in order for a participant support cost to be allowable:

  • The costs are included in the budget and the budget is approved by the Federal awarding agency or prior written approval is received from the Federal awarding agency;
  • The cost is a direct cost on the project
  • The costs are justified programmatically.

Note: NIH will only allow Participant support costs to be charged if they were approved in the original Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Definition of a Participant:

A participant is a non-UF employee who is the recipient, not the provider, of a conference, workshop, seminar, training, or other short-term informational activity. Participants do not provide deliverables, perform work, or provide training. Since they are not employees of the university they are not subject to UF human resources policies. Participants may be students, teachers, national scholars, scientists, state or local government agency personnel, or representatives of private sector companies.  For the purposes of this guidance, we will use “training” to refer to conference, workshop, seminar, training, or other short-term informational activity.

Examples of Allowable Participant Support Costs:

Stipend. A stipend is a set amount paid to the participant to be used in connection with training.

Subsistence allowance. A subsistence allowance is a predetermined amount to be used to help offset housing or subsistence expenses during the period of the training. The cost of a participant’s housing and per diem expenses must be necessary and reasonable for the individual to participate in the training. It should be noted that participants who live in the area local to the training are not entitled to subsistence payments. They can however, participate in the meals and snacks provided at the meeting or conference.

Travel. Travel includes the actual costs of transportation, lodging, meals and associated expenses to and from the training location. These costs must follow sponsor guidelines as well as UF’s travel policies and guidelines. The sole purpose of the trip must be to participate in the training.

Fees. The fees paid by a participant or on behalf of a participant in connection with training. These fees could include event registration fees, laboratory fees related to participant training, and passport or visa fees for foreign participants.

Other. Other costs not listed above should be specifically allowable per the funding solicitation and identified in the approved sponsor budget. These costs are paid to or on behalf of the participant and should be required for their involvement in the training.

Participant Support Costs Do Not Include the Following Types of Expenses:

  • Honoraria paid to a guest speaker or lecturer
  • Expenses for project personnel or collaborators to attend meetings, conferences, or seminars including meetings to discuss a research project’s progress and direction
  • Payments to participants in human subject research studies
  • Conference support costs such as facility rentals, media equipment rentals, or conference food and snacks
  • Payments to the providers of the training
  • Payments to other employers to reimburse the employer for the costs related to sending its employee to a training

Sponsor Guidance:

  • NSF Guidance: Participant Support C.2.g(v)II.D.9
  • NIH Guidance: For the purposes of Kirschstein-NRSA programs, this term does not apply. NIH will continue to use the terms trainees, trainee-related expenses, and trainee travel in accordance with NRSA Regulations.