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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 19, 2019

Title 2Subtitle AChapter IIPart 200Subpart F → Appendix


Title 2: Grants and Agreements
PART 200—UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS
Subpart F—Audit Requirements


Appendix III to Part 200—Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)

A. General

This appendix provides criteria for identifying and computing indirect (or indirect (F&A)) rates at IHEs (institutions). Indirect (F&A) costs are those that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity. See subsection B.1, Definition of Facilities and Administration, for a discussion of the components of indirect (F&A) costs.

1. Major Functions of an Institution

Refers to instruction, organized research, other sponsored activities and other institutional activities as defined in this section:

a. Instruction means the teaching and training activities of an institution. Except for research training as provided in subsection b, this term includes all teaching and training activities, whether they are offered for credits toward a degree or certificate or on a non-credit basis, and whether they are offered through regular academic departments or separate divisions, such as a summer school division or an extension division. Also considered part of this major function are departmental research, and, where agreed to, university research.

(1) Sponsored instruction and training means specific instructional or training activity established by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. For purposes of the cost principles, this activity may be considered a major function even though an institution's accounting treatment may include it in the instruction function.

(2) Departmental research means research, development and scholarly activities that are not organized research and, consequently, are not separately budgeted and accounted for. Departmental research, for purposes of this document, is not considered as a major function, but as a part of the instruction function of the institution.

(3) Only mandatory cost sharing or cost sharing specifically committed in the project budget must be included in the organized research base for computing the indirect (F&A) cost rate or reflected in any allocation of indirect costs. Salary costs above statutory limits are not considered cost sharing.

b. Organized research means all research and development activities of an institution that are separately budgeted and accounted for. It includes:

(1) Sponsored research means all research and development activities that are sponsored by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations. This term includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques (commonly called research training) where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

(2) University research means all research and development activities that are separately budgeted and accounted for by the institution under an internal application of institutional funds. University research, for purposes of this document, must be combined with sponsored research under the function of organized research.

c. Other sponsored activities means programs and projects financed by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations which involve the performance of work other than instruction and organized research. Examples of such programs and projects are health service projects and community service programs. However, when any of these activities are undertaken by the institution without outside support, they may be classified as other institutional activities.

d. Other institutional activities means all activities of an institution except for instruction, departmental research, organized research, and other sponsored activities, as defined in this section; indirect (F&A) cost activities identified in this Appendix paragraph B, Identification and assignment of indirect (F&A) costs; and specialized services facilities described in §200.468 Specialized service facilities of this Part.

Examples of other institutional activities include operation of residence halls, dining halls, hospitals and clinics, student unions, intercollegiate athletics, bookstores, faculty housing, student apartments, guest houses, chapels, theaters, public museums, and other similar auxiliary enterprises. This definition also includes any other categories of activities, costs of which are “unallowable” to Federal awards, unless otherwise indicated in an award.

2. Criteria for Distribution

a. Base period. A base period for distribution of indirect (F&A) costs is the period during which the costs are incurred. The base period normally should coincide with the fiscal year established by the institution, but in any event the base period should be so selected as to avoid inequities in the distribution of costs.

b. Need for cost groupings. The overall objective of the indirect (F&A) cost allocation process is to distribute the indirect (F&A) costs described in Section B, Identification and assignment of indirect (F&A) costs, to the major functions of the institution in proportions reasonably consistent with the nature and extent of their use of the institution's resources. In order to achieve this objective, it may be necessary to provide for selective distribution by establishing separate groupings of cost within one or more of the indirect (F&A) cost categories referred to in subsection B.1, Definition of Facilities and Administration. In general, the cost groupings established within a category should constitute, in each case, a pool of those items of expense that are considered to be of like nature in terms of their relative contribution to (or degree of remoteness from) the particular cost objectives to which distribution is appropriate. Cost groupings should be established considering the general guides provided in subsection c of this section. Each such pool or cost grouping should then be distributed individually to the related cost objectives, using the distribution base or method most appropriate in light of the guidelines set forth in subsection d of this section.

c. General considerations on cost groupings. The extent to which separate cost groupings and selective distribution would be appropriate at an institution is a matter of judgment to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Typical situations which may warrant the establishment of two or more separate cost groupings (based on account classification or analysis) within an indirect (F&A) cost category include but are not limited to the following:

(1) If certain items or categories of expense relate solely to one of the major functions of the institution or to less than all functions, such expenses should be set aside as a separate cost grouping for direct assignment or selective allocation in accordance with the guides provided in subsections b and d.

(2) If any types of expense ordinarily treated as general administration or departmental administration are charged to Federal awards as direct costs, expenses applicable to other activities of the institution when incurred for the same purposes in like circumstances must, through separate cost groupings, be excluded from the indirect (F&A) costs allocable to those Federal awards and included in the direct cost of other activities for cost allocation purposes.

(3) If it is determined that certain expenses are for the support of a service unit or facility whose output is susceptible of measurement on a workload or other quantitative basis, such expenses should be set aside as a separate cost grouping for distribution on such basis to organized research, instructional, and other activities at the institution or within the department.

(4) If activities provide their own purchasing, personnel administration, building maintenance or similar service, the distribution of general administration and general expenses, or operation and maintenance expenses to such activities should be accomplished through cost groupings which include only that portion of central indirect (F&A) costs (such as for overall management) which are properly allocable to such activities.

(5) If the institution elects to treat fringe benefits as indirect (F&A) charges, such costs should be set aside as a separate cost grouping for selective distribution to related cost objectives.

(6) The number of separate cost groupings within a category should be held within practical limits, after taking into consideration the materiality of the amounts involved and the degree of precision attainable through less selective methods of distribution.

d. Selection of distribution method.

(1) Actual conditions must be taken into account in selecting the method or base to be used in distributing individual cost groupings. The essential consideration in selecting a base is that it be the one best suited for assigning the pool of costs to cost objectives in accordance with benefits derived; with a traceable cause-and-effect relationship; or with logic and reason, where neither benefit nor a cause-and-effect relationship is determinable.

(2) If a cost grouping can be identified directly with the cost objective benefitted, it should be assigned to that cost objective.

(3) If the expenses in a cost grouping are more general in nature, the distribution may be based on a cost analysis study which results in an equitable distribution of the costs. Such cost analysis studies may take into consideration weighting factors, population, or space occupied if appropriate. Cost analysis studies, however, must (a) be appropriately documented in sufficient detail for subsequent review by the cognizant agency for indirect costs, (b) distribute the costs to the related cost objectives in accordance with the relative benefits derived, (c) be statistically sound, (d) be performed specifically at the institution at which the results are to be used, and (e) be reviewed periodically, but not less frequently than rate negotiations, updated if necessary, and used consistently. Any assumptions made in the study must be stated and explained. The use of cost analysis studies and periodic changes in the method of cost distribution must be fully justified.

(4) If a cost analysis study is not performed, or if the study does not result in an equitable distribution of the costs, the distribution must be made in accordance with the appropriate base cited in Section B, Identification and assignment of indirect (F&A) costs, unless one of the following conditions is met:

(a) It can be demonstrated that the use of a different base would result in a more equitable allocation of the costs, or that a more readily available base would not increase the costs charged to Federal awards, or

(b) The institution qualifies for, and elects to use, the simplified method for computing indirect (F&A) cost rates described in Section D, Simplified method for small institutions.

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (3), effective July 1, 1998, a cost analysis or base other than that in Section B must not be used to distribute utility or student services costs. Instead, subsections B.4.c Operation and maintenance expenses, may be used in the recovery of utility costs.

e. Order of distribution.

(1) Indirect (F&A) costs are the broad categories of costs discussed in Section B.1, Definitions of Facilities and Administration

(2) Depreciation, interest expenses, operation and maintenance expenses, and general administrative and general expenses should be allocated in that order to the remaining indirect (F&A) cost categories as well as to the major functions and specialized service facilities of the institution. Other cost categories may be allocated in the order determined to be most appropriate by the institutions. When cross allocation of costs is made as provided in subsection (3), this order of allocation does not apply.

(3) Normally an indirect (F&A) cost category will be considered closed once it has been allocated to other cost objectives, and costs may not be subsequently allocated to it. However, a cross allocation of costs between two or more indirect (F&A) cost categories may be used if such allocation will result in a more equitable allocation of costs. If a cross allocation is used, an appropriate modification to the composition of the indirect (F&A) cost categories described in Section B is required.

B. Identification and Assignment of Indirect (F&A) Costs

1. Definition of Facilities and Administration

See §200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs which provides the basis for these indirect cost requirements.

2. Depreciation

a. The expenses under this heading are the portion of the costs of the institution's buildings, capital improvements to land and buildings, and equipment which are computed in accordance with §200.436 Depreciation.

b. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, Selection of distribution method, the expenses included in this category must be allocated in the following manner:

(1) Depreciation on buildings used exclusively in the conduct of a single function, and on capital improvements and equipment used in such buildings, must be assigned to that function.

(2) Depreciation on buildings used for more than one function, and on capital improvements and equipment used in such buildings, must be allocated to the individual functions performed in each building on the basis of usable square feet of space, excluding common areas such as hallways, stairwells, and rest rooms.

(3) Depreciation on buildings, capital improvements and equipment related to space (e.g., individual rooms, laboratories) used jointly by more than one function (as determined by the users of the space) must be treated as follows. The cost of each jointly used unit of space must be allocated to benefitting functions on the basis of:

(a) The employee full-time equivalents (FTEs) or salaries and wages of those individual functions benefitting from the use of that space; or

(b) Institution-wide employee FTEs or salaries and wages applicable to the benefitting major functions (see Section A.1) of the institution.

(4) Depreciation on certain capital improvements to land, such as paved parking areas, fences, sidewalks, and the like, not included in the cost of buildings, must be allocated to user categories of students and employees on a full-time equivalent basis. The amount allocated to the student category must be assigned to the instruction function of the institution. The amount allocated to the employee category must be further allocated to the major functions of the institution in proportion to the salaries and wages of all employees applicable to those functions.

3. Interest

Interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, as defined in §200.449 Interest, must be classified as an expenditure under the category Facilities. These costs must be allocated in the same manner as the depreciation on the buildings, equipment and capital improvements to which the interest relates.

4. Operation and Maintenance Expenses

a. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for the administration, supervision, operation, maintenance, preservation, and protection of the institution's physical plant. They include expenses normally incurred for such items as janitorial and utility services; repairs and ordinary or normal alterations of buildings, furniture and equipment; care of grounds; maintenance and operation of buildings and other plant facilities; security; earthquake and disaster preparedness; environmental safety; hazardous waste disposal; property, liability and all other insurance relating to property; space and capital leasing; facility planning and management; and central receiving. The operation and maintenance expense category should also include its allocable share of fringe benefit costs, depreciation, and interest costs.

b. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, the expenses included in this category must be allocated in the same manner as described in subsection 2.b for depreciation.

c. A utility cost adjustment of up to 1.3 percentage points may be included in the negotiated indirect cost rate of the IHE for organized research, per the computation alternatives in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section:

(1) Where space is devoted to a single function and metering allows unambiguous measurement of usage related to that space, costs must be assigned to the function located in that space.

(2) Where space is allocated to different functions and metering does not allow unambiguous measurement of usage by function, costs must be allocated as follows:

(i) Utilities costs should be apportioned to functions in the same manner as depreciation, based on the calculated difference between the site or building actual square footage for monitored research laboratory space (site, building, floor, or room), and a separate calculation prepared by the IHE using the “effective square footage” described in subsection (c)(2)(ii) of this section.

(ii) “Effective square footage” allocated to research laboratory space must be calculated as the actual square footage times the relative energy utilization index (REUI) posted on the OMB Web site at the time of a rate determination.

A. This index is the ratio of a laboratory energy use index (lab EUI) to the corresponding index for overall average college or university space (college EUI).

B. In July 2012, values for these two indices (taken respectively from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory “Labs for the 21st Century” benchmarking tool http://labs21benchmarking.lbl.gov/CompareData.php and the US Department of Energy “Buildings Energy Databook” and http://buildingsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/CBECS.aspx) were 310 kBtu/sq ft-yr. and 155 kBtu/sq ft-yr., so that the adjustment ratio is 2.0 by this methodology. To retain currency, OMB will adjust the EUI numbers from time to time (no more often than annually nor less often than every 5 years), using reliable and publicly disclosed data. Current values of both the EUIs and the REUI will be posted on the OMB Web site.

5. General Administration and General Expenses

a. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for the general executive and administrative offices of educational institutions and other expenses of a general character which do not relate solely to any major function of the institution; i.e., solely to (1) instruction, (2) organized research, (3) other sponsored activities, or (4) other institutional activities. The general administration and general expense category should also include its allocable share of fringe benefit costs, operation and maintenance expense, depreciation, and interest costs. Examples of general administration and general expenses include: those expenses incurred by administrative offices that serve the entire university system of which the institution is a part; central offices of the institution such as the President's or Chancellor's office, the offices for institution-wide financial management, business services, budget and planning, personnel management, and safety and risk management; the office of the General Counsel; and the operations of the central administrative management information systems. General administration and general expenses must not include expenses incurred within non-university-wide deans' offices, academic departments, organized research units, or similar organizational units. (See subsection 6, Departmental administration expenses.)

b. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, the expenses included in this category must be grouped first according to common major functions of the institution to which they render services or provide benefits. The aggregate expenses of each group must then be allocated to serviced or benefitted functions on the modified total cost basis. Modified total costs consist of the same elements as those in Section C.2. When an activity included in this indirect (F&A) cost category provides a service or product to another institution or organization, an appropriate adjustment must be made to either the expenses or the basis of allocation or both, to assure a proper allocation of costs.

6. Departmental Administration Expenses

a. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for administrative and supporting services that benefit common or joint departmental activities or objectives in academic deans' offices, academic departments and divisions, and organized research units. Organized research units include such units as institutes, study centers, and research centers. Departmental administration expenses are subject to the following limitations.

(1) Academic deans' offices. Salaries and operating expenses are limited to those attributable to administrative functions.

(2) Academic departments:

(a) Salaries and fringe benefits attributable to the administrative work (including bid and proposal preparation) of faculty (including department heads) and other professional personnel conducting research and/or instruction, must be allowed at a rate of 3.6 percent of modified total direct costs. This category does not include professional business or professional administrative officers. This allowance must be added to the computation of the indirect (F&A) cost rate for major functions in Section C, Determination and application of indirect (F&A) cost rate or rates; the expenses covered by the allowance must be excluded from the departmental administration cost pool. No documentation is required to support this allowance.

(b) Other administrative and supporting expenses incurred within academic departments are allowable provided they are treated consistently in like circumstances. This would include expenses such as the salaries of secretarial and clerical staffs, the salaries of administrative officers and assistants, travel, office supplies, stockrooms, and the like.

(3) Other fringe benefit costs applicable to the salaries and wages included in subsections (1) and (2) are allowable, as well as an appropriate share of general administration and general expenses, operation and maintenance expenses, and depreciation.

(4) Federal agencies may authorize reimbursement of additional costs for department heads and faculty only in exceptional cases where an institution can demonstrate undue hardship or detriment to project performance.

b. The following guidelines apply to the determination of departmental administrative costs as direct or indirect (F&A) costs.

(1) In developing the departmental administration cost pool, special care should be exercised to ensure that costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances are treated consistently as either direct or indirect (F&A) costs. For example, salaries of technical staff, laboratory supplies (e.g., chemicals), telephone toll charges, animals, animal care costs, computer costs, travel costs, and specialized shop costs must be treated as direct costs wherever identifiable to a particular cost objective. Direct charging of these costs may be accomplished through specific identification of individual costs to benefitting cost objectives, or through recharge centers or specialized service facilities, as appropriate under the circumstances. See §§200.413 Direct costs, paragraph (c) and 200.468 Specialized service facilities.

(2) Items such as office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, and memberships must normally be treated as indirect (F&A) costs.

c. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, the expenses included in this category must be allocated as follows:

(1) The administrative expenses of the dean's office of each college and school must be allocated to the academic departments within that college or school on the modified total cost basis.

(2) The administrative expenses of each academic department, and the department's share of the expenses allocated in subsection (1) must be allocated to the appropriate functions of the department on the modified total cost basis.

7. Sponsored Projects Administration

a. The expenses under this heading are limited to those incurred by a separate organization(s) established primarily to administer sponsored projects, including such functions as grant and contract administration (Federal and non-Federal), special security, purchasing, personnel, administration, and editing and publishing of research and other reports. They include the salaries and expenses of the head of such organization, assistants, and immediate staff, together with the salaries and expenses of personnel engaged in supporting activities maintained by the organization, such as stock rooms, print shops, and the like. This category also includes an allocable share of fringe benefit costs, general administration and general expenses, operation and maintenance expenses, and depreciation. Appropriate adjustments will be made for services provided to other functions or organizations.

b. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, the expenses included in this category must be allocated to the major functions of the institution under which the sponsored projects are conducted on the basis of the modified total cost of sponsored projects.

c. An appropriate adjustment must be made to eliminate any duplicate charges to Federal awards when this category includes similar or identical activities as those included in the general administration and general expense category or other indirect (F&A) cost items, such as accounting, procurement, or personnel administration.

8. Library Expenses

a. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for the operation of the library, including the cost of books and library materials purchased for the library, less any items of library income that qualify as applicable credits under §200.406 Applicable credits. The library expense category should also include the fringe benefits applicable to the salaries and wages included therein, an appropriate share of general administration and general expense, operation and maintenance expense, and depreciation. Costs incurred in the purchases of rare books (museum-type books) with no value to Federal awards should not be allocated to them.

b. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, the expenses included in this category must be allocated first on the basis of primary categories of users, including students, professional employees, and other users.

(1) The student category must consist of full-time equivalent students enrolled at the institution, regardless of whether they earn credits toward a degree or certificate.

(2) The professional employee category must consist of all faculty members and other professional employees of the institution, on a full-time equivalent basis. This category may also include post-doctorate fellows and graduate students.

(3) The other users category must consist of a reasonable factor as determined by institutional records to account for all other users of library facilities.

c. Amount allocated in paragraph b of this section must be assigned further as follows:

(1) The amount in the student category must be assigned to the instruction function of the institution.

(2) The amount in the professional employee category must be assigned to the major functions of the institution in proportion to the salaries and wages of all faculty members and other professional employees applicable to those functions.

(3) The amount in the other users category must be assigned to the other institutional activities function of the institution.

9. Student Administration and Services

a. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for the administration of student affairs and for services to students, including expenses of such activities as deans of students, admissions, registrar, counseling and placement services, student advisers, student health and infirmary services, catalogs, and commencements and convocations. The salaries of members of the academic staff whose responsibilities to the institution require administrative work that benefits sponsored projects may also be included to the extent that the portion charged to student administration is determined in accordance with Subpart E—Cost Principles of this Part. This expense category also includes the fringe benefit costs applicable to the salaries and wages included therein, an appropriate share of general administration and general expenses, operation and maintenance, interest expense, and depreciation.

b. In the absence of the alternatives provided for in Section A.2.d, the expenses in this category must be allocated to the instruction function, and subsequently to Federal awards in that function.

10. Offset for Indirect (F&A) Expenses Otherwise Provided for by the Federal Government

a. The items to be accumulated under this heading are the reimbursements and other payments from the Federal Government which are made to the institution to support solely, specifically, and directly, in whole or in part, any of the administrative or service activities described in subsections 2 through 9.

b. The items in this group must be treated as a credit to the affected individual indirect (F&A) cost category before that category is allocated to benefitting functions.

C. Determination and Application of Indirect (F&A) Cost Rate or Rates

1. Indirect (F&A) Cost Pools

a. (1) Subject to subsection b, the separate categories of indirect (F&A) costs allocated to each major function of the institution as prescribed in paragraph B of this paragraph C.1 Identification and assignment of indirect (F&A) costs, must be aggregated and treated as a common pool for that function. The amount in each pool must be divided by the distribution base described in subsection 2 to arrive at a single indirect (F&A) cost rate for each function.

(2) The rate for each function is used to distribute indirect (F&A) costs to individual Federal awards of that function. Since a common pool is established for each major function of the institution, a separate indirect (F&A) cost rate would be established for each of the major functions described in Section A.1 under which Federal awards are carried out.

(3) Each institution's indirect (F&A) cost rate process must be appropriately designed to ensure that Federal sponsors do not in any way subsidize the indirect (F&A) costs of other sponsors, specifically activities sponsored by industry and foreign governments. Accordingly, each allocation method used to identify and allocate the indirect (F&A) cost pools, as described in Sections A.2, Criteria for distribution, and B.2 through B.9, must contain the full amount of the institution's modified total costs or other appropriate units of measurement used to make the computations. In addition, the final rate distribution base (as defined in subsection 2) for each major function (organized research, instruction, etc., as described in Section A.1, Major functions of an institution) must contain all the programs or activities which utilize the indirect (F&A) costs allocated to that major function. At the time an indirect (F&A) cost proposal is submitted to a cognizant agency for indirect costs, each institution must describe the process it uses to ensure that Federal funds are not used to subsidize industry and foreign government funded programs.

b. In some instances a single rate basis for use across the board on all work within a major function at an institution may not be appropriate. A single rate for research, for example, might not take into account those different environmental factors and other conditions which may affect substantially the indirect (F&A) costs applicable to a particular segment of research at the institution. A particular segment of research may be that performed under a single sponsored agreement or it may consist of research under a group of Federal awards performed in a common environment. The environmental factors are not limited to the physical location of the work. Other important factors are the level of the administrative support required, the nature of the facilities or other resources employed, the scientific disciplines or technical skills involved, the organizational arrangements used, or any combination thereof. If a particular segment of a sponsored agreement is performed within an environment which appears to generate a significantly different level of indirect (F&A) costs, provisions should be made for a separate indirect (F&A) cost pool applicable to such work. The separate indirect (F&A) cost pool should be developed during the regular course of the rate determination process and the separate indirect (F&A) cost rate resulting therefrom should be utilized; provided it is determined that (1) such indirect (F&A) cost rate differs significantly from that which would have been obtained under subsection a, and (2) the volume of work to which such rate would apply is material in relation to other Federal awards at the institution.

2. The Distribution Basis

Indirect (F&A) costs must be distributed to applicable Federal awards and other benefitting activities within each major function (see section A.1, Major functions of an institution) on the basis of modified total direct costs (MTDC), consisting of all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period covered by the subaward). MTDC is defined in §200.68 Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC). For this purpose, an indirect (F&A) cost rate should be determined for each of the separate indirect (F&A) cost pools developed pursuant to subsection 1. The rate in each case should be stated as the percentage which the amount of the particular indirect (F&A) cost pool is of the modified total direct costs identified with such pool.

3. Negotiated Lump Sum for Indirect (F&A) Costs

A negotiated fixed amount in lieu of indirect (F&A) costs may be appropriate for self-contained, off-campus, or primarily subcontracted activities where the benefits derived from an institution's indirect (F&A) services cannot be readily determined. Such negotiated indirect (F&A) costs will be treated as an offset before allocation to instruction, organized research, other sponsored activities, and other institutional activities. The base on which such remaining expenses are allocated should be appropriately adjusted.

4. Predetermined Rates for Indirect (F&A) Costs

Public Law 87-638 (76 Stat. 437) as amended (41 U.S.C. 4708) authorizes the use of predetermined rates in determining the “indirect costs” (indirect (F&A) costs) applicable under research agreements with educational institutions. The stated objectives of the law are to simplify the administration of cost-type research and development contracts (including grants) with educational institutions, to facilitate the preparation of their budgets, and to permit more expeditious closeout of such contracts when the work is completed. In view of the potential advantages offered by this procedure, negotiation of predetermined rates for indirect (F&A) costs for a period of two to four years should be the norm in those situations where the cost experience and other pertinent facts available are deemed sufficient to enable the parties involved to reach an informed judgment as to the probable level of indirect (F&A) costs during the ensuing accounting periods.

5. Negotiated Fixed Rates and Carry-Forward Provisions

When a fixed rate is negotiated in advance for a fiscal year (or other time period), the over- or under-recovery for that year may be included as an adjustment to the indirect (F&A) cost for the next rate negotiation. When the rate is negotiated before the carry-forward adjustment is determined, the carry-forward amount may be applied to the next subsequent rate negotiation. When such adjustments are to be made, each fixed rate negotiated in advance for a given period will be computed by applying the expected indirect (F&A) costs allocable to Federal awards for the forecast period plus or minus the carry-forward adjustment (over- or under-recovery) from the prior period, to the forecast distribution base. Unrecovered amounts under lump-sum agreements or cost-sharing provisions of prior years must not be carried forward for consideration in the new rate negotiation. There must, however, be an advance understanding in each case between the institution and the cognizant agency for indirect costs as to whether these differences will be considered in the rate negotiation rather than making the determination after the differences are known. Further, institutions electing to use this carry-forward provision may not subsequently change without prior approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs. In the event that an institution returns to a post-determined rate, any over- or under-recovery during the period in which negotiated fixed rates and carry-forward provisions were followed will be included in the subsequent post-determined rates. Where multiple rates are used, the same procedure will be applicable for determining each rate.

6. Provisional and Final Rates for Indirect (F&A) Costs

Where the cognizant agency for indirect costs determines that cost experience and other pertinent facts do not justify the use of predetermined rates, or a fixed rate with a carry-forward, or if the parties cannot agree on an equitable rate, a provisional rate must be established. To prevent substantial overpayment or underpayment, the provisional rate may be adjusted by the cognizant agency for indirect costs during the institution's fiscal year. Predetermined or fixed rates may replace provisional rates at any time prior to the close of the institution's fiscal year. If a provisional rate is not replaced by a predetermined or fixed rate prior to the end of the institution's fiscal year, a final rate will be established and upward or downward adjustments will be made based on the actual allowable costs incurred for the period involved.

7. Fixed Rates for the Life of the Sponsored Agreement

7. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(1) of §200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs, Federal agencies must use the negotiated rates in effect at the time of the initial award throughout the life of the Federal award. Award levels for Federal awards may not be adjusted in future years as a result of changes in negotiated rates. “Negotiated rates” per the rate agreement include final, fixed, and predetermined rates and exclude provisional rates. “Life” for the purpose of this subsection means each competitive segment of a project. A competitive segment is a period of years approved by the Federal awarding agency at the time of the Federal award. If negotiated rate agreements do not extend through the life of the Federal award at the time of the initial award, then the negotiated rate for the last year of the Federal award must be extended through the end of the life of the Federal award.

b. Except as provided in §200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs, when an educational institution does not have a negotiated rate with the Federal Government at the time of an award (because the educational institution is a new recipient or the parties cannot reach agreement on a rate), the provisional rate used at the time of the award must be adjusted once a rate is negotiated and approved by the cognizant agency for indirect costs.

8. Limitation on Reimbursement of Administrative Costs

a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C.1.a, the administrative costs charged to Federal awards awarded or amended (including continuation and renewal awards) with effective dates beginning on or after the start of the institution's first fiscal year which begins on or after October 1, 1991, must be limited to 26% of modified total direct costs (as defined in subsection 2) for the total of General Administration and General Expenses, Departmental Administration, Sponsored Projects Administration, and Student Administration and Services (including their allocable share of depreciation, interest costs, operation and maintenance expenses, and fringe benefits costs, as provided by Section B, Identification and assignment of indirect (F&A) costs, and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under one of the subcategories of facilities in Section B.

b. Institutions should not change their accounting or cost allocation methods if the effect is to change the charging of a particular type of cost from F&A to direct, or to reclassify costs, or increase allocations from the administrative pools identified in paragraph B.1 of this Appendix to the other F&A cost pools or fringe benefits. Cognizant agencies for indirect cost are authorized to allow changes where an institution's charging practices are at variance with acceptable practices followed by a substantial majority of other institutions.

9. Alternative Method for Administrative Costs

a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C.1.a, an institution may elect to claim a fixed allowance for the “Administration” portion of indirect (F&A) costs. The allowance could be either 24% of modified total direct costs or a percentage equal to 95% of the most recently negotiated fixed or predetermined rate for the cost pools included under “Administration” as defined in Section B.1, whichever is less. Under this alternative, no cost proposal need be prepared for the “Administration” portion of the indirect (F&A) cost rate nor is further identification or documentation of these costs required (see subsection c). Where a negotiated indirect (F&A) cost agreement includes this alternative, an institution must make no further charges for the expenditure categories described in Section B.5, General administration and general expenses, Section B.6, Departmental administration expenses, Section B.7, Sponsored projects administration, and Section B.9, Student administration and services.

b. In negotiations of rates for subsequent periods, an institution that has elected the option of subsection a may continue to exercise it at the same rate without further identification or documentation of costs.

c. If an institution elects to accept a threshold rate as defined in subsection a of this section, it is not required to perform a detailed analysis of its administrative costs. However, in order to compute the facilities components of its indirect (F&A) cost rate, the institution must reconcile its indirect (F&A) cost proposal to its financial statements and make appropriate adjustments and reclassifications to identify the costs of each major function as defined in Section A.1, as well as to identify and allocate the facilities components. Administrative costs that are not identified as such by the institution's accounting system (such as those incurred in academic departments) will be classified as instructional costs for purposes of reconciling indirect (F&A) cost proposals to financial statements and allocating facilities costs.

10. Individual Rate Components

In order to provide mutually agreed-upon information for management purposes, each indirect (F&A) cost rate negotiation or determination must include development of a rate for each indirect (F&A) cost pool as well as the overall indirect (F&A) cost rate.

11. Negotiation and Approval of Indirect (F&A) Rate

a. Cognizant agency for indirect costs is defined in Subpart A—Acronyms and Definitions.

(1) Cost negotiation cognizance is assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research (DOD), normally depending on which of the two agencies (HHS or DOD) provides more funds to the educational institution for the most recent three years. Information on funding must be derived from relevant data gathered by the National Science Foundation. In cases where neither HHS nor DOD provides Federal funding to an educational institution, the cognizant agency for indirect costs assignment must default to HHS. Notwithstanding the method for cognizance determination described in this section, other arrangements for cognizance of a particular educational institution may also be based in part on the types of research performed at the educational institution and must be decided based on mutual agreement between HHS and DOD. Where a non-Federal entity only receives funds as a subrecipient, see §200.331 Requirements for pass-through entities.

(2) After cognizance is established, it must continue for a five-year period.

b. Acceptance of rates. See §200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs.

c. Correcting deficiencies. The cognizant agency for indirect costs must negotiate changes needed to correct systems deficiencies relating to accountability for Federal awards. Cognizant agencies for indirect costs must address the concerns of other affected agencies, as appropriate, and must negotiate special rates for Federal agencies that are required to limit recovery of indirect costs by statute.

d. Resolving questioned costs. The cognizant agency for indirect costs must conduct any necessary negotiations with an educational institution regarding amounts questioned by audit that are due the Federal Government related to costs covered by a negotiated agreement.

e. Reimbursement. Reimbursement to cognizant agencies for indirect costs for work performed under this Part may be made by reimbursement billing under the Economy Act, 31 U.S.C. 1535.

f. Procedure for establishing facilities and administrative rates must be established by one of the following methods:

(1) Formal negotiation. The cognizant agency for indirect costs is responsible for negotiating and approving rates for an educational institution on behalf of all Federal agencies. Federal awarding agencies that do not have cognizance for indirect costs must notify the cognizant agency for indirect costs of specific concerns (i.e., a need to establish special cost rates) which could affect the negotiation process. The cognizant agency for indirect costs must address the concerns of all interested agencies, as appropriate. A pre-negotiation conference may be scheduled among all interested agencies, if necessary. The cognizant agency for indirect costs must then arrange a negotiation conference with the educational institution.

(2) Other than formal negotiation. The cognizant agency for indirect costs and educational institution may reach an agreement on rates without a formal negotiation conference; for example, through correspondence or use of the simplified method described in this section D of this Appendix.

g. Formalizing determinations and agreements. The cognizant agency for indirect costs must formalize all determinations or agreements reached with an educational institution and provide copies to other agencies having an interest. Determinations should include a description of any adjustments, the actual amount, both dollar and percentage adjusted, and the reason for making adjustments.

h. Disputes and disagreements. Where the cognizant agency for indirect costs is unable to reach agreement with an educational institution with regard to rates or audit resolution, the appeal system of the cognizant agency for indirect costs must be followed for resolution of the disagreement.

12. Standard Format for Submission

For facilities and administrative (indirect (F&A)) rate proposals, educational institutions must use the standard format, shown in section E of this appendix, to submit their indirect (F&A) rate proposal to the cognizant agency for indirect costs. The cognizant agency for indirect costs may, on an institution-by-institution basis, grant exceptions from all or portions of Part II of the standard format requirement. This requirement does not apply to educational institutions that use the simplified method for calculating indirect (F&A) rates, as described in Section D of this Appendix.

As provided in section C.10 of this appendix, each F&A cost rate negotiation or determination must include development of a rate for each F&A cost pool as well as the overall F&A rate.

D. Simplified Method for Small Institutions

1. General

a. Where the total direct cost of work covered by this Part at an institution does not exceed $10 million in a fiscal year, the simplified procedure described in subsections 2 or 3 may be used in determining allowable indirect (F&A) costs. Under this simplified procedure, the institution's most recent annual financial report and immediately available supporting information must be utilized as a basis for determining the indirect (F&A) cost rate applicable to all Federal awards. The institution may use either the salaries and wages (see subsection 2) or modified total direct costs (see subsection 3) as the distribution basis.

b. The simplified procedure should not be used where it produces results which appear inequitable to the Federal Government or the institution. In any such case, indirect (F&A) costs should be determined through use of the regular procedure.

2. Simplified Procedure—Salaries and Wages Base

a. Establish the total amount of salaries and wages paid to all employees of the institution.

b. Establish an indirect (F&A) cost pool consisting of the expenditures (exclusive of capital items and other costs specifically identified as unallowable) which customarily are classified under the following titles or their equivalents:

(1) General administration and general expenses (exclusive of costs of student administration and services, student activities, student aid, and scholarships).

(2) Operation and maintenance of physical plant and depreciation (after appropriate adjustment for costs applicable to other institutional activities).

(3) Library.

(4) Department administration expenses, which will be computed as 20 percent of the salaries and expenses of deans and heads of departments.

In those cases where expenditures classified under subsection (1) have previously been allocated to other institutional activities, they may be included in the indirect (F&A) cost pool. The total amount of salaries and wages included in the indirect (F&A) cost pool must be separately identified.

c. Establish a salary and wage distribution base, determined by deducting from the total of salaries and wages as established in subsection a from the amount of salaries and wages included under subsection b.

d. Establish the indirect (F&A) cost rate, determined by dividing the amount in the indirect (F&A) cost pool, subsection b, by the amount of the distribution base, subsection c.

e. Apply the indirect (F&A) cost rate to direct salaries and wages for individual agreements to determine the amount of indirect (F&A) costs allocable to such agreements.

3. Simplified Procedure—Modified Total Direct Cost Base

a. Establish the total costs incurred by the institution for the base period.

b. Establish an indirect (F&A) cost pool consisting of the expenditures (exclusive of capital items and other costs specifically identified as unallowable) which customarily are classified under the following titles or their equivalents:

(1) General administration and general expenses (exclusive of costs of student administration and services, student activities, student aid, and scholarships).

(2) Operation and maintenance of physical plant and depreciation (after appropriate adjustment for costs applicable to other institutional activities).

(3) Library.

(4) Department administration expenses, which will be computed as 20 percent of the salaries and expenses of deans and heads of departments. In those cases where expenditures classified under subsection (1) have previously been allocated to other institutional activities, they may be included in the indirect (F&A) cost pool. The modified total direct costs amount included in the indirect (F&A) cost pool must be separately identified.

c. Establish a modified total direct cost distribution base, as defined in Section C.2, The distribution basis, that consists of all institution's direct functions.

d. Establish the indirect (F&A) cost rate, determined by dividing the amount in the indirect (F&A) cost pool, subsection b, by the amount of the distribution base, subsection c.

e. Apply the indirect (F&A) cost rate to the modified total direct costs for individual agreements to determine the amount of indirect (F&A) costs allocable to such agreements.

E. Documentation Requirements

The standard format for documentation requirements for indirect (indirect (F&A)) rate proposals for claiming costs under the regular method is available on the OMB Web site here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants__forms.

F. Certification

1. Certification of Charges

To assure that expenditures for Federal awards are proper and in accordance with the agreement documents and approved project budgets, the annual and/or final fiscal reports or vouchers requesting payment under the agreements will include a certification, signed by an authorized official of the university, which reads “By signing this report, I certify to the best of my knowledge and belief that the report is true, complete, and accurate, and the expenditures, disbursements and cash receipts are for the purposes and intent set forth in the award documents. I am aware that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent information, or the omission of any material fact, may subject me to criminal, civil or administrative penalties for fraud, false statements, false claims or otherwise. (U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 1001 and Title 31, Sections 3729-3733 and 3801-3812)”.

2. Certification of Indirect (F&A) Costs

a. Policy. Cognizant agencies must not accept a proposed indirect cost rate unless such costs have been certified by the educational institution using the Certificate of indirect (F&A) Costs set forth in subsection F.2.c

b. The certificate must be signed on behalf of the institution by the chief financial officer or an individual designated by an individual at a level no lower than vice president or chief financial officer.

An indirect (F&A) cost rate is not binding upon the Federal Government if the most recent required proposal from the institution has not been certified. Where it is necessary to establish indirect (F&A) cost rates, and the institution has not submitted a certified proposal for establishing such rates in accordance with the requirements of this section, the Federal Government must unilaterally establish such rates. Such rates may be based upon audited historical data or such other data that have been furnished to the cognizant agency for indirect costs and for which it can be demonstrated that all unallowable costs have been excluded. When indirect (F&A) cost rates are unilaterally established by the Federal Government because of failure of the institution to submit a certified proposal for establishing such rates in accordance with this section, the rates established will be set at a level low enough to ensure that potentially unallowable costs will not be reimbursed.

c. Certificate. The certificate required by this section must be in the following form:

Certificate of Indirect (F&A) Costs

This is to certify that to the best of my knowledge and belief:

(1) I have reviewed the indirect (F&A) cost proposal submitted herewith;

(2) All costs included in this proposal [identify date] to establish billing or final indirect (F&A) costs rate for [identify period covered by rate] are allowable in accordance with the requirements of the Federal agreement(s) to which they apply and with the cost principles applicable to those agreements.

(3) This proposal does not include any costs which are unallowable under applicable cost principles such as (without limitation): public relations costs, contributions and donations, entertainment costs, fines and penalties, lobbying costs, and defense of fraud proceedings; and

(4) All costs included in this proposal are properly allocable to Federal agreements on the basis of a beneficial or causal relationship between the expenses incurred and the agreements to which they are allocated in accordance with applicable requirements.

I declare that the foregoing is true and correct.

Institution of Higher Education:

 Signature:
 Name of Official:
 Title:
 Date of Execution:

[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75888, Dec. 19, 2014; 80 FR 54409, Sept. 10, 2015]

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