Including Cost Sharing (including Matching, and In-Kind Contributions) in Proposals

The terms "cost sharing," "matching," and "in-kind" refer to that portion of the total project costs not borne by the sponsor. These terms are often used interchangeably. Attention should be given to sponsor definitions of these terms as well as the definition in the Offering Cost Sharing (including Matching and In-Kind Contributions) Policy

1. Proposal Development:

The policies below must be followed when committing cost sharing in proposals:

  • If cost sharing is mandatory, principal investigators are responsible for including it in the proposal budget.
  • Cost sharing cannot include contributions from other sponsored projects, unless they are specifically authorized by both sponsors.
  • An expense used as cost sharing may only be used once (e.g, a cost on a gift fund designated as a match on one award cannot also be used as a match on a second award.
  • Costs used to satisfy cost sharing commitments are subject to the same policies as other costs under the approved budget, unless they are specifically authorized by that sponsor. Thus, to qualify for cost sharing, all charges must be:
    • allowable under University and sponsor policies and the terms of the NOGA.
    • allocable as a cost to the project.
    • reasonable and necessary for performance of the project
    • allowed as a direct cost on the project; for example administrative salaries cannot normally be used as cost sharing on federal projects.
  • If either mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing is included in the proposal, the principal investigator must check 'yes' to the matching question on the Proposal Routing Form.
  • All effort on the project should be included as a direct cost in the proposal unless specifically authorized on a PRF as committed cost sharing.  
    • When cost sharing is included, it is important to state the following in the budget justification: "If this award is reduced from the requested amount, the proposed cost sharing will be reduced proportionately."  If this statement is not included, the sponsor could reduce the award but the principal investigator is still required to honor the level of cost sharing committed in the proposal.
Cost Sharing
  • Voluntary cost sharing is discouraged, except as needed to fulfill a minimum 1% effort obligation (described below) or when salary is not an allowable charge to the project.
  • Programs for $0 master agreements, equipment, instrumentation, student support, and doctoral dissertations are exempt from the requirement to have committed principal investigator effort; however, a committed level of effort should be included on such project if the nature of the particular project requires more than de minimus time involvement by the PI.
  • Sponsored projects (unless they fall under the exemption shown above) should include a minimum of 1% of committed principal investigator effort during at least one effort cycle per year, recognizing the principal investigator's scientific and administrative direction of the project.  This means that at least one of the two effort statements in each year of the project, including no cost-time extension periods, must show principal investigator effort. This requirement does not apply to other senior researchers or co-principal investigators. If there are multiple principal investigators rather than a single principal investigator, at least one individual assuming responsibility for the scientific and administrative direction of the project during that effort cycle must fulfill the 1% obligation. The 1% obligation cannot be further reduced or split among individuals, but greater percentages of effort devoted should be reported when reflective of actual effort. Such effort, if not paid by the sponsor, must be cost shared and designated in a cost sharing account string in the University's financial system if it is being used to meet award effort or cost sharing obligations. Committed cost sharing must be tracked in the University's effort system

    Requirements for principal investigator effort are specified in Administrative Policy: Effort Certification.

  • The sponsor's program announcement will outline any cost sharing requirements.
  • Whenever in-kind funds are committed from sources outside the University, documentation of that contribution must be obtained from a representative able to legally bind  the source of those funds and attached to the proposal.

2. Proposal Review:

  • When reviewing the proposal and Proposal Routing Form, the department head must evaluate the necessity of cost sharing. Some issues include:
    • Is voluntary cost sharing necessary to complete the project?
    • Can the department supply funds necessary to meet these commitments?
    • Is the level of cost sharing suggested by the principal investigator appropriate for the project?
    • Is the level of cost sharing suggested by the principal investigator appropriate considering the individual's other commitments?
  • During proposal review, the department head must ensure that cost sharing commitments made in the proposal are reflected on the Proposal Routing Form.
  • Cost sharing is considered approved by the departmental and collegiate signatures on the Proposal Routing Form.

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