Cost Sharing on Sponsored Programs

Cost sharing (or cost matching) refers to the cost of a sponsored activity not paid by the sponsor (2 CFR 200.306). 

UM strongly discourages cost sharing unless required. 

Cost sharing commitments that are not mandatory are to be detailed in non-quantifiable language:

Non-quantified:  “To accomplish the goals and objectives of this project, the institution will provide the resources and technical support as required for the successful completion of the activity."

Quantified:  “To accomplish the goals and objectives of this project, the institution will purchase 15 laptop computers and pay the salary of a full-time technical support position.”

Considerations during proposal preparation

Cost share must be committed at proposal stage, adequately documented, and: 

  • allowable as a direct charge to the activity;
  • allowable by the sponsor; and,
  • expended during the award's period of performance,

Cost sharing can be met through:

  • institutional mechanisms - UM distributes a significant portion of institutional F&A recovery to the academic deans.  As a result, cost sharing requirements usually are met through the academic sector.  Discuss with your Chair/Director and your academic Dean. In rare circumstances, a follow-on request may be made to the Vice President for Research.  Such requests must be in writing and detail amounts secured from the College/School. 
    • time and effort;
    • institutional funds;
    • space if normally rented or leased to the public and a published rental/rease price is available;
    • unrecovered F&A - if allowed by the sponsor and institutionally approved when appropriate - is calculated at UM’s appropriate federally-negotiated rate for the activity
      • if waiver is approved in advance by UM's VPR > Ex:  If a project allows but restricts F&A, and the sponsor allows and University officials have approved use of unrecovered F&A, cost share is calculated at the fully-negotiated federal rate, less the dollar amount of F&A assessed, not to exceed the amount required by the sponsor.
      • if sponsor limits recovery and allows unrecovered portion to be used > Ex:  If a project prohibits F&A, and the sponsor allows and University officials have approved use of unrecovered F&A, such cost share is calculated at the fully-negotiated federal rate, not to exceed the amount required by the sponsor.
  • other sponsored activity with prior written approval from the sponsor (rarely is cost match allowable from one federal award to another federal award);
  • program income; and,
  • third party cost share
    • proposed expenditures must be caculated at a rate appropriate for the cost share activity proposed,
    • use of space if normally rented or leased to the public and a published rental/rease price is available, and,
    • a letter of commitment is required at proposal stage from the third party detailing the cost match to be provided.

If F&A on cost share is an allowable expense per sponsor terms and conditions, then all cost share, except third party, is assessed F&A as appropriate for the activity to accurately reflect the institutional contribution.

All proposal cost share commitments must be documented in the Cayuse proposal record and approved in the record by the research center director or acadmic unit dean. OSP may hold back any proposal which does not have cost share approvals complete in the proposal record in advance of the proposal deadline.

Mandatory vs voluntary

Mandatory Cost Share – Quantified resources are required by the sponsor as a published condition of funding; therefore, cost share is submitted, recorded, AND reported.

Voluntary Cost Share – Quantified resources offered in the proposal

  • Voluntary Committed:  The Uniform Guidance states that voluntary committed cost sharing is not expected for federal research proposals (2 CFR 200.306) and cannot be used as a factor during the merit review of applications or proposals.  However, it may be considered if it is both in accordance with Federal awarding agency regulations and specified in a notice of funding opportunity. When an award budget incorporates voluntary cost share into total project costs, it becomes a binding commitment and the institution must include it in financial reporting to the sponsor.  [ex: Non-federal equipment, supplies, etc.]
    • It is submitted, recorded, and reported; OSP staff will notify PI when reporting requirements are met, at which point documentation will cease.
    • Note:  If full F&A is allowed by the sponsor and the PI receives permission to waive recovery, the amount unrecovered becomes voluntary committed cost share.
  • Voluntary Uncommitted:  Faculty and employee effort (including senior researchers) that is over and above that which is budgeted. 
    • It is NOT submitted, recorded, NOR reported;
    • "Federal voluntary uncommitted cost share should be treated differently from committed effort and should not be included in the organized research base for computing the F&A rate." (per OMB memo 1/5/01)

Submitting, recording, and reporting during award management

Submitting – Done by the PI or department and given to ORSP ("submitted") on appropriate form (either Third Party Contribution or UM Matching Funds). To submit Time & Effort as cost share, refer to the Personnel Activity  Report information and specifically the PAR Help Guide.  

Recording – Upon receipt by ORSP, information is added to the official project file and the cost share database (“recorded”).

Reporting – ORSP reports to the sponsor per requirements or request (“reported”).