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Budget Preparation

Developing budgets for sponsored projects requires understanding the dynamics of the project, the activities to be performed, and how to determine and allocate the correct costs and fees for research activities. Review the resources below for guidance in preparing your budget.

Budget Justification

Use this space to explain how totals for each category were arrived at. Be specific. A detailed justification signals a well-planned budget, which reflects well on the application as a whole. There usually is no page limit in this section of the application. However, do not include information here that would usually appear elsewhere in the proposal (e.g. study design diagrams). Reviewers could perceive this as a ploy to get around page restrictions. 

Applications often have limits in per-year costs. Use the justification to explain how costs can be spread over years, or strategically requested in years with lower overall costs. Some reviewers read the budget justification side by side with the timeline of the project. Thus, those sections need to match and complement each other.

Calculate Fringe Rates

Medical center employees may access more information about WFUHS fringe allocation rates and Fringe Allocation Rates (3/2/13-present) and Calculation Examples.

Cost Estimates of CTSI Services

Investigators who are submitting applications for projects that will use CTSI services will need to estimate costs of those services to include in the application's budget. It is important to ensure that appropriate administrative support and costs for CTSI services are included so that if the project is awarded, those resources will be available. To request a cost estimate, please contact CTSI@wakehealth.edu.

Calculate F&A Rates

Federal Costs (Allowable and Unallowable)

Always review your award or contract terms and conditions first to find what costs are allowable (or unallowable) on a federal project. For further information, you can visit the Financial Services website or search the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars that apply to WFUHS: A-133 & A-21.

Graduate Student Tuition

Graduate Student Tuition on Sponsored Projects

Stipend and Tuition Plan for PhD students supported on grant funds

The table below show estimates for planning purposes and can be confirmed with Dr. Erik Brady, Director of the Graduate School. Tuition is generally confirmed by the Board of Trustees on the Reynolda campus in February. The table will be updated to reflect adjustments as they are available.

Academic Year Full Tuition
Minimum Tuition
Budgeted on Grants
 2017-2018 (current)    $39,710    $6,179   $28,500
 2018-2019    $40,898     $6,364   $29,070
 2019-2020    $42,125     $6,555   $29,651
 2020-2021   $43,389   $6,752   $30,244
 2021-2022   $44,691   $6,955   $30,849

Personnel Effort

Always refer to the funding opportunity announcement for specific requirements. Personnel costs may be limited, or minimum requirements of effort may be stated. Effort should be commensurate with a person’s role on the project – not more and not less.  

A person’s effort can be included without salary dollars allocated (e.g. some training grant applications). But usually, the dollars requested should reflect the time it will take to do the work. Both NIH-designated salary caps and the institutional Facilities and Administration (F&A) rates change occasionally. Be sure you are using the most recent versions. 


Modest re-budgeting is generally allowed without agency approval. Re-budgeting of more than 25% may be problematic (e.g., change in scope). Significant re-budgeting of key personnel indicates change in scope. Obtain sponsor approval when required.

Additional Resources and Tools