F&A Rates FAQs

How do I request an indirect cost waiver?

Log on to the Office of Sponsored Program's SharePoint page to access F&A Waiver Request Form. (Institutional credentials required.)

How do I determine which rate to use for my project? 

The rate used will depend on the type of activity, i.e., basic or applied research, clinical trial, and on the type of sponsor funding the activity, i.e., federal, private or industry. Not-for-profit sponsors typically place a cap on the amount of F&A allowable in the budget. See the Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Cost Rates Schedule & Agreement.

What F&A rate do I use for a clinical trial? 

On Industry sponsored clinical trials, budgets are calculated using a rate of 28%, using a total direct cost (TDC) calculation. This means that the 28% is applied to the total costs, with the exception of IRB fees, if applicable. On federally funded clinical trials, budgets are calculated using our most current negotiated research rate, based on Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) calculation. See the Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Cost Rates Schedule & Agreement.

What rate do I use on an industry sponsored project that is NOT a clinical trial but basic research? 

On industry sponsored basic research projects, budgets should be calculated based on Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) using the current negotiated research rate. (see question 4) See the Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Cost Rates Schedule & Agreement.

What does Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) and the term “base” amount mean? 

Modified Total Direct Costs consists of salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials and services, travel, and subgrants and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of the total costs of each separate subcontract (regardless of the period covered by the subgrant or subcontract). The base is the amount remaining from the total direct costs after applying the following exclusions: equipment (defined as having a useful life of over one year, and an acquisition cost of $3,500 per unit), capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rent, scholarships and fellowships, as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract exceeding $25,000. 

How do you calculate a budget using Total Direct Costs (TDC)? 

When calculating a budget using the TDC method, there are typically no exclusions since we are not receiving our full rate. In the case of industry sponsored clinical trials, IRB fees may be excluded from the total costs before applying the 26% rate. 

I am applying for a non-competitive continuation. Do I keep the rates from the original application or change the rates to reflect the current rates?

Once a grant has been awarded, the F&A rate remains the same throughout the non-competitive life of the grant. 

I am applying for renewal (competitive grant). Do I use the original F&A (indirect costs) rate or the current rate?

The budget should reflect the current F&A rate published at the time of the application. 

I am applying for a supplement. What F&A rate (indirect costs) do I use when calculating the budget? 

In most cases you would use the same rate as the parent grant unless stipulated by the funding agency. If the rate used is different from the rate used in the parent grant, then the supplement must be set up in a separate account. 

My sponsor limits their F&A (indirect costs) rate. Do I need to request a waiver? 

If the funding agency has a written policy limiting their F&A, this will be accepted and will not require a waiver. Budgets reflecting less than the full rate are calculated using total direct costs (TDC). (see question 5) Exception: For-profit agencies (i.e. industry) who may indicate a limit on F&A are required to pay the full, negotiated rate specific to either research or clinical trials. Waivers for research sponsored by for-profit sponsors will only be considered in special circumstances.