UNL Off-Campus Rate Definition and Determination

Definition of Off-Campus

A project is considered to be performed off-campus if the activity is conducted in a facility that is not owned by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the facility-related costs (rent, utilities & other maintenance) are either charged directly to the project or occur without a cost to the university.  The classification of off-campus is for the purpose of applying the correct Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost (indirect cost) rate.

The on- or off-campus determination shall be based on the UNL portion of project costs and should not include costs of a collaborating entity (subrecipients). “Project” refers to the grant or contract awarded to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, excluding costs of collaborating entities.

  • Projects conducted partially off-campus
    If a portion of a project is conducted off-campus, the off-campus F&A rate applies only to those projects where the cost of personnel effort that is paid from the project and that takes place off-campus exceeds the cost of the on-campus effort plus other direct costs (excluding subawards).  Performance at the off-campus project site must be on a continuous basis and of sufficient duration, normally a full semester, summer term, or the period of performance of the sponsored agreement.  Intermittent performance is not sufficient. Note that convenience, telecommuting, conferences, and summer travel are not justifications for the off-campus determination.
  • Extension Projects
    Extension personnel conducting extension projects should use the cooperative extension rate, regardless of location of individual activities.

Off-Campus Determination Process

OSP will make the final determination of the appropriate F&A rate applicable to the project. Any required clarification of which rate to use should be addressed at the proposal development stage. OSP’s process for making the determination is as follows:

  1. Request detailed budget, budget justification, and project description/Scope Of Work (SOW) from PI/department.
  2. Set up spreadsheet to include all costs by category.
  3. Read through budget justification and SOW to estimate how effort on the project will be split between on- vs. off- campus.
  4. Once effort is determined by OSP, the spreadsheet is sent to the PI/department for input. Adjustments may be made if PI gives additional information/documentation that was not originally included in the justification or SOW.
  5. The calculation to determine percent effort of the project conducted off-campus is the cost of off-campus effort divided by the total direct costs less subaward costs.
    1. If this percentage is more than 50%, we will notify the PI/department that the appropriate negotiated F&A rate for this project is the off-campus rate of 26% MTDC.
    2. If the percentage is less than 50%, we will notify the PI/department that they should use the appropriate on-campus rate (research, agricultural research, instruction, other sponsored activities, or cooperative extension).

Scenarios

Below are scenario examples for additional clarity on how we determine when a project is considered on or off-campus (no blended rates are allowed, per the UNL federal rate agreement):

Scenario 1a

Research will take place on a ship in the Arctic Ocean. The period of performance is for one year, and seven months of the work will take place on the ship.

  • If a majority of the costs will be incurred off-campus, then the entire project will be charged at the off-campus F&A rate because the off-campus work is on a continuous basis and of sufficient duration exceeding a full semester.

Scenario 1b

Research will take place on a ship in the Arctic Ocean. The period of performance is for one year, but the research on the ship will only be for two months.

  • If a majority of the costs will be incurred on-campus, then the entire project will be charged at the on-campus rate. The off-campus work is not of sufficient duration to qualify for the off-campus F&A rate.

Scenario 2a

Research will take place at a lab, farm or ranch not owned by the University and the performance at the off-campus project site is on a continuous basis and of sufficient duration. Rental costs for the space or land are a line item in the grant

  • The project will be charged at the off-campus F&A rate.

Scenario 2b

Research will take place at a lab, farm or ranch not owned by the University. Rental costs for the space or land are paid for centrally by the University.

  • The project will be charged at the appropriate on-campus F&A rate.

Scenario 3a

The project is instruction and involves developing a new course using UNL facilities and resources, but that course is taught in school districts or other off-campus sites that do not charge for use of space.

  • Majority of cost rules.
    • The F&A rate is off-campus if a majority of the project cost is for teaching the new course at an off-campus site.
    • The F&A rate is on-campus if the majority of the project cost is for the development of a course that will be taught at an off-campus site.

Scenario 3b

The project is instruction and exclusively involves courses that are already created. If taught in school districts or other off-campus venues that do not charge for use of space, the entire project will be charged the off-campus F&A rate. If taught at any UNL location, the entire project will be charged the on-campus instruction F&A rate.

Scenario 4

A project uses surveys of producers, consumers, or the public and requires development of survey questions and analysis of survey results by UNL faculty, staff or students. The survey is delivered through focus groups, the US postal service, or web-based formats to people not affiliated with UNL.

  • The entire project will be charged the appropriate on-campus F&A rate because the majority of the time spent on the project is associated with development of survey questions and analysis of results.

Scenario 5

An Extension services program is delivered in one or more rural or urban Nebraska communities and the lead PI has a cooperative extension appointment.

  • The entire project will be charged at the cooperative extension F&A rate. This rate is negotiated specifically for projects serving parts of the state that have limited UNL owned facilities.

Scenario 6

The research, teaching, or extension project is being conducted/developed/delivered at the UNL faculty member’s home rather than in a UNL office, classroom, conference facility, or laboratory.

  • The entire project will be charged at the appropriate on-campus F&A rate.