Cost sharing, also called matching, refers to resources contributed or allocated by the university for any project cost that is not reimbursed by the extramural project sponsor to support the scope of work defined by the sponsored award.
Who Must Comply
All Principal Investigators (PIs) and administrators at the university within all colleges, departments, units, divisions, university-wide initiatives, and centers who are involved with the administration and conduct of sponsored awards must comply with this policy.
Types of Cost Sharing
Mandatory Committed Cost Sharing: Required by a sponsoring agency as a condition to receive an award. The minimum committed cost-share amount is specified by the agency in the request for applications (RFA) or program solicitation. Departments must track this type of cost share (through, for example, companion accounts, separate ledgers, effort reports), and the Office of Sponsored Programs will monitor it; reporting to the sponsor may be required.
Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing: Not required by the sponsoring agency, but committed voluntarily by the University in the application. This specific commitment could appear in the budget, budget justification, or the narrative; it becomes a binding requirement of the award, must be tracked, and may require reporting. “Under federal research proposals, voluntary committed cost-sharing is not expected. It cannot be used as a factor during the merit review of applications or proposals, but may be considered if it is both in accordance with Federal awarding agency regulations and specified in a notice of funding opportunity” (Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.306). Some federal sponsors prohibit voluntary committed cost sharing in proposals.
Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing: Expenses and effort, such as faculty salaries, that are over and
above amounts committed and budgeted for in a sponsored agreement. This type of cost sharing does not require tracking or reporting.
In-Kind Cost Sharing: Contributions of goods or services whose value can be readily determined, verified, documented and justified, but for which no actual cash is transacted in securing the contributed good or service. An estimated value of the in-kind cost sharing should be determined and documented based on the fair market value at the time the award is accepted. In-kind cost sharing must be tracked manually by the department/local unit managing the award and retained for audit; reporting to the sponsor may be required.
Securing Cost-Sharing Commitments
It is important to begin the process of securing cost-sharing commitments long before an application is due. Commitments should be documented as much as possible.
Proposal Routing in NUgrant
- The PI should determine the total amount of required cost sharing outlined in the request for application (RFA) or program solicitation from the sponsor and ensure that the cost-share expenditures included in the budget are allowable, allocable, reasonable and consistently accounted for in accordance with university and sponsor policies and regulations.
- The PI is responsible for obtaining university, college and department approval and signatures from the appropriate authority before the application is submitted. The cost share amount should be included in the proposal that is routed within the OSP NUgrant module prior to the due date of the submission.
Request for Cost Share Funds from ORED
- The PI must submit a request for the cash portion of cost share to ORED electronically at email@example.com at least one week prior to the sponsor’s deadline for submitting applications. The request must identify the source(s) and amount(s) of cost share provided by sources other than ORED (e.g., college, department). Institutional cost share will also be documented and signed off on in the NUgrant routing form at the time of submission.
- If the application carries full Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) will cover up to one-third of the cash portion of cost share required by the sponsor as stated in the RFA. It is standard practice that the remaining portions of the required cost share come from the PI’s college (1/3) and department (1/3).
- If the application includes one or more co-PIs, the PI should determine the percent of cost share contribution (i.e., percent FTE) from each co-PI’s department and college.
- For applications from more than one department, cost share from departments should be calculated based on faculty participation from each department.
- For applications from more than one college, cost share from colleges should be based on faculty participation from each college.
- If cost sharing is required for an equipment grant, the PI should develop a list of other faculty who are likely to use the equipment and an estimate of the percentage of use by other faculty over the next five years. If funding for use of the equipment has already been secured, the request for cost share funds should indicate the name of the sponsor and award period. If appropriate, research projects from all potential faculty users of the equipment must be described in the request; alternatively, all potential faculty users must be listed.
- If potential users of the equipment are from multiple departments and colleges, the PI should determine the percent use by each department and each college based on the number of faculty participating from each unit.
- For equipment grant applications from more than one department, cost share from departments should be calculated based on faculty participation from each department.
- For equipment grant applications from more than one college, cost share from colleges should be based on faculty participation from each college.
If cost sharing is required on an application that is considered a limited submission (that is, the sponsor allows submission of only a limited number of applications from one campus, and an internal competition is used to determine which applications will represent UNL), the PI’s proposal for the internal competition should list the planned sources and amounts of cost share.