Facilities and Administrative (Indirect) Costs FAQs
These rates are derived from our audited financial statements and represent the costs of doing business here at UNF. Our rates are among the lowest within the state university system. These rates are also commensurate with the rates at other peer institutions in the country. For example, Miami (Ohio) University has two rates: 42% for all on-campus projects and 26% for all off-campus projecs. The average for all universities in the country is about 50%.
Principal Investigators who ask for waivers of F&A costs frequently do so in an attempt "to reserve enough funds for the execution of the project," instead of funding the "administration" of the project. While this point has its own merits from the perspective of the principal Investigator, it amounts to a false economy, in that it invariably leads to the undocumented supplementation of the costs of a project from other sources of revenue. It amounts to inadvertent cost sharing on the part of the University. Since the University provides cost sharing, when appropriate, for a number of projects that are carried out by our Principal Investigators, we need to treat all cost sharing, including the "waiving of F&A costs," in a similar fashion.
When the policies are well documented, UNF will accept awards at the F& A rates published by the agency. In the absence of a published F&A rate that is different from the negotiated federal rate, it is important that the University recover the full F&A costs if the institution is to avoid paying for sponsored project costs from other sources of revenue. Agencies that have such policies frequently allow administrative costs and/or the direct charging of costs which ordinarily come under the designation of F&A costs.
The waiver of F&A costs is strongly discouraged.
Principal Investigators should discuss the budget needs of their proposed
project with ORSP staff before submitting a final budget or before informally
discussing project costs with a potential sponsor. All proposals requiring F&A cost rates that
differ from those published on the UNF F&A Rate Sheet must be consistent
with the provisions of the University's Policy on Facilities and Administrative
(F&A) Costs, and follow the instructions detailed in the UNF F&A Procedures.
All the preceding questions and answers were aimed at
clarifying the need for including F&A costs as a legitimate line item in
the budget of every sponsored project. The actual recovered F&A costs are
used in accordance with State Statutes. The State of Florida (State
Statute 1004.22(5)) expects the University to use recovered F&A costs
(1) to pay for federal- and state-mandated administration of sponsored programs
and (2) to support research and other sponsored programs at the University.
Since the administrative costs are approximately fixed any additional funds
that come to the University from recovered F&A costs go to provide support
for faculty research and scholarly activities. If we fail to recover F&A
costs at the appropriate rates, we will not only break the assurance we gave
the Federal Government during the rate negotiation process but we will not be
able to provide adequate support for research and sponsored programs at UNF.
Recovered F&A costs are distributed in accordance with the UNF
F&A Procedures, the authority for which comes from the UNF Policy on
Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs.
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