Text Size Default Text SizeDefault Text Size Large Text SizeLarge Text Size Largest Text SizeLargest Text Size Print Print this Page

Cost Share Guidelines

Cost Share Commitments Associated With Sponsored Agreements

Cost sharing occurs when a portion of the total cost of a sponsored project or program is paid by the University rather than the sponsor. Whether this cost sharing is mandated by the sponsor or volunteered by the recipient, the cost sharing becomes a University commitment and represents a binding obligation of the University once the award has been granted. 

Cost sharing should be limited only to those situations where:

  1. It is mandated by a sponsor, or
  2. The University has determined that such a contribution is critical to ensure the success of a competitive award or proposal, or
  3. It is necessary to fulfill the University’s requirement of a minimum commitment to the project by the project director 


When University resources are to be used as cost share, they must be approved by a person authorized to commit the proposed resources.  In most cases this will be the department chair or dean.  Signature of the Cost Share Commitment Request Form by the cognizant department chair or dean indicate that they have reviewed and approved the proposed cost sharing.

Cost Sharing Considerations

The following generally accepted guidelines for providing cost sharing for sponsored programs should be followed in the completion of proposals and the subsequent administration of awards:

  1. The University limits cost sharing to that which is mandated by the sponsor or is necessary for another compelling reason.
  2. When mandatory cost sharing is not specified in the application package as being required, the Project Director should not offer cost sharing in the budget or the text of the proposal.
  3. The inclusion of cost sharing commitments in a proposal must have appropriate University approval prior to proposal review and approval by OSPR and proposal submission to sponsors.
  4. When a project director plans to include University’s resources or external entities' resources as cost sharing, this information is specifically identified in the budget and the source of funds for the cost share are identified on the Cost Share Commitment Request Form [link].
  5. If cost sharing is to be provided by an outside organization or collaborating institution, the OSPR must receive a written commitment from a person authorized to commit the organization financially before the proposal is submitted.
  6. Unless restricted by sponsor guidelines, cost sharing can include the devotion of effort (as converted to salary equivalents), fringe benefits, equipment, other direct costs (including tuition), indirect costs, or in-kind contributions.
  7. On Federal proposals, cost sharing expenses must be allowable in accordance with section J. of OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions and specific program restrictions, if any, and directly related to the project for which the expenses are to be claimed.
  8.  Cost sharing expenses must be incurred within the same period as the award period of performance.
  9.  Cost sharing expenses for one project may not be claimed as cost sharing expenses for any other project.
  10.  Federal funds may not be used as cost sharing for another federal project unless approved in writing by the federal sponsor.
  11.  All cost sharing expenditures must be documented at the academic department level and made available in the event of audit.
  12.   When awards resulting from proposals, including those that involve cost sharing, are reduced by the sponsor, an appropriate reduction in the amount of cost sharing and related scope of work is normally expected.