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Budget Preparation

The proposal budget is a plan for expenditure of project funds by specified cost categories. Many agencies provide budget forms or require budgets to be presented in specific formats. Contact ORSP for agency-specific spreadsheets that will assist you in preparing your budget.

Your budget is a financial proposal that reflects the work proposed. It outlines the expected project costs in detail, and should mirror the project description. A budget is presented as a categorical list of anticipated project costs that represent the researcher’s best estimate of the funds needed to support the proposed work. The term “best estimate” is important here. You will be held to using the costs detailed in your budget, so make sure you’ve correctly estimated what you will need to complete the project.

A detailed budget should be prepared for each proposal. ORSP will assist in the completion of any sponsor budget forms and the budget justification.

Direct Costs

Direct Costs include salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials and supplies, equipment, travel, participant support, sub-awards, and other direct costs. An escalation rate for salaries and wages is generally included. Fringe benefits are charged for faculty/staff and graduate students at TU’s current rate.

For projects supported by federal or state government, tuition is contributed for graduate research assistants up to 19 hours per year (12 month period) or 18 hours for the academic year. Tuition for graduate research assistants should be charged to all other sponsors. A 5% escalation is used to estimate costs for tuition in multi-year projects.

Materials and supplies are items less than $5,000.

Equipment is defined as articles of non-expendable tangible property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. They must be reasonable and directly allocable to the supported activity.

Office supplies, postage, copy charges and local phone calls are examples of costs not normally allowed as direct costs.

Travel should be broken down into domestic and foreign categories. Many solicitations require that travel be detailed to include travel destination, number of people traveling, number of days traveling, ground and/or air transportation costs, lodging and per diem. Remember to always check sponsor guidelines to make sure foreign travel is allowed before including it in a proposal.

Subawards are those made to other entities/institutions conducting the research. The amount of each subaward must be listed as a separate line item. An authorized scope of work, budget and budget justification must be submitted for each subaward, as well as a letter from the authorized institutional official. Indirect costs are assessed on the first $25,000 of each sub-award.

Other direct costs may include publication costs, consultant costs, or contracts for services.

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs (facilities and administrative costs) represent those expenses that cannot be easily identified to a specific project. These include operation and maintenance of facilities, library expenses, space, utilities, university administrative costs, and other services. The indirect cost rate is negotiated with DHHS and include both on- and off-campus rates.

For assistance with budget presentations, contact: Adrienne Blalack at 918-631-2480,  Lori Watts at 918-631-2940 or Debbie Newton at 918-631-2192.