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Cost Share Overview (download PDF version here).
Some funding opportunities request cost share as part of a grant proposal. Cost sharing means that more than one entity will help pay for a project, for example an external sponsor provides most of the funds and the University provides the rest of the project funds. Cost sharing and matching funds are the same thing.
Mandatory cost sharing is a defined contribution required by the sponsor as a condition of obtaining the award. These binding commitments are tracked and reported to the sponsor during the award period.
If cost sharing is not required but will be considered as part of the selection criteria, then it may be considered mandatory if some amount of cost share (typically unspecified) is needed to obtain all review points. Sponsor requests for leveraged funds or resources are less likely to fall into this category. These situations are considered on a case-by-case basis by the University (OSRAA).
Voluntary cost sharing is a contribution offered by the PI but not required by the sponsor as a condition of obtaining the award. Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing (leveraged resources) has no quantified amount associated with it, is described in the Research Plan or Facilities section but not in the budget or budget justification, is not tracked or reported, and is always allowed.
Voluntary committed cost sharing is a binding commitment which must be approved well in advance by both the College and the Research Office for university strategic purposes. This approval is rarely given.
External (third party) entities may provide cost share:
The University may provide cost share in various ways. Preferred sources are in bold:
Any commitment of University resources requires approval from your School Head, College, and/or the Research Office as appropriate. Other things to consider:
Please discuss all cost sharing plans with your Proposal Manager in the College of Engineering Research Administration office (email@example.com). They can help with creative, allowable cost share options as well as budgeting and obtaining required cost share documentation for the proposal.
The required cost share percentage is based on either sponsor cost or total project cost. Once you determine this from the funding solicitation, you can calculate the required cost share amount.
Only commit the minimum required cost share. If the required amount is unspecified, work with your Proposal Manager to determine a reasonable number based on project scope and sponsor.
If you think voluntary committed cost share is needed, please discuss with your Proposal Manager and start the wider strategic discussions as early as possible. Such approval is rare.
All committed cost sharing is costly to the University:
Your COE Proposal Manager can help identify potential sources of cost share and create a budget. The primary source of cost share should be faculty academic time, that is, counting a portion of the PI/Co-PI current salary as cost share for the project. External (third party) cost share is also encouraged.
Your Proposal Manager will finalize the internal Cost Share Authorization Form(s) and obtain all required signatures. If any third party cost sharing is proposed, work with your Proposal Manager to request detailed commitment letter(s). These must all be uploaded to Cayuse prior to proposal submission to routing.
Cost sharing commitments become final only upon the University’s acceptance of the award. Upon notification of award, the School(s) should verify the amount of any committed cost sharing.
The same rules regarding allowability of costs charged to a sponsored project apply to those costs that are used to meet the cost sharing commitment. If you cannot pay for an expenditure with the sponsored project funding then you likely cannot use the expense as cost sharing without agency approval. There are some exceptions, for example when a sponsor does not allow tuition costs in the award but does allow tuition to be counted as cost share.