Office of Sponsored Programs - 300.09 - Indirect Costs


Office of Sponsored Programs - 300.09 - Indirect Costs


In assisting the University's departmental research administrators, this operating standard provides guidelines for budget planning of indirect costs in accordance with Federal regulations.

Policy Statement

Indirect costs or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are real University costs that are associated with the performance of a sponsored project. They are incurred for common or joint objectives, which cannot always be specifically identified with a particular sponsored project. F&A costs are recovered by application of a rate that is applied to a direct cost base.

All grants, contracts, and other sponsored agreements accepted by the University will be charged the maximum allowable Federally-negotiated F&A cost rate or other published University F&A rate as determined by the type and location of the sponsored activity.

The University will fully recover its allowable and appropriate direct costs and F&A costs in the budget of every proposal that is submitted for sponsored funding, using the appropriate rate. In accordance with 2 CFR §200.414, the negotiated F&A rate in effect at the time of an initial award will be used throughout the life of each competitive segment even if the F&A rate subsequently changes.


Non-Profit & Governmental Sponsors

The University will grant an exception to charging full F&A costs for non-profit sponsors and governmental agencies that have explicit, published policies limiting F&A recovery. A copy of the published restriction or their F&A rate must be attached to the proposal in Research Administration Management System and eSubmission (RAMSeS). The reduced F&A rate will be applied to total direct costs unless the sponsor’s published guidance states otherwise.

For-Profit Sponsors

For-profit sponsors are charged the full F&A rate appropriate for the project activity. A subsidy of any cost of the project would constitute a use of public funds for private benefit and would be an improper use of University resources.

Other Exclusions and Exceptions to the full recovery of F&A costs will be made on a very limited basis.

Requesting an F&A Waiver

When an F&A exception is requested for a sponsor who does not have a published restriction, the submitting department should adequately explain and justify the request using the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) F&A waiver forms. The request must be attached to the RAMSeS IPF, and the request must be signed by the Principal Investigator and deans, directors, or department heads of the School, Center, or Institute. The Executive Director of OSP will consider the justification and approve/disapprove the waiver request.

Related Requirements

Unit Policies, Standards, & Procedures

Contact Information

For questions regarding this operating standard and its related procedure, please contact

For questions regarding Pre-Award management or Post-Award administration, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Specialist (SPS).

For invoicing, reporting and other financial matters, please contact the assigned Sponsored Projects Accountant.
OSP Staff assignments may be found in RAMSeS or on the OSP website.


Date Description
07/01/2022 Revised to reflect new office name.
05/15/2018 Revised to coincide with the release of the new OSP Website.
5/16/2012 Revised to reflect the new F&A Rate agreement.
10/03/2009 Revision supersedes policy revised 6/29/09 to reflect A-21 F&A rate requirement.

The operating standards in the Office of Sponsored Programs Operating Standards & Procedures Manual supersede any OSP operating standards, procedures and appendices previously included in the University Business Manual, a publication of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Division of Finance.

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Article ID: 132294
Thu 4/8/21 9:28 PM
Wed 6/26/24 6:04 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Research-Office of Sponsored Programs
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor
Policy Contact
Person who handles document management. Best person to contact for information about this policy. In many cases this is not the Issuing Officer. It may be the Policy Liaison, or another staff member.
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/19/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
01/19/2024 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/01/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/2008 12:00 AM
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level