Guidelines Cost Principles for MAES Federal Appropriations

Here is a handy summary of what costs are and are not allowed in reporting against your MAES research project.

For further information, OMB Circular A-21 (Section J) documents the principles determining appropriate charges to the MAES federal appropriations (Hatch, Multi State Research, McIntire Stennis and Animal Health funds.)There are also some fund specific regulations that are listed in the Administrative Manuals for each of these funds which are linked to in the additional resources list on the bottom left.

Summary of Unallowed Costs

  • Advertising (except for recruitment of personnel for the research project, procurement of goods or services related to the project, and disposition of surplus/scrap federal property)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Alumni activities
  • Bad debts arising from uncollectible accounts, related collection costs, and related legal costs
  • Commencement and convocation costs
  • Community relations (except costs of communicating with the public & press pertaining to specific activities or accomplishments which result from the project)
  • Contingency reserves
  • Contributions and donations to others
  • Costs above the amount authorized for the project
  • Costs - Timing constraints
    • incurred prior to the 90-day period immediately preceding the effective date of the project
    • incurred after the expiration of the award
  • Defense and prosecution of criminal and civil proceedings costs, including penalties, are normally unallowable
  • Direct cost transfers from sponsored accounts
  • Entertainment costs regardless of their apparent relationship to the project
  • Fines and penalties resulting from violations of federal, state, local, or foreign laws
  • Fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitations of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred solely to raise capital or obtain contributions
  • Goods and services for personal use by employees
  • Housing allowances and personal living expenses for current and past employees
  • Indirect costs such as capitol improvements, depreciation or interest on debt
  • Lobbying costs
  • Membership costs in a civic or community organization, country club, or social or dining club/organizations
  • Retirement—employer contributions to Land-Grant college retirement systems are limited to 5%
  • Scholarships and student aid costs
  • Selling and marketing costs of any products sold by the University
  • Student organization costs such as intramural activities, student publications, student clubs, operation of the student union and the like
  • Tuition remission costs

Summary of Allowable Costs

  • Allowable direct costs include salaries and related fringe benefits, materials and supplies (including those purchased from University storerooms), equipment, travel, services (including those from University service facilities), consultants, subcontracts. All costs must be associated directly with a given research project and represent effort on that research project.
  • General purpose equipment, use of which is not limited to research such as office equipment and furnishings, air conditioning equipment, reproduction and printing equipment, automated data processing equipment, and motor vehicles. However, this equipment must be primarily used in the actual conduct of the project.
  • General/administrative expenses (for example, administrators, managers, accountants, account technicians, proposal costs, etc.) are allowable under Hatch and McIntire-Stennis fund rules but cannot be charged directly to a research project. They should be charged to the “Administrative” account. These charges are prorated over the active research projects when the fiscal year expenditures are reported to CSREES. “General/Administrative” costs are not allowed on Multi-state Research funds.

Note: Costs cannot be shared between Hatch and McIntire-Stennis funds on the same research project.