Allowable and Unallowable Costs
Allowable costs are defined in the federal government’s OMB Circular A-21, which defines the cost principles for the University. Under federal regulations, departmental types of expenses including but not limited to administrative or clerical salaries, office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, photocopy costs, network charges, cell phones, etc. should normally be treated as a Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost and recovered through the F&A cost rate (also known as indirect cost rate).
In exceptional circumstances where the nature of the work performed requires extensive departmental support, administrative or clerical salaries may be treated as a direct charge. However, administrative or clerical salaries and other general administrative costs must directly benefit and be easily identified with the particular sponsored project or program and must have been included as such in the proposal submission.
If there is a discrepancy between the provisions of a sponsored award and OMB Circular A-21, the sponsored award takes precedence.
The University’s policy on Direct and Indirect Costs on Federally Funded Sponsored Projects & Programs defines the appropriate charging of computer purchases, administrative or clerical salaries, and other departmental expenses consistent with OMB Circular A-21.