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Direct costs (other than salaries, wages, and ERE)

Salaries, wages, and ERE

Budget justification best practices

Application fees

Fees or charges required by a sponsor in order to submit a proposal or application or funding. The lead financial unit on the proposal or project is responsible for managing any fees associated with applying for, or receiving  funding from, sponsors with application fee requirements.

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Alterations and renovations

Alterations and renovations of space required to carry out the project. Complete the Facilities Request for Service form.  These costs should be budgeted in “other” and itemized in the budget justification.    

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Computer services

Costs of computer time and related support services, calculated according to the facility’s approved rate schedule. These costs should be budgeted in the “other” costs category.

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Conference costs

The primary purpose of a conference/meeting must be to disseminate technical information beyond ASU and to allow for successful performance of the project.  An “intra-university” conference is one that involves only ASU persons and does not include persons external to the University. The costs of “intra-university” events are unallowable for grants supported by federal funds.  Examples of unallowable costs for intra-university meetings and conferences include: speaker fees, rental of facilities, local transportation, food and other related costs.   For those grants awarded by other entities, the sponsor’s policies and award documents apply. 

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Consultants, by nature, do not direct projects.   Rather, they are experts outside the project which a PI hires to perform a discrete activity that does not involve designing or developing the research.  Consultants cannot serve as Co-PI nor Co-Investigator  

For any questions about whether an individual can be classified as a consultant or must be listed as an employee, contact [email protected], prior to budgeting. 

External consultants

Consultant fees must be reasonable and comparable in the field of expertise. For specific sponsor limitations see the application guidelines for that sponsor/program. Include the following information in the budget justification:

  • Name of consultant
  • Hourly rate and number of hours requested
  • What the consultant will do and how it will benefit the project

Intra-university consultants

The information noted under external consultants is also required for intra-university consultants.   For additional information about eligibility requirements as well as rate and hour limitations, please see the Additional Pay Web Form.  During the summer, the requirement to complete an intra-university consultant pay form does not apply to faculty who have no salaried obligations to ASU. Intra-University Consultants receive additional pay as a salary and wage. The additional pay is subject to ERE.

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Danger pay (DPA)

Refer to the US Department of State list of Danger Pay eligible areas. If project staff will perform work in one or more of these areas, they may be eligible for Danger Pay on the project. When appropriate, calculate Danger Pay (DPA) using the Pre-Award Danger Pay Calculator and enter these costs on the Other Direct Costs grid in ERA (Instructions are included within the ERA Budgets Guide). See International Research and Global Collaborations for additional Information. 

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Data Management & Sharing

Include direct costs for applicable data management and sharing costs based on the types and amounts of data that the project will produce and in line with any sponsor requirements for storage and sharing. Review Open Science Data Management Budgeting Considerations for examples and guidance.

Equipment (aka capital equipment)

Generally, capital equipment consists of movable items (not permanently attached to buildings or grounds) with an acquisition cost of at least $5,000 and a life expectancy of at least one year. Sales and/or use tax, customs fees, freight and installation are not included when calculating the unit cost of an acquisition.  To be considered equipment, computer software must be at least $5,000,000 (five million dollars).  Additional details can be found in PCS201.

Fabricated equipment (an item of equipment that is built or assembled from individual parts) is also capitalized as long as the final cost of the completed fabrication is at least $5,000.

Fabricated equipment is equipment that is constructed from individual parts by ASU and is identifiable as a discrete item (not a “project”). The equipment requires creative design effort by university faculty and cannot reasonably be built by an off-campus vendor (i.e., it is one-of-a-kind). It likely includes custom components, does not include modular equipment, and construction of the item is complex (e.g., not simply plugging various electrical components together). The finished item’s function does not bear resemblance to the functions of the individual components (e.g., an engine converts energy, a frame provides structure, and wheels reduce friction, but a car provides transportation).

Unless otherwise directed by the sponsor, items not meeting the criteria for capital equipment, including scientific software under $5,000,000 and computers, iPad, cameras as well as other electronics under $5,000, should be budgeted in materials and supplies.Refer to CAS for information about the allowability of these items.

Individually list items of capital equipment in the budget and justification. Include the basis of the equipment figures.  In estimating total costs to be requested, include an additional 7% for in-state sales tax or 5% out-of-state use tax (exclusive of R and D equipment qualifying for tax exemption) plus any applicable custom fees, freight and transportation charges, site preparation costs, and professional fees. Do not include warranties/maintenance agreements, training and feasibility studies. These costs must be budgeted in Other “services” direct costs.

Telephone quotes, vendor catalog prices, or bids strengthen capital equipment budget requests.

For additional details about equipment, see the ASU Business and Finance Property Control page.

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Equipment rental

In some situations, it is more economical to rent equipment than to purchase it.  The payments should be not be listed under equipment but rather shown as rent and budgeted under the “other” costs category.

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Budgeting of food (i.e. meals, snacks, beverages) on sponsored projects is allowable if the following conditions are met:

  • The sponsor has no stipulations against food being directly charged to their project.
  • The food is specifically budgeted and the budget justification clearly explains how the food is necessary to complete the scope of work. To justify the food as necessary, consider:
  • Is the food central to the sponsored project … e.g…….., testing, nutrition, labeling, marketing, demonstrating, etc.?
  • Is the food part of a formal business meeting which includes external persons and which is an integral part of the meeting, human subject study, or formal training session?
    • A lunch speaker is presenting to internal and external individuals on a topic specifically related to the meeting/training;
    • Meals or snacks are required due to the timing or location of the human subjects’ participation in the project.
  • Is attendance by the individual(s) advantageous to ASU and specific to carrying out the current objectives of the sponsored project?
    • Dissemination/exchange of technical information beyond ASU
    • Formal training of participants
  • Collection of human subject data

Food is always unallowable for:

  • Projects whose sponsor explicitly prohibit food
  • Conferences/meeting which do not disseminate information beyond ASU
  • Conferences/meetings which include only ASU employees
  • Standard/general/recurring staff, lab, and departmental meetings
  • Proposal preparation discussions/meetings
  • Meetings to discuss goals beyond the currently approved objectives
  • Entertainment or social activities
  • Alcohol 

If purchasing food for one of these activities was intended, please stop and remove the cost.

Budgets and/or requests which do not provide sufficient justification to determine if the food is in compliance with ASU’s FIN 420-02 as well as sponsor and 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) regulations cannot be included in proposals or expended from sponsored accounts.

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Human subjects

A human subject is someone who provides identifiable, private information or participates in a survey or interview as part of a research project. Informed consent must be obtained from human subjects, and there is the expectation of a deliverable in the way of a participation in research survey, or particular actions within a study. While some Principal Investigators may use the term “participant” instead of “human subject”, there are important differences between these two terms.  Regardless of terminology, these costs may not be budgeted in the participant support category. Instead they are budgeted in “other” and are subject to F and A costs.

For projects involving human subjects which are receiving support from private industry and which do not include federal flow through funds, the budget must include IRB fees.  Refer to the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance website for the current IRB fees. These fees should be included in the budget as a direct cost.

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Intellectual property (licensing and patent costs)

The Industry Agreements Group (IAG) is responsible for facilitating discussion with Skysong Innovations, LLC regarding advanced IP considerations. To open the discussion, email [email protected] and include the FP number (if available), Sponsor name, Scope of Work and Budget.  This information will allow IAG to evaluate and provide a recommendation regarding if (and how much) funds should be included for the Technology Administration Fee to Skysong Innovations, LLC. Once a determination has been made, the RA will be notified so that they can continue with proposal budget development. For situations where a Technology Administration Fee is to be included in the sponsor budget, follow the example below:

  • Direct costs $55,555
  • Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs $31,007
  • Total direct and F&A costs $86,562
  • Technology administration fee $20,833
  • Total costs $107,395

 For guidance on budgeting these costs in ERA, visit the ERA Budget guide.   

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Institutional Review Board fees

When a project, including charitable grants, is funded by industry (except where there are federal flow through funds involved), ASU charges IRB fees for human subject protocol reviews. The fees must be budgeted as “other services” under the other direct costs category.   The IRB Fee Structure is located on the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) website. 

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Materials and supplies

Research supplies and materials are consumable items such as lab animals, lab supplies, clinical supplies, glassware, chemicals, reagents, etc. used in the course of conducting the scope of work for a project. 

General supplies and non-capital equipment such as pens, binders, notebooks, flip charts, paper, computers, iPads, flash drives, software, cameras, postage, etc. are normally treated as Facilities and Administrative (F and A) costs.  They should not be proposed as a direct cost without documenting the budget justification in accord with CAS.

Estimate supplies using catalog prices, vendor quotes, or historical costs for like projects.  The estimate should include all costs associated with obtaining that supply or material, including shipping, handling and delivery charges.

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Membership fees

Regular fees or charges paid to an organization, often at regular intervals, in exchange for affiliation and associated benefits. Fees may include membership dues, assessment costs, etc. When applicable, the sponsor will determine price of membership, payment obligations and schedule. Membership Fees may be required to apply for funding or as a condition of award. The lead financial unit on the proposal or project is responsible for managing any fees associated with applying for, or receiving  funding from, sponsors with membership requirements. Contact the Proposal GCO or [email protected] for clarification or additional consideration as appropriate.

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National Lab, NIH center, other direct costs not to be awarded directly to ASU

If the project will include costs for a National Lab, an NIH Center, or includes other costs which will not be administered by ASU, see the Reviewing a Funding Announcement Guide for additional guidance.

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When a sponsor does not have a category explicitly set up for an allowable direct cost, budget it here. Clearly spell out the expense in the budget justification and provide a basis for having determined the amount requested. Some expenses which would normally be budgeted in other would be tuition and fees, human subject costs, and animal care costs. Also budgeted in this category, under the subcategory of  “services” are the costs for warranties/maintenance agreements, training and feasibility studies related to capital equipment purchases as well as printing, photocopying, communications, recharge center services, equipment rental, and other vendor services.

DOD proposals that require “safeguarding of unclassified controlled technical information” (aka NIST 800-53 or 204.7303) should include funds for secured storage. Amazon offers secured storage at a cost of $.03 per GB a month for standard cloud storage and $.01 per GB a month for archival storage. For DOD proposals that do not note mention this requirement in the FOA, include a budget justification statement that indicates that should storage and security outside of ASU’s standard technology office be required, ASU will negotiate at the time of the award for the expense.

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Participant support

Participant Support Costs are those costs which are paid to (or on behalf of) individuals who participate in meetings, conferences, symposia, workshops or other training activities. Registration fees, travel allowances, training manuals, and stipends for the participants are all budgeted under this category.  Participant support costs must be separately budgeted from other costs and require the sponsor’s prior approval in order to expend the funds in this way at award time.

REU participant support

  • The stipend that is paid to REU student participants is not a salary or wage for work performed. It is a traineeship, a form of student aid (like a scholarship or fellowship) provided to support a student’s education/training in a STEM field. In this case, the student’s training consists of closely mentored independent research.
  • As non-compensatory stipends, REU payments should be disbursed to students through Accounts Payable using a PV.

This category does not include human subjects’ payments which should be budgeted under “other”.

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Patient care costs

Routine medical costs that would normally have taken place and are now within the scope of the research, i.e., x-rays, blood tests, EKG, travel costs associated with diagnostic testing, etc. Budget in the “other” expenses category unless otherwise directed by the sponsor guidelines.

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The costs associated with publishing results to disseminate and share findings.  There are a variety of costs that may apply, ranging from page charges (could be $75-$250/page or a flat fee that could be $1000-$5000), color charges (usually for figures or images, but are increasingly rare)  or article processing charges (APCs) for publishing in some open access journals or for making an article open access (APCs typically range from $200-$10,400, depending on journal. Budget extra when targeting elite journals such as Nature, which has an APC of $12,290). Consider what types of journals would be most appropriate for disseminating the research to help determine which type of charges may apply. The ASU Library Open Access Publishing Library Guide provides some information about determining appropriate open-access options as well as discounts for ASU authors. Generally, these costs are budgeted in “other”.

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Most grants do not permit stipends. For those that do, there must be careful review to determine whether the stipend is compensatory or non-compensatory. This needs to be decided at the time of proposal to avoid complications at award time since they are handled very differently.  For assistance in making the determination, please visit the Financial Services website. Here your will find an explanation of both types of stipends along with a decision tree that will assist in determining how to classify the stipend.

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Subcontracts (aka subawards or subagreements)

Subcontracts/Subawards are awarded to another organization when working in collaboration with ASU to perform a substantive portion of the programmatic effort on an award

Many international subrecipients and small organizations may not have a UEI number and may not be registered in the federal System for Award Management (SAM). If the project is receiving federal funding and involves work with an international subrecipient and/or small organization, it is recommended that the subrecipient be informed of the need for a UEI number and to be registered in the federal System for Award Management (SAM) to receive funding. The SAM registration can take about a month to be completed. PNT is prohibited by Federal law from releasing subaward funding until these two pieces of information are provided. Taking care of these details at the time of proposal can avoid unnecessary delays at the time of award.

The total amount of the subawardee’s costs (direct + F&A costs) is budgeted as a direct cost in ASU’s budget. The scope of work, budget, budget justification and other certifications are documented in accord with instructions on Subawards.

Federally funded fixed-price subaward agreements must be limited to a maximum value of $150,000 and will require federal sponsor pre-approval. To minimize delays, include the subaward in the proposal so the sponsor can approve at the award stage.

See Subawards for additional information.

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Technology administration fee

See Intellectual property (license and patent costs).

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Follow ASU Travel Policy FIN 500 to budget travel expenses. Per diem and lodging varies according to travel destination. See ASU Travel Per Diem Rates for the reimbursement structure and meals / lodging information. For foreign travel per diems, visit the US General Services Administration website.

Short-term travel visa costs are allowable when critical and necessary to the project. They must be budgeted and fully justified.  Long term visa costs associated with immigration are unallowable.

Transportation costs may be calculated by estimating round-trip airfare or – if driving – by using the Travel Services’ website to determine the mileage reimbursement rate. Tip: Use Ctrl F to search the document for “mileage”.

A My ASU Trip fee of $10.35 per report should be budgeted to cover the cost of the travel expense report issued to each person traveling. For example if 6 people are traveling to a conference, the trip fee would be $62.70 for that trip. This fee is paid to Concur Technologies, the travel system software provided. These fees should be budgeted in state (category 7510 96), out of state (category 7520 96) or as foreign travel (category 7530 96), depending on the destination.

Budget justifications for all proposed travel (Domestic and Foreign) should include a) the number of persons traveling, b) the number of days in travel status, c) the purpose and reason why it’s necessary, and  d) a breakdown of costs.

Foreign travel should be budgeted and justified separately. Federal awards require the use of US Flag Carriers to foreign destinations. Canada and Mexico are treated as foreign travel both by federal sponsors and ASU.   

All ASU students (and faculty/staff members accompanying students) participating in university-related travel outside of the United States and its territories must register in the International Travel Registry. A registry fee of $3.00 per day per traveler should be budgeted, with costs escalated in out years of the project.

ASU does not permit payment of dependent care costs and therefore should not be included in the budget – even though the sponsor may consider the cost allowable. Rule of thumb: Most restrictive policy applies. In this case ASU’s policy is the most restrictive.

NOTE:  Due to safety concerns, the purchase, lease, or rental of 12- and 15-passenger vans for official university road travel is prohibited. For additional information about ASU’s Vehicle Policy, see FAC204.

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Tuition and fees

Graduate students receiving salary (Expenditure Code 7110)

Tuition and fees should be budgeted in the “other” category. Tuition remission is normally NOT subject to F&A. Please refer to the F&A page for additional guidance on when to charge F and A on tuition costs. Tuition remission must be charged in proportion to the effort of the GRA. Based upon the Graduate College policy, GRA effort during the AY cannot exceed 20 hours per week and is thus considered 100% effort. The tuition amount below assumes a GRA AY effort of 100% (20 hours per week).

For graduate student employees working during the summer, one (1) credit of summer tuition remission is charged to the given sponsored project per summer, regardless of a) number of credits registered, b) number of hours worked, or c) whether working during one or both summer sessions.

Type of ApplicationPeriod of SupportFY2024FY2025FY2026FY2027FY2028FY2029 and
New and renewalAY$18,800$19,740$21,319$23,025$24,867Escalate tuition
at 8% per year
New and renewalSummer$ 1,224$ 1,285$ 1,388$ 1,499$ 1,619

Information on historical tuition remission rates is found in Historical Tuition Remission Rates document.

ESCALATIONIf a start date is 6 months or more into a fiscal year, BOTH ERA and the Budget Worksheet will calculate amounts using the following year’s rates.

Graduate students receiving stipends (expenditure codes 7700)

Do not use the blended rates above. Use ASU’s standard tuition rates. Verify the residency status of the graduate student and then budget the appropriate in-state or out-of state rate.


All amounts shown in the Tuition and Fees Schedules or in other University publications or web pages represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, Arizona State University reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice, upon approval by the Arizona Board of Regents or as otherwise consistent with Board policy and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at ASU at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time for correction of errors.

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Value-added tax

VAT is a sales tax that may be assessed on goods and services. ASU may be responsible for payment of this tax. ASU’s preference is for this tax condition to not flow-down to ASU. The sponsor will include this requirement in the Funding Announcement and is responsible for making determination of when and when it would not apply. VAT can be a significant and an unexpected cost. ASU may not be able to reclaim a full or partial refund from a foreign country. VATs are widely debated on their effectiveness and when they would apply. If a full refund is not available, the ASU’s principal investigator will be contacted by ASU Research Operations to discuss options for payment.

During proposal development, it is recommended to check if the sponsor resides in a country where VAT could be applied to ASU, see Value-added tax country list.

If yes, ASU University Tax Office recommends providing a justification in the proposal on the premise ASU is exempt and not liable for a potential VAT for the following reasons:

  • ASU is public institution of United States.
  • ASU does not have a permanent business location in __(foreign country)_________.
  • ASU is not registered for doing business in __(foreign country)_________.
  • ASU is not doing business in __(foreign country)_________.
  • ASU should not be charged VAT on orders shipped into the U.S. for use in the U.S.

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