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Budget Preparation Guide

(Revised 7/24/12)

The following are general guidelines for preparing budgets. A budget may include items such as salaries, benefits, materials and supplies, travel, publications, consulting, equipment, subcontracts, and indirect (facilities and administration) costs. The following is a further description of generally used budget categories:

Faculty Salaries - When developing a multi-year budget, faculty should estimate a 4% increase for fiscal year 2014 and a 4% increase for each year thereafter. 

All other Personnel Salaries:

Faculty Salaries – Summer

  • Faculty members are paid on an academic year (i.e., nine month) basis.  Summer salary per month is equal to one-ninth of the academic year salary.  Hence, one month of Summer salary for a faculty member earning $63,000 equals $7,000.  Please note that NSF restricts total Summer salary to 2/9ths of academic year salary (i.e., they pay a maximum of two months of Summer salary.) 

Post-Doctorals/Research Technicians

  • Post-docs are typically paid on a 12-month basis.  Normally the whole amount of the salary is included in the proposal budget.  Please estimate a 3% increase for fiscal year 2014 and a 3% increase for each year thereafter.

Graduate Students

  • Graduate stipend rates are effective from July 1 to June 30.  Rates are determined by Graduate Student Services.  Please estimate a 5% increase for fiscal year 2014 and a 5% increase for each year thereafter.

Undergraduate Students

  • Most undergraduate students should be paid hourly on a weekly basis.  Students must be paid for the actual number of hours worked and they must be paid an hourly wage that meets the minimum wage. 
  • If a student qualifies as a work study student then the proposal budget should only include 50% of the total salary amount.  Please estimate a 4% increase for fiscal year 2014 and a 4% increase for each year thereafter.
  • Under special circumstances, a student may receive a fellowship stipend as a lump-sum payment.  A fellowship stipend is an amount paid for the benefit of a student to aid in the pursuit of study or research. 
  • Please note that only hourly wages are eligible for federal work study, term time or summer employment match.  Fellowship stipends are ineligible for any match. 

Fringe Benefits

  • These include University expenditures for FICA, pension contributions and medical/dental insurance.  Fringe benefit rates by employee category are:
  • Faculty – Summer                      17.65% (7.65% for FICA and 10% for retirement contribution).
  • Post-docs/Research Techs      36.3% (Effective as of 7/1/12)
  • Graduate Students                      No benefits
  • Undergraduate Students            No benefits

Other Modified Total Direct Costs

  • Materials and Supplies
    Any consumable item regardless of cost, any item having an acquisition unit cost of less than $5,000, or any item having an anticipated life expectancy of less than one year, is considered a supply item.  Examples of such items include chemicals and glassware.  A reasonable amount should be budgeted for these items; it is not necessary to breakdown the cost of each item, but general categories should be listed (e.g., glassware, chemicals).  This includes lab consumables and other non-equipment type items.  Please note that office supplies are unallowable as they are part of our indirect cost rate.
  • Travel
    Covers trips to professional conferences, or invited talks.  Includes transportation costs, lodging, meals, and fees for conferences.  Each trip should be budgeted separately.
  • Animal Care
    All grant proposals for projects that involve the use of vertebrate animals must include funds to pay costs of animal maintenance by Wesleyan’s Animal Facility consistent with levels established by the Institution and its Animal Users Committee.  In addition please note that in the event that the grant is funded but with a reduced budget, the funds for animal care should not be reduced disproportionately without the specific approval of the Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Academic Affairs.
  • Consultants
    Consultants must be approved by the sponsoring agency in many instances.  The fee and travel expenses should be included in the budget.  In almost all cases, the consultant will not be someone who is currently an employee of the University.
  • Subcontracts
    The potential subcontractor must provide a budget (including start/end dates), a Letter of Intent, and a Statement of Work to Foundation and Corporate Relations.  If the primary grantor is a Federal or State agency, then additional certifications will be required.  Note:  indirect costs are only charged on the first $25,000 of the subcontract.
  • Other
    This may include publications and equipment maintenance.

Other Direct Costs (Not Subject to Indirect Cost)

  • Equipment
    Equipment consists of items costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of at least one year.  Quotes will often be necessary for equipment purchases.  General purpose equipment (office equipment) is not allowable under Federal and State government grants.

Indirect Costs

  • Facilities and Administration (F & A) Costs are reimbursement to the University for items such as laboratory and office space, utilities, administrative services (accounting, human resources, sponsored research office, departmental assistants, etc.), custodial services, building and grounds, and library and computer center support.  Indirect cost charges encompass all those costs which are necessary to a research effort, but which cannot be charged directly due to the nature of the cost.   
  • Indirect cost percentages are calculated every 3 years based on methodology specified by the Federal government.  These costs are audited, and the Federal government approves the rate.  The approved F&A rate for the period 7/1/11 to 6/30/14 is 64.1% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).  In other words, the sum of all direct costs less equipment, rental costs of off-site facilities and subcontract amounts in excess of $25,000.
  • If more than 50% of the grant activities are to be performed off-campus, then the off-campus rate will apply to the entire grant.  The off-campus rate for the period 7/1/11 to 6/30/14 is 24.2% of MTDC.  Please refer to the Determination of On and Off Campus F&A Rates policy for more information.