NIH Grants Policy Statement
Revised November 2015. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2015.

7.9 Allowability of Costs/Activities

The governing cost principles address selected items of cost, some of which are mentioned in this section for emphasis. This section is not intended to be all-inclusive. The cost principles should be consulted for the complete explanation of the allowability or unallowability of costs.

This section also includes NIH-specific requirements concerning costs and activities. The allowability of costs under specific NIH awards may be subject to other requirements specified in the program legislation, regulations, or the specific terms and conditions of an award, which take precedence over the general discussion provided here. Specific program requirement may also be covered in other sections of the NIH GPS. Applicants or recipients that have questions concerning the allowability of particular costs should contact the GMO.

If a cost is allowable, it is allocable as either a direct cost or an F&A cost, depending on the recipient's accounting system. For some costs addressed in this section, the text specifies whether the cost is usually a direct cost or an F&A cost.

Unless otherwise indicated in the NoA, an award based on an application that includes specific information concerning any costs or activities that require NIH prior approval constitutes the prior approval for those costs or activities. The recipient is not required to obtain any additional approval for those costs/activities. Post-award requests to incur costs or undertake activities requiring prior approval that are not described in the approved application are subject to the requirements in Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget.

Consortium participants and contractors under grants are subject to the requirements of the cost principles otherwise applicable to their type of organization and to any requirements placed on them by the recipient to be able to comply with the terms and conditions of the NIH grant.

The cost principles do not address profit or fee. NIH policy allows the payment of fee on SBIR/STTR grants (see Grants to For-Profit Organizations chapter in IIB) but NIH will not provide profit or fee to any other type of recipient under any other grant program or support mechanism. A fee may not be paid by a recipient to a consortium participant, including a for-profit organization. However, a fee (profit) may be paid to a contractor providing routine goods or services under a grant in accordance with normal commercial practice.

7.9.1 Selected Items of Cost

Exhibit 5: Selected Items of Cost

The table presents specific items that may or may not be included in the cost portion of grants

Items Explanation of Allowable Costs
Advertising and Public Relations

(a) The term advertising costs means the costs of advertising media and corollary administrative costs. Advertising media include magazines, newspapers, radio and television, direct mail, exhibits, electronic or computer transmittals, and the like.

(b) The only allowable advertising costs are those which are solely for:

(1) The recruitment of personnel required by the non-Federal entity for performance of a Federal award (See also 45 CFR 75.463);

(2) The procurement of goods and services for the performance of a Federal award;

(3) The disposal of scrap or surplus materials acquired in the performance of a Federal award except when non-Federal entities are reimbursed for disposal costs at a predetermined amount; or

(4) Program outreach and other specific purposes necessary to meet the requirements of the Federal award.

(c) The term ''public relations'' includes community relations and means those activities dedicated to maintaining the image of the non- Federal entity or maintaining or relations with the community or public at large or any segment of the public.

(d) The only allowable public relations costs are:

(1) Costs specifically required by the Federal award;

(2) Costs of communicating with the public and press pertaining to specific activities or accomplishments which result from performance of the Federal award (these costs are considered necessary as part of the outreach effort for the Federal award); or

(3) Costs of conducting general liaison with news media and government public relations officers, to the extent that such activities are limited to communication and liaison necessary to keep the public informed on matters of public concern, such as notices of funding opportunities, financial matters, etc.

(e) Unallowable advertising and public relations costs include the following:

(1) All advertising and public relations costs other than as specified in paragraphs (b) and (d) of this section;

(2) Costs of meetings, conventions, convocations, or other events related to other activities of the entity (see also 45 CFR 75.432), including:

(i) Costs of displays, demonstrations, and exhibits;

(ii) Costs of meeting rooms, hospitality suites, and other special facilities used in conjunction with shows and other special events; and

(iii) Salaries and wages of employees engaged in setting up and displaying exhibits, making demonstrations, and providing briefings;

(3) Costs of promotional items and memorabilia, including models, gifts, and souvenirs;

(4) Costs of advertising and public relations designed solely to promote the non-Federal entity

Alcoholic Beverages Unallowable as an entertainment expense, but allowable if within the scope of an approved research project.
Alteration and Renovation

Individual A&R projects that are treated as direct costs and that will not exceed $500,000 will be subject to the A&R policies specified in this exhibit and in the Construction Grants chapter, as applicable. Individual A&R projects exceeding $500,000 in direct costs will be subject to the requirements specified in the Construction Grants chapter.

Routine maintenance and repair of the organization's physical plant or equipment, which is allowable and is ordinarily treated as an F&A cost, is not considered A&R for purposes of applying this policy. Certain allowable costs of installing equipment, such as the temporary removal and replacement of wall sections and door frames to place equipment in its permanent location, or the costs of connecting utility lines, replacing finishes and furnishings, and installing any accessory devices required for the equipment's proper and safe utilization, may be considered either equipment costs or A&R costs, depending on the recipient's accounting system.

A&R costs are not allowable under grants to individuals, and grants in support of scientific meetings (conference grants). In all other cases, these costs are allowable unless the program legislation, implementing regulations, program guidelines, or other terms and conditions of the award specifically exclude such activity.

The A&R must be consistent with the following criteria and documentation requirements:

The building has a useful life consistent with program purposes and is architecturally and structurally suitable for conversion to the type of space required.

The A&R is essential to the purpose of the grant-supported project.

The space involved will be occupied by the project.

The space is suitable for human occupancy before A&R work is started except where the purpose of the A&R is to make the space suitable for some purpose other than human occupancy, such as storage.

If the space is rented, evidence is provided that the terms of the lease are compatible with the A&R proposed and cover the duration of the project period.

If the A&R will affect a site listed in (or eligible for inclusion in) the National Register of Historic Places, the requirements specified in "Preservation of Cultural and Historic Resources" have been followed.

Work necessary to obtain an initial occupancy permit for the intended use is not an allowable A&R cost.

A recipient may rebudget up to 25 percent of the total approved budget for a budget period into A&R costs without NIH prior approval unless such rebudgeting would result in a change in scope. If the rebudgeting will result in an A&R project exceeding $500,000, NIH will consider the rebudgeting to be a change in scope, and the recipient must submit to the NIH awarding IC the documentation specified in the Construction Grants chapter for prior approval of A&R projects above that dollar level.

Under foreign grants or foreign components under domestic grants, major A&R (>$500,000) is unallowable. Minor A&R (<$500,000) is generally allowable on grants made to foreign organizations or to the foreign component of a domestic grant, unless prohibited by the governing statute or implementing program regulations.

Animals Allowable for the acquisition, care, and use of experimental animals, contingent upon compliance with the applicable requirements of the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (see Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Animal Welfare). If the recipient operates an animal resource facility, charges for use of the facility should be determined in accordance with the Cost Analysis and Rate Setting Manual for Animal Resource Facilities (PDF, 32 MB) - May 2000.
Audiovisual Activities

Allowable for the production of an audiovisual. "Audiovisual" means any product containing visual imagery, sound, or both, such as motion pictures, films, videotapes, live or recorded radio or television programs or public service announcements, slide shows, filmstrips, audio recordings, multimedia presentations, or exhibits where visual imagery, sound, or both are an integral part. "Production" refers to the steps and techniques used to create a finished audiovisual product including, but not limited to, design, layout, scriptwriting, filming or taping, fabrication, sound recording, and editing.

A recipient with in-house production capability must determine whether it would be more efficient and economical to use that capability or to contract for the production of an audiovisual.

If an audiovisual intended for members of the general public (i.e., people who are not researchers or health professions personnel or who are not directly involved in project activities as employees, trainees, or participants such as volunteers or patients) is produced under an NIH grant-supported project, the recipient must submit two copies of the finished product along with its annual or final progress report (see Administrative Requirements-Monitoring-Reporting and Administrative Requirements-Closeout). The costs of such copies are allowable project costs.

Audiovisuals produced under an NIH grant-supported project must bear an acknowledgment and disclaimer, such as the following:

The production of this [type of audiovisual (motion picture, television program, etc.)] was supported by Grant No.____________ from [name of NIH awarding IC]. Its contents are solely the responsibility of [name of recipient organization] and do not necessarily represent the official views of [name of NIH awarding IC].

Audit Services

(a) A reasonably proportionate share of the costs of audits required by, and performed in accordance with, the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501-7507), as implemented by requirements of 45 CFR 75, are allowable. However, the following audit costs are unallowable: (1) Any costs when audits required by the Single Audit Act and Subpart F- Audit Requirements of 45 CFR 75 have not been conducted or have been conducted but not in accordance therewith; and (2) Any costs of auditing a non- Federal entity that is exempted from having an audit conducted under the Single Audit Act and Subpart F-Audit Requirements of 45 CFR 75 because its expenditures under Federal awards are less than $750,000 during the non- Federal entity's fiscal year. (b) The costs of a financial statement audit of a non-Federal entity that does not currently have a Federal award may be included in the indirect cost pool for a cost allocation plan or indirect cost proposal. (c) Pass-through entities may charge Federal awards for the cost of agreed-upon-procedures engagements to monitor subrecipients (in accordance with Subpart D of 45 CFR 75.351 through 75.353) which are exempted from the requirements of the Single Audit Act and Subpart F of 45 CFR 75. This cost is allowable only if the agreed-upon-procedures engagements are:

(1) Conducted in accordance with GAGAS attestation standards;

(2) Paid for and arranged by the pass-through entity; and

(3) Limited in scope to one or more of the following types of compliance requirements: activities allowed or unallowed; allowable costs/cost principles; eligibility; and reporting.

Bad Debts Bad debts (debts which have been determined to be uncollectable), including losses (whether actual or estimated) arising from uncollectable accounts and other claims, are unallowable. Related collection costs, and related legal costs, arising from such debts after they have been determined to be uncollectable are also unallowable. (See also 45 CFR 75.428).
Bonding (a) Bonding costs arise when the Federal awarding agency requires assurance against financial loss to itself or others by reason of the act or default of the non-Federal entity. They arise also in instances where the non-Federal entity requires similar assurance, including: bonds as bid, performance, payment, advance payment, infringement, and fidelity bonds for employees and officials. (b) Costs of bonding required pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Federal award are allowable. (c) Costs of bonding required by the non-Federal entity in the general conduct of its operations are allowable as an indirect cost to the extent that such bonding is in accordance with sound business practice and the rates and premiums are reasonable under the circumstances.
Books and Journals Allowable. If an organization has a library, books and journals generally should be provided as part of normal library services and treated as F&A costs.
Building Acquisition Unallowable unless building acquisition or construction is specifically authorized by program legislation and is provided for in the NoA. For real property acquired with NIH grant support, the cost of title insurance may be charged to the grant in proportion to the Federal share of the acquisition cost. Filing fees for recording the Federal interest in the real property in appropriate records of the applicable jurisdiction also may be charged to the grant. (Also see Construction Grants-Allowable and Unallowable Costs and Activities in IIB).
Capital Expenditures See Equipment and Other Capital Expenditures.
Child Care Costs Allowable if incurred to assist individuals to participate as subjects in research projects. Such costs also may be allowable as a fringe benefit for individuals working on a grant-supported project (see Fringe Benefits and Travel Costs in this exhibit).
Collection of Improper Payments The costs incurred by a non-Federal entity to recover improper payments are allowable as either direct or indirect costs, as appropriate. Amounts collected may be used by the non-Federal entity in accordance with cash management standards set forth in 45 CFR 75.305. (See Improper Payment).
Communications Allowable. Such costs include local and long-distance telephone calls, express mail, and postage, and usually are treated as F&A costs.
Conference Grant Costs See Support of Scientific Meetings (Conference Grants) chapter in IIB for allowability of costs for scientific meetings (conferences).
Consortium Agreements/ Contracts under Grants Allowable to carry out a portion of the programmatic effort or for the acquisition of routine goods or services under the grant. Such arrangements may require NIH approval as specified in Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget. (See also Administrative Requirements-Management Systems and Procedures-Procurement System Standards and Requirements for policies that apply to the acquisition of routine goods and services and the Consortium Agreements chapter in IIB for policies that apply to recipient collaboration with other organizations in carrying out the grant-supported research).
Construction Allowable only when program legislation specifically authorizes new construction, modernization, or major A&R, and NIH specifically authorizes such costs in the NoA. When authorized, construction activities may include construction of a new facility or projects in an existing building that are considered to be construction, such as relocation of exterior walls, roofs, and floors; attachment of fire escapes; or completion of unfinished shell space to make it suitable for human occupancy (see Construction Grants chapter in IIB).
Consultant Services SeeProfessional Services and Salaries and Wages/Intra-IHE Consulting.
Contingency Provisions Unallowable. Payments made by the NIH awarding IC to the non-Federal entity's "contingency reserve" or any similar payment made for events the occurrence of which cannot be foretold with certainty as to the time or intensity, or with an assurance of their happening, are unallowable under non-construction grants. Contingency funds do not include pension funds, self-insurance funds, and normal accruals (also see Reserve Funds in this exhibit). (See also Construction Grants-Allowable and Unallowable Costs and Activities in IIB concerning contingency funds under construction grants).
Customs and Import Duties Allowable under grants to domestic organizations when performance will take place entirely within the United States, its possessions, or its territories, or when foreign involvement in the project is incidental to the overall grant-supported project. Charges may include consular fees, customs surtaxes, value-added taxes, and other related charges. Consular fees, customs surtaxes, value-added taxes and other related charges are unallowable on foreign grants or the foreign component of a domestic grant. (See Taxes in this exhibit).
Depreciation or Use Allowances Allowable. Such costs usually are treated as F&A costs. Depreciation or use charges on equipment or buildings acquired under a federally supported project are not allowable.
Donor Costs Allowable as payment to volunteers or research subjects who contribute blood, urine samples, and other body fluids or tissues that are specifically project-related. Donor costs are not considered a research patient care expense (see the Research Patient Care Costs chapter in IIB). Also see Incentive Costs in this exhibit.

Allowable if within the scope of an approved research project.

Project funds may not be used to purchase drugs classified by FDA as "ineffective" or "possibly effective" except in approved clinical research projects or in cases where there is no alternative other than therapy with "possibly effective" drugs.

Dues or Membership Fees

Allowable as an F&A cost for organizational membership in business, professional, or technical organizations or societies.

Payment of dues or membership fees for an individual's membership in a professional or technical organization is allowable as a fringe benefit or an employee development cost, if paid according to an established organizational policy consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.

See also Membership, Subscription, and Professional Activity costs.

Entertainment Costs Costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any associated costs are unallowable, except where specific costs that might otherwise be considered entertainment have a programmatic purpose and are authorized either in the approved budget for the Federal award or with prior written approval of the NIH awarding IC.
Equipment and Other Capital Expenditures

The following rules of allowability must apply to equipment and other capital expenditures:

(1) Capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings, and land are unallowable as direct charges, except with the prior written approval of the NIH awarding IC or pass-through entity.

(2) Capital expenditures for special purpose equipment are allowable as direct costs, provided that items with a unit cost of $5,000 or more have the prior written approval of the HHS NIH awarding agency or pass-through entity.

(3) Capital expenditures for improvements to land, buildings, or equipment which materially increase their value or useful life are unallowable as a direct cost except with the prior written approval of the NIH awarding agency, or pass-through entity. See Depreciation for rules on the allowability of depreciation on buildings, capital improvements, and equipment. See also Rental Costs of Real Property and Equipment.

(4) When approved as a direct charge pursuant to items (1) through (3) above, capital expenditures will be charged in the period in which the expenditure is incurred, or as otherwise determined appropriate and negotiated with the NIH awarding IC.

(5) The unamortized portion of any equipment written off as a result of a change in capitalization levels may be recovered by continuing to claim the otherwise allowable depreciation on the equipment, or by amortizing the amount to be written off over a period of years negotiated with the Federal cognizant agency for indirect cost.

(6) Cost of equipment disposal. If the non-Federal entity is instructed by the NIH awarding IC to otherwise dispose of or transfer the equipment the costs of such disposal or transfer are allowable.

See also Capital Expenditures, Equipment, Special Purpose Equipment, General Purpose Equipment, Acquisition Cost, and Capital Assets.

Federal (U.S. Government) Employees See Grants to Federal Institutions and Payments to Federal Employees under Grants-Allowable and Unallowable Costs in IIB for the allowability of payments made to, or on behalf of, Federal employees under NIH grants, including grants to Federal institutions.
Fines, Penalties, Damages and Other Settlements Costs resulting from non-Federal entity violations of, alleged violations of, or failure to comply with, Federal, state, tribal, local or foreign laws and regulations are unallowable, except when incurred as a result of compliance with specific provisions of the Federal award, or with prior written approval of the NIH awarding IC.
Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are allowances and services provided by employers to their employees as compensation in addition to regular salaries and wages. Fringe benefits include, but are not limited to, the costs of leave (vacation, family related, sick or military), employee insurance, pensions, and unemployment benefit plans. Except as provided elsewhere in 45 CFR 75 Subpart E, the costs of fringe benefits are allowable provided that the benefits are reasonable and are required by law, non-Federal entity-employee agreement, or an established policy of the non-Federal entity.

For policies applicable to tuition remission for students working on grant-supported research projects, see Fringe Benefits / IHE Tuition/Tuition Remission in this exhibit. See Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Individual Fellowships-Allowable and Unallowable Costs-Tuition and Fees and Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Institutional Research Training Grants-Allowable and Unallowable Costs-Trainee Tuition and Fees in IIB for the allowability of tuition costs for fellows and trainees.

Fringe Benefits / IHE Tuition/Tuition Remission

Tuition remission and other forms of compensation paid as, or in lieu of, wages to students under research grants are allowable, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The individual is conducting activities necessary to the Federal award.
  2. Tuition remission and other support are provided, in accordance with established institutional policy, of the IHE and consistently provided in a like manner to students in return for similar activities conducted under Federal awards as well as other activities.
  3. During the academic period, the student is enrolled in an advanced degree program at a non-Federal entity or affiliated institution and the activities of the student in relation to the Federal award are related to the degree program.
  4. The tuition or other payments are reasonable compensation for the work performed and are conditioned explicitly upon the performance of necessary work.
  5. It is the IHE's practice to similarly compensate students under Federal awards as well as other activities

Charges for tuition remission and other forms of compensation paid to students as, or in lieu of, salaries and wages are subject to the reporting requirements in 45 CFR 75.430(i). NIH will determine the allowability and reasonableness of such compensation under a grant on the basis of 45 CFR 75 Subpart E and its current operating guidelines.

The maximum amount NIH will award for compensation of a graduate student receiving support from a research grant is the zero-level Kirschstein-NRSA stipend in effect when NIH issues the grant award (see current levels posted at

Payments made for educational assistance (e.g., scholarships, fellowships, and student aid costs) may not be paid from NIH research grant funds even when they would appear to benefit the research project.

Fringe Benefits / Insurance

Allowable. Insurance usually is treated as an F&A cost. In certain situations, however, where special insurance is required as a condition of the grant because of risks peculiar to the project, the premium may be charged as a direct cost if doing so is consistent with organizational policy. Medical liability (malpractice) insurance is an allowable cost of research programs at all types of recipients only if the research involves human subjects. If so, the insurance should be treated as a direct cost and assigned to individual grants based on the manner in which the insurer allocates the risk to the population covered by the insurance. See also Reserve Funds.

The cost of insuring equipment, whether purchased with project funds or furnished as federally owned property, normally should be included in F&A costs but may be allowable as a direct cost if this manner of charging is the normal organizational policy.

Health insurance for trainees and fellows is addressed in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards chapter in IIB.

Fringe Benefits / Pension Plan Costs

Pension plan costs which are incurred in accordance with the established policies of the non- Federal entity are allowable, provided that:

(1) Such policies meet the test of reasonableness.

(2) The methods of cost allocation are not discriminatory.

(3) For entities using accrual based accounting, the cost assigned to each fiscal year is determined in accordance with GAAP.

(4) The costs assigned to a given fiscal year are funded for all plan participants within six months after the end of that year. However, increases to normal and past service pension costs caused by a delay in funding the actuarial liability beyond 30 calendar days after each quarter of the year to which such costs are assignable are unallowable. Non- Federal entity may elect to follow the ''Cost Accounting Standard for Composition and Measurement of Pension Costs'' (48 CFR 9904.412).

(5) Pension plan termination insurance premiums paid pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1301-1461) are allowable. Late payment charges on such premiums are unallowable. Excise taxes on accumulated funding deficiencies and other penalties imposed under ERISA are unallowable.

(6) Pension plan costs may be computed using a pay-as-you-go method or an acceptable actuarial cost method in accordance with established written policies of the non-Federal entity.

(i) For pension plans financed on a pay-as-you-go method, allowable costs will be limited to those representing actual payments to retirees or their beneficiaries.

(ii) Pension costs calculated using an actuarial cost-based method recognized by GAAP are allowable for a given fiscal year if they are funded for that year within six months after the end of that year. Costs funded after the six month period (or a later period agreed to by the cognizant agency for indirect costs) are allowable in the year funded. The cognizant agency for indirect costs may agree to an extension of the six month period if an appropriate adjustment is made to compensate for the timing of the charges to the Federal government and related Federal reimbursement and the non-Federal entity's contribution to the pension fund. Adjustments may be made by cash refund or other equitable procedures to compensate the Federal government for the time value of Federal reimbursements in excess of contributions to the pension fund.

(iii) Amounts funded by the non- Federal entity in excess of the actuarially determined amount for a fiscal year may be used as the non- Federal entity's contribution in future periods.

(iv) When a non-Federal entity converts to an acceptable actuarial cost method, as defined by GAAP, and funds pension costs in accordance with this method, the unfunded liability at the time of conversion is allowable if amortized over a period of years in accordance with GAAP.

(v) The Federal government must receive an equitable share of any previously allowed pension costs (including earnings thereon) which revert or inure to the non-Federal entity in the form of a refund, withdrawal, or other credit.

Fringe Benefits / Severance Pay

(1) Severance pay, also commonly referred to as dismissal wages, is a payment in addition to regular salaries and wages, by non-Federal entities to workers whose employment is being terminated. Costs of severance pay are allowable only to the extent that in each case, it is required by (a) law, (b) employer-employee agreement, (c) established policy that constitutes, in effect, an implied agreement on the non- Federal entity's part, or (d) circumstances of the particular employment.

(2) Costs of severance payments are divided into two categories as follows:

(i) Actual normal turnover severance payments must be allocated to all activities; or, where the non-Federal entity provides for a reserve for normal severances, such method will be acceptable if the charge to current operations is reasonable in light of payments actually made for normal severances over a representative past period, and if amounts charged are allocated to all activities of the non- Federal entity.

(ii) Measurement of costs of abnormal or mass severance pay by means of an accrual will not achieve equity to both parties. Thus, accruals for this purpose are not allowable. However, the Federal government recognizes its obligation to participate, to the extent of its fair share, in any specific payment. Prior approval by the Federal awarding agency or cognizant agency for indirect cost, as appropriate, is required.

(3) Costs incurred in certain severance pay packages which are in an amount in excess of the normal severance pay paid by the non-Federal entity to an employee upon termination of employment and are paid to the employee contingent upon a change in management control over, or ownership of, the non-Federal entity's assets, are unallowable.

(4) Severance payments to foreign nationals employed by the non-Federal entity outside the United States, to the extent that the amount exceeds the customary or prevailing practices for the non-Federal entity in the United States, are unallowable, unless they are necessary for the performance of Federal programs and approved by the NIH awarding IC.

(5) Severance payments to foreign nationals employed by the non-Federal entity outside the United States due to the termination of the foreign national as a result of the closing of, or curtailment of activities by, the non-Federal entity in that country, are unallowable, unless they are necessary for the performance of Federal programs and approved by the NIH awarding IC.

Fundraising and Investment Management Costs

(a) Costs of organized fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions are unallowable. Fund raising costs for the purposes of meeting the Federal program objectives are allowable with prior written approval from the Federal awarding agency. (See also Proposal Costs).

(b) Costs of investment counsel and staff and similar expenses incurred to enhance income from investments are unallowable except when associated with investments covering pension, self-insurance, or other funds which include Federal participation allowed by 45 CFR 75.

(c) Costs related to the physical custody and control of monies and securities are allowable.

(d) Both allowable and unallowable fund raising and investment activities must be allocated as an appropriate share of indirect costs under the conditions described in 45 CFR 75.413.

Genomic Arrays Allowable as a direct cost, but with specialized treatment of F&A reimbursement for costs exceeding $50,000 in each budget year. See Cost Considerations-Reimbursement of Facilities and Administrative Costs for more information.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Allowable; usually treated as an F&A cost.
Honoraria Unallowable when the primary intent is to confer distinction on, or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration for, the recipient of the honorarium. A payment for services rendered, such as a speaker's fee under a conference grant, is allowable.
Hospitalization See Research Patient Care in this exhibit.
Incentive Costs Incentive payments to volunteers or patients participating in a grant-supported project or program are allowable. Incentive payments to individuals to motivate them to take advantage of grant-supported health care or other services are allowable if within the scope of an approved project. See Salaries and Wages/Incentive Compensation in this exhibit for incentive payments to employees.
Indemnification Absent express statutory authority, unallowable if the indemnification would result in liability that is indefinite, indeterminate or potentially unlimited. In those rare cases where authority does allow this cost, it would be reflected in the NoA.
Independent Research and Development Costs Independent research and development is research and development which is conducted by an organization, and which is not sponsored by Federal or non-Federal awards, contracts, or other agreements. Independent research and development shall be allocated its proportionate share of indirect costs on the same basis as the allocation of indirect costs to sponsored research and development. The cost of independent research and development, including their proportionate share of indirect costs, are unallowable.
Intellectual Property (Invention, Copyright, Patent, or Licensing Costs) Unallowable as a direct cost unless specifically authorized on the grant award. May be allowable as F&A costs, provided they are in accordance with 45 CFR 75.448 and are included in the negotiation of F&A cost rates.
Interest Allowable as an F&A cost for certain assets as specified in 45 CFR 75.449. Unallowable for hospitals (45 CFR Pt 75, Appendix IX, I.o). (see Payment-Interest Earned on Advances of Grant Funds).
IRB or IACUC Costs Costs associated with IRB review of human research protocols, or IACUC review of animal research protocols, are not allowable as direct charges to NIH-funded research unless such costs are not covered by the organization's F&A rate.
Laboratory Directed Research & Development NIH awards to DOE laboratories will not include the proportionate share of F&A costs for Laboratory Directed Research & Development (LDRD) in accordance with the MOU with the Department of Energy dated June 18, 1998, although the NIH will not restrict the DOE laboratory contractors from recovering LDRD costs within the total funding included in an award. In addition, DOE has agreed to waive the Overhead Rate on all NIH grant awards to DOE laboratory contractors.
Leave Allowable for employees as a fringe benefit (see Fringe Benefits in this exhibit). See Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Individual Fellowships-Other Terms and Conditions-Leave and Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Institutional Research Training Grants-Other Terms and Conditions-Leave in IIB for NIH policy on leave for fellows and trainees.
Legal Services

Allowable. Generally treated as an F&A cost but, subject to the limitations described in the applicable cost principles, may be treated as a direct cost for legal services provided by individuals who are not employees of the recipient organization. Before a recipient incurs legal costs that are extraordinary or unusual in nature, the recipient should make an advance agreement regarding the appropriateness and reasonableness of such costs with the GMO.

Legal costs incurred in defending or prosecuting claims, whether equitable or monetary, including administrative grant appeals, are unallowable charges to NIH grant-supported projects, except as provided in the 45 CFR 75.

Library Services General library support is not allowable as a direct cost but may be included in the recipient's F&A pool. However, such services are allowable as a direct cost when specifically required for the conduct of the project and when identifiable as an integral part of the grant-supported activity (e.g., in those programs designed to develop and support such services).
Lobbying Generally unallowable, in accordance with 45 CFR 75.450, including costs of lobbying activities to influence the introduction, enactment, or modification of legislation by the U.S. Congress or a State legislature. Under certain circumstances, as provided in 45 CFR 74.450(c)(2)(i), costs associated with activities that might otherwise be considered "lobbying" that are directly related to the performance of a grant may be allowable. The recipient should obtain an advance understanding with the GMO if it intends to engage in these activities. Unallowable for State and Local governments and for-profit organizations. (Also see Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Lobbying Prohibition, Appropriation Mandates - Lobbying - Appropriation Prohibition, and Administrative Requirements-Monitoring-Reporting concerning lobbying restrictions, the required certification, and reporting).
Maintenance and Repair Costs Costs incurred for utilities, insurance, security, necessary maintenance, janitorial services, repair, or upkeep of buildings and equipment (including Federal property unless otherwise provided for) which neither add to the permanent value of the property nor appreciably prolong its intended life, but keep it in an efficient operating condition, are allowable. Costs incurred for improvements which add to the permanent value of the buildings and equipment or appreciably prolong their intended life must be treated as capital expenditures (see § 75.439). These costs are only allowable to the extent not paid through rental or other agreements.
Materials and Supplies Costs, including Costs of Computing Devices.

(a) Costs incurred for materials, supplies, and fabricated parts necessary to carry out a Federal award are allowable.

(b) Purchased materials and supplies must be charged at their actual prices, net of applicable credits. Withdrawals from general stores or stockrooms should be charged at their actual net cost under any recognized method of pricing inventory withdrawals, consistently applied. Incoming transportation charges are a proper part of materials and supplies costs.

(c) Materials and supplies used for the performance of a Federal award may be charged as direct costs. In the specific case of computing devices, charging as direct costs is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable, but not solely dedicated, to the performance of a Federal award.

(d) Where federally-donated or furnished materials are used in performing.


Allowable for subjects and patients under study, or where specifically approved as part of the project activity, provided that such charges are not duplicated in participants' per diem or subsistence allowances, if any.

When certain meals are an integral and necessary part of a meeting or conference (i.e., a working meal where business is transacted), grant funds may be used for such meals only when consistent with terms of award.

The cost of meals served at a meeting or conference, for which the primary purpose is the dissemination of technical information, is no longer allowable on NIH grants where the primary purpose of the grant is to support a conference or meeting (see also Support of Scientific Meetings (Conference Grants) Section 14.10.1). However, when such a meeting/conference is an ancillary effort under a grant where the primary purpose is other than to support such a meeting/conference, then the cost of meals would be allowable. When allowable as a direct charge, the cost of any meal must meet a test of reasonableness. However, recurring business meetings, such as staff meetings, should not be broadly considered as meetings for the primary purpose of disseminating technical information in order to justify charging meals or refreshment to costs to grants.

Membership, Subscription, and Professional Activity Costs

(a) Costs of the non-Federal entity's membership in business, technical, and professional organizations are allowable as an F&A cost.

(b) Costs of the non-Federal entity's subscriptions to business, professional, and technical periodicals are allowable.

(c) Costs of membership in any civic or community organization are allowable with prior approval by the NIH awarding IC or pass-through entity.

(d) Costs of membership in any country club or social or dining club or organization are unallowable.

(e) Costs of membership in organizations whose primary purpose is lobbying are unallowable. See also Lobbying.

(f) Payment of dues or membership fees for an individual's membership in a professional or technical organization is allowable as a fringe benefit or an employee development cost, if paid according to an established organizational policy consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.

Moving See Recruitment Costs, Relocation Costs, and Transportation Costs in this exhibit.
Nursery Items Allowable for the purchase of items such as toys and games to allow patients to participate in research protocols.
Overtime See Salaries and Wages/Extra Service Pay (Overtime) in this exhibit.
Participant Support Costs Only allowable when identified in specific FOAs.
Pre-Award (Pre-Agreement) Costs

Allowable. A recipient may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or renewal award if such costs:

are necessary to conduct the project, and

would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval.

If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the recipient must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award.

Recipients may incur pre-award costs before the beginning date of a non-competing continuation award without regard to the time parameters stated above.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred.

NIH expects the recipient to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the recipient's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project.

Pre-Award Costs are generally not applicable to training grants or fellowships. See respective sections for Individual Fellowships and Institutional Training Grants in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award chapter in IIB for additional information.

Professional Services Costs

(a) Costs of professional and consultant services rendered by persons who are members of a particular profession or possess a special skill, and who are not officers or employees of the non-Federal entity, are allowable, subject to paragraphs (b) and (c) below when reasonable in relation to the services rendered and when not contingent upon recovery of the costs from the Federal government. In addition, legal and related services are limited under 45 CFR 75.435.

(b) In determining the allowability of costs in a particular case, no single factor or any special combination of factors is necessarily determinative. However, the following factors are relevant:

(1) The nature and scope of the service rendered in relation to the service required.

(2) The necessity of contracting for the service, considering the non-Federal entity's capability in the particular area.

(3) The past pattern of such costs, particularly in the years prior to Federal awards.

(4) The impact of Federal awards on the non-Federal entity's business (i.e., what new problems have arisen).

(5) Whether the proportion of Federal work to the non-Federal entity's total business is such as to influence the non- Federal entity in favor of incurring the cost, particularly where the services rendered are not of a continuing nature and have little relationship to work under Federal awards.

(6) Whether the service can be performed more economically by direct employment rather than contracting.

(7) The qualifications of the individual or concern rendering the service and the customary fees charged, especially on non-federally funded activities.

(8) Adequacy of the contractual agreement for the service (e.g., description of the service, estimate of time required, rate of compensation, and termination provisions).

(c) In addition to the factors in paragraph (b) above, to be allowable, retainer fees must be supported by evidence of bona fide services available or rendered.

Recipients, consortium participants, and contractors under grants are encouraged to obtain written reports from consultants unless such a report is not feasible given the nature of the consultation or would not be useful. Documentation maintained by the receiving organization should include the name of the consulting firm or individual consultant; the nature of the services rendered and their relevance to the grant-supported activities, if not otherwise apparent from the nature of the services; the period of service; the basis for calculating the fee paid (e.g., rate per day or hour worked or rate per unit of service rendered); and the amount paid. This information may be included in the consultant's invoice, in the report, or in another document. See Grants to Federal Institutions and Payments to Federal Employees under Grants chapter in IIB for allowable costs associated with consultant payments to Federal employees and the circumstances of allowability. See Salaries and Wages/Intra-IHE Consulting.

Profit or Fee Except for grants awarded under the SBIR/STTR programs, under an NIH grant, no profit or fee will be provided to a for-profit organization, whether as a recipient or as a consortium participant. A profit or fee under a grant is not a cost, but is an amount in excess of actual allowable direct and F&A costs. In accordance with normal commercial practice, a profit/fee may be paid to a contractor under an NIH grant providing routine goods or services to the recipient.
Proposal Costs Proposal costs are the costs of preparing bids, proposals, or applications on potential Federal and non-Federal awards or projects, including the development of data necessary to support the non-Federal entity's bids or proposals. Proposal costs of the current accounting period of both successful and unsuccessful bids and proposals normally should be treated as indirect (F&A) costs and allocated currently to all activities of the non- Federal entity. No proposal costs of past accounting periods will be allocable to the current period.
Public Relations Costs See Advertising and Public Relations.
Publication and Printing Costs

(a) Publication costs for electronic and print media, including distribution, promotion, and general handling are allowable. If these costs are not identifiable with a particular cost objective, they should be allocated as indirect costs to all benefiting activities of the non-Federal entity.

(b) Page charges for professional journal publications are allowable where:

(1) The publications report work supported by the Federal government; and

(2) The charges are levied impartially on all items published by the journal, whether or not under a Federal award.

(3) The non-Federal entity may charge the Federal award before closeout for the costs of publication or sharing of research results if the costs are not incurred during the period of performance of the Federal award.

Publications and journal articles produced under an NIH grant-supported project must bear an acknowledgment and disclaimer, as appropriate, as provided in Administrative Requirements-Availability of Research Results: Publications, Intellectual Property Rights, and Sharing Research Resources.

Rearrangement and Reconversion Costs See Alteration and Renovation costs.
Recruiting Costs

(a) Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, and provided that the size of the staff recruited and maintained is in keeping with workload requirements, costs of ''help wanted'' advertising, operating costs of an employment office necessary to secure and maintain an adequate staff, costs of operating an aptitude and educational testing program, travel costs of employees while engaged in recruiting personnel, travel costs of applicants for interviews for prospective employment, and relocation costs incurred incident to recruitment of new employees, are allowable to the extent that such costs are incurred pursuant to the non- Federal entity's standard recruitment program. Where the non-Federal entity uses employment agencies, costs not in excess of standard commercial rates for such services are allowable.

(b) Special emoluments, fringe benefits, and salary allowances incurred to attract professional personnel that do not meet the test of reasonableness or do not conform with the established practices of the non-Federal entity, are unallowable.

(c) Where relocation costs incurred incident to recruitment of a new employee have been funded in whole or in part as a direct cost to a Federal award, and the newly hired employee resigns for reasons within the employee's control within 12 months after hire, the non-Federal entity will be required to refund or credit the Federal share of such relocation costs to the Federal government. See also Relocation Costs of Employees.

(d) Short-term, travel visa costs (as opposed to longer-term, immigration visas) are generally allowable expenses that may be proposed as a direct cost. Since short-term visas are issued for a specific period and purpose, they can be clearly identified as directly connected to work performed on a Federal award. For these costs to be directly charged to a Federal award, they must:

(1) Be critical and necessary for the conduct of the project;

(2) Be allowable under the applicable cost principles;

(3) Be consistent with the non-Federal entity's cost accounting practices and non-Federal entity policy; and

(4) Meet the definition of ''direct cost'' as described in the applicable cost principles.

Project funds may not be used for a prospective trainee's travel costs to or from the recipient organization for the purpose of recruitment. However, other costs incurred in connection with recruitment under training programs, such as advertising, may be allocated to a grant-supported project according to the provisions of the applicable cost principles (also see Travel, Relocation Costs, and Visa Costs in this exhibit).

Registration Fees (for Symposiums and Seminars) Allowable if necessary to accomplish project objectives.
Relocation Costs of Employees

Allowable-in other than change of recipient organization situations-when such costs are incurred incidental to a permanent change of duty assignment (for an indefinite period or for a stated period of no less than 12 months) for an existing employee working on a grant-supported project, or when a new employee is recruited for work on the project, provided that the move is for the recipient's benefit rather than the individual's and that payment is made according to established organizational policies consistently applied regardless of the source of funds. Relocation costs may include the cost of transporting the employee and his or her family, dependents, and household goods to the new location and certain expenses associated with the sale of the former home. If relocation costs have been incurred in connection with the recruitment of a new employee, whether as a direct cost or an F&A cost, and the employee resigns for reasons within his or her control within 12 months after hire, the recipient must credit the grant account for the full cost of the relocation charged to the grant.

When there is a change in the recipient organization, the personal relocation expenses of the PD/PI and others moving from the original recipient to the new recipient are not allowable charges to NIH grants (see Administrative Requirements-Changes in Project and Budget-Prior Approval Requirements).

Rental or Lease of Facilities and Equipment

Allowable subject to the limitations below. Rental costs are allowable to the extent that the rates are reasonable at the time of the decision to lease in light of such factors as rental costs of comparable property, if any; market conditions in the area; the type, life expectancy, condition, and value of the property leased; and available alternatives. Because of the complexity involved in determining the allowable amount under certain types of leases, recipients are encouraged to consult the GMO before entering into leases that will result in direct charges to the grant project.

In general, the rental costs for facilities and equipment applicable to each budget period should be charged to that period. However, see Administrative Requirements-Management Systems and Procedures-Procurement System Standards and Requirements for an exception to this general rule.

Rental costs under leases that create a material equity in the leased property, as defined in 45 CFR 75 Subpart E, are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the recipient purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. This would include depreciation or use allowances, maintenance, taxes, and insurance, but would exclude unallowable costs.

When a recipient transfers property to a third party through sale, lease, or otherwise, and then leases the property back from that third party, the lease costs that may be charged to NIH projects generally may not exceed the amount that would be allowed if the recipient continued to own the property.

Rental costs under "less-than-arms-length" leases are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed under 45 CFR 75 Subpart E had title to the property been vested in the recipient. A less-than-arms-length lease is one in which one party to the lease agreement is able to control or substantially influence the actions of the other. Such leases include, but are not limited to, those between divisions of an organization; between organizations under common control through common officers, directors, or members; and between an organization and its directors, trustees, officers, or key employees (or the families of these individuals), directly or through corporations, trusts, or similar arrangements in which they hold a controlling interest.

Research Patient Care

The costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to individuals, including patients and volunteers, participating in research programs are allowable. Incurrence of patient care costs if not previously approved by NIH and rebudgeting additional funds into, or rebudgeting approved amounts out of, the research patient care costs category may be considered a change in scope and require prior approval by the NIH awarding IC.

Routine services include the regular room services, minor medical and surgical supplies, and the use of equipment and facilities for which a separate charge is not customarily made. Ancillary services are those special services for which charges customarily are made in addition to routine services, e.g., x-ray, operating room, laboratory, pharmacy, blood bank, and pathology. See the Research Patient Care Costs chapter in IIB for NIH policy concerning reimbursement of these costs.

The following otherwise allowable costs are not classified as research patient care costs: items of personal expense such as patient travel; consulting physician fees; and any other direct payments to individuals, including inpatients, outpatients, subjects, volunteers, and donors. Such costs should be included in the "Other Expenses" category of the grant budget.

Reserve Funds Contributions to a reserve fund for self-insurance are allowable as specified in the governing cost principles (also see Fringe Benefits/Insurance and Contingency Provisions in this exhibit).
Salaries and Wages / IHEs - Part-time faculty Charges for work performed on Federal awards by faculty members having only part-time appointments will be determined at a rate not in excess of that regularly paid for part-time assignments.
Salaries and Wages / IHEs - Periods outside the academic year

(i) Except as specified for teaching activity in paragraph (ii) below, charges for work performed by faculty members on Federal awards during periods not included in the base salary period will be at a rate not in excess of the IBS.

(ii) Charges for teaching activities performed by faculty members on Federal awards during periods not included in IBS period will be based on the normal written policy of the IHE governing compensation to faculty members for teaching assignments during such periods.

Salaries and Wages / IHEs - Sabbatical Leave Costs Sabbatical leave costs may be included in a fringe benefit rate or in the organization's F&A rate. Salary may be charged directly to a project for services rendered to the project by individuals while they are on sabbatical leave, provided the salary is proportional to the service rendered and is paid according to established organizational policies applicable to all employees regardless of the source of funds. Sabbatical leave paid by an individual's employer, in combination with other compensation (e.g., partial salary from an NIH grant), may not exceed 100 percent of that individual's regular salary from his or her organization.
Salaries and Wages / Standards for Documentation of Personnel Expenses Salary and wage amounts charged to grant-supported projects for personal services must be based on an adequate payroll distribution system that documents such distribution in accordance with Federal Cost Principles and consistently applied institutional policy and practices. See 45 CFR 75.430(i).
Salaries and Wages Allowable. Compensation for personal services covers all amounts, including fringe benefits, paid currently or accrued by the organization for employee services rendered to the grant-supported project. Compensation costs are allowable to the extent that they are reasonable, conform to the established policy of the organization consistently applied regardless of the source of funds, and reasonably reflect the percentage of time actually devoted to the NIH-funded project. Direct salary is exclusive of fringe benefits and F&A costs. This salary guidance does not apply to consultant payments or to contracts for routine goods and services but it does apply to consortium participants (see the Consortium Agreements chapter in IIB). Salaries of federal employees with permanent appointments are unallowable except in certain circumstances (see the Grants to Federal Institutions and Payments to Federal Employees Under Grants chapter in IIB).
Salaries and Wages / Extra Service Pay (Overtime)

Extra Service Pay normally represents overload compensation, subject to institutional compensation policies for services above and beyond IBS. Where extra service pay is a result of Intra-IHE consulting, it is subject to the reasonableness standards for Salaries and Wages above. It is allowable if all of the following conditions are met:

(i) The non-Federal entity establishes consistent written policies which apply uniformly to all faculty members, not just those working on Federal awards.

(ii) The non-Federal entity establishes a consistent written definition of work covered by IBS which is specific enough to determine conclusively when work beyond that level has occurred. This may be described in appointment letters or other documentations.

(iii) The supplementation amount paid is commensurate with the IBS rate of pay and the amount of additional work performed.

(iv) The salaries, as supplemented, fall within the salary structure and pay ranges established by and documented in writing or otherwise applicable to the non-Federal entity.

(v) The total salaries charged to Federal awards including extra service pay are subject to the Standards of Documentation as described in Salaries and Wages/IHEs.

Salaries and Wages / Institutions of higher education (IHEs) Certain conditions require special consideration and possible limitations in determining allowable personnel compensation costs under Federal awards. Allowable activities: Charges to Federal awards may include reasonable amounts for activities contributing and directly related to work under an agreement, such as delivering special lectures about specific aspects of the ongoing activity, writing reports and articles, developing and maintaining protocols (human, animals, etc.), managing substances/chemicals, managing and securing project-specific data, coordinating research subjects, participating in appropriate seminars, consulting with colleagues and graduate students, and attending meetings and conferences.
Salaries and Wages / Intra-IHE Consulting

Intra-IHE consulting by faculty is assumed to be undertaken as an IHE obligation requiring no compensation in addition to IBS. However, in unusual cases where consultation is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation, and the work performed by the faculty member is in addition to his or her regular responsibilities, any charges for such work representing additional compensation above IBS are allowable provided that such consulting arrangements are specifically provided for in the Federal award or approved in writing by the NIH awarding IC.

Recipients, consortium participants, and contractors under grants that want to be able to charge employee consulting costs to grant-supported projects must establish written guidelines permitting such payments regardless of the source of funding and indicating the conditions under which the payment of consulting fees to employees is proper. Under no circumstances may an individual be paid as a consultant and an employee under the same NIH grant.

Authorization for consulting fees paid to individuals serving as both employees and consultants of the same party must be documented in writing, on a case-by-case basis, by the head of the organization (or his/her designee) incurring the costs - i.e., the recipient organization, consortium participant, or contractor. If the designee is personally involved in the project, the authorization may be given only by the head of the recipient organization, consortium participant, or contractor. This authorization must include a determination that the required conditions are present and that there is no apparent or actual conflict of interest.

Salaries and Wages / Nonprofit Organizations For compensation to members of nonprofit organizations, trustees, directors, associates, officers, or the immediate families thereof, determination should be made that such compensation is reasonable for the actual personal services rendered rather than a distribution of earnings in excess of costs. This may include director's and executive committee member's fees, incentive awards, allowances for off-site pay, incentive pay, location allowances, hardship pay, and cost-of-living differentials.
Salaries and Wages / Professional Activities outside of the Non-Federal Entity

Unless an arrangement is specifically authorized by an NIH awarding IC, a non-Federal entity must follow its written non-Federal entity-wide policies and practices concerning the permissible extent of professional services that can be provided outside the non-Federal entity for non-organizational compensation. Where such non-Federal entity-wide written policies do not exist or do not adequately define the permissible extent of consulting or other non-organizational activities undertaken for extra outside pay, the Federal government may require that the effort of professional staff working on Federal awards be allocated between:

(1) Non-Federal entity activities, and

(2) Non-organizational professional activities. If the NIH awarding IC considers the extent of non-organizational professional effort excessive or inconsistent with the conflicts-of-interest terms and conditions of the Federal award, appropriate arrangements governing compensation will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Salaries and Wages / Special Considerations Special considerations in determining allowability of compensation will be given to any change in a non-Federal entity's compensation policy resulting in a substantial increase in its employees' level of compensation (particularly when the change was concurrent with an increase in the ratio of Federal awards to other activities) or any change in the treatment of allowability of specific types of compensation due to changes in Federal policy.
Salaries and Wages / Unallowable Costs

(1) Costs which are unallowable under other sections of these principles must not be allowable under this section solely on the basis that they constitute personnel compensation.

(2) The allowable compensation for certain employees is subject to a ceiling in accordance with statute. For the amount of the ceiling for cost reimbursement contracts, the covered compensation subject to the ceiling, the covered employees, and other relevant provisions, see 10 U.S.C. 2324(e)(1)(P), and 41 U.S.C. 1127 and 4304(a)(16). For other types of Federal awards, other statutory ceilings may apply.

Salaries and Wages /Incentive Compensation Incentive compensation to employees based on cost reduction, or efficient performance, suggestion awards, safety awards, etc., is allowable to the extent that the overall compensation is determined to be reasonable and such costs are paid or accrued pursuant to an agreement entered into in good faith between the non-Federal entity and the employees before the services were rendered, or pursuant to an established plan followed by the non-Federal entity so consistently as to imply, in effect, an agreement to make such payment.
Salaries and Wages /Overtime Premiums Premiums for overtime generally are allowable; however, such payments are not allowable for faculty members at institutions of higher education. If overtime premiums are allowable, the categories or classifications of employees eligible to receive overtime premiums should be determined according to the formally established policies of the organization consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.
Salaries and Wages /Payments for Dual Appointments

For investigators receiving compensation from the institution (recipient/contractor) and separately organized clinical practice plans, compensation from such sources may be included in the institutional base salary (IBS) budgeted and charged to NIH sponsored agreements if all of the following criteria are met:

  • Clinical practice compensation must be set by the institution. *
  • Clinical practice activity must be shown on the institution's payroll or salary appointment forms and records approved by the institution.
  • Clinical practice compensation must be paid through or at the direction of the institution.
  • Clinical practice activity must be included and accounted for in the institution's effort reporting and/or payroll distribution system.
  • The institution must assure that all financial reports and supporting documents associated with the combined IBS and resulting charges to NIH grants are retained and made available to Federal officials or their duly authorized representatives consistent with the requirements of 45 CFR 75.430(h).

* "Set by the institution" means the recipient/contractor institution must be in a position to document and certify that the specified amount of clinical practice compensation is being paid in essentially the same manner as other specified amounts of the committed IBS (compensation) of the investigator. Further, this requires that the IBS not vary based on the specific clinical services provided by investigator within the periods for which total IBS is certified by the recipient institution.

Salaries and Wages /Support from Multiple Grants See Cost Considerations-Allocation of Costs and Closely Related Work.
Selling and Marketing Costs Costs of selling and marketing any products or services of the non-Federal entity (unless allowed under 45 CFR 75.421) are unallowable, except as direct costs, with prior approval by the NIH awarding IC when necessary for the performance of the Federal award.
Service Charge Allowable. The costs to a user of organizational services and central facilities owned by the recipient organization, such as central laboratory, technology infrastructure fees, computer services and next generation computing/communication costs, are allowable provided that they are not covered by F&A costs. They must be based on organizational fee schedules consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.
Specialized Service Facilities

(a) The costs of services provided by highly complex or specialized facilities operated by the non-Federal entity, such as computing facilities, wind tunnels, and reactors are allowable, provided the charges for the services meet the conditions of either paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section, and, in addition, take into account any items of income or Federal financing that qualify as applicable credits under 45 CFR 75.406.

(b) The costs of such services, when material, must be charged directly to applicable awards based on actual usage of the services on the basis of a schedule of rates or established methodology that:

(1) Does not discriminate between activities under Federal awards and other activities of the non-Federal entity, including usage by the non- Federal entity for internal purposes, and

(2) Is designed to recover only the aggregate costs of the services. The costs of each service must consist normally of both its direct costs and its allocable share of all indirect (F&A) costs. Rates must be adjusted at least biennially, and must take into consideration over/under applied costs of the previous period(s).

(c) Where the costs incurred for a service are not material, they may be allocated as indirect (F&A) costs.

(d) Under some extraordinary circumstances, where it is in the best interest of the Federal government and the non-Federal entity to establish alternative costing arrangements, such arrangements may be worked out with the Federal cognizant agency for indirect costs.

Stipends Allowable as cost-of-living allowances for trainees and fellows only under Kirschstein-NRSA individual fellowships and institutional research training grants. These payments are made according to a preestablished schedule based on the individual's experience and level of training. A stipend is not a fee-for-service payment and is not subject to the cost accounting requirements of the cost principles. Additional information, including NIH policy on stipend supplementation, is included in Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Individual Fellowships-Supplementation of Stipends, Compensation, and Other Income-Stipend Supplementation and Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Institutional Research Training Grants-Stipend Supplementation, Compensation, and Other Income-Stipend Supplementation in IIB. Stipends are not allowable under research grants even when they appear to benefit the research project. See Fringe Benefits / IHE Tuition/Tuition Remission in this exhibit.
Subject Costs See Research Patient Care and Donor Costs in this exhibit.

For nonprofit organizations and IHEs:

(1) In general, taxes which the non-Federal entity is required to pay and which are paid or accrued in accordance with GAAP, and payments made to local governments in lieu of taxes which are commensurate with the local government services received are allowable, except for:

(i) Taxes from which exemptions are available to the non-Federal entity directly or which are available to the non-Federal entity based on an exemption afforded the Federal government and, in the latter case, when the NIH awarding IC makes available the necessary exemption certificates,

(ii) Special assessments on land which represent capital improvements, and

(iii) Federal income taxes.

(2) Any refund of taxes, and any payment to the non-Federal entity of interest thereon, which were allowed as Federal award costs, will be credited either as a cost reduction or cash refund, as appropriate, to the Federal government. However, any interest actually paid or credited to an non-Federal entity incident to a refund of tax, interest, and penalty will be paid or credited to the Federal government only to the extent that such interest accrued over the period during which the non-Federal entity has been reimbursed by the Federal government for the taxes, interest, and penalties.

Termination or Suspension Costs

Unallowable except as follows. If a grant is terminated or suspended, the recipient may not incur new obligations after the effective date of the termination or suspension and must cancel as many outstanding obligations as possible (see Administrative Requirements-Enforcement Actions-Suspension, Termination, and Withholding of Support). NIH will allow full credit to the recipient for the Federal share of otherwise allowable costs if the obligations were properly incurred by the recipient before suspension or termination-and not in anticipation of it-and, in the case of termination, are not cancelable. The GMO may authorize other costs in, or subsequent to, the notice of termination or suspension.

Trailers and Modular Units

Allowable only if considered equipment as provided below. A "trailer" is defined as a portable vehicle built on a chassis that is designed to be hauled from one site to another by a separate means of propulsion and that serves, wherever parked, as a dwelling or place of business. A "modular unit" is a prefabricated portable unit designed to be moved to a site and assembled on a foundation to serve as a dwelling or a place of business. The determination of whether costs to acquire trailers or modular units are allowable charges to NIH grant-supported projects depends on whether such units are classified as real property or equipment. The classification will depend on whether the recipient's intended use of the property is permanent or temporary.

A trailer or modular unit is considered real property when the unit and its installation are designed or planned to be installed permanently at a given location so as to seem fixed to the land as a permanent structure or appurtenance thereto. Units classified as real property may not be charged to an NIH grant-supported project unless authorizing legislation permits construction or acquisition of real property and the specific purchase is approved by the NIH awarding IC.

A trailer or modular unit is considered equipment when the unit and its installation are designed or planned to be used at any given location for a limited time only. Units classified as equipment may be charged to NIH grant-supported projects only if the terms and conditions of the award do not prohibit the purchase of equipment and NIH prior approval is obtained, as appropriate.

A trailer or modular unit properly classified as real property or as equipment at the time of acquisition retains that classification for the life of the item, thereby determining the appropriate accountability requirements under 45 CFR Part 75.439 or 75.465, as applicable.

Trainee Costs Allowable only under predoctoral and postdoctoral training grants. (See Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards-Institutional Research Training Grants-Allowable and Unallowable Costs in IIB for detailed information).
Transportation Costs Costs incurred for freight, express, cartage, postage, and other transportation services relating either to goods purchased, in process, or delivered, are allowable. When such costs can readily be identified with the items involved, they may be charged directly as transportation costs or added to the cost of such items. Where identification with the materials received cannot readily be made, inbound transportation cost may be charged to the appropriate indirect (F&A) cost accounts if the non-Federal entity follows a consistent, equitable procedure in this respect. Outbound freight, if reimbursable under the terms and conditions of the Federal award, should be treated as a direct cost.
Travel Allowable as a direct cost where such travel will provide direct benefit to the project.

Consistent with the organization's established travel policy, these costs for employees working on the grant-supported project may include associated per diem or subsistence allowances and other travel-related expenses, such as mileage allowances if travel is by personal automobile.

Domestic travel is travel performed within the recipient's own country. For U.S. and Canadian recipients, it includes travel within and between any of the 50 States of the United States and its possessions and territories and also travel between the United States and Canada and within Canada.

Foreign travel is defined as any travel outside of Canada and the United States and its territories and possessions. However, for an organization located outside Canada and the United States and its territories and possessions, foreign travel means travel outside that country.

In all cases, travel costs are limited to those allowed by formally established organizational policy and, in the case of air travel, the lowest reasonable commercial airfares must be used. For-profit recipients' allowable travel costs may not exceed those established by the FTR, issued by GSA, including the maximum per diem and subsistence rates prescribed in those regulations. This information is available at If a recipient organization has no established travel policy, those regulations will be used to determine the amount that may be charged for travel costs.

Recipients are strongly encouraged to take advantage of discount fares for airline travel through advance purchase of tickets if travel schedules can be planned in advance (such as for national meetings and other scheduled events).

Recipients must comply with the requirements of the Fly America Act (49 U.S.C. 40118) which generally provides that foreign air travel funded by Federal funds may only be conducted on U.S. flag air carriers and under applicable Open Skies Agreements. For additional information regarding the Fly America Act and its exceptions, see Public Policy Requirements and Objectives-Fly America Act.

Applicants and recipients should consult application instructions to determine how to budget for travel costs under specific mechanisms and for certain types of travelers, because they are not all required to be budgeted as travel (e.g., research subjects).

Travel/Research Patients If research patient care is an approved activity of the grant-supported project, the costs of transporting individuals participating in the research protocol to the site where services are being provided, including costs of public transportation, are allowable. The purchase of motor vehicles for this purpose also may be allowable. (See also Research Patient Care in this exhibit).
Value Added Tax (VAT) Foreign taxes charged for the purchase of goods or services that a non-Federal entity is legally required to pay in country is an allowable expense under Federal awards. Foreign tax refunds or applicable credits under Federal awards refer to receipts, or reduction of expenditures, which operate to offset or reduce expense items that are allocable to Federal awards as direct or indirect costs. To the extent that such credits accrued or received by the non-Federal entity relate to allowable cost, these costs must be credited to the NIH awarding IC either as costs or cash refunds. If the costs are credited back to the Federal award, the non-Federal entity may reduce the Federal share of costs by the amount of the foreign tax reimbursement, or where Federal award has not expired, use the foreign government tax refund for approved activities under the Federal award with prior approval of the NIH awarding IC. For many countries an exemption of this tax for research exists. Consequently, requesting this cost should be unallowable for research grants involving such countries as a performance site.
Visa Costs Allowable direct cost as part of recruiting costs on an NIH grant, as long as the institution has an employee/employer relationship with the individual. It is the responsibility of the institution to monitor the status of the individual's visa and ensure they have sufficient time to fulfill the obligations of the research they are being paid for on the grant. However, if the person is already an employee and the cost in question is a visa renewal then this isn't a recruiting cost so the cost would not be an allowable charge to a grant. Expedited processing fees are generally unallowable unless and until they become part of standard processing fees. Fraud fees are allowable if they are required fees. Department of Homeland Security SEVIS Form I-901 is a required fee and is allowable. See also Recruitment Costs in this exhibit.