A competitive budget should be reasonable and necessary to the project. The budget should demostrate how the sponsor's funds will be spent and a balanced budget is a must. If you understimate your budget, this will indicate that you don't understand your project. On the other hand, don't pad your budget, as this will indicate you are requesting more than you need.
You must detail the costs of your project. Below is information generally required. Please review the request for proposals/applications and proposal guidelines for specific requirements for the budget.
Extramural funding agencies/sponsors require information about the amount of effort that senior personnel provide towards a grant. Effort is the amount of time a faculty member works on a grant/agreement/contract. Some sponsors require documentation of effort in months while others require effort as a percentage of time. Salaries and fringe benefits charged to a grant are determined by the amount of time and effort provided by the senior personnel.
- Faculty (Senior Personnel)
The salary is based on the faculty member’s 9 or 12 month institutional contracted salary. To determine the salary use this calculation chart. To determine summer salary take the 9 month salary and multiple by 0.30. Two percent is the maximum amount for faculty salary increases in multiple year budgets.
Postdocs can be paid for 9 or 12 months.
- Graduate Assistants
Graduate Assistants can be hired per semester, 9 months or 12 months. A&M-Commerce has established a salary range for graduate assistants. Assistants should be paid within the established salary range and can work no more than 20 hours per week.
- Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate Students are paid hourly and the minimum rate is the standard minimum rate of pay. Students can work no more than 19 hours per week.
Fringe benefits must be included for each salary in the budget. The fringe benefits are the benefits that would be paid by the University (social security, medicare, workers comp insurance, unemployment compensation insurance, retirement, longevity, leave termination and health insurance).
- Faculty and Postdocs
A&M-Commerce fringe benefit rate for faculty and postdocs is 17.4% plus $474 per month (health insurance). Please use this chart to calculate fringe benefits.
- Graduate Assistants
Fringe benefit rate for graduate assistants is 2.3% plus $188 per month (health insurance). Please use this chart to calculate fringe benefits.
- Undergraduate Students
Fringe benefit rate for student workers is 2.3% (Note: insurance is not applicable).
Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) classifies equipment as tangible nonexpendable property charged directly to the award having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. The acquisition cost of the item includes tax, installation, and freight charges. All other equipment which does not cost at least $5,000 per unit should be listed in materials and/or supplies.
Most Funding sponsors will allow both domestic and international travel. Please review the request for proposal/applications and guidelines carefully to determine if there are restrictions for international travel. Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by employees who are in travel status on official business of the institution. All travel costs must be in accordance with A&M-Commerce, State of Texas, and Federal regulations/policies/procedures.
If the project requires participant costs, include stipends and allowances, tuition and fees, travel, and project supplies.
Other Direct Costs
Other direct costs usually include materials and supplies, publication costs/documentation/dissemination, consultant services, subawards and tuition remission.
Consultants are independent contractors who are not affiliated with A&M-Commerce to provide specific services. Consultants are not eligible for fringe benefits. A statement of work and estimate of charges are required before submission of the proposal/application. For more information please review OMB Circular A-21, Section 37.
Subcontracts are acceptable for most funding sponsors. Subcontracts are for any portion of the project that is performed by another institution. A&M-Commerce requires the following items for each subcontract before submission of a proposal/application. These items are required if the subcontractor is an external institution or if A&M-Commerce is the subcontractor.
• Statement of Work
• Budget Justification
• Commitment Letter
• If funding sponsor is NIH additional NIH forms are required
Some funding sponsors require cost-sharing and/or matching. Cost sharing is a portion of a grant that is not charged to the sponsor, but is provide by other sources. Cost sharing is not acceptable unless it is a required by the funding sponsor. Cost sharing can be contributed time/effort by faculty, postdocs, graduate assistants and student workers. Matching is usually considered cash money (i.e., if the grant is $50,000, the sponsor may require a 25% match, which would be $12,500 of actual cash money that will be required by the institution to provide).
Indirect Costs or Facilities & Administration
These costs are for costs incurred for common or joint objectives which cannot be identified readily and specifically with a project. A&M-Commerce has a negotiated rate with the Department of Health and Human Services. The rate is 52% of salaries and wages, excluding fringe benefits. Some funding sponsors do not allow indirect costs or they restrict the rate to calculate indirect costs for the project. Please review the request for proposal/applications and guidelines if indirect costs are now allowable or the rate is reduced contact the Office of Sponsored Programs. A&M-Commerce's Indirect Cost Rate Agreement
Budget Justification/Narrative (template)
Explain how each individual will contribute to the project and their specific function for the project. If an individual is to be hired, describe the required qualifications. Provide the percent of effort and the salary for the effort. Include a description of the any annual salary increases.
Provide the purpose of the trip and provide a justification for all individuals traveling. State that the costs are based on state and federal rates.
Describe the equipment required. A quote from a seller should be obtained.
Provide the name and organizational affiliations of the consultants. Provide the number of days of prospective consultant, estimated rate of compensation.
Items less than $1,000 should not be itemized.
The budget amounts and the budget justification amounts must match.