Proposal Budget

Please read the sponsoring agency guidelines and review the forms or required format before preparing a proposal budget. Contracts, grants and other types of awards accepted by the campus are to be prepared in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21,”Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.”

Direct costs: Salaries, fringe benefits, consultant costs, equipment, supplies, travel, participant support, sub-agreements, alterations or renovations, and other costs, such as tuition, fees and GSR health insurance.

Salaries and wages: Include the name, university payroll title, appointment type, annual or monthly salary, number of months or percentage of time on the project, and the total salary requested for all personnel. Refer to the Faculty Guide to Graduate Funding and the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Salary Scales when assembling the draft budget.

Fringe benefits: Actual rates can be acquired through the SPO, but when requesting a to-be-named employee refer to the UC Merced Composite Fringe Benefit rates listed below. 
  • Staff career: 35 percent 
  • Academic appointment: 25 percent
  • Visiting: 7 percent
  • Nine-month academic: 22 percent
  • Nine-month academic (summer salary): 11 percent
  • Staff casual - core benefits: 6 percent
  • Staff casual - no core benefits: 2 percent
  • Student: 1.4 percent
Consultant costs: May generally only be paid to individuals not employed by UC campuses or labs. They should provide special knowledge needed for your project. Include the same information provided for personnel and be specific about the daily rate and number of days they will be paid.
Equipment: Items that cost more than $5,000. Make sure to include a list and description for each item. A copy of the quote should be included with the proposal.
Supplies: Items that cost less than $5,000. Make sure to include a list and description of each item.
Travel: Should be broken down into domestic and foreign. Indicate the purpose, destination, number of people attending, number of days and type of transportation.
Participant support: Direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects. Participants cannot be UC Merced employees; this includes graduate students and undergraduate students. 
Subagreement/subaward: Totals should be included in the budget. List the total amount as a line item and then include a detailed budget as separate pages. An authorized scope of work, budget and budget justification must be submitted for each subagreement. The authorization cannot come from the listed PI, but must be submitted by the subawardees' authorized official. Only the first $25,000 of each subagreement is assessed the F&A rate of 55 percent MTDC. 
Subcontract/contract for services: Include in the budget as a line item. Any contracts for services costing more than $50,000 will go out to bid. The total amount of the contract is assessed the F&A rate of 55 percent MTDC.
Alterations and renovations: Changes needed to convert an existing space. This can include the installation of equipment.
Other direct costs: Materials and supplies, publication costs, consultant costs, computer services, subawards, and other. Things that fall under the category of other include: graduate student fees, tuition, insurance, rental charges, facility charges, etc.
Non-resident tuition: Should be included for the first two years of a proposal when a to-be-named student is included.  This can be waived once an international student had advanced to candidacy or an out of state student has obtained residency.
Escalation rate for graduate student fees and insurance should be calculated at 10 percent per year. (Effective 1/1/10)
Escalation rate for graduate student non-resident tuition should be calculated at 4 percent per year. (Effective 1/1/10)
Facilities and Administrative (F&A): Also known as indirect cost -- expenses that cannot be easily identified to any specific project, but are incurred for common or joint objectives. They include operation and maintenance of facilities, building depreciation, library expenses, space, utilities, payroll, accounting and other services. UC Merced’s negotiated rate is 55 percent MTDC. This rate applies to all proposals unless the UC Office of the President has approved an indirect-cost waiver. If the sponsor has written guidelines that indicates he or she does not reimburse indirect costs at the full rate there is no class waiver, then the vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development must approve the exception. Please contact the SPO as soon as possible to start this request.
Modified total direct cost (MTDC): Excludes equipment and fabrication of equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, tuition remissions, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarship, and fellowships, as well as the amount of each subaward of more than $25,000. Check the sponsoring agency guidelines.
Cost sharing and matching: Include in the proposal only when the sponsor requires cost sharing as a condition of applying for an award. If cost sharing is included there must be commitment letters for each source of funding. These commitment letters must be signed by the individual responsible for each funding source identified in the proposal as cost share. This applies to both UC Merced cost share and off-campus cost share.
Budget justification: Provides the rationale for proposed expenditures. Follow agency guidelines to prepare justification. 
Sample Budget Templates