Indirect Costs: Facilities & Administrative Costs (F & A)

Indirect Costs, or Facilities & Administrative Costs (F & A) as they are currently called, are costs which are necessary to support research and other sponsored projects, but which cannot be readily assigned to individual projects. F&A costs include the costs of facilities operations (utilities, maintenance, security, etc.), the library, departmental administration and general university administration (grant administration, accounting, personnel, payroll, purchasing, etc.). Western Washington University, as do all other universities, covers the portion of these costs attributed to sponsored projects by applying a percentage rate to the direct cost expenditures of the grant/contract supported project.

WWU has negotiated two distinct F & A rates with the Federal Government for projects that are conducted on-campus and off-campus. The current on-campus rate is 52.2% of salaries and wages (S & W). The off-campus rate is 14.1% of S & W. The reason for the difference is that off-campus projects pay directly for their facilities, utilities, maintenance and security.

The application of the F & A to grants and contracts represents a recovery of costs incurred by the University in providing services to the projects. The University has chosen to re-invest the majority these reimbursements to support faculty scholarship by providing administrative support as well as direct grants. At the end of each fiscal year, the F & A costs recovered are allocated as follows:


  • Fiscal Services and Budget Office: 25% of total F & A costs
  • Redistribution to Colleges: 20% of total F & A costs recovered is distributed in proportion to the amounts generated by their departments to support faculty research and scholarship.
  • Travel to conferences: $500 per Tenure Track Faculty member is distributed to colleges to support travel to conferences to present results of research/scholarship.
  • Scientific Technical Services: $15,000 to Scientific Technical Services which provides services to all research projects needing its specialized instrumentation.
  • Research Equipment Match to meet funding agencies’ required equipment cost sharing.
  • Small Grants for faculty research and creative activities. This category includes publishing expenses, manuscript preparation, mini-grants, grants-in-aid and pilot project grants.
  • Project Development Awards to allow faculty to devote time to proposal development seeking significant external funding.
  • Research and Sponsored Programs: to cover administrative costs and technical assistance provided to sponsored projects.

The pdf file "Distribution of Indirect Costs "shows the breakdown of the latest generation and distribution of recovered F & A costs.

Page Updated 11.13.2017