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 51.4% of salaries and wages (S & W). The off-campus rate is 15.6% 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 these reimbursements to support faculty scholarship by providing administrative support as well as direct grants. At the end of each fiscal year, 25% of the F & A costs recovered are allocated to Fiscal Services and Budget Office and 22% to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to cover administrative costs and technical assistance provided to sponsored projects. The remaining 53% of the funds, supplemented by additional funds from the reserves as needed, are allocated to faculty support under the following programs:
- Travel to conferences distributed to colleges to support faculty travel to conferences to present results of research/scholarship.
- Redistribution to Colleges in proportion to the amounts generated by their departments to support faculty research and scholarship.
- Research Equipment Match to meet funding agencies’ required equipment cost sharing.
- Small Grants for faculty research and creative activities. This category includes 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.
- Scientific Technical Services which provides services to all research projects needing its specialized instrumentation.