Cost Share Guidelines

Cost sharing is a commitment made by the institution to fund a portion of the total cost of a sponsored agreement. This commitment may be for direct and/or indirect costs, and may consist of institutional funds or funds from other outside sources. Cost sharing can be classified as either mandatory or voluntary, and is also referred to as "cost matching."

Cost sharing contained in a funded sponsored project, whether Mandatory or Voluntary (not required for funding consideration) becomes a binding commitment by the University. Once a Cost Sharing commitment has been made, the University must accurately document and report to the sponsor that Cost Share commitment has been met.

Cost Sharing has a significant financial impact on the department providing the funds and on the University as a whole. Commitments should be held to a minimum. The University procedure is to provide Cost Sharing only when required by agency guidelines or is delineated in specific program announcements.

Cost sharing by The University of Texas at Austin is provided in circumstance where the guidelines of a sponsoring agency have delineated it as a requirement in the specific program announcement. Cost sharing has a significant financial impact on the unit providing the funds and on the University as a whole. University policy (HOP 2.1.5) identifies the purpose, compliance, limitations and procedures for the use of cost share in a sponsored project.

For a list of allowable and unallowable types of cost sharing, visit the Cost Share FAQ page.

  • The principal investigator (PI) must submit a cost share form if the proposal includes cost share. This form must include all references to cost share found within the budget, budget justification, or text of the proposal. By submitting a cost share form to OSP, the PI certifies proper authorization has been obtained from the authorized account owners to use the account numbers listed within the form.
  • PIs are authorized to commit their own effort as cost sharing in accordance with limits assigned by their academic units. For example, a faculty member in a particular department may be allowed to aggregate up to 25% of his or her academic appointment on sponsored projects without prior approval. The 25% of the academic appointment is often less than 25% of the PI’s total time. If faculty members contribute their academic appointment on a sponsored project, or cumulatively across multiple sponsored projects, at a value that exceeds what is allowed by their academic unit then they must provide the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) approval from the appropriate dean or VP.
  • The University must accept federally mandated salary caps and the lower rate for grant purposes and cannot cover the difference with another federally sponsored source of funds. Federally mandated caps on salary must be addressed in accordance with approved University procedures.
  • The PI must provide an account number for each source of cost sharing.
  • The PI and the PI's Department must review, update, and identify the source of the cost share. If the amount of cost sharing has changed or if the cost sharing can no longer be met, the PI must contact OSP and work with them to obtain sponsor approval.
  • The PI must confirm that the cost share has not previously been pledged or used on another award.
  • The PI and the department must report cost share activity to OSP at the required intervals as necessary under his/her award agreement, but no less often than annually.
  • The PI is responsible for obtaining appropriate documentation from the providers of third-party cost sharing and submit this information to OSP at the required intervals as necessary under his/her award agreement, but no less often than annually.

If a sponsor requires that the PI report cost sharing in technical reports at the end of the award, the PI should coordinate with OSP to ensure that the expenses reported are consistent with previous financial reporting of cost share throughout the life of the award.

Principal Investigator/Project Director

It is the responsibility of the principal investigator/project director to ensure that all cost sharing committed to a sponsored project is documented in the record of the appropriate grant/project at the appropriate intervals (no less often than annually). The documentation should be provided to OSP as requested for financial reporting purposes.

Upon submitting a cost share form to OSP, the PI certifies that proper authorization has been obtained from authorized account owners before using those accounts as cost share.

Unit Chairs and Deans

Unit chairs and deans of colleges are responsible for ensuring that all personnel engaged in the financial administration of grant and contract projects are familiar and compliant with this policy.

Office of Sponsored Programs

The Office for Sponsored Projects (OSP) is responsible for submission of reports to sponsoring agencies verifying the status of the University to meet its cost share obligation. Submitted reports are based upon the cost share activity provided by the PI and the department during the life of the award.

Vice President for Research

The Vice President for Research is responsible for the implementation and compliance with this procedure.

See more below...