Cost Sharing

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, 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.

UT Cost Sharing Policy

Cost sharing by The University of Texas at Austin is provided in circumstances 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.

Procedures for Reporting Cost Sharing by Award Stage

Proposal Stage

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. 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.

Award Stage

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.

During the Life of the 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.

At the End of the Award

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.

If cost-share was voluntary and did not require reporting to the sponsor, cost-share is still required documentation for OSP Awards Management as part of the closeout process.


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.

OVPR Cost Sharing (Matching Funds) Requests

OVPR has a limited pool of funds available to contribute as matching funds (cost sharing) for sponsored research proposals of priority. Below are guidelines and specific instructions for requesting matching funds from OVPR. More general details about cost sharing can be found at Cost Share Frequently Asked Questions.

In which instances does OVPR prioritize cost sharing (matching funds) support?

Top priority consideration is given to funding mechanisms when both of the following conditions are met:

  • The cost sharing requirement is mandatory.
    • In instances where both cash and in-kind contributions are allowed, the investigator team must exhaust all forms of in-kind contribution before requesting cash to cover the remaining portion of the cost sharing requirement.
  • The grant funding mechanism is of a multi-PI, center scale, where the center spans multiple departments or CSUs and where the cost sharing requirement is sufficiently high that colleges cannot feasibly cover it all.

Second priority consideration is given to funding mechanisms that are center-scale and where cost sharing is expected, though not necessarily mandated through the sponsor’s RFP.

OVPR generally will not provide cash matching for individual investigator grants, regardless of whether the cost sharing is mandatory. The expectation in this case is that the investigator, the investigator’s home department, and/or CSU will provide the needed support.

In all instances, OVPR matching funds requests must be negotiated before a proposal is submitted to the sponsor. The funds are intended in part to make the proposal competitive. Therefore, there is no strategic advantage to adding matching funds to a grant that has already been awarded. Requests for OVPR matching funds should be made at least two weeks prior to the sponsor’s deadline (see specific instructions below for how to make a request).

How much cash will OVPR provide?

OVPR will provide cash only when the investigator’s CSU also is providing cash, not to exceed a 1:1 match.

Can the IDC rate be waived or reduced to fulfill a mandatory cost sharing requirement?

Generally, no. OVPR avoids waiving or reducing IDC for this purpose, and instead prefers to fulfill mandatory cost-sharing requirements with cash or in-kind contributions.

How can OVPR cost sharing cash be used?

OVPR cash commitments commonly take the form of:

  • Investment in core facilities to be used for the project
  • Investment in dedicated project management support for center scale efforts (e.g., managing director position), particularly for centers that have opportunity for renewal funding
  • Pilot grant funds or other mechanisms that grow the reach and impact of the center to engage additional UT PIs
  • Funds to offset the cost of professional program evaluation, when required by the sponsor

OVPR will not provide cash or matching funds for the following categories of expenses:

  • PI/faculty salary support
  • Trainee stipends or tuition (undergraduate, post-bacc, graduate or postdoc)
  • Publication or dissemination costs
  • Consulting fees of any nature
  • Grant writing or editing
    • If you are seeking proposal development expertise for a complex/center grant proposal, work with OVPR’s Research Development team.
    • If you are seeking a subject matter expert to draft proposal content, this needs to be self-funded by the PI or the PI’s home unit.

How do I request cost sharing or matching funds from OVPR?

Work through your ADR to make a request. The request should be submitted by your ADR, or by you with your ADR copied. The request must contain all of the following information before it will be reviewed:

  • Copy of the RFP/funding announcement with highlight of any language calling for cost sharing/matching funds
  • An outline of all the cost sharing that is being contributed by the PI team, their units and college(s), both in-kind (when allowed) and cash
    • In instances where both cash and in-kind contributions are allowed, the investigator team must exhaust all forms of in-kind contribution before requesting cash to cover the remaining portion of the cost sharing requirement.
  • Explanation of how OVPR funds will be used
    • Refer to allowed and unallowed categories described above for guidance. These lists are not exhaustive; so you may propose an additional use that fits the specific scope of your project/center.
  • Detailed, categorized grant proposal budget (Excel spreadsheet) including direct and indirect costs
  • If you require a letter signed by OVPR to attest to the cost sharing, to be included with the proposal submission, then provide a draft letter (Microsoft Word document).

Who is responsible for tracking and valuing cost sharing?

  • You are. The unit and college(s) are responsible for correctly valuing any in-kind or external contributions to the cost share.
  • Should the funding agency dispute the value of these contributions, the PI and their supporting unit(s) are responsible for covering any shortfall in the cost share.