Allowable and Unallowable Direct Costs

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

  • In addition to being allowable, direct costs must follow the usual guidelines of being reasonable, allocable, applicable, and consistently treated and must comply with University policy.
  • Please note that awarding agency guidelines and University policy may be more rigid than the guidelines listed here

A-21 RefTitleAllowable as a direct costUnallowable as a direct cost
J1 Advertising and Public RelationsAllowable only if related to and necessary for performance of the sponsored project (i.e., recruitment of personnel, procurement of goods and services, disposal of scrap/surplus materials)Unallowable for promotional items and memorabilia, including models, gifts and souvenirs
J2Advisory CouncilsAllowable for costs incurred by councils or committees when authorized by the awarding agencySee allowable column
J3Alcoholic BeveragesUnallowableUnallowable
J4Alumni ActivitiesUnallowableUnallowable
J5Audit Costs and Related ServicesAllowable if specifically required and approved by the awarding agencySee allowable column
J6Bad DebtUnallowableUnallowable
J7Bonding CostsAllowable pursuant to the terms of an award if required for a construction projectSee allowable column
 Capital ExpendituresSee Equipment and other Capital Expenditures 
J8Commencement and Convocation CostsUnallowableUnallowable
J9Communication CostsAllowable for costs directly attributable to a specific project (i.e., long distance calls. See also OMB A-21, Section F6)Unallowable for recurring line charges, network charges, local telephone costs, and cell phones
J10Compensation for Personal ServicesAllowable for services such as salaries, wages and fringe benefits within University policy and for activities contributing to and intimately related to work under the sponsored agreementSee allowable column
 ConferencesSee Meetings and Conferences 
J11Contingency ProvisionsUnallowableUnallowable
J12Deans of Faculty and Graduate SchoolsUnallowableUnallowable
J13Defense and Prosecution of Criminal and Civil Proceedings, Claims, Appeals and Patent InfringementUnallowableUnallowable
J14 Depreciation and Use AllowancesUnallowableUnallowable
J15Donations and ContributionsUnallowableUnallowable
J16Employee Morale, Health, and Welfare CostsUnallowableUnallowable
J17Entertainment CostsUnallowableUnallowable for cost of entertainment including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals with inadequate substantiation of business purpose, lodging, rentals, transportation, and gratuities)
J18 Equipment and other Capital ExpendituresAllowable only for special purpose equipment (Prior approval from awarding agency required for items with a unit cost of $5,000 or more)

Special Purpose Equipment - used exclusively for research, medical, scientific, or other technical activities

Unallowable for General Purpose Equipment

General Purpose Equipment - not used exclusively for research (i.e., office equipment and furnishings, reproduction and printing equipment, etc.)

J19Fines and PenaltiesUnallowableUnallowable
J20 Fund Raising and Investment CostsUnallowableUnallowable
J21Gain and Losses on Depreciable AssetsUnallowableUnallowable
J22Goods or Services for Personal UseUnallowableUnallowable
 Homeland Security CostsSee Plant and Homeland Security Costs 
J23 Housing and Personal Living ExpensesUnallowableUnallowable
J24Idle Facilities and Idle CapacityUnallowableUnallowable
J25Insurance and IndemnificationAllowable if related to and necessary for the performance of the sponsored project (Note: malpractice insurance is an allowable cost of research programs only to the extent that the research involves human subjects)See allowable column
 Investment CostsSee Fund Raising and Investment Costs 
J27Labor Relations CostsUnallowableUnallowable
J29Losses on Other Sponsored Agreements or ContractsUnallowableUnallowable
J30Maintenance and Repair CostsAllowable as a direct cost as necessary to carry out the technical and scientific aspects of and actually used for the performance of a sponsored projectSee allowable column
J31Material and Supplies CostsAllowable as a direct cost when necessary for and actually used for the performance of a sponsored project (office supplies are not allowable)Unallowable for office supplies. Office supplies include copy charges, fax charges, postage/mail room charges, and personal computers unless primarily or exclusively used in the actual conduct of scientific research.
J32 Meetings and ConferencesAllowable when the primary purpose is the dissemination of technical information directly related to the project. This includes costs of meals, transportation, rental of facilities, speakers' fees, and other items incidental to such meetings or conferences, excluding entertainment costsSee allowable column
J33 Memberships, Subscriptions and Professional Activity CostsUnallowableUnallowable
J34Patent CostsAllowable if required by the sponsored agreementUnallowable for foreign patents
 Personal Living ExpensesSee Housing and Personal Living Expenses 
J35 Plant and Homeland Security CostsAllowable under special circumstances and/or if required by the awarding agencySee allowable column
J36Pre-agreement CostsAllowable with prior approval from the awarding agencySee allowable column
 Professional Activity CostsSee Memberships, Subscriptions and Professional Activity Costs 
J37Professional Service CostsAllowable when in accordance with OMB A-21, J37 b & c and in compliance with University policyUnallowable for officers or employees of the institution
J38Proposal CostsUnallowableUnallowable
J39Publication and Printing CostsAllowable if the costs can be identified with a research project. If the cost is for page charges, the charges are allowable for professional journals if the work is supported by the Federal Government and the charges are levied impartially on all research papers published, not just those funded by federally sponsored authorsSee allowable column
 Public RelationsSee Advertising and Public Relations 
J40Rearrangement and Alteration CostsAllowable with prior approval of the awarding agency when incurred specifically for the sponsored projectUnallowable for ordinary rearrangement and alteration of facilities.
J41Reconversion CostsAllowable for costs incurred in the restoration or rehabilitation of the institution's facilities to approximately the same condition existing immediately prior to commencement of a sponsored agreement (fair wear and tear excepted) only with prior approval of the sponsoring agency and when incurred specifically for the sponsored project.Unallowable for normal wear and tear
J42Recruiting CostsAllowable when related to and necessary for the project and if reasonable (color ads are not considered reasonable - See OMB A-21, Section J1)See allowable column
J42Relocation CostsAllowable for employment of 12 months or longerUnallowable
J43Rental Costs of Buildings and EquipmentAllowable for reasonable costs (subject to the limitations of leases given in OMB A-21, Section J43 a-d) when incurred specifically for the sponsored project.See allowable column
J44Royalties and Other Costs for Use of PatentsAllowable when necessary for the performance of the sponsored projectUnallowable when the Federal Government has a license or the right to free use of the patent or copyright; or when the patent or copyright has been adjudicated to be invalid, has been administratively determined to be invalid, is considered to be unenforceable, or has expired.
J45Scholarships and Student Aid CostsAllowable only when the purpose of the sponsored agreement is to provide training to selected participants and the charge is approved by the sponsoring agency. In order to pay tuition, a stipend must be paid, and the student must be enrolled in an advanced degree program. The activities of the student in relation to the project must be related to the degree program and compensation must be conditioned explicitly on the performance of the work. Must be a bona fide employer-employee relationship (see OMB A-21, Section J45).See allowable column
J46Selling and MarketingUnallowableUnallowable
J47Specialized Service FacilitiesAllowable, but rates must comply with OMB A-21, Section J47 and University policySee allowable column
J48Student Activity CostsUnallowableUnallowable
 SubscriptionsSee Memberships, Subscriptions and Professional Activity Costs 
J49TaxesAllowable when the institution is required to paySee allowable column
J50Termination Costs Applicable to Sponsored AgreementsAllowable for costs which would not have arisen had the sponsored agreement not been terminated, provided they meet the requirements of OMB A-21, Section J50See allowable column
J51Training CostsAllowable for training provided for employee development for a specific sponsored project.See allowable column
J52Transportation CostsAllowable when related to goods purchasedSee allowable column
J53Travel CostsAllowable for transportation, lodging, subsistence and related items for employees who are in travel status on project-specific business, subject to University policyNon-employee travel unallowable unless related to OMB A-21, Section J2 or specifically required to fulfill the requirements of the solicitation.
 Use AllowancesSee Depreciation and Use Allowances