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Uniform Guidance: Participant Support Costs and How They Affect You

On December 26th, 2014, the Federal government implemented the Final Uniform Guidance. Many of the changes made were administrative and will not change the way most faculty and staff do business daily. However, one change was mandated in terms of Participant Support Costs and indirect costs. The New Uniform Guidance states: “Indirect costs (F&A) are no longer allowed on participant supports costs and should be accounted for separately should an award be made.”

What are Participant Support Costs?
Participant Support Costs are defined by the Office of Management and Budget Guidance (OMB) as “direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training project.”

These costs are typically dictated by a program solicitation and can apply to training grants or conference proposals. One of the most common places we see Participant Support Costs are on NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) supplements. All student costs should be entered as Participant Support Costs (Line F) in the proposal budget and recovery of indirect costs (F&A) is prohibited.

For more information on NSF Participant Support Costs, please visit http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/gpg_2.jsp#IIC2gv.

For questions, please contact osp@utk.edu.