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Participant Support Costs

Procedure: 8-24

Effective: October 21, 2009

Owner: Office of Sponsored Programs

Latest Revision: January 1, 2010 Participant Support Costs

Procedure Steps | Scope | Policy | Responsibility | Distribution | Ownership


This procedure provides guidance and documents procedure related to participant support costs. Since the majority of federal participant support received by the University comes from the National Science Foundation the procedure will specifically address NSF requirements.

System References

Notice of Award


Participant support costs are defined by NSF 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 meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects.

  • Funds provided for participant support may not be used by grantees for other categories of expense without the specific prior written approval of the cognizant NSF Program Officer.
  • Participant support allowances may not be paid to trainees who are receiving compensation, either directly or indirectly, from other Federal government sources while participating in the project



Principal Investigators:

  • Budgeting of costs in the proposal to the sponsor
  • Assigning and charging costs appropriately

School/Departmental Administrators and Fiscal Contacts are responsible for:

  • Maintaining documentation of costs that are associated with the participant support budget.
  • Tracking participant support costs on a sponsored project.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP):

  • Establish Awards and Projects in the Integrated System
  • Close Out Awards and Projects in the Integrated System


  • Deans Offices
  • NSF funded investigators
  • Research Administrators


The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for ensuring that this procedure is necessary and supports University policy.

Procedure Steps

Principal Investigators must clearly request and justify participant support costs in proposal budgets.

Participant Support Costs do not generally carry F&A. The one notable exception is stipends in some circumstances as described below. However, an allowance for indirect costs associated with participant support costs may be established or negotiated in advance when circumstances indicate that the grantee could be expected to incur significant expenses in administering participant payments (other than salary or other direct expenses being reimbursed under the award).

When an award with participant support costs is received the Office of Sponsored Programs will setup the award in the Integrated System. Participant Support Costs are budgeted as such in the Integrated System. Participant support costs are established in a separate project which is connected to the award. Expenditures do not carry the designation of participant support costs and departments must monitor costs closely to ensure their appropriateness and that participant support costs are not used for any other category of expense without prior approval from the cognizant NSF Program Officer. OSP will work with department administrators to to confirm participants and their associated costs.

Effective January 1, 2010, participant support costs for REUs, REGs and RETs will all be established in a separate project.

Prior to January 1, 2010 participant support costs for REUs, REGs and RETs are to be tracked through a separate task. Since the NSF allows only the stipend portion of participant costs on REUs, REGs and RETs to carry F&A at their specified rate,these projects have been established with an F&A rate that only burdens stipend costs.

Investigators and Departments must monitor participant support cost expenditures closely. At award closeout, the Office of Sponsored Programs will ask departments to verify participants and their appropriate costs. 

End of Activity