Cost Share

What is cost share?

Cost share is the use of institutional or third party cash or in kind contributions not borne by the sponsoring agency. It provides a portion of the direct costs necessary to fulfill the objectives of a sponsored research award.

Are there different types of cost share?

Mandatory Committed: Required by sponsoring agency at the proposal stage as part of the proposed budget. The sponsor provides the requirement in the solicitation and indicates the allowable types. Cost share must be documented and met. 

Voluntary Committed:  When cost share is not mandated, but rather is offered by the institution or a third party source. It may be considered in cases where the commitment of cost share is weighted in the merit review, but must be approved by the chair, dean, Office of Research, and Research Foundation.

What are the kinds of cost share?

Cash Contributions: Cash contributions mean that an actual cash transaction occurs and can be documented in the accounting system such as paid time and effort (salary and fringe). Examples of cash cost share include salaries and fringe benefits paid to employees who are working on the sponsored project but are not invoiced to the sponsor (release time/course buyout), travel costs, other direct costs, and donated supplies/equipment. The cash contributions should be incurred during the sponsored project performance.

In-kind Contributions: Non-Cash contributions such as volunteered time and effort wherein a value can be readily determined, verified, and justified but where no actual cash is exchanged in securing goods and services. Examples of in-kind cost share include providing volunteer time or the use of existing supplies, equipment or real property (using fair market value) and unrecovered indirect costs during sponsored project performance.

What can be considered as a source of cost share?

Cost share can come from many sources, such as third parties (entities outside the university and the sponsor), volunteers (other than SJSU students), college or department discretionary accounts, gifts, donations, materials and supplies.

Should cost share be included in a proposal if not required by the sponsor?

No, unless the sponsor specifically requires it, cost share should not be included in the proposal. It is the policy of the Research Foundation to not provide cost share unless it is mandated by the sponsor or weighted in the merit review. The requirement of cost share differs by each sponsor. Some federal sponsoring agencies such as the National Science Foundation, strictly prohibit cost share.  

If cost share is required by the sponsor, are there general guidelines to follow?

Yes, in general all cost share must be allowable, allocable, and reasonable. Also, when a federal agency requires cost share, funds from another federal source cannot be used to satisfy that requirement. Carefully review sponsor’s policies and guidelines for award specifics. Also, feel free to contact your Research Foundation OSP manager for assistance.

If cost share applies to more than one project, how should it be handled?

In this case, cost share should be pro-rated across all projects so that in total it is only reported once.

Do I need to track or document the cost sharing?

Yes if the project is funded, the committed cost-share becomes auditable. The principal investigator (PI) is required to maintain detailed cost share records and must provide documentation in the manner required by the sponsor in a timely manner.

Additional Information:

Research Foundation Cost Share Policy [pdf]

Research Foundation Forms web page