Budget FAQ

Q. How can I get help in putting together a budget for my research project?
Contact the Proposal Manager (PM) assigned your department or unit, or call the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) at 765-285-1600 for help in the preparation and review of the budget. You may set up an appointment, ask a question, or email attach your budget draft (765-285-1624) for your PM to review. You may also explore the office web site for current budget information. 

Q. How soon before a deadline should I request budget development assistance? 

A. The sooner, the better! Refer to the Proposal Submission Policy for guidance. Please follow a Proposal Preparation Timeline for the best results.

Q. I am conducting a survey and want to boost participation. Are research incentives allowable? 

A. Ball State PIs often conduct projects with a requirement to obtain participation and collect information from participants. PIs frequently find it necessary to offer incentives in order to obtain sufficient participation. Incentives over the University threshold of $40.00 will be subject to tax reporting. Refer to the University Controller’s policy on Research Incentives for more information.

Q. What are facilities and administrative (indirect) costs? 

A. Facilities and administrative (F & A) costs, often referred to as indirect costs, are overhead expenses for the University. Examples include utilities, custodial service, use of computers, etc. Ball State's current federally negotiated rates are: 44.5% for Instruction projects, 40% for Research projects, or 42.1% for Other Sponsored agreements and 24% - for off-campus projects. The applicable rate is multiplied by the modified total direct cost figure. 

Q. How do I know whether or not the agency will pay the full F & A cost rate? 

A. The sponsor guidelines normally address this issue. Unless sponsor guidelines state otherwise, facilities and administrative costs should be requested at the full federally negotiated rate. 

Q. What are Participant Costs? 

A.  Participant support costs are program specific expenses such as stipends, subsistence allowances, travel allowances, research incentives, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects.

Q. Are fringe benefits considered as part of direct salaries and wages? 

A. No, fringe benefits are separate. 


 Fiscal & Academic Year Employees Summer & Supplemental Compensation  FICA for Summer Student, Part-Time, and Temporary Employees 
 32%  21%  7.65%

Q. What are the current rates to be used in calculating fringe benefits? 

A. A rate of 32 percent is used for faculty and staff. Faculty benefits for summer and supplemental salaries are calculated at 21 percent.

Q. How soon before a deadline should I request budget development assistance? 

A. The sooner, the better! Please follow the Proposal Preparation Timeline for the best results. If you have a simple budget, five working days are sufficient in most cases. However, if your budget is more complex and involves multiple project years, collaborative projects, or subcontracts--please allow more time. 

Q. What is a Clearance? 

A. Clearance is the process by which SPO obtains the internal approvals necessary for submitting a proposal to an external funding source. Once your budget is fully developed and a proposal is close to submission-ready, clearance will be prepared for you by your PM.  A record is created and routed via the Cayuse424 for internal approvals. Those approving will receive email notification of the web-based document. 

Q. What if a sponsor requires cost share? 

A. Cost sharing refers to the portion of a project or program not supported by the sponsor. It is the University's share in the cost of conducting the project/program. Cost sharing occurs either when a sponsor requires, or the University commits, funds beyond those awarded by the sponsoring agency to support a particular grant or contract. Your Proposal Manager will be able to assist you with constructing a budget that meets both sponsor guidelines and University policy. Please refer to our Cost Share Guidance document for more information.


Q. What are MGR funds? 

A. MGR refers to Matching Grant Reserve funds. Departments may provide matching funds or additional dollars out of their fiscal year budgets. However, sometimes there is still a need for an additional source of funds. Requests may be made to SPO for matching grant reserve monies as necessary. Please discuss this need with your PM when seeking budget development assistance.

Q. Who is responsible for photocopying the proposal? 

A. The SPO Staff will provide this service. 

Q. Who is responsible for submitting the proposal? 

A. Most proposals are submitted electronically, and SPO is responsible for most submissions. In some cases, the P.I. may submit an emailed proposal if he or she wishes, pending a completed clearance sheet. If all paperwork is received in time for handling, your PM will package and mail the proposal for you.

Sponsored Programs Office
2100 West Riverside Avenue
Muncie, Indiana 47306

Phone: 765-285-1600
Fax: 765-285-1624
View E-mail Address