Budget Prep

Research Budget Preparation[edit]


All personnel included in a budget are calculated on a percentage-of-effort basis.


To budget faculty on a 12-month appointment, only the summer portion (25%) of their salary is actually being budgeted unless a course buyout is requested. To calculate the percentage-of-effort for the summer, multiply the annual salary by the person-months requested divided by the months available.


Current Salary * person-months (of summer) = portion of salary budgeted

                  /    months available (12 months) 
$150,000          *     1 summer month / 12 months    =                $12,500

To budget faculty on a 9-month appointment, only the summer is actually being budgeted unless a course buyout is requested. To calculate percentage-of-effort for the summer, multiply the academic year salary by the person-months requested divided by the months available.


Current Salary * person-months (of summer) = portion of salary budgeted

                  /    months available (9 months) 
$150,000          *     1 summer month / 9 months     =                $16,667


All grants except NSF may include up to 3 months salary. Grants sponsored by NSF may only include up to 2 months salary.

Research Scientists, Faculty Research Assistants (FRAs) OR Research Associates (RAs) AND PostDocs[edit]

Research Scientists, RFAs, and RAs are appointed for 12 months with annual salaries based on education and experience. The salary is determined by the PI and the Department Chair.

A postdoctoral appointment would most likely be as a Research Associate or a Faculty Research Assistant. Salaries for RAs and FRAs vary within the Department and are based on research area, experience, and other factors. The range for Research Associates in the Department is usually between $60,000 and $75,000.

Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs)[edit]

GRAs are appointed as 9.5 month employees with the option of 2.5 months of summer support. The Department of Computer Science determines salary scales on an annual basis. Graduate students are paid according to their STEP level.

Criteria for Appointments:

STEP I – Graduate Student in good standing who lacks previous teaching or research experience. STEP II – Graduate Student in good standing who possess a Master’s degree or who has at least one year of graduate research or teaching experience. STEP III – Graduate student in good standing who has been formally admitted to candidacy for doctoral degree.

GRAs may be paid during the summer (up to 2.5 months) at the discretion of their PI for 20 hours, 30 hours, or 40 hours per week. Summer salary is based on the current fiscal year salary. The Department of Computer Science’s GRA rates can be found at GRA Rates.

Hourly Employees[edit]

Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Hourly wages in the Department range from $7.25 to $11.00. The maximum hourly rate that can be paid without special approval is $11.00. The maximum number of hours per week for a part-time hourly is 40 (although the average is closer to 20) hours per week unless there are visa restrictions. Students on some visas are limited to 20 hours per week. Generally, a maximum increase of $1.00 per hour is permitted each year for hourly employees. Hourly wage increases above $1.00 per year must be approved by the Department Chair.

Clerical and Administrative Personnel[edit]

Clerical and administrative salaries are not usually allowed to be directly charged to a federal project. It is assumed salaries for these positions will be paid from the Facilities and Administrative Costs (F & A) included in the budget.

There may be exceptions allowed but it must be well justified. If the PI is able to provide the necessary detailed and specific justification to include clerical and/or administrative support in the budget, percentage-of-effort included in the budget must be a minimum of 10% effort per year.

NOTE: When budgeting for projects longer than one year in duration, all salaries are escalated by 3% each year to account for COLA and merit increases.

Fringe Benefits[edit]

The link to an explanation of Fringe Benefits included can be found on ORAA’s website UMD Benefits.

Fringe benefits are calculated at 25% for all personnel included in the budget with the exception of summer salary for 9-month appointed faculty and hourly employees. Fringe benefits for 9-month appointment faculty’s summer salary are calculated at 9% (lower rate due to no Health or Retirement deductions taken during this period). There are no fringe benefits calculated for hourly employees.

Tuition Remission[edit]

The FY11 in-state tuition rate is $500 per graduate credit hour. GRAs are entitled to a maximum of 10 credits for each of the Fall and Spring semesters and 4 credits for the summer. The maximum number of credits for the year is 24. Unless there are specific requirements for tuition remission for each GRA in the budget, an average number of credits is used for all GRAs. For projects more than one year in duration, tuition remission is escalated 5% each year to account for rate increases. F & A costs are not calculated on tuition remission.


All Domestic and Foreign travel the PI anticipates as necessary wile working on the research project. The number of people traveling, destination, purpose, and all associated costs (airfare, per diem, hotel, etc.) should be detailed in the budget justification.

Materials and Supplies[edit]

Items needed to conduct the research. These items should be specific to the project and can include items such as software, long distance, overnight delivery charges, storage data disks, computer supplies, maintenance charges, and computer equipment under $1,000. This should not include office supplies as these expenses should be paid from the Facilities and Administrative Costs (F & A) included in the budget.

Computer Access Lab Fees (CALF)[edit]

Department Computer Access Lab Fees MUST be budgeted for all personnel included in a proposal, unless a waiver is granted from the Department Chair. A copy of the current CALF fee schedule can be found at CALF Fees. Use the appropriate level for each individual in the budget. For budgeting purposes it is reasonable to use the full annual rate. CALF will be billed quarterly and charged to the appropriate research accounts at the appropriate percentage-of-effort in the budget. For projects more than one year in duration, CALF is escalated 5% each year to account for rate increases.

Publication Costs[edit]

Per page charges that are assessed by publications, non-routine copy charges and research posters qualify as appropriate publication charges.


Items required to conduct the research. Items with a unit cost greater than $5,000 are considered capital equipment. Computer equipment with a unit cost of greater than $1,000 but less than $5,000 will also be considered equipment. F & A costs are not calculated on equipment.


Non-University personnel that will not contribute to the deliverable but will serve more of an advisory role in the project. Consultants should provide a signed letter detailing their role in the project, their hourly/daily rate, and how much time (days per week) they are committing to the project.


Subcontractors are considered vital to the project and contribute to the deliverables. Subcontractors will need to provide the following prior to the proposal submission: their statement of work for their portion of the project, detailed budget and budget justification, copies of their fringe benefit rate agreement and indirect rate agreement, and a letter of commitment signed by an authorized agent of their organization. F & A costs are calculated on only the first $25,000 of subcontracts.

Facility and Administrative Costs[edit]

The University’s current F & A Costs Rate Agreement as negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services can be found on ORAA’s website F&A.

The current rates are as follows:

Project Type On-Campus Off-Campus Remote Off-Campus Adjacent
Research 52% 26% 27.5%
Instruction 56% 26% 26%
Other Sponsored Programs (service projects) 38.5% 26% 26%
Interagency Personnel Agreements (IPA) 10% 10% 10%

Off-Campus Remote is defined as one which, for three or more continuous months, does not make use of facilities or space supported by UM. Projects are designated as on-campus unless a minimum of 25% of the direct costs of the project meet the off-campus definition.

Off-Campus Adjacent is one that meets the criteria for an off-campus project but is within commuting distance (50 miles) from the College Park campus.

In cases where a single project has a mix of on-campus and off-campus components, separate accounts will be created for the on-campus and off-campus portions of the project. Justification for use of other than the on-campus rate and need to charge two different rates should be included in the budget justification.

All rates above apply to a Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) base which, as defined, excludes:

Individual items of equipment in excess of $5,000 Capital expenditures (includes alterations and renovations) Tuition remission Rental costs of off-campus facilities The portion of individual subgrants and subcontracts over $25,000 Scholarships and fellowship stipends

In addition, the University waives F & A on individual items of computer equipment in excess of $1,000.