Building A Budget

Prior to execution of any contract, grant, or fellowship, the researcher must prepare a budget related to the contract or grant itemizing all project costs in accordance with the ISU Costing Policy. Listed below are just a few of the costs that should or could be listed in your budget.

Please refer to Allowable Costs [Word]; Unallowable Costs Handout [PDF]

  1. Personnel costs with appropriate Fringe Benefit rates
    NOTE: Salaries should be incremented by 0% - 4% per year (effective 04/2006); salaries on an NIH proposal can not exceed 3% increases per year.

  2. Permanent Equipment ($5,000 or more per unit)
  3. Travel
    • University vehicle rental rates
    • Follow University Policy when making official travel plans.
    • InternationalTravel
      • Restrictions
      • If international travel is included in the project, then the question on the GoldSheet, "Are any Non-USA countries involved?" should be answered with "Yes."
  4. Materials and supplies which must be purchased or used; general office supplies are not allowed on federal requests
  5. Publication charges
  6. Consultants
    • Definition
    • Link to NSF policy, maximum daily rate
    • What's needed with GoldSheet: Letter of Commitment/Quote
  7. Services or Usage Fees
  8. Contractual costs (Subcontract/Subaward)

    Will your project require Subcontractors? If yes, for each you will need to submit:
    • Transmittal Letter, signed by Sponsored Research Office
    • Statement of Work
    • Separate subcontractor's budget (signed if no Transmittal Letter provided)
    • Budget justification

If you have questions regarding subcontracts, please contact your Pre-Award Administrator.

  1. If animals are used, are per diem costs included in the budget? Rates are at
  2. Tuition, if allowable must be included [ see ISU rates ] [ if USDA funds, is it allowable? ]
  3. Facilities and Administrative costs [ Indirect Cost rates ], sometimes called Overhead; If the sponsor requires an indirect rate other than that specified by ISU's agreement, attach appropriate documentation from the sponsor.
  4. Cost Sharing/Matching
    • Will your project require cost sharing?
      • Cost Sharing of Faculty/Staff Effort (including salaries, fringe benefits, and indirect cost when allowable) is the preferred method of providing ISU cost sharing. It is documented when it is included with the GoldSheet and approved by the signatories. Third-party cost sharing requires a signed document by the organization's authorized representative and should be included with the GoldSheet.
    • Will your project require Matching Funds from Central Matching Equipment Grants?
      • The policy page includes a link to the Application Form. You will need to obtain prior approval and attach the fully signed Application Form.
      • Budget templates with ISU rates are available and we encourage you to use them
  5. Budget justification:
    Written discussion of budget items, including explanation of salary estimates, justification of equipment and travel, and clarification of items not explained on the budget pages.
    Follow the order of the budget form.
    • Don't include dollar amounts that are presented in the budget.
    • Don't address costs that are not being requested in the budget.

If you have questions regarding your budget, please contact ospa-proposals or 294-5225.

What is the difference between a Scholarship, Fellowship, and Graduate Assistantship?

  • Usually a Scholarship is for an Undergraduate Student, a Fellowship is designated as such by the funding organization and often at a premium rate, and a Graduate Assistantship is appointed by the department.