Cost sharing is any project cost that is not reimbursed by the sponsor to support the scope of work stated in the sponsored project award. This means that Dartmouth is responsible for recording cost sharing in a centralized location (Office of Sponsored Projects), available and subject to audit. If Dartmouth is called upon to demonstrate cost sharing to a sponsor and does not have the documentation to do so, costs may be disallowed and future funding jeopardized.

There are three types of cost sharing:

  • Mandatory Cost Sharing: Cost contribution required of the grantee by the sponsor as a condition of the award. For cost share tracking purposes, this means we need to set up a cost share account(s) for that grant or have In Kind Contribution forms completed for each individual who is donating/cost sharing a portion of their time to the grant.
  • Voluntary Cost Sharing: Cost contribution voluntarily offered by the Principal Investigator and accepted by the sponsor in the program budget. For cost share tracking purposes, this means we need to set up a cost share account(s) for that grant or have In Kind Contribution forms completed for each individual who is donating/cost sharing a portion of their time to the grant.
  • Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing: Cost contribution not required by the sponsor and is not included in the proposal or award. We do not need to track or report this form of cost sharing.

With the implementation of the Uniform Guidance which includes the administrative, cost and audit procedures for federal awards, the government puts limitations on federal agencies in issuing funding announcements that require cost sharing.  As stated in the Uniform Guidance under section 200.306 Cost Sharing "Cost sharing on federal proposals cannot be used as a factor during the merit review of a proposal except in certain circumstances."

Federal Regulations Regarding Cost Share Dollars

In order to be acceptable for cost sharing, per the Uniform Guidance costs must:

  • Be allocable, i.e., necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of sponsored project award objectives
  • Be allowable under the applicable cost principles
  • Be verifiable from the grantee's records
  • Not be included as contributions for any other federally-assisted sponsored project awards
  • Not be paid by the Federal Government under another award, except where authorized by federal statute to be used for cost sharing or matching
  • Be provided for in the approved budget when required by the federal awarding agency.
  • Not be unrecovered Facilities and Administration Costs without prior approval of the federal awarding agency
  • Conform to all other applicable provisions of the Uniform Guidance

Required Approvals for Cost Sharing

When cost sharing appears on a proposal budget, the source, type and amount of funds should be identified by and authorized by the signature of the appropriate dean. If the proposal budget contains required matching funds, the Development Office should also review it to ascertain who is responsible for raising the funds externally.

Tracking Cost Share Transactions

  • Department needs to send the Office of Sponsored Projects a GL Account before we can set up a Cost Share PTA Account (The Office of Sponsored Projects will take care of inputting the Cost Share Budget).
  • The Office of Sponsored Projects sets up a Cost Share PTA Account, the Award portion of the PTA  Account will have a C00XXX Number assigned, and this lets you know this is a Cost Share PTA Account.
  • All Cost Share direct cost expenses should be charged directly to the Cost Share PTA Account, however if only indirect costs are being cost shared, they are cost shared on the main PTA Account.

Matching Funds

Matching means the value of the third party in-kind contributions and the portion of the costs of a federally assisted project or program not borne by the Federal Government. The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation are two agencies that use this mechanism for some of its awards (specifically the Presidential Young Investigator Award from NSF). The Principal Investigator and the department or administrative area to which the Principal Investigator belongs, are responsible for acquiring the matching funds. There are specific guidelines for appropriate matching funds from each agency that requires a matching commitment.

If a Principal Investigator fails to raise sufficient matching funds, there are three courses of action open to the Principal Investigator who is in this situation.

  • The Principal Investigator may appeal to the sponsor for additional funding. This approach can be particularly effective if the Principal Investigator can prove that a good faith effort was put forth to raise the matching funds.
  • The Principal Investigator can initiate steps to rebudget at a lower funding level and re-evaluate the objectives of the project, in light of the reduced budget. The Principal Investigator must work closely with both the Office of Sponsored Projects staff and the sponsor, as this option clearly changes the scope of the project, an action that cannot normally be taken without prior approval from the sponsor.
  • The Principal Investigator takes no action and continues to make expenditures based on the belief that matching funds will eventually be raised. At a certain level of over-spending, the Office of Sponsored Projects will put a pending close on the project's budget. The Principal Investigator or the Principal Investigator's Department is responsible for covering the expenditure. This is NOT an acceptable or fiscally responsible method for handling problems in raising matching funds.

In-Kind Contributions

In-kind contributions are similar to cost sharing in that they represent contributions to the cost of a sponsored project award that will be covered by Dartmouth College resources. An example of an in-kind contribution would be if a piece of equipment was 'donated' in support of a sponsored project award. There is usually no financial tracking of transactions related to in-kind contributions. There is, however, a form titled In-Kind Contributions that must be completed by the department that is providing the in-kind contribution. Once this form has been signed, it is sent to the departments Sponsored Research Manager to be documented for that sponsored project award.