Academic Research

Budget Development

The proposal budget is a plan for expenditure of project funds by specified cost categories. Many agencies provide budget forms or require budgets to be presented in specific formats. As you prepare the proposal budget, keep in mind the following:

  • Budget items should be determined and cost estimates obtained.
  • A realistic budget should be formulated to avoid an underestimated or overestimated project cost.
  • The sponsor's project guidelines often provide information useful in budget preparation.
  • Cost rates, which always should be checked for accuracy, can be found on this website or from the business office.
  • Multi-year project budgets must include an appropriate inflation factor.
  • The budget justification, a narrative, should briefly explain the need for personnel and other direct cost items in the budget.
  • Cents should be rounded off to the nearest dollar.
  • Preliminary or final budgets should be submitted to the Office of Academic Enrichment for review by using the Grant Implementation Form.


Basic Budget Considerations

Direct Costs

Direct costs are clearly identifiable costs related to a specific project. General categories of direct costs include but are not limited to salaries and wages, fringe benefits, supplies, contractual services, travel and communication, equipment, and computer use.

If Cameron University's negotiated indirect cost rate is not allowed by a funding agency, they will often allow a percentage of direct costs to be used or suggest a maximum rate.


Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are costs related to expenses incurred in conducting or supporting research or other externally-funded activities but not directly attributable to a specific project. General categories of indirect costs include general administration (accounting, payroll, purchasing, etc.), sponsored project administration, plant operation and maintenance, library expenses, departmental administration expenses, depreciation or use allowance for buildings and equipment, and student administration and services.

Whenever possible, proposals should request full reimbursement of indirect costs. When a proposal provides for less than full indirect cost reimbursement (i.e. below Cameron University’s indirect cost rate), the circumstances should be discussed in advance with the Office of Academic Enrichment.

The Office of Academic Enrichment is available to help you determine what the funding agency will allow and to help compute the appropriate rate. In general, programs are computed using Cameron University's Federal Negotiated Rate.

  • On Campus: 47% of salaries only (not including fringe)
  • Off Campus: 18% of salaries only (not including fringe)
  • Coverage: July 1, 2016
  • Approving Agency: Department of Health and Human Services


Fringe Benefits

As you develop the grant proposal budget, always confirm fringe benefits rates with the Office of Academic Enrichment. However, the following average rates, applicable to a regular semester, can be used.

  • Annual: 27% (Check with Office of Academic Enrichment to obtain precise rate, as it varies by faculty or staff member)
  • Part-time and graduate students: 8.65%
  • Undergraduate students: 1%


Budget Example with Salary, Fringe, and Indirect

PI Salary


Student Salary


PI Fringe*

$4,320 (2 months)

Student Fringe**




Total $80,500.00
Note* Annual fringe benefit (27% of salaries)
Note** Undergraduate student fringe benefit (1% of salaries)
Note*** Based on 47% negotiated cost rate for salaries only and grant performance on campus


Budget Template

For a budget template (Microsoft Exel) that can be easily adjusted to fit your grant, click here. As you prepare your budget, make sure to follow the guidelines established in the request for proposal and the policies established by Cameron University.


Off-Semester Salary from External Grants

Full-time faculty may receive prorated monthly compensation for any time period when faculty offices are not open for work on an external sponsored project (i.e. summer and intersession). The following guidelines apply:

  • Off-semester salary is allowable subject to the regulations of the funding agency and the University’s policies.
  • Faculty who receive off-semester salary must expend the effort associated with the compensation during that off-semester period.
  • The maximum amount of off-semester salary permissible is two-ninths of the faculty’s regular academic year salary. In other words, in any year, a faculty member may receive no more than two months of off-semester salary or one-ninth for each month.
  • Off-semester salary must be requested by completing the Off Semester Salary Form.


Other Budget Considerations

Add Pay

Add pay is permitted for the principle investigator, project director, or appropriate staff member if allowed by the funding agency. Salary additions will be allowed on a scale of up to 25% per academic year of the faculty ten month contract base salary. The grant or contract must also cover the related fringe benefits and indirect costs.

All add pays must be pre-approved by the Dean of the faculty member's college and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.



Consultants include any person who is not a Cameron University employee that will work on the project. Typically, a person will be considered a consultant (versus an employee) if he/she meets the following criteria: (1) is engaged to complete a specific item or project, (2) considers this type of work as their regular business profession, (3) works for multiple people on a routine basis, (4) is not a current Cameron University employee, and (5) provides the University with an invoice detailing the item(s) or service(s) rendered.

Fringe benefits should not be calculated for consultants and they should not be included in the indirect costs calculations if Cameron University's negotiated indirect cost is used. If the negotiated rate is not used, consultant fees should be included in any other indirect cost rate calculation based on a percentage of direct costs.



The following items are often considered personnel costs, however, when using the negotiated rate of 49% (on campus) and 18% (off campus), don't compute fringe and indirect costs on:

  • Consultant fees
  • Honoraria
  • Stipends
  • Student scholarships



An honorarium is paid to an individual for professional services of a consulting, artistic, or entertainment nature. Generally, the individual should be an authority or recognized expert in the field of endeavor for which retained, and the service should be of a non-recurring nature. To qualify, the individual must not have been on the University payroll or of any other Oklahoma State Agency at the time the services are provided.

Fringe benefits should not be calculated for honorariums and they should not be included in the indirect cost calculations if Cameron University's negotiated indirect cost rate is used. If the negotiated rate is not used, honorariums should be included in any other indirect cost rate calculation based on a percentage of direct costs.


Limits on Indirect Costs

Some funding agencies limit the amount of indirect costs that can be requested. When not using the negotiated rate, a percentage of all direct costs is commonly used. It also is possible that some funding agencies allow indirect cost based on the total amount requested (i.e. total direct costs that would also include fringe). With these points in mind, please make sure to read the Request for Proposal very carefully and always work closely with the Office of Academic Enrichment.


Matching and In-Kind

Some grants require a specified portion of the cost of a supported item of equipment or project be obtained from other sources. The required match may be more or less than the amount of the grant. In-kind are contributions or assistance in a form other than money. They include equipment, materials, or services of recognized value that are offered in lieu of cash.


Equipment and Mileage Reimbursement Rate for 2016

Equipment refer to an item worth $5,000 or more. As of January 1, 2016, the mileage reimbursement rate is $0.54/mile.

Aerial Photograph of Cameron University campus