Instructions for Preparing Your Budget

General Instructions for Preparing Your Budget


VIEW A SAMPLE OF A BUDGET AND JUSTIFICATION: Sample%20budget%20and%20justification  (this is an older version, but you get the idea!)

Funds cannot be spent until your budget is approved by the Dept Chair.

  • A complete budget should be developed in consultation with your advisor; you are required to submit the budget to your advisor for a signature by the Wednesday of the second week of classes.
  • A final copy signed by your advisor is due to the Department Chair by noon on the Friday of the second week of classes. Budgets that are turned in to the Department Chair without an Advisor's signature will be returned to the student without review.  Budgets will not be accepted after the deadline has passed.
  • If you are doing a two-semester project, the budget you submit during your first semester should encompass the entire project, not just the first semester's work!

This budget should include a one-page budget justification.  It must also itemize all of your anticipated expenses. If you have questions about the budgeting process, don't hesitate to ask your advisor, the course director or Joanna Shipley (the Biology Department Coordinator, x 5438).


Filling in Your Budget Form

Make a complete list of expenses that you expect to incur. Call or check vendor websites to obtain estimates of costs & shipping. Your budget must be based on real estimates, not fabricated ones! Catalogs are available in the Biology common room, but please do not remove them from the common room for more than a few minutes!  Most vendors also have online catalogs.

Group the expenses into the categories identified below.  List expenses on the budget form provided, with a sufficiently detailed description of each item so it is clear to your adviser and the Chair. Prepare a brief (approximately 1 page) budget justification.  The purpose of the budget justification is to explain why you need a particular item.  The justification should be written in terms that an educated non-specialist (your Department Chair) can understand.  You must justify ALL items on the budget!

Seniors:  you should request the total amount you will need for your project from the Senior Research Project Supplement.  However if you do not receive funding for your full SRPS request, the Biology Department will cover those expenses that can be reimbursed under departmental guidelines.  For that reason you STILL must fill out a Biology Department budget form just in case SRPS decides not to fully fund your request.  

We know that you will not receive word about SRPS or other external funding sources until after your budgets are due, so with Department Chair approval, you may use Biology funds for any purchases that cannot wait until SRPS funding awards are announced. 

Please note that the pool of available funding is not infinite, so work with your advisor to keep costs as low as possible. Although we have tried to cover all research costs in the past, we can not guarantee that this will be possible every year, so you may be asked to reduce your budget if costs are excessively high.

If you are doing a botanical project, the first $500 of expenses will be covered by the Beck Research Funds.  You should therefore indicate those expenses in the column identified as "other".  Note that the rules for using Beck funds are identical to those of the Biology Department, as indicated below.  If your project is appropriate for the Beck Research Funds, you must submit the Beck application form along with your budget.  You will find a link to it on the "Funding Your Research" page.

Budgets that do not meet these guidelines will be returned to you for revision before they are approved by the Dept Chair.

You must still fill out and submit the SRPS application separately, but this application is very similar to that used to apply for departmental funds.

Categories of Expenses

Make sure to consult the SRPS page for restrictions on expenses.

Use these categories in the "Category of expense" column in your itemized budget.

  • photocopying (journal articles or other research materials):  A receipt must accompany SRPS reimbursement requests for photocopy expenses.   Biology does not cover photocopying of journal articles.  
  • color printing (e.g. for posters)
  • shipping:  Biology will cover standard shipping only unless expedited shipping is required. (If this is the case, please explain on your budget justification.). You must include an estimate of shipping costs in your budget.
  • supplies: Supplies associated with student research efforts will be covered.  Supplies should be ordered through the Biology Department, not purchased out of pocket.  Supplies include but are not limited to such things as: chemicals, glassware, flagging tape, and inexpensive pieces of equipment (e.g., tape measures). Please note that we will not reimburse express shipping charges except in cases where items can only be shipped by express mail, so place orders early!
  • reimbursement of research subjects:  compensation as a gift certificate from a College facility such as the Grille or the College Store is preferred.  However, arrangements can be made to pay small cash stipends (up to $10 each) with the appropriate documentation.
  • travel:  Travel to field sites or other research-related activities will be reimbursed.  Save all travel-related receipts and keep track of all mileage.   For 2015-16 SRPS reimburses  $ .36 per mile.  
    Overnight camping fees for fieldwork will be reimbursed as part of travel costs.  Additional costs (e.g., meals) incurred while conducting fieldwork will be reimbursed.  Other transportation costs (trains, buses, rented cars) will be considered. If you anticipate having unusually high travel costs (i.e., you need to take a charter air flight to Fiji on short notice) associated with your research, consult your advisor about seeking additional funding sources.
  • long distance phone charges:  only if directly related to research

Expenses that will not be reimbursed by the department

Photocopying of journal articles will not be reimbursed, as those articles are available free-of-charge (to the student) in the library, on the electronic resources to which the College subscribes, or by ILL. Note that SRPS DOES reimburse photocopying (with receipts) so if you are applying for SRPS funding, you may include photocopying costs.

Long-distance phone calls that are not directly related to the research (for example, calls about future employment doing research similar to thesis/independent study research) will not be reimbursed.

Express mail costs will not be reimbursed unless the item ordered can only be shipped express mail (i.e., some perishable supplies). Hence, express shipping of last minute supplies orders or submission of abstracts to meetings will not be reimbursed.

Department of Biology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753