Instructions for Preparing Your Budget

General Instructions for Preparing Your Budget


VIEW A SAMPLE OF A BUDGET AND JUSTIFICATION: Sample%20budget%20and%20justification

Funds can not 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, including those that will be funded by the Senior Work Fund or other funding source. 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 vendors 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 the item that Joanna will be able to match an invoice to your budget form.
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!

Indicate in the appropriate column of the budget sheet whether the item will be funded by Senior Research Project Supplement (SRPS; which has a separate application & budgeting process), by other research funds (including Beck funds), or by the Biology Department. We know that you will not receive word about SRPS or other external funding sources until after your budgets are due,  so this is simply an indication of what you will be requesting from the SRPS. 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. To determine which source should cover an item, please use the following guidelines.

The first $350 of expenses should be requested from Senior Research Project Supplement. If your costs are <$350, your entire budget will therefore be requested from the SRPS. If this is the case, however, you STILL must fill out a Biology Department budget form just in case SRPS decides not to fully fund your request.

The Biology Department budget will cover, within reason, expenses in excess of $350. 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.

Photocopying of journal articles will only be paid by the SRPS (not the Biology Department), so if you have >$350 of expenses make sure that photocopying journal articles is included in the SRPS portion of your budget.
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 - 0.10/page; Biology will not cover photocopying of journal articles so this must come from other funding.
  • photocopying other - 0.10/page; includes primary data, required thesis copies, transparencies
  • color photocopying - $1.00/page
  • color printing - 0.50/page for 8.5 x 11 up to $8/page 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/reimbursed. This includes, but is 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
  • travel Travel to field sites or other research-related activities will be reimbursed.  Original receipts are required for reimbursement, except for gas/fuel.  Instead, mileage is paid at the rate of .56 per mile (eff. Jan. 1, 2014). * Keep track of your mileage.*    
    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 Senior Work Fund DOES reimburse photocopying, so if you anticipate needing to photocopy articles, please include that expense as part of your senior work fund budget.

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