Charging Expenses to Grants
All costs charged to a grant must be:
- allocable to the specific project
- consistent with the way the same costs are treated in like circumstances at Middlebury
- allowable under federal cost principles, agency-specific policies, award-specific terms and conditions, and college policies
These rules apply to all federal grants, and to most others as well.
Download a summary of applicable policies: Allowable Grant Expenses
Learn more, courtesy of UC Irvine.
Click the categories below to find out.
Unallowable. This prohibition includes meals that aren’t eligible for reimbursement under Meetings and Conferences.
Allowable: equipment included in the awarded budget. Before purchasing any other equipment, you usually must get approval from the funding agency. Also, you typically can't rebudget funds awarded for equipment without agency approval. To purchase equipment not budgeted or use equipment funds for other purposes, use an OPAS form to request the change.
If you want to buy a piece of equipment that costs more than $10,000, you must either request bids and document the process or submit a Sole Source form. Contact the Grants Accounting Office for more information.
Allowable: In some circumstances grant funds may be used to cover the expenses for an outside expert who comes to Middlebury to learn or advise about the research or project. If this expense is included in the awarded budget, it’s generally allowable. If this expense is not included in the awarded budget, use an OPAS form to request approval for the expense.
Unallowable: "Lab group” meetings, even if you are disseminating technical information (unless the expense is included in the grant budget as part of activities that are consistent with the purpose of the grant – this might be true for training grants but probably not for research grants).
Offsite Meetings and Conferences
Allowable: Meetings you attend or participate in with the primary purpose of disseminating technical information related to the project. Dissemination can consist of informally discussing your work in progress, but if the specific conference is not included in an agency-approved budget, you must provide justification details to the Grants Accounting Office.
Reimbursement for meeting expenses follows the same policies as reimbursement with college funds for similar purposes (except that federal grant funds cannot be used to pay for alcohol).
Civic, Community and Social Organizations: Unallowable.
Professional Organizations: Allowable only if the expense is included in an approved budget or can be specifically allocated to the grant. If the expense meets one of the following criteria it is automatically allowable (with requested details); otherwise you will need additional justification:
- The membership is required in order to present grant related research at the conference (provide the name and dates of the conference on the voucher or in email to the Grants Accounting Office).
- The total cost for membership and discounted conference registration does not exceed the regular cost of conference registration (provide these details on the voucher or email to the Grants Accounting Office).
If you can document that you must be a member of the professional organization to conduct the research or carry out the project and would not otherwise join, the membership may be an allowable expense; check with the Grants Accounting Office.
Institutional memberships: Unallowable as a direct cost of a grant; these expenses are built into the indirect rate.
Unallowable on federal grants, unless the expense can be allocated to a specific grant and is justified as being a direct cost of the project and not routine college support.
Office supplies may be an allowable expense on non-federal grants; consult the SRO or the Grants Accounting Office.
Professional and Consulting Services
Unallowable if rendered by Middlebury employees, except in certain specific situations and only if explained in the awarded budget. Contact the SRO for more information.
Subscriptions to professional journals typically are not allowable, because the expense can’t be allocated specifically to one research project. Subscription expenses are built into the indirect cost (F&A) rate.
If you can document that you need the subscription in order to conduct the research or carry out the project and would not otherwise subscribe, it may be an allowable expense; check with the Grants Accounting Office.
Allowable, subject to these restrictions:
Use the lowest available coach fare. You must use U.S. carriers for federally funded travel unless the Grants Accounting Office approves an alternative. If it's a "code share" flight (shared by several airlines), the ticket bought with federal funds must be purchased from the U.S. carrier.
Many funding agencies require prior approval for foreign travel or do not allow it at all. Yes, Banner has only one account code for travel, but if the awarded budget does not specify foreign travel, check with the Grants Accounting Office to be sure it's allowable.
You must use U.S. carriers for federally funded travel unless the travel meets certain criteria (check the agency guidelines to be sure!) and the Grants Accounting Office office approves the alternative.
You should register in Middlebury's Travel Registration Program for any travel abroad: http://www.middlebury.edu/international/travel
Meals and Lodging
Follow College policies for reimbursement for business travel. Faculty may follow the same policies as for the FPDF (Faculty Professional Development Fund) when budgeting and charging grant-funded expenses for lodging and meals. You may use federal per diem rates for simplicity (but if you do so you must also follow the federal policies for partial days or single meals on days when some meals are covered by conference fees). You may submit receipts that total more than the per diem rate if you document and can justify your expenses.
Use the current College reimbursement rate, provided in the Budget Office FAQs.