Allowable –  must be necessary for the performance of the project AND must adhere to applicable federal cost principles, agency-specific policies, award-specific terms and conditions, and Middlebury policies regarding the specific cost item AND must be adequately documented.

For federal awards, the expense must be allowable under the applicable federal cost principles.

for ALL awards, the expense must adhere to sponsor-specific policies and award-specific terms and conditions;

for ALL awards, the expense must adhere to Middlebury policies regarding the specific cost and item.

Is That Budget Item Allowable?

Download a summary of applicable policies or click on the categories below. 

Alcoholic beveragesComputers Conference Registration Fees
EntertainmentEquipmentFood
MeetingsMembershipsOffice supplies
Postage and ShippingServices - Professional and consultingSubscriptions
SuppliesTelephoneTravel

Alcohol is not allowable on federal awards. You may not charge costs for alcoholic beverages to your federal grant, even if the alcohol is part of a meal. For non-federal grants, follow standard Middlebury policies.

Computers (includes computing devices such as tablets) are allowable on federal awards in certain circumstances. For federal awards that started after December 26, 2014, computers and computing devices are generally considered to be a supply item and are allowable if they are essential for the performance of and allocable to the project; they need not be solely dedicated to the project. For all federal awards, if a computer or computing device was in in the budget as approved by the sponsor, it is an allowable expense. Otherwise, check with GCA.

Conference Registration Fees are allowable if the purpose of attendance or participation is disseminating technical information related to the project. Dissemination can consist of informally discussing work in progress.

For details on allowability of conference travel expenses , see Travel below. For all conference travel, the traveler must provide justification details on the voucher, P-card notes, or via email with GCA.

Entertainment is not allowable. Meals that are not eligible for reimbursement are considered entertainment expenses.

Equipment (defined as an item costing more than $5,000 and having a useful life of more than one year) is allowable if a line item for the equipment was in the categorical budget as awarded by the sponsor; otherwise Middlebury must seek approval from the funding agency. To purchase equipment not in the original budget as awarded by the sponsor or to 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 GCA for more information.

Download the Sole Source form.

Food

Allowable:  on non-federal awards if the following two conditions are met: 1) it is consistent with the terms of the non-federal award, AND 2) it would be allowable with Middlebury funds. Food may be allowable on certain federal awards, such as program grants that include participant support costs in the categorical budget as awarded by the sponsor.

Not allowable: on federal awards. Federal funds may not be used for purchasing food to serve at meetings or events such as “lab group” meetings or departmental meetings and may not be used for purchasing meals at local restaurants--even if attendees are disseminating technical information related to the project.

Meetings at Middlebury

Allowable: In some circumstances grant funds may be used to cover the expenses for an outside expert who comes to Middlebury to participate in a sponsored project. If the cost was included as a line item in the categorical budget as awarded by the sponsor, it’s generally allowable. If such expense was not included in the awarded budget, use an OPAS form to request approval for the expense.

Not allowable: "Lab group” meetings or departmental meetings, even if attendees are disseminating technical information related to the project.

Memberships in Civic, Community and Social Organizations are not allowable.

Memberships in Professional Organization are allowable if the PI provides requested details and the following two conditions are met:

1) the membership is required in order to present “technical information” related to the project at a conference (provide the name, location, and dates of the conference on the voucher, P-Card notes, or  in email with  GCA)

2) the total cost for membership and discounted conference registration does not exceed the regular cost of conference registration (provide these details on the voucher, P-card notes, or email with GCA)

In some circumstances, if the PI can document that: 1) PI needs to be a member of the professional organization in order to complete the project AND 2) PI would not otherwise be a member, then it may be allowable expense; check with OGSP.   

Institutional memberships are not allowable as a direct cost on a federal award; these expenses are built into the indirect cost rate.

Office supplies generally are not allowable on federal awards.

Lab notebooks are considered supplies, not office supplies. When purchasing notebooks for use in the lab, provide backup on the voucher, P-Card notes, or in an email with GCA describing how the item will benefit the project. 

Office supplies may be an allowable expense on non-federal awards; consult OGSP or GCA.

Postage and Shipping generally are not allowable on federal awards.

In some circumstances, these may be allowable if PI can document that the expense can be allocated to a specific award and is justified as being a direct cost of the project and not part of Middlebury’s indirect costs – check with GCA.

Examples of allowable postage/shipping expenses on federal awards include shipping costs for sending research samples to a colleague for testing, shipping costs for supplies ordered from an online vendor.

Postage and shipping may be an allowable expense on non-federal awards; consult OGSP or GCA.

Professional and Consulting Services are allowable if provided by non-Middlebury employees and included as a line item in the awarded budget. All contracts for individual professional services rendered by persons who are not employees of Middlebury by must be approved by the Controller’s Office

Professional and consulting services rendered by employees of Middlebury are unallowable. If a Middlebury employee is providing such a service, then the employee’s salary and fringe should be charged as a direct cost and included in the personnel line item in the project budget.

Subscriptions to professional journals generally 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.

In some circumstances, if the PI can document that 1) access to the journal is required in order to complete the project, AND 2) Middlebury does not provide the journal, AND 3) the PI would not otherwise subscribe, then a subscription may be an allowable expense; check with OGSP. 

Supplies are allowable on federal awards. Allowable supplies items include materials and parts necessary to carry out the project, as well as shipping costs for  these items. For federal awards that started after December 26, 2014, computers and computing devices are generally considered to be a supply item.  

Telephone

Not allowable: Local telephone costs are unallowable as a direct cost on federal awards.

Allowable: In some circumstances, long distance telephone costs may be allowable if the PI can document that the expense can be allocated to a specific award and is justified as being a direct cost of the project and not part of Middlebury’s indirect costs – check with  GCA.    

Travel is allowable, subject to the restrictions below.

The purpose of trip must be related to the performance of the project, and either domestic or foreign travel, respectively, must have been included as a line item in the categorical budget as awarded by the sponsor or in a revised budget as approved using an OPAS form. For all travel using sponsored funds, the traveler must provide justification details on the voucher, P-Card notes, or via email with GCA.

Reimbursement for travel expenses using federal funds follows the same policies (Middlebury’s Travel Policy, Faculty Professional Development Fund Guidelines and Procedures) as reimbursement with Middlebury funds for similar purposes—i.e. travelers must choose the least expensive method of travel or provide justification for using a more expensive method.

Expenses can be charged directly to your grant Index the same as charging for any college-funded expense; vouchers for reimbursement are sent directly to Accounts Payable.

Airfare

Choose the least expensive coach class flight on a U.S. carrier (unless approved by GCA). 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.

Foreign Travel

Many federal funding agencies require prior approval for or may not allow foreign travel. If foreign travel was not included as a line item in the categorical budget as awarded by the sponsor, use an OPAS form to request approval for the expense.

Although Banner has only one account code for travel, if the categorical budget as awarded by the sponsor does not specify foreign travel, you need to use an OPAS form to request approval for the expense.

You must use a U.S. carrier (unless approved by GCA). 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.

You should register in Middlebury's Travel Registration Program for any travel abroad:  http://www.middlebury.edu/international/travel  

Lodging

Federal per diem rates may be used, but itemized receipts for actual expenses are preferred.

Meals and Incidentals

Federal per diem rates may be used (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), but itemized receipts for actual expenses are preferred. No federal funds can be used for alcoholic beverages, even ones that are part of meals.

Mileage

Use the current College reimbursement rate, provided in the Budget Office FAQs.