Budgets must conform with agency regulations and with all of Middlebury’s grant-related policies and procedures.

Additionally, a budget must help tell the story of the work itself, how the work will be carried out, and by whom.

Direct Costs

The direct costs are those that can be specifically and easily identified with a particular project or activity and are allowable under the guidelines.


Personnel includes those who carry out the work and the value and percent of their time dedicated to the project. When including personnel in your budget, keep in mind Middlebury follows state DOL guidelines when determining if the role is an Independent Contractor (IC) or Employee. Please contact Michael Ulibarri [mulibarr@middlebury.edu] in Human Resources for more information and final determination of appropriate category.

College Faculty

Faculty effort is calculated by using the current gross academic year base salary divided by the amount of time dedicated to the proposed project. For multi-year budgets, a 3-5% increase is typically added to each year to cover anticipated salary increases.

Academic-year salary is typically not included unless the faculty member is scheduled for leave or has permission from the Dean of Faculty.

Leave Salary

Faculty members scheduled for leave during the period of a proposed grant budget typically include leave salary in the budget. Middlebury policy allows on-leave faculty to receive up to but not in excess of their full base-salary if grant funding supplements their leave-salary.

Summer Salary

Budgets may provide up to two months of extra work during the summer. Each month of summer salary is calculated at a rate of 1/9th of the previous academic year’s salary (for a maximum of 2/9th per summer). Exceptions to this policy (e.g. greater than two months of grant-funded work) must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Consult the Faculty Handbook for Middlebury policies about receiving income from consulting, lecturing, teaching at other schools, etc.

MIIS Faculty

To discuss options for faculty effort, course release, leave, and summer salary please contact Meghan Rasmussen, MIIS Director of Sponsored Programs (mrasmussen@middlebury.edu).


Student job categories and wages are set by Human Resources and administered by the Student Employment Office. Find current rates here.  

Summer Stipends

Summer stipends are common budget line items for undergraduate research assistance. For more information: http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/resources/ctlr/students/uro/funding


Consult with Human Resources to find out what to pay for staff positions and whether a position qualifies for fringe benefits other than payroll taxes.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are direct costs of employment at Middlebury and must be included as a percentage of salary or wages on all grant proposals. Middlebury has federally negotiated fringe benefit rates available here: http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/support/grants/sro/forms/factsrates#fringe

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs (i.e. Facilities and Administrative Costs or Overhead Costs) are incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one program and not readily assignable to the cost objectives of a specific project. In other words, those costs that cannot be directly associated with the specific projects’ scope of work. Middlebury indirect cost rates are posted here: https://www.middlebury.edu/grants-sponsored-programs/process/forms-information/facts-rates

Middlebury’s official Facilities and Administration (F&A) costs rate, negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services, is used for all grant proposals. The budget incorporated in the proposal must include applicable indirect (F&A) costs at Middlebury’s federally-approved indirect cost rate unless the sponsor or solicitation otherwise limits them. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance.

F&A reimburses the institution for costs that are not directly supported by the grant, including costs of sustaining a supportive environment, state-of-the art facilities, equipment maintenance, libraries, start-up funds for new faculty, purchase of new instructional equipment, science technical support staff, computer costs, grant accounting, etc.


There is an updated Travel Policy as of March 24, 2021, found here

Travel costs include transportation to the destination, lodging, and expenses for meals, local transportation, tips, etc. Middlebury allows you to charge actual expenses to your grant budget following the Middlebury travel policy

If the sponsor requires that federal per diem rates are to be used, and the approved budget includes them, Middlebury allows requests for reimbursement (lodging, meals, and incidentals) on these rates. (For planning purposes, the federal rates can help estimate travel costs.)

Most sponsors require that travel arrangements be the equivalent of economy class and may scrutinize this section of the budget for reasonableness.

Foreign Travel

Use the U.S. State Department Foreign Per Diem Rate appropriate for the location and season of the proposed travel. Not all sponsors will pay for foreign travel. Foreign travel paid for with federal funds must be on U.S. flag carriers (with certain exceptions).

Other Project Costs

Consult the sponsor’s guidelines carefully to confirm allowable “Other Costs.” Allowable categories typically include:

  • Events, conferences, speaker fees
  • Project supplies (generally excluding office supplies)
  • Field expenses
  • Software and licenses
  • Publication costs
  • Participant support (travel, lodging, meals, etc.)
  • Consultants, sub-contractors
  • Equipment maintenance

Avoid using “miscellaneous” as a budget category; assign as many costs as possible to sponsor-defined categories. Include estimates to project costs out over multi-years.


If the budget includes purchasing equipment, consider its location, installation, storage, maintenance, service contracts, etc. Depending on your equipment needs, a discussion with the department chair, senior administrator, and/or IT may be in order.

For federal grant proposals, equipment is defined as items with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life of more than one year. These are the only items of equipment that should be included in the “Equipment” section of a federal grant budget; items that don’t meet this definition should be included in your budget as supplies or as other direct costs.

Computers and Media Gear

If the proposal includes funds for (or commits the use of) computers or media equipment or if the project will need extra technology resources, please consult with ITS to verify that the estimated costs are reasonable, that the equipment selected is compatible with our systems, and that maintenance costs can be handled by Middlebury or have been included in the budget.

Budget Justification

A budget justification is a narrative that explains how the grant funds will be spent. Typically, they are organized using the same categories used in the sponsor’s budget form and include enough specific detail to enable the sponsor to understand how the budget amounts were derived.

Please refer to each specific sponsor’s requirements and contact OGSP for assistance.

Cost Sharing and Matching

If your grant proposal includes a cost-sharing (matching) commitment, it is crucial to ensure that the departments responsible for the matching funds have committed resources and can demonstrate sources of required match. All matching funds must be approved by the appropriate budget administrator well in advance of proposal submission.

The Matching Fund

This fund is available for College faculty to assist with cost-sharing on grant proposals for equipment and faculty research. This fund may also be used to help with maintenance costs for grant-funded equipment and with unanticipated or other unusual expenses of grant-funded faculty research projects. Contact adeans@middlebury.edu, for more information.