Required and Non-essential Cost Sharing
Baylor strictly discourages unnecessary cost sharing and will only provide cost sharing in cases where the sponsor's written guidelines state that cost sharing is required of all applicants. In such cases, unrecovered F&A costs and/or tuition contributions for graduate research assistants working on the project will be applied toward the cost sharing requirement.
When cost sharing is included in a proposal to a sponsor as the University's contribution toward a project, these costs become required costs of the project. In cases where cost sharing is not required, such requests for cost sharing must be approved in writing.
Cost Sharing of Tuition
Baylor will cost share the tuition for graduate students receiving significant stipends from sponsored project funds. It is important, however, to not use the tuition as part of a guaranteed cost sharing amount unless the chair, and dean and the Vice Provost for Research specifically approve this guaranteed cost share amount. Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, it is difficult to expend the total amount of tuition projected in the proposal budget sent to the sponsoring agency. If the cost sharing is guaranteed and the University fails to meet the guaranteed amount, severe financial repercussions may result which must be resolved by the respective department and college/school.
Therefore, absent the specific approvals noted above, project budget sheets submitted to funding agencies should not explicitly show tuition cost sharing. The approximate amounts of estimated cost sharing may be discussed in the proposal narrative at the point where the budget justification is given, provided that it is made clear that the cost sharing is not guaranteed. Funding agencies now routinely label cost sharing amounts as being required terms of the award. Thus, all award documents must be carefully reviewed.
The following language is suggested for use in proposals and may be adapted to the needs of the particular situation:
"The University will pay the tuition for the graduate students receiving stipends from sponsored project funds. This amount is approximately $XX,xxx per year per full-time graduate student. For the proposed project, this would amount to support by the University of approximately $___________. This amount is an estimation and not guaranteed. For example, in some cases students may be awarded fellowship funds and still work on the project, or may not be required to register for a full 9 credit hours per semester. Additionally, students may start later or finish earlier than expected."
Cost Sharing on Equipment Proposals
Proposals requesting acquisition of a major piece of equipment typically require Institutional cost sharing, per the sponsor's guidelines. The typical procedure for such requests is to discuss the matter first with your department chair and to make an internal determination of the department's priorities, in terms of the equipment's value to both research and teaching efforts, and then to determine whether the department is willing to contribute to cost sharing. The department should then consult with the dean's office, and the appropriate dean may in turn consult with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to determine how much each unit can contribute to the need.
The University has a limited pool of money for cost sharing. As with tuition cost sharing, it must ensure that the money is committed wisely to support research central to department, college/school, and University priorities. It is advisable to write a clear justification for the cost sharing request that identifies any benefits the equipment may have beyond the immediate benefits to the principal investigator's own research agenda.