Finance Administrative Policies and Procedures
Section: 4- Grants and Contracts Accounting=124
Policy Procedure: 4-3.05
Subject: Determining Cost Sharing Requirements for a Sponsored Agreement
Effective Date: 4/8/1999
Responsible Department: Grants and Contracts Accounting


This procedure explains the procedures for identifying, documenting, and reporting cost sharing to sponsoring agencies.

General Guidelines

Cost sharing or matching represents the use of institutional funds to supplement project costs not borne by the sponsoring agency. Some Sponsored Agreements require that MUSC participate to some extent in the total cost of the project. For other agreements, the University may voluntarily agree to cost share.

MUSC's Cost Accounting Standards - Guidelines for Cost Sharing provides extensive guidelines and states the University's cost sharing policy.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) ensures identification of the University?s cost sharing obligations during the proposal, negotiation, and award process and identifies the obligation and amount on the Grant and Contract Acceptance Form. Also, upon receipt of an award document, if the award is less than the proposal, ORSP will contact the Principal Investigator to determine whether or not the University has incurred a cost sharing obligation in the amount of the difference between proposal and award amounts. Revised budgets may be required if the award is less than the proposal.

Failure to account for and report cost sharing expenditures to the sponsor could result in loss of funding or unreimbursed Sponsored Project expenditures. Many sponsors, particularly most State of South Carolina agencies, will not reimburse Sponsored Project expenditures without documentation that the cost sharing obligation has been met during the appropriate budget period.

A. Sources of Cost Sharing Funds:

Cost sharing may be funded from these sources:

    1. University funds
    2. Unfunded or waived F&A costs if approved by the sponsor in advance in writing
    3. Another sponsored project (only if approved in advance in writing by both sponsoring agencies)
    4. Third-party contributions (from a non-University source)

B. Allowable and Unallowable Cost Sharing Expenditures:

Allowable cost sharing expenditures include, but are not limited to:

1. Faculty, staff, or student salaries and fringe benefits

2. Laboratory supplies

3. Travel

4. Equipment (Note: Depreciation on cost-shared equipment may not be included in F&A Cost Rates calculations.)

The following are unallowable cost sharing expenditures:

  1. Expenditures normally treated as F&A costs per MUSC cost accounting guidelines such as administrative and clerical salaries, office supplies,local telephone, etc.
  2. Alcoholic beverages, entertainment, and memberships in community organizations, etc. (see Procedure 3.01: Determining Allowable and Unallowable Expenditures on Sponsored Agreements).

Questions regarding cost sharing identification and documentation should be addressed to the appropriate Grants and Contracts Accounting Accountant based on departmental assignment (see Distribution of Grants by Administrator) or at 792-2850.


1. The Principal Investigator must:

a. Identify, document, and fund cost sharing obligations required by the award agreement and sponsor requirements.

b. List all proposed cost sharing obligations by amount and source of funds on the "Proposal Data Sheet" and itemize and quantify the cost sharing in the proposed budget.

2. After the sponsored award is received, ORSP lists the amount of the cost sharing obligation on the Grant and Contract Acceptance Form and forwards it to Grants & Contracts.

3. The responsible department/unit must document the following types of cost sharing:

a. Mandatory Cost Sharing - This type of cost sharing is required by the sponsor or individual program and must be accounted for and reported to the sponsor using a separate non-sponsored Cost Share UDAK corresponding directly to a Sponsored Project. For specific procedures, see Procedure 4-1.03: Establishing a UDAK to Capture Cost Sharing Expenditures.

b. Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing - This type of cost sharing is not required by the sponsor, but is "volunteered" by the University in the proposal. Because the University has voluntarily included cost sharing that is quantified in the research proposal and/or proposal budget, a separate non-sponsored Cost Share UDAK corresponding directly to the Sponsored Project must be established. For specific procedures, see Procedure 4-1.03: Establishing a UDAK to Capture Cost Sharing Expenditures .

c. Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing - This type of cost sharing arises when the level of effort for key personnel only exceeds the level of effort originally committed to the sponsor in the award budget. The department is not required to establish a separate Cost Share UDAK for this type of cost sharing. The cost shared salaries and fringe benefits should be charged to a non-sponsored UDAK, and the employee is not required to report the effort as cost sharing on his/her Quarterly Activity Report.

4. GCA will report mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing to the sponsor in accordance with sponsor reporting guidelines.