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Develop a Proposal Budget

A competitive budget should contain costs that are allowable by the sponsor, allocable to the project, reasonable, and necessary.  The budget should be a numeric depiction of the project.

The budget format should follow the sponsor's instructions and may be required on the sponsor's form.  Projects that cover more than one year are usually broken down by each year with a page with a cumulative total for each category.  This can be confusing.  Please contact OSP for help.

Below are the items that are typically requested in a budget.   Please review the sponsor’s guidelines for specific requirements for the budget. The OSP Staff are available to assist applicants with creating a budget, so please contact us as soon as possible so that the budget can be discussed, created, and finalized.


Extramural funding agencies/sponsors require information about the amount of effort that senior personnel provide towards a grant.  Effort is the amount of time a faculty member works on a grant/agreement/contract.  Some sponsors require documentation of effort in months while others require effort as a percentage of time.  Salaries and fringe benefits charged to a grant are determined by the amount of time and effort provided by the senior personnel.

  • Faculty (Senior Personnel)
    The salary is based on the faculty member’s 9 or 12 month institutional contracted salary.  To determine summer salary take the 9 month salary and multiple by 0.333. 
  • Postdocs
    Postdocs can be paid for 9 or 12 months.
  • Graduate Assistants
    Graduate Assistants can be hired per semester, 9 months or 12 months.  Texas A&M University-Commerce has established a salary range for graduate assistants.  Assistants should be paid within the established salary range and can work no more than 20 hours per week.
  • Undergraduate Students
    Undergraduate Students are paid hourly and the minimum rate is the standard minimum rate of pay (see below). Students can work no more than 19 hours per week.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits must be included for each salary in the budget.  The fringe benefits are the benefits that would be paid by the University (social security, medicare, workers comp insurance, unemployment compensation insurance, retirement, longevity, leave termination and health insurance).

  • Faculty and Postdocs
    A&M-Commerce fringe benefit rate for faculty and postdocs is 19.7% plus $1,033 per month (health insurance).
  • Graduate Assistants
    Fringe benefit rate for graduate assistants is 3% plus $282 per month (health insurance). 
  • Undergraduate Students
    Fringe benefit rate for student workers is 3% (Note: insurance is not applicable).

Fringe benefits (benefits paid by the University) are required to be included in extramural funding requests for salaries and wages. Please use the fringe benefit calculator FY 2024 to calculate the benefits for each type of salary, principal investigator, co-investigators, senior personnel, post docs, graduate assistants, and student workers.

For assistance in calculating Fringe Benefits, please contact OSP at 903-886-5964 or for current rates.

Fringe Benefit Calculator-FY 2024

Fringe Benefit Letter-FY 2024

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Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) classifies equipment as tangible nonexpendable property charged directly to the award having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit.  The acquisition cost of the item includes tax, installation, and freight charges.  All other equipment which does not cost at least $5,000 per unit should be listed in materials and/or supplies.


Most Funding sponsors will allow both domestic and international travel.  Please review the request for proposal/applications and guidelines carefully to determine if there are restrictions for international travel.  Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by employees who are in travel status on official business of the institution.  All travel costs must be in accordance with Texas A&M University-Commerce, State of Texas, and Federal regulations/policies/procedures.

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Participant Costs

If the project requires participant costs, include stipends and allowances, tuition and fees, travel, and project supplies.

Other Direct Costs

Other direct costs usually include materials and supplies, publication costs/documentation/dissemination, consultant services, subawards and tuition remission.

Consultant Services

Consultants are independent contractors who are not affiliated with Texas A&M University-Commerce to provide specific services.  Consultants are not eligible for fringe benefits.  A statement of work and estimate of charges are required before submission of the proposal/application.  For more information please review OMB Circular A-21, Section 37.

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If you intend to collaborate with personnel from another institution and request any amount of funds from the application’s budget to cover the work performed at the external institution, the sponsor considers this a request to issue a “subaward” to the collaborative institution. A subaward is an acceptable request for most sponsors and is included in the budget under its own category (“Subawards”).

When a proposal budget includes funds for subawards, a number of documents must be obtained from the proposed subrecipient and be routed with the proposal for internal approvals before the proposal is submitted to the sponsor. The following documents are required when including subawards in a proposal budget:

  • Statement of Work (should describe the specific activities that will be performed by the collaborative party)
  • Budget (should identify the specific items that the funds will cover)
  • Budget Justification (should explain why each budget item is needed)
  • Biographical sketch and Current/Pending Awards (required for most federal programs)
  • Signed Subrecipient Commitment Form – (an internal form that must be signed by the proposed subrecipient’s authorized organizational representative)

It is best to request these documents from your collaborator as soon as possible to allow them time to work with the research administrative office at their institution to get the documents routed for internal approvals.

The final/approved documents will need to be sent from the collaborator’s research administrative office to the OSP of A&M-Commerce.  So please notify the OSP as soon as possible so that communication between both offices can be initiated.

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Cost Sharing/Matching

Some funding sponsors require cost-sharing and/or matching.  Cost sharing is a portion of a grant that is not charged to the sponsor, but is provide by other sources.  Cost sharing is not acceptable unless it is a required by the funding sponsor.  Cost sharing can be contributed time/effort by faculty, postdocs, graduate assistants and student workers.  Matching is usually considered cash money (i.e., if the grant is $50,000, the sponsor may require a 25% match, which would be $12,500 of actual cash money that will be required by the institution to provide).

TAMU System Policy on Cost Sharing

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Indirect Costs or Facilities & Administration

These costs are for costs incurred for common or joint objectives which cannot be identified readily and specifically with a project.  Texas A&M University-Commerce has a negotiated rate with the Department of Health and Human Services.  The rate is 36% of the total direct costs excluding equipment costing > $5,000/each, tuition reimbursement, patient care costs, student support costs, the excess of $25K of each sub award,  alterations and renovations, and space rental or rental maintenance.  Please see the full IDC rate agreement for more information.   Please review the request for proposal/applications and guidelines.  If indirect costs are not allowable or the rate is reduced contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Texas A&M University-Commerce's Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

Texas A&M University-Commerce Procedure for IDC (Distribution and Expenditure of Facilities and Administrative Costs of External Grants for Scholarly and Creative Activity, Teaching, and Service)

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Budget Justification/Narrative



Explain how each individual will contribute to the project and their specific function for the project.  If an individual is to be hired, describe the required qualifications. Provide the percent of effort and the salary for the effort.  Include a description of the any annual salary increases.


Provide the purpose of the trip and provide a justification for all individuals traveling.  State that the costs are based on state and federal rates.


Describe the equipment required.  A quote from a seller should be obtained.

Consultant Costs

Provide the name and organizational affiliations of the consultants.  Provide the number of days of prospective consultant, estimated rate of compensation.


Items less than $1,000 should not be itemized.

The budget amounts and the budget justification amounts must match.

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Student Worker Hourly Rates

Below is the minimum rate of pay for student workers

Undergraduate Student Workers - $7.25

Graduate Student Workers - $9.10 

Submit an Application


NSF Proposal:  The Budget: Part 1   Part 2

NSF effort by PI for grants

Budget Justification and 3 Tips

NSF Proposal: Budgetary Guidelines and Cost Sharing Policy

The Definition of Cost Sharing (or cost matching)

The Three Types of Cost Sharing - Check to see if Cost Share is required in the RFP.  If it is not mandatory, TAMUC will not allow.  The three types are:  Mandatory Cost Sharing (must be tracked and an account number with the funds must be given), Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing (must also be tracked and an account number with the funds must be given), and Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Share (not tracked or auditable).

Forms of Cost Sharing (YouTube Video)

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