Budget considerations


Budgeted salaries must be a reasonable estimate of the amount of time/effort each individual will devote to the project. The amount of salary charged to sponsored projects should roughly match the amount of time attested to on effort reports.

Time charged to a grant does not automatically mean course release or buyout. Release from instruction time is negotiated between the faculty member and their Chair/Director.


The University of Maryland does not have a fringe benefit rate. Instead, the University charges benefits to state and sponsored accounts based on the actual cost of benefits. For the purpose of budgeting, it is recommended to use a 30% benefits rate on academic year salary and 8% on summer research for 9-month faculty; 12-month faculty/staff are encouraged to use a 30% benefits rate for the year. Individual budgets and departments can deviate from this rate estimate based on historical data or knowledge about the individual faculty/staff member in question.

Graduate assistant benefits rates can vary greatly depending on the individual. It is highly recommended to review past payroll charges for the individual to establish a personalized rate for that individual. Anything significantly greater than the 30% should be specifically addressed in the budget narrative.

For more information, visit the Benefits & Stipends page on ORA's website.


All travel must be directly relevant to the project and reflect activities in the project narrative. 

All federally-funded travel must comply with federal travel regulations. Federally-funded foreign travel must also comply with Fly America Act. For more information on BSOS practices for foreign travel, visit the SMART Center's website. Reimbursable rates for per diem and mileage can be found on the Travel Services website.

Materials and Supplies

This section of the budget should include all items which are necessary for the conduct and completion of the sponsored project. Computers (under $5,000) are considered a supply under the Uniform Guidance, which means they must be justified as specifically necessary to a particular project or activity. Otherwise, computers would normally be considered an office supply and, as such, covered by departmental funds.

Consultant Costs

Consultants are experts outside of the University of Maryland. The rates for consultants must be reasonable and justifiable. Keep this in mind at the proposal stage, as at the award stage when the consultant must be paid they will be asked to provide an invoice covering similar work which has been paid by another entity. Additionally, some sponsors limit consultant rates by the day.

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs (aka overhead) should be included on all externally-funded projects. Rates differ based on the type of activity conducted under the sponsored award, and the location of the project. Unless there is a publicly available or statute-mandated sponsor limitation, the full F&A rate should be calculated and charged. New in 2018 there is a rate specific to Department of Defense contracts. The current F&A memo along with the implementation plan can be found on ORA's website.

In limited circumstances on non-federal awards, the BSOS Dean's Office will consider requests to waive part or all of the indirect costs. Before requesting such a waiver, contact the Director of Research Administration, Rebecca Hunsaker, at hunsaker [at] umd [dot] edu.

Indirect expenditures come back to the college, department, and faculty in the form of DRIF return. It is therefore in the best interest of the department to include full indirect costs in sponsored project budgets.