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Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

Salaries and Benefits


The largest category of expense on any sponsored program budget is normally personnel expenses — salaries and benefits. Proposals should accurately represent the amount of direct research effort that personnel are committing to the project.

An employee's requested salary amount on a sponsored project is based on the employee's annual compensation paid by the University for that employee's appointment (i.e. institutional base salary or "IBS").

Employee benefits (i.e., fringe) are a direct cost calculated as a percentage of salary.



List the names and titles of personnel committing effort to this project. Include an estimate of the number of months or percentage of time each will devote to the sponsored activity, the salary rate, and the total amount of salaries to be paid to each person.

Summer Salaries

For faculty with 9 month appointments, most sponsors permit compensation during the summer at their regular University salary rates for sponsored projects. The University limits summer salaries to 2.5 months. For guidance and process go here.

For faculty with 9 month appointments who seek summer sponsored funding, academic year and summer effort should be budgeted as separate line items.


Salary supplements are awarded for a variety of reasons including temporary additional responsibilities and administrative duties. All salary supplements must be approved by Academic Human Resources (AHR) and are subsequently included in the calculation of Institutional Base Salary. For more information see AHR Supplements and Institutional Base Salary. These supplements include:

  • Administrative Supplement
  • Endowed Supplement
  • Summer Salary

Provision for Anticipated Salary Increases

Provision for anticipated salary increases should be made in sponsored project budgets when allowed by the sponsor. These increases should be considered for any program extending for more than one year. The salary budget should be properly footnoted to explain the types of anticipated salary increases, the rate of increase, and the period to which the increases apply.

There are three types of salary increases, which should be shown as follows:

Cost of Living Increases
These are not set in UW policy. Some sponsors impose a limit and cost of living allowances (COLA) increases must be reasonable and justified in the proposal.
Mandatory Step Increases
Projected step increases should also be provided in accordance with step increases for classified staff. If the individual to fill a particular position has not yet been identified through the formal recruitment process, the position budget generally should be at the middle range for that title.
If a faculty member is scheduled to receive a promotion before the project start date or during the program period, this should be documented and justified accordingly.

Administrative and Clerical Salaries

The salaries of administrative and clerical staff are normally treated as F&A costs.

  1. The costs are integral to a project or activity;
  2. Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
  3. Such costs are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the Federal awarding agency; and
  4. The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.

Such costs must be explicitly included in the proposal budget or have prior sponsor approval prior to charging to the sponsored program budget.

Admin/clerical costs may be directly charged to non-federally sponsored programs if permitted by the sponsor's policies, award terms and conditions, or are otherwise approved by the sponsor.

If the expense is questioned, the PI will need to justify the charges to the sponsor and any auditors, and will be responsible for paying back any unallowable expenses, if required.

Benefit Rates

Employee Benefits (i.e., fringe) are a direct cost charged as a percentage of salary. Benefit rates, like F&A rates, are negotiated and approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), UW's cognizant federal audit agency. The rates apply to all sponsored projects.

Each year the UW negotiates new benefit/fringe rates for future years. As these preliminary rates become available, they are published in the GIM 3 Rate table until such time as they are approved and become the Current Rates.

To calculate benefit costs, use the Current Rates for the applicable time period, and use the Preliminary Rates for all future years. Actual fringe benefit rates charged to a sponsored project will reflect the current approved rates for that fiscal year.

GIM 3 provides a table of current and preliminary Benefit rates.

Faculty with VA Appointments

A faculty member can have a VA appointment (up to 40 hours or "8/8th") while having up to a full time appointment with UW at the same time.

For proposal preparation, faculty who are VA employees AND have a paid position at the UW, should use the UW appointment as the institutional base salary for calculating effort and salary compensation.



Dr. Y has with a full time salary rate of $100,000 has a 50% UW appointment and is requesting 10% salary support. The commitment on the proposal represents 10% of the 50% appointment.

  • Salary: 10% of the 50% salary, $5,000 ($100,000 x 50% x 10%)
  • Person Months: 10% of 50% time = 0.6 person months.
  • Percent Effort: 10% of 50% time, or 5%

Graduate Assistantship Compensation

A graduate assistant is considered full-time at 50% FTE during the academic year and 100% during summer.

To calculate the compensation level for graduate assistants, include salaries, fringe benefits and tuition remission. Use the average first year postdoc compensation level in the respective school/college, or in the absence of such information being available, please consult with the UW Academic Resources salary rates and minimums schedule. Budget for full actual costs.

NIH Awards: the maximum amount awarded by NIH for graduate students supported on research grants or cooperative agreements is tied to the zero level National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral stipend in effect at the time the grant award is issued.

Graduate student compensation amounts calculated in budgets often exceed the level NIH will award. NIH allows PIs to rebudget project funds to charge more for graduate assistant compensation, but these cannot exceed the amount paid to a first-year post doc at the same school/college.

Alternative department funds must cover the difference between what NIH will fund (including rebudget allowances) and the calculated compensation amount.