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Budget Costs & Rates

Budgets for sponsored research projects are developed using direct and indirect cost categories. To create a budget for your sponsored research project, it is important to understand how these different kinds of costs are defined and what rates are used to escalate certain direct costs in the out years of your project.

Direct Costs

Costs specifically tied to a single sponsored research project, such as the PIs percentage of effort, materials and supplies needed specifically for the project but not for the general operation of the department or institute, or the tuition and stipend expenses of graduate students dedicating effort to accomplish certain objectives of the sponsored project.

Indirect Costs

Costs related to the general administration of departments, institutes, or the university, such as office supplies, depreciation of facilities and equipment, and utility costs of maintaining buildings and laboratory spaces. These expenses are part of the total cost of doing business at a research university, although the relationship of these costs to a specific sponsored project may be difficult to quantify.  Institutions that accept federal funds negotiate indirect cost rates for a five-year period through an assigned federal agency. Indirect costs are applied to your project as a percentage of direct costs, and rates vary depending on the type and performance site of the research.

More Information

Virginia Tech Indirect Cost Rates Table FY 16-18

Indirect Cost Rates 2016-2018
VT's fiscal year runs from July 1st through June 30th
Type FY16-FY18
Research On-Campus* 61%
Research On-Campus** 65%
Research Adjacent* 27%
Research Adjacent** 31%
Research Remote* 26%
Research Remote** 30%
Instruction On-Campus 49.70%
Instruction Off-Campus 26%
Other On-Campus 30.50%
Other Off-Campus 22.50%
*Applies to all DoD contracts awarded or issued before 11/30/1993, all non-DoD instruments and all DoD grants (capped rate).
**Applies to all DoD contracts awarded or issued after 11/30/1993 in accordance with and under the authority of DFARS 231.303-1 (uncapped rate).

Salary, Wage, and Tuition Rates Escalation

Because budgets estimate costs associated with performing a particular program of research, salary increases for PIs and other staff that may occur during the budgetary timeframe must be factored into total costs, as well as the cost of any tuition rate increases. These escalation rates are established by the Controller’s Office and are applied to base salaries and tuition rates on specific dates during the year.

Salary & Tuition Escalation Rates
For By a factor of When
Faculty (AY & CY) 4% On 12/1 annually
Staff 4% On 12/1 annually
Wage 3% On 12/1 annually
GRA 4% On 08/16 annually
Tuition 5% On 08/16 annually

Fringe Benefits

VT's fiscal year runs from July 1st through June 30th.

Fringe Benefits include FICA, workers compensation, unemployment compensation, medical insurance, group life insurance, employee retirement compensation, faculty and staff fee waivers, and educational leave.

Faculty (Tenure Track)
FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
35.25% 34.25% 34.50% 34.25% 31.50% 28.50%
Research Faculty
FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
38.50% 36.50% 36.50% 37.50% 33.75% 31.00%
Part-Time Faculty
FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
24.50% 26.25% 23.75% 25.75% 22.75% 19.50%
Staff
  FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
  51.50% 50.50% 51.00% 49.25% 43.00% 37.75%
Summer Faculty
FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
7.75% 7.75% 8.25% 7.75% 8.25% 8.50%
Graduate Research Assistants
FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
10.00% 9.50% 7.50% 4.50% 6.50% 7.75%
Part-Time Wages
FY 18
(PROV)
FY 17
(FIXED)
FY 16 FY 15 FY14 FY13
7.75% 7.75% 8.25% 7.75% 8.25% 8.50%

Graduate Stipends

Tuition costs must be applied to all projects that include a graduate stipend, unless prohibited by sponsor policy. The tuition costs are budgeted in proportion to the graduate student’s effort on the project. Summer tuition is included only if the PI requests it. Normally, a graduate student does not take more than three hours credit in the summer, so the lowest rate is applied.

In cases where the sponsor disallows tuition costs, the PI must provide OSP with a departmental fund number from which tuition for the student can be drawn.

Graduate Student Tuition and Academic Fees

Tuition budgeted by OSP includes in-state tuition costs+technology fee+library fee. Engineering, Architecture, and MBA students are budgeted including additional supplemental fees.

Graduate Student Tuition and Academic Fees
When Engineering +
supplemental fee
Architecture + design fee All Other Majors
Spring 2017 $6,835 $6,785 $6,310.50
Fall 2016 $6,835 $6,785 $6,310.50
Spring 2016 $6,608.50 $6,561.50 $6,129.50
Fall 2015 $6,608.50 $6,561.50 $6,129.50
Spring 2015 $6,310 $6275.50 $5,882.50
Fall 2014 $6,310 $6275.50 $5,882.50