Troy University Sponsored Program Accounting
Administrative and Clerical Costs
- Administrative costs are generally prohibited from being directly charged to federal grants and contracts, per OMB Circular A-21.
- Normally, the salaries of administrative and clerical staff plus non-personnel costs such as office supplies, postage, local telephone, and memberships must be treated as indirect costs on federal grants and contracts.
- OMB Circular A-21 does allow for direct charging of administrative and clerical staff (and related fringe benefits) and non-personnel administrative costs if the costs meet the exception criteria of unlike or special circumstances. Additionally, administrative costs may be appropriate on certain “major projects” such as: unusually large and complex projects (i.e., program projects, research centers); project which involve extensive data accumulation; conference or seminar grants; projects that produce large manuscripts or reports; projects that are geographically inaccessible (i.e., research vessels) or projects that require project-specific database management
- An example of an unlike or special circumstance is a Principal Investigator (PI) needs a specialized laboratory notebook used to specifically document the results and conclusions of scientific activity for a particular grant. That notebook is only supposed to be used to document experiments for a particular grant or specified group of grants. The notebook is not to be used for class notes, general “to do” lists, etc.
- The Principal Investigator (PI) should clearly describe and justify the administrative costs that meet the exception criteria in the proposal budget and narrative.