Troy University Sponsored Program Accounting

Administrative and Clerical Costs

  1. Administrative costs are generally prohibited from being directly charged to federal grants and contracts, per OMB Circular A-21.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. The Principal Investigator (PI) should clearly describe and justify the administrative costs that meet the exception criteria in the proposal budget and narrative.


Troy University Sponsored Program Accounting