Santa Clara University

Sponsored Projects

Cost-Share

Volunteered Cost-Sharing is defined as effort above and beyond that which was proposed/accepted by the funding agency. It is the percent of effort worked on a sponsored project in excess of the percent of pay received from that project. Volunteered cost share differs from contractually obligated cost share.

Contractually Obligated Cost-Sharing is defined as effort proposed/accepted by the funding agency. Contractually obligated cost-share must be tracked/documented. This type of cost-share is required by statute or the sponsor’s program requirements or solicitation as a condition of the proposal/agreement and is always pledged in the proposal.


In some cases a sponsor may require that the University make a contribution towards the total costs of a project. Normally the salary of the principal investigator and/or other University staff pledged to the project, with related fringe benefits and indirect costs, is sufficient to show an acceptable level of cost-sharing. Since cost-sharing may be audited at some point in the future, it must be possible to document it without excessive record keeping. Therefore, principal investigators are discouraged from cost sharing through general expenses because of the difficulty in documenting these costs.

Third-party costs may be used if a written commitment from the third party is received and they are from nonfederal sources. Under certain circumstances, indirect costs normally charged to the sponsor may be used for part of the matching costs if there is substantial cost contribution toward the total expenditures by the department involved and a large percentage of the total cost is required to be cost-shared.

For documentation purposes, a distinction can be made between "cost-sharing" as discussed above and "matching costs." Matching costs are commitments by the University to spend its funds in a certain proportion (ratio) to funds provided from the sponsor. Typically this commitment is required in equipment or facility grants. Funds so committed are "hard" dollars which otherwise would not be spent for this purpose, in contrast with faculty or staff salaries pledged to a project as "cost- sharing." Therefore, the source of "matching" funds (e.g., specific University fund account numbers, or cash gifts) must be identified on the Proposal Approval Form (SPO-1) budget page.