2116 - Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

Document purpose

To establish policy regarding the charging of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs to Sponsored Projects


January 1989


December 2014


May 2021

Responsible Office

Research Services


Research Services


The total costs of a sponsored project include (a) those directly attributable to its performance, e.g., salaries of project personnel, supplies, materials, equipment, and travel, and (b) F&A costs, e.g., depreciation of buildings and equipment, utilities, administration and libraries. These latter costs are recovered through the application of an F&A cost rate, calculated in accordance with the cost principles set forth in 200 CFR Subpart E (Cost Principles).

The Policy

  1. It is the policy of the University to charge all sponsored projects F&A costs at the appropriate federally approved rate. The only exceptions to this policy are as follows:

      1. Awards from not for profit sponsors which have a stated policy of awarding funds with an F&A cost at other than the negotiated rate, e.g. foundations and charitable organizations; and
      2. Clinical trials of drugs and devices.
  2. Under exceptional circumstances, requests for waivers of F&A cost recovery or acceptance of a reduced rate on sponsored projects can be made at the time the proposal is submitted. Requests must include the proposed F&A rate and dollar value of the waiver and justification for the request. The cognizant dean/or resource center director is authorized to waive all or a portion of the F&A cost recovery.

  3. The University negotiates with the Federal Government F&A cost rates for the following categories:

      1. Research (on/off campus)
      2. Instruction
      3. Other Sponsored Projects
      4. DOD Contracts

    Current F&A cost rates are available at the following URL:  http://www.upenn.edu/researchservices/penndata.html


Roles and Responsibilities

Principal Investigator

  • Request appropriate F&A rate in all sponsored program budgets

Business Administrator

  • Request appropriate F&A rate in all sponsored program budgets

Cognizant Dean or Resource Center Director

  • Ensure proper application of the appropriate F&A rate
  • Review and approve waiver of F&A as appropriate
  • Consult with Office of Research Services on interpretation and application of this policy when necessary

Office of Research Services

  • Provide guidance to Business Administrators and PIs, and Cognizant Deans or Resource Center Directors on the interpretation of this policy.


The source of this document is Research Services.