Grant Budget Calculation Information

Updated 9/16 to incorporate UFIRST mechanism

The UF Office of Research has an extensive website for proposal development.

Proposal Preparation & Submission

Current IDC rates, as well as other frequently used facts, have links from that page.

The narrative and examples below are “user friendly” notes for Psychology faculty.

So here’s why you’re writing the grant – to get money! It is important that you ask for the right amount. Be sure you ask for categories that are allowable by the sponsor and ask for an amount in each category that is appropriate for conducting the proposed work, no more and no less. Personnel costs typically account for 50-80% of a typical grant budget. Personnel may include:

  • You, the PI. You will usually put in some % of your time (eg 10%, or 1.2 cal-months).
  • Any Co-PIs (collaborators) – ditto-
  • Technical staff, postdoctoral associates (% effort or time specified)
  • Graduate students (stipend plus tuition, see below; full time is typically 0.5FTE)
  • Undergraduate assistants (eg 2 assistants, 10 hours/week @ $10/hour)

Faculty Salaries UFIRST will provide the current faculty annualized salary along with the fringe cost. You may ask for salary to cover you during the summer (some agencies set limits on this), and/or salary during the academic year to “buy out” of teaching one or more courses. For each course, you need 25% of your salary for that semester along with the fringe cost. Smaller agencies or foundations may not allow PI salary; in that case the College will voluntarily cost-share your time (letter needed see below).

Graduate Student Salaries and Tuition. Whenever possible, you should include graduate student(s). Check with our fiscal office to determine the appropriate stipend for the year(s) you propose. The current stipend base rate for incoming is $15,500/9 month at a .35FTE. Department policy dictates Psychology graduate students must be funded at least .35fte. All proposals that include stipend support for graduate students, and if tuition is not prohibited by the sponsor, must include the appropriate tuition amount. Use the current in-state tuition rate for new graduate students. Add a 5% escalation factor for future budget periods.

Tuition and Fees Fees are not charged on Research Grants, but may be charged on Training Grants. Calculate tuition and fees using the University’s Financial Services’ tuition/fee calculator. Graduate health insurance is included in the fringe rate.

Note: For graduate students on a grant, and if allowed by the sponsor, you should ask for tuition waiver for the period requested at 24 credit hours per year (9+9+6 summer). In contrast, individual predoctoral fellowships (NRSA) currently pay only 60% of the tuition – and students MUST register for 32 credits (12+12+8) because this is a fellowship – the other 40% needed must be requested to the Chair before submitting a proposal

Other budget categories

These are self-explanatory but usually need brief justification. For example:


  • Participant payments (200/year @ $25 = $5,000)
  • Mice (100/year, purchase @ $20 plus 100 days per diem @ $0.50 = $7,000)
  • Salivary cortisol assays (200/year @ $50 –Ripoff Diagnostics = $10,000)


  • PI plus senior graduate student travel to present findings at APA @ $1,500 = $3,000
  • One visit of PI and Co-I to others’ institution/year for 1 week to work on data = $5,000


    • 5 Dell Wizzo computers for data acquisition @ $1,000 (State contract) = $5,000
    • 2 Zimbardo shielded rooms for participant testing @ $11,500, installed = $23,000

Modular budgets

NIH and some other agencies do not require that you precisely detail the direct costs within the budget, but rather that you request a certain number of modules; however you must detail costs for UFIRST. For NIH, each module is $25,000 and you may request up to 10 (RO1 type grants, less for R21). For this reason, we do not require that detailed budgets be prepared – but if you don’t ask for enough, that’s your problem. You still have to give a brief budget justification in the proposal. (Your budget calculation in UFIRST almost certainly won’t come to an exact multiple of $25,000; but that’s OK, the difference will automatically show up in UFIRST as a budget line “modular adjustment”)

Notes: NIH budgets in excess of $250,000 direct cost per year do need itemization. Modules are direct costs – they do NOT include IDC -see below.

Direct and indirect costs

The sum of all of the above (salary, fringe, supplies, travel, equipment, etc) is the total direct costs for the year (most budgets ask for a year-by-year budget).

Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, more commonly known as indirect costs (IDC) are allowed by some agencies, but not others – see

The highest IDC are federal which is why these are the most valued grants. IDC support the research infrastructure at UF, with some coming back to the College, Department, and PI.

For federal grants, IDC is a modified total direct cost (MTDC) based calculation. For our purposes, MTDC is total direct costs minus equipment and minus graduate tuition.

For example, suppose your first year budget looks like this:

Salary + fringe $90,000
Equipment $35,000
Supplies $10,000
Travel $3,000
grad tuition $20,000
Total Direct costs $158,000
Indirect Cost $54,075 ($158K – 55K equip + tuition = $103k x 52.5%)
Total costs $212,075

Post-award note: $212,075 is the maximum the University receives. If you then find you can get the equipment for $20,000 and you want to transfer the $15,000 difference to salaries, then you will have to pay 52.5% IDC on that portion, so in fact you only have $10,000 to play with.