Participant Support Costs

Participant support costs are paid to (or on behalf of) participants or trainees (not employees) for participation in meetings, conferences, symposia, and workshops or other training activities, when there is a category for participant support costs in the award.

Participant support costs:

  • are identified specifically on National Science Foundation (NSF) awards.
  • are awarded by other sponsors (but not necessarily referred to as "participant support costs") and tend to be by program.
  • are usually allowable on federal grants. Uniform Guidance (UG) requires prior approval of the federal agency in order to incur these costs during the period of performance.
  • are accounted for in separate sub budgets or restricted account codes.
  • are budgeted for the full amount under account code 810200 (Participant Costs).
  • are often subject to special sponsor regulations which:
      • do not allow rebudgeting from the participant support cost category into other categories without prior sponsor approval.
      • may be exempt from Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs.
      • require the university to return any unexpended participant support costs to them.
      • are associated with special programs that provide research experience for participants, such as Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) on National Science Foundation grants.

Accounting Process for Participant Support Costs

  1. SPA will request a PeopleSoft-friendly budget with participant support costs allocated to account code 810200.
  2. SPA will request a child project for participant support costs for other funding agencies when the sponsor requires special accountability.
  3. SPA will set up a child project for participant support costs for NSF (and other funding agencies) if the department requests a separate project in order to track the charges. If the department has participant support charges that are coded to an account code other than 810200, we will set up the child project with a 0% F&A rate, however this requires a special justification by the department to the GA.

PI/Department Responsibilities

  • Reviewing award documents at setup, looking for wording similar to "participant support" or "participant costs awarded" to determine if this issue applies to your grant.
  • Checking the sponsor's regulations to see if they prohibit the University from applying F&A costs to these charges.
  • Establishing separate child projects if the original child project has not been set up and the sponsor requires special accountability for these costs.
  • Monitoring expenditures for appropriateness throughout the life of the grant.
  • Obtaining written sponsor approval for any rebudgeting into or out of the participant support cost budget (per sponsor guidelines).