Cost Share / Matching Funds
Cost share, commonly referred to as matching funds, refers to the project costs that are not supported by the sponsor. Cost share can include cash and in-kind when such contributions meet the established criteria in the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200.) This would include costs that are reported to the sponsor and those that are not reported but are tracked for internal purposes.
Cash Cost Share
Cash that is contributed specifically (excluding donations) to cover the actual costs of the sponsored project. This can come from areas on campus or external sponsors. Cash cost share also can be represented in unpaid effort, associated fringe benefits and unrecovered indirect cost. Use of waived indirect costs for meeting cost share requirements must be identified in the proposal budget and/or budget justification and also be accepted by the sponsor.
In-kind Cost Share
Contributions proposed by a third party in the form of effort or goods with a dollar amount specified. These amounts must be verifiable by the third party, are necessary for proper and efficient accomplishments of project objectives, are not reimbursed with federal or federal flow-through dollars or used as cost-share with other federal funds and are allowable under the applicable cost principles.
Similar and/or parallel work describes sponsored projects that have similar technical backgrounds, but each project is a stand-alone project (this is used when conveying expertise in an area) and should include only funded projects. This should be specifically identified as to not convey a cost-share requirement. It cannot be stated that these projects will benefit the proposed project because that implies cost share.
- Similar/Parallel projects section should be labeled as Similar/Parallel Projects as appropriate.
- Information may include but not be limited to; Project Title, Sponsor, Period of Performance, Principal Investigator/Project Manager, or Funded/Awarded Amounts Identified Appropriately
- If dollar amounts are noted, they should be traceable to a specific UND project number or documentation from a third party. If dollars amounts are applicable to a UND project, the total expenses from that project should be attributable to the similar/parallel project, not just a portion of the expenses from that fund.
Third party participants are those parties that choose to lend their expertise, facilities, or personnel to a project but not be accountable for reporting the cost of that expertise, facilities, or personnel.
An example would include a letter of technical support from the third party participant with no dollar amounts included and a statement indicating that this is not a commitment nor will they put a dollar amount on the proposed expertise, facilities, or personnel.
Note: Do not use the words “complimentary,” “collaborative,” “matching” or “related to” to indicate the non-cost sharing portion in a proposal.
Voluntary cost share occurs when a Principal Investigator includes cost share in a proposal when the sponsor does not require it.
Voluntary cost share, including proposed faculty effort and other types of direct costs, is discouraged.
It is important to realize that when cost share is required by the sponsor or is offered voluntarily, once an award is made, all cost share commitments are considered to be mandatory. This represents binding obligations of the University to track and report the mandatory cost share and to track the voluntary cost share.
The National Science Foundation revised policy effective January 18, 2011 regarding cost share states that, except when required in an NSF solicitation, inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited. In order to assess the scope of the project, all organizational resources necessary for the project (both physical and personnel) must be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal. The description should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information. Another change is that NSF required mandatory cost sharing will only be required when explicitly authorized by the NSF Director.
More information about the NSF cost share policy can be found in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.