The budget is the most important part of a proposal.
Contents of a Typical Budget
A detailed, itemized cost estimate for the project accompanied by a budget narrative justifying the proposed costs.
- Any costs that are not adequately explained in the budget justification will be disallowed.
- The grants coordinator has proposal planning and writing guides available, including budget instructions and samples.
- Controller Dallis Miller in the Accounting Office or Deanna Risser, assitant to the vice president for finance, can help you edit and format your budget.
Typical budget categories (only rarely are all used in a single proposal):
- Personnel (salaries, wages, fringe benefits, honoraria)
- Consultant costs (fees and travel)
- Major equipment
- Materials and supplies
- Office expenses (space, computer support, telephone, postage)
- Printing or publication costs
- Other direct costs (food, workshop fees, books and subscriptions, advertising, etc.)
- Indirect costs (Institutional overhead- 30 percent or the maximum allowed by the granting agency. Sometimes allowed only on personnel costs.)
Guidelines for Good Budget Formation
General Do’s and Don’ts
- Do not add personnel or programs that must continue to be funded by the college after the grant period ends without explicit permission from the vice president for finance and either the vice president for academic or student affairs (depending on the nature of the project). Follow established procedures
- Clear evaluation procedures must be proposed to determine the viability of such budget additions.
- Do concentrate on building capacity in current programs rather than starting new ones.
- Include dollars for training, consultants, conference attendance, resources to purchase, etc.
- Include generous release time for the project director.
Check salary levels and benefits with Human Resources.
- The HR director will help you estimate administrative salary levels to match the job description and will also make sure that benefit figures are accurate.
- A complete employee classification process will occur only after a grant is received.
Adjustments to actual salary levels will be made at that point.
- Average benefits in 2007-08 are 40 percent of salary, but the exact percentage may vary from year to year.
- Part-time (less than .75 FTE) positions funded by the grant should use the current part-time benefit allocation, available from the assistant to the Vice President for Finance. Note that the full-time benefit percentage should be used if the grant-funded duties increase the FTE of a current employee from part-time to full-time status. Also, be sure to include salary and/or benefit raises each year if it is a multi-year grant.
Course release time
Salary to cover a course release should represent the amount that it would cost Goshen College for a regular faculty member to teach the course, not the amount that it would cost for an adjunct faculty member to teach it. If an adjunct professor is found, the surplus salary and benefits can be re-directed later to consulting or other personnel expenses.
“In kind” contributions
“In kind” contributions are assets that Goshen College will provide to the project which cannot easily be quantified in dollars. Be thorough in documenting these “in kind” contributions toward the project. This category may include space for office and other uses, equipment, furnishings, materials, portions of salaries and fringe benefits, etc.
Include funds for equipment whenever justifiable and possible. ITS can give you current annual costs for computers and printers.
Add indirect costs of 30 percent whenever allowed. Sometimes a maximum of 10 percent is allowed; sometimes no indirect costs may be included in a proposal. The “indirect costs” category covers offices, services and facilities of the college that indirectly support the grant activity. The business office can provide information regarding indirect institutional costs.
Budget Narration or Justification
Include a budget justification chart or narrative, explaining each figure that appears in the budget.
- .25 salary for one year at a base rate of $XX,XXX plus benefits of 40 per cent
- Computer use fee of $350 per year (use this fee rather than a purchase price)
- Student assistant at 10 hours/week for 30 weeks at $7.50 per hour
- Professional development costs estimated at $1,200 per event for transportation, registration and lodging
Keep even more detailed budget justification on hand for use by the project director if the proposal is funded.
TIP: Use the Budget Template Spreadsheet (xls)