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Terms & Definitions

Cost Sharing
That portion of project costs that are paid for by the college. These costs may include the portion of salary (personnel) or non-personnel expenditures paid by the College from state funded or privately funded sources that are accounted for within a College account number.

Committed Cost Share
Either mandatory (required by agency) or voluntary cost sharing, matching, or   in-kind funds quantified in the proposal budget, budget justification, or stated in the awarding documents. Must be documented.

Uncommitted Cost Share
Voluntary cost sharing, matching, or in-kind funds not pledged in the proposal and subsequently not stated on award documents. This type of cost sharing is more than what is agreed to as part of the award. This is commonly referred to as voluntary uncommitted cost sharing and does not have to be documented or reported.

Direct Cost
Expenses of a project that are paid for by the sponsoring agency.

The percentage of time spent on a sponsored program.

Effort Reporting
The required certification of time spent on a sponsored program including the matching payroll distribution.

Funding Cycle
The time or budget period being funded shown on the grant award notice.

Indirect Cost
The expenses incurred by the College in support of a sponsored project that cannot be directly charged to a specific project.

In-Kind Cost
The costs borne by an external organization.  Funds do not flow through the College’s financial system.  Matching gifts/funds received from another source in conjunction with, or often on the condition of, additional primary funding.

OCA Tracking Number
The number assigned by the Office of Sponsored Programs to a submitted grant as part of the identification. It contains the date submitted and a control number for the year.

Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD)
The ABAC faculty or staff member responsible for the grant proposal and who will provide day-to-day management of the project.

Project ID
The unique number assigned by the business office to identify a grant for a specific budget performance period.

A document submitted to a sponsor that outlines a specific grant or project and how the grant funding will be used.

Short Name
The unique short title of a grant assigned to indentify it in the physical and electronic filing systems of the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Sponsored Program
A grant, contract, cooperative agreement or sub-award that is externally funded, mission supported, institutionally approved, and specifically governed by a performance period, deliverables, and guidelines.

Sponsoring Agency
The organization which will be funding the grant.

Indirect Cost

Indirect Cost

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, often called “overhead” or “indirect costs,” refer to the costs incurred by the college in support of sponsored projects.  Generally, indirect costs are those costs that are necessary for the operation of a sponsored project but which cannot be clearly assigned to a specific project.  Examples would be electricity, water, and laboratory space. F&A costs should be charged to and reimbursed for every grant for which these costs are appropriate and allowable

Recovery Policy:

  • To request the recovery of indirect costs at a rate equal to ABAC’s federally negotiated rate on all grant proposals
  • To request the maximum rate of recovery allowed when an external sponsor has capped the indirect cost recovered rate
  • To include appropriate and allowable direct costs when a sponsor does not allow indirect cost recovery


Cost Sharing

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College encourages and supports the efforts of faculty to obtain external funding.  It is essential that the use of cost sharing does not overburden college and departmental resources, and it is important that approval of cost share in awarded proposals must be independently tracked, monitored and reported to the sponsoring agency.

Excessive or unnecessary cost sharing can result in the future limitation of scarce departmental resources and negatively impacts the overall institutions facilities and administration rates.

Sponsors and auditors must be able to verify that funds committed to cost sharing or matching/in-kind have been provided towards the work and scope of the awarded project.


The policy of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is to limit its cost sharing on externally funded projects to the amount specifically mandated in the application guidelines of the sponsor.  The college encourages and supports the efforts of the faculty to obtain external funding.  However, Principal Investigators (PI’s) are strongly encouraged to request the total anticipated costs of a project in their proposal budgets. This policy applies to all externally funded project types (i.e., research, public service and outreach, instruction, and cooperative extension).  Proposals that voluntarily commit cost share, matching, or in-kind contributions are strongly discouraged.  In instances where voluntary cost share is written into the proposal, resulting in a committed cost-share arrangement, a written rationale should accompany all proposals submitted for VPAA and VPFA approval and signature.

ABAC will support committed cost share that is either voluntary or mandatory by the sponsor when:

  1. All cost shared amounts are specified on the Office of Sponsored Programs Transmittal Form
  2. Each cost shared amount is approved on the OSP Transmittal Form by the relevant dean, director or department head. Approval signatures are binding and indicate a willingness to provide cost share resources in support of the proposed project.

The College places no conditions on third-party matches. Such cost sharing must, however, be guaranteed by  the offering sponsor in writing at the time of proposal submission.

Expenditures NOT Eligible for Cost Sharing

The following expenses cannot be offered as cost sharing commitments in sponsored project proposals:

  1. Unallowable costs as defined in OMB Circular A-21, section J.
  2. Salary dollars above a regulatory cap, e.g., NIH.
  3. College facilities such as laboratory space. PI’s should mindful when preparing proposals for sponsored agreements not to commit use of facilities as cost sharing, but rather to characterize the facilities as “available for the performance of the sponsored agreement at no direct cost to the project”.
  4. Depreciation on federally funded equipment.
  5. Overdrafts may not be considered cost sharing for purposes of fulfilling a cost sharing commitment because overdrafts are unallowable under Circular OMB A-21.


Equipment as Cost Sharing

Equipment should not be offered as cost sharing unless the receipt of the award is contingent upon such cost sharing.

PI’s should exercise caution in preparing proposals for sponsored agreements not to commit the use of College-owned equipment as cost sharing, but rather to characterize the equipment as “available for the performance of the sponsored agreement at no direct cost to the project”.

Proposals that include the acquisition of special-purpose equipment as a direct cost may include an offer of College funds to pay all or part of the cost of such equipment. These proposals may be equipment or instrumentation grants, where

  1. The purpose of the grant is to buy equipment and the College is required to share the cost with the sponsor, or
  2. Research-oriented grants or contracts where the purchase of equipment required for the research is an allowable expense and included in the proposal and award. Purchase and acquisition must occur during the period of performance. The portion of the purchase price paid by the College must be charged directly to a cost sharing account in support of the award.


Cautionary Notes

  1. Cost share commitments can be stated in several places within a proposal. They may be part of the budget, part of the budget explanation or justification, or they may be stated in the text of the narrative. They may also be in all three places. No matter where they are to be found within the proposal, statements of cost sharing commitment are binding on the institution should the proposal be funded. In all instances where cost sharing is described, the institution is committed to account for and track these commitments along with funds awarded by the sponsor.
  2. When faculty time is contributed as cost share in support of a project, it is expected that budgeted research time be utilized for cost share before instructional time is considered. Whenever cost share involves instructional time, the faculty member’s department head and/or dean must be notified so that approval can be obtained.
  3. In all instances where cost sharing is described, the institution is committed to account for these expenditures. The budgetary unit of record is responsible for documenting and tracking all commitments made on a project, whether made by that department or not, unless subaccounts are established so that the responsibility can flow down to other units.

Effort Reporting & Certification

The Project Director or any ABAC employee who contributes time and effort  (paid or contributed) to a sponsored project is required to report his effort and to certify that his salary has been distributed to the appropriate budgets.

The Effort Certification Statement and its supporting documents are the ABAC forms used to meet this requirement. (Click below for forms and instructions)

This certification must be completed and submitted to the ABAC Business Office monthly no later than 30 days following the end of the calendar month being reported.

Find this fillable form on the OSP website under Effort Reporting.  (click  below)

This certification is mandated by Circular A-21 of the Office of Management and Budget.

To learn more about effort reporting or to complete a certification statement, click on the links below:


Effort Certification Statement Form Instructions

Effort Certification Statement

Effort Detail Activity Report


Role and Responsibilities of the Project Director

The Project Director has the primary responsibility for achieving the success of the project, while also complying with the financial and administrative policies and regulations associated with the award.  The fundamental responsibilities of the Project Director include:



 Identify funding opportunities

  • Prepare technical proposal and identify the need for subcontracts/sub agreements
  • Prepare proposal budget and budget justification
  • Request matching/cost share funds and/or identify in-kind contributions
  • Identify program income
  • Prepare and route proposal approval form
  • Comply with federal, state and College policies governing sponsored programs
  • Identify conflicts of interest and provide appropriate disclosures
  • Complete appropriate forms for all relevant compliance committees, for example, IRB (provided by Institutional Research)
  • Secure approval for deviations from the negotiated F&A rate in the project budget



  •  Conduct sponsored project and provide oversight for all project activity
  • Confirm availability of project funds (matching, cost share, etc.)
  • Maintain local oversight of project budget
  • Set up payroll on awards
  • Select, supervise and/or terminate project personnel
  • Track PD’s current and pending effort commitments
  • Ensure award expenditures comply with OMB A-21 and University and state policies
  • Certify effort reports monthly
  • Track and document committed cost share
  • Request re-budgeting, carry-forward, changes in personnel, no-cost extensions, etc. relating to administrative or programmatic changes
  • Propose resolution of award overdrafts
  • Approve work done by subcontractor
  • Use monthly budged reports for financial monitoring and identify and resolve errors
  • Ensure that the correct F & A cost rate is received out of the project



Submit all interim and final technical reports in accordance with award terms and conditions

  • Retain the scientific data
  • Request Residual Balances