What does cost sharing mean exactly and if you're a department administrator or Principal Investigator (PI), do you understand how cost sharing can affect your work directly?
This section address the following questions:
What is cost sharing?
What are the different types of cost sharing and how do they differ?
How are cost sharing expenditures recorded, reported (when appropriate) and reconciled?
What are the SPA cost sharing process/procedures under the reorganization?
Who in SPA do I contact for cost sharing inquiries/concerns?
Cost sharing in a nutshell
Cost sharing consists of the portion of the total costs of a sponsored project that is born by WSU or a third party. These funds are generally contributed from the department's general fund, an indirect cost return fund or other non-restricted funds identified by the appropriate department personnel. Funds obtained under another research project (grant or contract) are generally not allowed for use to meet cost sharing obligations.
Major types of cost sharing obligations and how they differ
The major types of cost sharing are mandatory, voluntary committed and voluntary uncommitted. The following provides a brief explanation of each:
Mandatory - The funding agency requires the university to contribute funds to accomplish the goals of the research project. The mandate is typically stated in the Request For Proposal (RFP). The researcher must specifically state the cost sharing details in proposal documentation.
Voluntary Committed - Although the agency does not require cost sharing, the university has indicated that it plans to either contribute effort or other funds, to aid in the accomplishment of the research goals. If the university includes this commitment in the proposal documentation, the university must adhere to it and track it separately in the financial management system. The commitment may either be found in the budget, or within the budget justification or a project narrative.
Voluntary Uncommitted - The department plans to contribute effort or other funds, to the project but the obligation was not stated in the proposal submitted to the agency. The university is not required to track this obligation separately in the financial management system.
How are cost sharing expenses recorded, reported (when appropriate) and reconciled?
Recording and Reconciling - The university is required to track both mandatory and voluntary committed cost sharing obligations in the financial system. Funds are established in Banner by SPA's grant and contract officers. Budgets are funded, reconciled and updated by SPA's accounting services group.
Reporting - In most cases, agencies that require a mandatory cost sharing obligation, also require the university to report those costs on a periodic basis. This way, they are given assurance that the university is contributing as stated in the proposal. Cost sharing expenditures are reported to the agency via the Financial Status Report (FSR). The FSR is completed by SPA's financial team and/or billing group.
How has SPA cost sharing process/procedures changed under SPA's new organization?
Prior to SPA's reorganization, cost sharing fund establishment, budget funding and updating, and fund termination were performed by the grant and contract officers. Expenditure reporting and fund reconciliation were complete by SPA's financial team.
Under the new organization, portions of the cost sharing process and procedures have be distributed as follows:
• Fund establishment - grant and contract officers
• Budget funding, updating, reconciling and account termination - SPA accounting services group
• Reporting - SPA's financial team and/or billing group.
Please take note of a few important process revisions that have taken place:
• Drafts of the verification forms are emailed to department representatives for validation. SPA allows 15 days to confirm the information or recommend changes. If the department does not respond within the period allotted, the cost sharing fund is funded using the information provided to the department in the draft.
• Once the entry has been completed to fund the budget, a finalized copy of the verification form will be imaged and available to view via the Researcher's Dashboard.
Who in SPA to Contact for Cost Sharing Inquiries/Concerns?
SPA's accounting services group has been established to address the research community's questions or concerns relating to grant/contracts. If there are general questions concerning these funds, contact any member of this team and they will assist you.
If there are specific questions concerning expenditure reporting, contact a member of the SPA financial team. Questions concerning fund establishment can be directed to your grant and contract officer.
If you have questions concerning cost sharing would like more information, please contact LaShonda Cooley, Sr. Director, Sponsored Program Administration, at (313) 577-2142.