Selected Sponsored Project Costs

Following is a summary of selected cost factors used in budgets for sponsored projects. 

Rates and calculations are subject to change. 

Please check with the Grants Development Office (GDO) or Corporate Engagement & Innovation (CEI) before developing your budget to confirm the current validity of these figures.

This information is provided to help you arrive at preliminary estimates only.  The GDO /CEI staff will work with project directors on final budgets submitted to sponsors.

Calculating Pay Rates:

Academic Year (AY) Instructional Faculty Daily Pay Rate for Summer or Additional Employment: AY Salary divided by 170 days

AY Instructional Faculty Hourly Pay Rate for Summer or Additional Employment: AY Salary divided by 1360 hours (170 days x 8 hours)

Calendar Year Instructional Faculty Hourly Pay Rate: Annual Salary divided by 1720 hours (215 days x 8 hours)

Faculty Person-months rate: Annual Salary divided by 9 (for AY faculty), Annual Salary divided by 12 (for Calendar Year faculty)

Faculty Released/Reimbursed Time is based on 15 units (generally 12 teaching + 3 service) per quarter (45 units per year for AY faculty; 60 units per year for Calendar Year faculty)

Exempt University 12-month employees daily pay rate: Annual Salary divided by 260 days

Exempt University 12-month employees hourly pay rate: Annual Salary divided by 2080 hours

Non-exempt, full-time 12-month employees hourly pay rate: Annual Salary divided by 2080 hours, with overload pay rate at time and one-half

Student and Graduate Assistant hourly pay rates: see Cal Poly Corporation Student Wage schedule

Research Staff pay rates: categories and salaries vary considerably.  Check with the Grants Development Office for assistance

Cal Poly’s hours per month (based on calendar year effort): 173.33 hrs/mo (2080 hours / 12 months)

Faculty hours per month for NIH and NSF grants: 151.11 hrs/mo (1360 hours / 9 months)

Calculating Fringe Rates:

Cal Poly Corporation (CPC) employment:

As of July 1, 2014, fringe benefits costs for Cal Poly Corporation employees will be charged according to Federally-negotiated pooled rates for three categories:

Full-benefited employment: Hourly or salaried positions with a schedule of more than 25 hours per week, or 1000 hours or more per fiscal or calendar year.  Eligible for medical/dental/vision benefits, retirement, vacation accrual and sick leave.

Intermittent employment: Hourly positions with a maximum of 25 hours worked in any one week AND no more than 999 hours during the fiscal or calendar year.  Faculty and staff overload paid through CPC is considered Intermittent employment.

Student employment: Hourly positions held by individuals who are currently enrolled at Cal Poly with a minimum of 6 units for undergrad students or 4 units for grad students per quarter (unless it’s their last quarter prior to graduation).  Students are limited to working no more than 20 hours per week during the academic quarters (including Summer, if enrolled in Summer courses).  Students who do not meet the minimum unit requirement should be budgeted at the Intermittent employment fringe benefit rate.

As of July 1, 2022, the CPC pooled benefits rates are as follows:

Full benefited employment: 62.9%

Intermittent employment: 9.0%

Student employment: 4.3%

Rates in effect at the time that effort is performed will be charged to the project.

Cal Poly State University (CPSU) employment:

CPSU fringe benefit rates are budgeted for faculty and staff release and assigned time committed to sponsored projects.  These rates are a combination of State of California rates for medical/dental/vision, as published in the State Administrative Manual, the CalPERS retirement benefits rates provided by the CSU Chancellor’s office, and the projected Cal Poly worker’s comp/non-industrial leave/industrial leave/unemployment insurance costs, based on actual rates paid into the CSU Risk Management Insurance Pool for the previous year. 

As of July 1, 2022, the CPSU fringe benefits rates are as follows:

Full-time employment: 57.396%

These rates are generally updated twice a year.

Annual Salary/Wage/Fringe Increases

It is strongly recommended that an annual increase for salaries and wages be included in sponsored project budgets (when allowed by the sponsor) to ensure adequate support for future salary increases.  Additional increases should be budgeted for faculty who expect to be promoted and/or receive tenure during the performance period, as these professional position changes are often accompanied by more significant salary increases.  In addition, if previous year trends indicate that fringe benefits costs are predicted to increase significantly, annual increases may be included (when allowed by the sponsor).

The Grants Development Office recommends a 4.5% annual increase for staff and faculty, with an additional increase of 9-12% for faculty anticipating promotion and/or tenure during the project period.

Facilities and Administrative Costs

Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A), commonly referred to as indirect costs (IDC) are costs that are necessary for the project, but cannot practically, or in a cost-effective manner, be directly tied to a single project.  These rates are federally-negotiated and are used for all government-funded projects (federal, state, and local), federal flow-through, and subcontracts from prime contractors with federal funding, as well as contracts with private, for-profit entities.

As of July 1, 2020, Cal Poly’s F&A rates are as follows:

38.5% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC), which includes the project’s direct costs and the first $25,000 of each subrecipient’s costs, but excludes equipment, tuition remission, and rental of off-campus facilities.

16.5% of MTDC for off-campus projects. Off-campus is defined as projects, which are either performed in another institution’s facilities, a company’s facility, or performed abroad. Working at home or at an off-campus Cal Poly location does not constitute an off-campus project.    

Travel Costs

If travel expenses are to be reimbursed by a sponsored program (grant/contract), any restrictions contained in that agreement or the Grantor's policies supersede internal guidelines. In absence of policies from the Grantor, the current CPC Travel Guidelines will apply to all sponsored program travel.

Quick reference for budgeting:

Mileage rate: 62.5 cents per mile (Effective 7/1/2022-12/31/2022: IRS mileage reimbursement rate)

Meals: In computing the allowance for travel, up to $55.00 for actual meal costs (including tips) may be reimbursed for each complete 24-hour period.

Lodging: Travelers may secure lodging when traveling on business more than 25 miles (one way) from their normal work location or home, whichever is closer. The maximum limit for in-state and out-of-state lodging rate for Campus and Chancellor's Office employees is $275 per night plus taxes. Expenditures above the cap are the responsibility of the traveler unless a documented exception is approved.

Related Content