What are Facilities and Administration (F&A)/indirect costs?

Facilities and Administration (F&A)/indirect costs (or overhead) represent project expenses that cannot be easily identified with any specific sponsored project but are incurred for common or joint objectives related to all sponsored projects at UC Berkeley. For example, it would not be feasible to calculate and charge every sponsored project an exact amount for space and utilities used or for the amount of staff time associated with processing payroll for project employees. Instead the University negotiates F&A rates with the U.S. Department of Human Services, and these rates are charged, as appropriate, to sponsored projects awarded to the University. Please Note: Under federal Uniform Guidance (§200.414 (c)1) the University’s negotiated rates must be accepted by all Federal awarding agencies unless a different rate is required by Federal statute or regulation, or when approved by a Federal awarding agency head or delegate.

When is the On-Campus vs. the Off-Campus F&A rate used?

The University does not charge F&A based on the value of the project to Society or how much funding is available for the project from the sponsor. The on-campus F&A rate is always charged when the sponsor allows the University to apply its negotiated on-campus F&A rate unless an F&A rate exception is granted by the VCRO or the off-campus F&A rate applies (see below.)

The off-campus F&A rate is used when the project is conducted throughout the project period at facilities not owned or leased by the University. If leased space and leased costs are directly charged to the project the off-campus rate must be used. Note: The off campus rate will not be applied when a principal investigator (PI) chooses to conduct his/her project off campus for convenience (i.e., when campus or other University facilities are available).

If the project is conducted partially on and partially off campus, the University will determine which rate to use based on where the majority of work takes place. The University will look at a combination of factors in making this determination: Berkeley personnel effort and/or salary costs; whether the amount of time project activities continuously take place off campus is significant (e.g., longer than one semester or three summer months); the distance of the facilities from the campus; and the extent to which university systems, resources, facilities, personnel, and students are being used throughout the project. PIs should be prepared to respond to the questions on the Off-Campus F&A Rate Questionnaire.

If all of the following conditions are met, simultaneous use of both an on-campus and off-campus rate for a project may be allowable for any given project year:

  1. The project is significant (total salaries, excluding fringe benefits, for the project exceed $250,000/year); AND
  2. The on-campus and off-campus portions can be clearly identified by means of separate budgets; AND
  3. The direct costs associated with each portion of the project must total at least 25% of the direct costs of the annual budget.
When applying the above criteria all subcontract costs shall be excluded, and each year of the project requires separate analysis. Contact your SPO CGO for additional assistance.

UC Berkeley F&A Rates

Sponsored Research
On-campus 57.0 57.0 59.0 60.5 60.5
Off-campus 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.0
Space Sciences Laboratory
On-campus 40.0 34.0 34.0 34.0 34.0
Off-campus 24.5 24.0 24.0 24.0 24.0
Other Sponsored Activities
On-campus 40.0 40.0 40.0 40.0 40.0
Off-campus 16.5 16.5 16.5 16.5 16.5
Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreements
  8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0
Sponsored Instruction
(The F&A rate used for most federally sponsored training awards is 8% of total costs.)
On-campus 50.5 48.0 48.0 48.0 48.0
Off-campus 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.0