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Explore this section of the guide for helpful resources related to the following:
The first section on developing and managing sound budgets is important since we are generally required to adhere to the budget’s structure for the life of the project. Budget revisions can be requested, but there are no guarantees that changes will be approved by the sponsor.
The solicitation usually contains guidance on the budget requirements as well as any other restrictions mandated by the sponsor.
The following items are examples of the types of restrictions or guidance found in a solicitation that could affect the budget:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Requirements or restrictions that affect the budget may be found in various sections, so do your best to review all of the solicitation to avoid missing any important information that could affect the budget.
Whether you are helping prepare a budget or reviewing a budget, be sure to check all entries to verify that they follow sponsor requirements and meet university compliance and pre-audit responsibilities.
Make sure that you are familiar with all of the rules outlined in the Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance (SPARCS) and Contracts and Grants (CNG) sites. Pay particular attention to the budgeting section of the SPARCS web site and the Cost Accounting Standards section of the CNG site. Click on both of the screen shots below to review each site and be sure to bookmark any sections that you want to check periodically as you work with budgets.
You may also want to record notes from your review of the sites in the RAMP "Travel Journal" illustrated on the left that you may have already saved from the Introductory section. If not, click the Travel Journal link here to save the document on your computer for recording notes or action steps as you review this section of the RAMP Guide.
Click the screen illustration below to open the Budgeting Guidelines section on the SPARCS site. Click through all of the Budget menu items on the left side of the screen to thoroughly review each section.
NOTE: The SPARCS page will open in a new tab or window, so look for this "Contracts and Grants" tab or window to return to this section of the RAMP Guide when you have completed your review.
Click the screen illustration below to open the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) section on the CNG site.
Review the content now and you will also find more detailed information in Section 6: Financial Compliance of this RAMP Guide.
NOTE: The CNG page will open in a new tab or window, so look for this "Contracts and Grants" tab or window to return to this section of the RAMP Guide when you have completed your review.
More Information on Computers and Peripherals
Click the page excerpt below to go to some FAQ's on Computers and Peripherals from the References section of the CNG site.
This simple advice will go a long way toward easier award management.
Watch out for the top four mistakes made here on campus related to proposal budgets:
To make sure that our budgets have the correct rates, be sure to continually check the following rate sites for revised rates rather than relying on printed copies that may be out-of-date.
You may also want to save the Proposal Budgeting Checklist linked below as a reminder to reduce errors in your review steps.
SPARCS Link to Current Fringe Benefit Rates
Click the screen illustration below to access and save the SPARCS page where the latest fringe benefits are always linked.
SPARCS Link to Current F&A Rates and Base
Click the screen illustration below to access and save the SPARCS page containing the latest F&A rates and base calculations.
Take a look at the following samples and templates for your use.
If you have any budgeting tools that you use in your college, please share the information or sample tool with us.
Click the screen illustration below to access the SPARCS budget template page.
You may use the following budget templates as starting points to build or revise your own. Be sure to verify the latest rates online before relying on any of the pre-filled percentages.
Click the Excel spreadsheet illustration below to access a college budget Excel Workbook sample.
Click the Excel spreadsheet illustration below to access another college budget Excel Workbook sample.
Click the budget illustration below to access and review a sample NCSU sponsored project budget in Excel format. Or click here to access PDF version. (Please remember that this is a sample budget only and may contain out-of-date rates such as travel, fringe, and other rates that can change periodically.)
Budget Justifications are an important component of a successful proposal. The justification must provide a thorough explanation of how the anticipated costs will support the project objectives and include details on how these costs were derived.
For example, if attending a conference is not part of the original proposal, including a PI's related conference registration fees to attend a conference must be explained in the Budget Justification. Since conference registration fees must be in direct support of a project, it should specify that the PI's attendance includes related activities such as presenting the project's results or gathering information related to the project's outcomes. (In addition, all costs associated with the conference must be verifiable and the registration receipt and conference itinerary detailing events and meals served must be retained for verification.)
Click the screen illustration below to access a Budget Justification Sample.
You may find the following checklist helpful in managing the budgeting part of the proposal process. Click the screen illustration below to access this checklist.
Do your part to seek required approvals with enough lead time to avoid rush reviews at all levels.
If you have a good method or software package that you use in your college, please share the information or sample tool with us.
Click the RAMP link below to return to the RAMP Guide Table of Contents.