Telecommunication Costs to Grant, Contract & Gift

As a general rule, basic telephone services such as telephone installation, instrument, and line costs are charged to state funds. Long distance and toll calls are allocated to the budget number receiving direct benefit. When a major portion of the basic telephone cost is associated with instruction and public service, funding is provided in the departmental operating budget (ie., 06-XXXX and 07-XXXX, etc.). When the major usage is associated with sponsored grant and contract activity, funding is provided in the departmental Base ICR budget (74-XXXX).

When increasing levels of research activity result in the need for additional telephone service, funding is often provided from departmental RSA budgets (75-XXXX) or Discretionary (64-XXXX) and unrestricted Gift budgets (63-XXXX and 65-XXXX). Since UW schools and colleges vary in their method of funding telecommunication costs, all departmental inquiries should be referred to the appropriate administrator within the management unit.

The following guideline has been developed to assist Telecommunications in properly allocating telephone installation, instrument, and line costs associated with gifts, grants, and contracts.

Gifts

Telephone costs may be allocated to discretionary and gift budgets since donors have given the UW considerable discretion in the use of these funds. These direct costs charges do not result in a duplication of costs since no Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost is assessed to gift funds.

Grants/Contracts - On Campus

Since telephone service costs are difficult to identify exclusively with one grant or contract, they are charged to state funded budgets and recovered through Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost. Harborview Medical Center (HMC) is considered on-campus for allocating telecommunications costs.

Occasionally, a grant or contract will require expensive telephone equipment and/or telephone lines for data transmission, and will budget these costs in an on-campus project. For on-campus grants including Harborview, the Primate Center, and multiple location awards, the service must be used exclusively for the project. For Federal awards, unlike circumstances also must exist in order for these telecommunication services to be charged directly to a grant or contract budget. By definition, unlike circumstances exist when costs are:

  • above the normal level for services or items required for a project
  • for technical expertise or items not otherwise needed by the department

If unlike circumstances exist, the cost:

  • must be included in the proposal and
  • the unlike circumstances justified to the sponsor

If the need to charge telecommunications expenses directly to the grant is not identified until after the award is funded:

  • NIH, NSF & ONR awards: Documentation of the unlike circumstances must be maintained in the department's grant file.
  • All other Federal Sponsors:
    • Prepare a written request to charge these types of expenses, along with a justification of unlike circumstances
    • Obtain concurrence from Office of Sponsored Programs
    • Submit the above to the sponsor

These costs will be subject to Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost at the rate specified in the award.

Grants/Contracts -- off campus

Telephone installation, instrument, and line costs purchased from an outside vendor are normally budgeted and charged to grant and contract projects conducted exclusively off-campus.

 

Grants/Contracts--Applied Physics Lab

The Applied Physics Laboratory is considered off campus for allocating telecommunications costs. Telephone installation, instrument, and line costs are charged directly to APL grants and contracts. The Office of Management Accounting and Analysis computes a special APL Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost rate which provides for direct charging of basic telephone services.

Grants/Contracts--Regional Medical Library

The Regional Medical Library (RML) is considered off-campus for allocating telecommunications costs. RML has a special Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost rate which allows telephone installation, instrument, and line costs to be charged directly to RML grants and contracts.

Grants/Contracts--Regional Primate Center

All activity in the Regional Primate Center grant is accounted for in one budget number even though research is conducted in the Primate Center facility on-campus and in the Primate Field Station at Medical Lake, Washington. The UW facility is considered on-campus, so telephone installation, instrument, and line costs are charged to state funded budgets in accordance with item 2 of this guideline. Similar telephone costs at the off-campus Medical Lake facility are charged directly to the Primate Center grant. Management Accounting and Analysis computes a special Primate Center Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost rate which allows the on and off campus treatment of telephone expenses.

Grants/Contracts--multiple locations

Where a project supported by a single grant or contract is conducted at two or more physical locations, provision must be made for identifying costs at each location. If separate budget numbers are established to identify project costs by location, the on-off campus data element in the Budget Number Index is used to determine the allowability of telephone installation, instrument and line costs. When a single budget number is used, and salaries are used to determine location in accordance with Grants Information Memorandum (GIM 13 Supplement), the entire project is considered on-campus and similar telephone costs must be charged to state funded budgets.

The location code in the on-off campus data element determines the allowability of telephone installation, instrument, and line costs on grant and contract budgets. The fact that the UW does not receive full Facilities & Administrative (F&A) cost recovery (i.e., 8% TDC for DHHS training grants) is not considered since we must ensure consistent treatment of costs in accordance with OMB Circular A-21.

References

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