Carnegie Mellon University

Rates and Fees

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are expenses incurred in support of the total research enterprise of the University. These include the real costs of facilities (buildings, equipment, plant operation and maintenance, and libraries) and administration that the University has to pay to conduct research. These costs are calculated using the Office of Management and Budget Circular Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards guidelines and allocated to each research award on a pro-rated basis. Similar costs are associated with the teaching enterprise of the University and these costs are absorbed into the tuition costs allocated to students.

F&A rates are negotiated with the Office of Naval Research on an annual basis. The CMU fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th.

In accordance with the Uniform Guidance, the negotiated F&A rate in effect at the time of the initial award should be used throughout the life of the sponsored agreement. "Life" for this purpose means each competitive segment of a project. A competitive segment is a period of years approved by the funding agency at the time of the award.

All sponsored research budgets should include full recovery of F&A. If for any reason you are not proposing full F&A that a sponsor will pay, please refer to the F&A Waiver Guidelines.


Under-Recovery of F&A

The school/college is required to pay a portion of the under-recovered overhead for all non-federal sponsored research awarded with an overhead rate less than Carnegie Mellon's current federally negotiated capped rate. Please see the updated F&A Under-Recover Process [pdf].

Administrative Fee

The Administrative Fee is assessed on gifts and non-federal sponsored instruction and other sponsored projects. The fee is assessed on any award where the current F&A rate allowed/approved by the sponsor is lower than the current administrative rate resulting in the minimum F&A equaling the current administrative fee rate. This includes sponsored grants and awards from the State. The F&A Under-Recovery Process should be used for all non-federal sponsored research proposals. 

The fee does not apply to other revenues that are already subject to appropriate overhead fees such as, auxiliary and research operating units; international programs; and undergraduate and graduate tuition paid directly (not through a sponsored project). The administrative fee will not be assessed on any federally funded sponsored projects, regardless of the F&A rate that is charged.

The fee was introduced in FY '12:

  • FY 2012: 5.0%
  • FY 2013: 7.5%
  • FY 2014: 9.6%
  • FY 2015: 12.0%
  • FY 2016: 12.0%
  • FY 2017: 12.0%
  • FY 2018: 12.0%
  • FY 2019: 12.0%
  • FY 2020: 12.0%

The fee should clearly be stated in the proposals to the sponsors when applicable. If the sponsor is willing to support the administrative fee then the fee should be clearly described in the budget and budget justification. If a sponsor pays less than the administrative fee by policy (per guidelines provided or stated on the sponsor's website) for overhead recovery then the administrative fee should be stated/budgeted in the proposal. It should be noted in the proposal that respectful of the sponsor's policy, CMU will cost share the amount of the administrative fee.

If a department has reason to request an exception to the administrative fee, the exception request must be reviewed and approved by the Dean/Vice-president, Provost and Chief Financial Officer. T0 request an exception to this fee, the exception form should be completed and routed by to the Provost's office for review and approval.