In many colleges and departments, principal investigators will conduct part of their sponsored project at a different location from their office, classroom, or laboratory. When developing a grant budget, it is important to use the appropriate F&A Rate specific to the location where the proposed work will take place. To use the off-campus rate in a sponsored project, all of the following criteria must be met: performance at the off-campus site must be on a continuous basis, intermittent performance is not sufficient; the West Virginia University (WVU) personnel working or engaged on the project must be located physically at an off-campus site; and the off-campus performance must be of sufficient duration; normally a full semester, summer term, or period of performance of the sponsored agreement. In addition, an off-campus location does not use WVU services such as mail, telephone, network and other support services.
Definition of Off-Campus
A sponsored project, or part of a sponsored project, is considered to be performed off-campus if the sponsored project is conducted at a location other than a WVU-owned facility and the majority of F&A (indirect costs), e.g., operation and maintenance, depreciation or lease of buildings, equipment and improvements, associated with WVU’s facilities, both owned and leased, are not applicable. If a sponsored project is located in leased space and the lease is a direct charge to the project, then the project is considered off-campus; if the lease cost is not charged directly to the project, then the project is considered on-campus.
The off-campus designation indicates that any reimbursement of facilities-related costs will occur directly, through a direct space charge, such as lease costs, rather than indirectly through the application of a F&A rate that includes those costs. Certain sponsors stipulate specific F&A rates. In these cases, the off-campus designation is still appropriate but has no effect on the applicable F&A rate to be used in the proposal. For purposes of the F&A rate to be used in a sponsored project’s proposal, all direct expenditures on projects designated as off-campus are included in the same base. In addition, the off-campus efforts of subrecipients should not be a factor in determining which F&A rate should be used for the sponsored project.
To summarize, the classification of an on- or off-campus sponsored project is solely for the purpose of applying the correct F&A (indirect cost) rate.
Sponsored Projects Conducted Partially Off-Campus
Funded sponsored projects (grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements) should not be subject to more than one F&A rate. If more than 50% of a sponsored project is performed off-campus, then the off-campus rate will apply to the entire sponsored project. The on- or off-campus determination shall be based on WVU’s portion of sponsored project costs and not include costs of collaborating entities.
The following section provides specific details on how to determine the correct F&A rate for sponsored projects that are conducted partially off-campus:
Projects which are partially performed off-campus are not apportioned between their on-campus and off-campus components for F&A rate purposes. One way to determine where the preponderance of the work will be performed is the examination of the effort needed to conduct the sponsored project based upon the sponsored project’s MTDC. If 50% or more of the project’s MTDC is to be expended on campus, the entire project is charged the on-campus F&A rate. If more than 50% of the MTDC is determined to be off campus, the entire project is charged the off-campus F&A rate;
When determining the correct F&A rate, travel costs for a sponsored project partially performed off-campus can be difficult to assess. Travel costs incurred for travel between WVU and the off-campus space/location is considered an off-campus cost. Travel costs incurred for travel between the off-campus space/location and another off-campus location is considered an off-campus cost. Travel costs incurred for travel between WVU and a destination other than the off-campus space is considered an on-campus cost.
Working from Home
There are circumstances where an employee may be permitted to regularly work from home. As it pertains to sponsored projects, an employee who work at home because their assignments or departments allow for such an arrangement, or who work at home for convenience, are NOT allowed to use the off-campus rate.
The typical F&A rate agreement authorizes a series of rates that can be charged to a sponsored project, depending on the type of project (i.e. research, instruction & training, or other sponsored project). In addition, F&A rate agreements for colleges and universities are in effect normally for three to five years at a time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) negotiates with WVU to determine the University’s F&A rate agreement.