Cost Sharing & Matching Funds

 General Description:
 
Cost sharing represents that portion of the total project costs of a sponsored project borne by some entity or funding source other than the project sponsor. Typically, cost sharing relates to the commitment of personnel (i.e., effort devoted to the sponsored project), but may also include non-personnel commitments, such as equipment costs.
 
It is generally the case that all of the costs incurred in carrying out a sponsored project are normally funded by the sponsor of that project. There are occasions, however, when some of the costs of carrying out a sponsored project are to be funded from other sources, whether required by the sponsor as a condition of the award (Mandatory Cost Sharing), not required by the sponsor but nevertheless promised by the Principal Investigator (PI) to the sponsor (Voluntary Committed CostSharing), or not required by the sponsor and not promised by the PI, but nevertheless charged to a funding source other than the sponsored project (Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing).
 
The University's Policy on Cost Sharing requires that when cost sharing commitments are made to sponsors (i.e., mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing), the source of funds to be used to cover that cost sharing must be identified and approved at the time the commitment is made to the sponsor. In addition, those costs must be readily identifiable in the University's financial records to auditors and others in order to document that cost sharing commitments have been met and are properly accounted for. Because of the documentation requirements imposed on cost sharing, the University strongly discourages voluntary committed cost sharing.
 
It is important that during the life of the project, the PI ensures that any and all commitments made to sponsors are either met, or if not, that the sponsor is timely apprised of any changes in the commitment.
 
It is not necessary to either identify or account for voluntary uncommitted cost sharing.
 
Cost sharing associated with individuals receiving NIH funding whose salaries exceed the NIH salary cap will automatically be reflected in Columbia’s Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) system.  In addition, the ECRT system should reflect any other cost sharing.  Departments should determine if there are other cost sharing commitments besides those associated with "salary over the cap," and communicate these commitments to Columbia University’s Office of Sponsored Project Administration (SPA).  In order for an individual to certify his/her effort card, cost sharing information should be entered into ECRT prior to certifying the effort card.  SPA is responsible for entering the cost share information.
 
The University's Policy on Cost Sharing contains much more specific requirements when cost sharing commitments are made.
 
Methods of Achieving Cost Sharing:
 
Third Party In-Kind Contributions
These may come in the form of non-cash contributions provided by non-Federal third parties. The contributions may fall under the categories of real property, equipment and supplies as well as the value of goods and services directly benefiting and, specifically, identifiable to the project or program.
 
Faculty Salaries and Benefits
A percentage of the professorial salary paid by the institution during the project period, along with the fringe benefits and corresponding indirect costs is allowable Cost Sharing. For the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), this means the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES).
 
Institutional Funds
For special projects that require institutional funds from the University and its entities, the Director's Office should be consulted as soon as the budget is prepared. The PI for the grant is responsible for obtaining a letter of commitment from the necessary party to include in the proposal.
 
Columbia University Equipment Matching Funds:
 
In a letter dated October 14, 1994, the Columbia University Provost's Office announced the establishment of a capital equipment matching fund for:
 
·        Equipment only competitions proposed by the NSF, NIH, DOE, DOD and other governmental agencies or nongovernmental entities
 
·        Major equipment items on federal and non-federal renovation grants where the equipment portion can be segmented from the renovation costs
 
These special competitions usually require a 50% match. The University is willing to entertain requests for 25% of the total cost of the equipment.
 
To Apply for CU Matching Funds:
 
1.     A copy of the draft proposal and the source of the other 25% matching must be submitted to SPA by C&G along with appropriate endorsement from the Director's Office.
 
2.     Before gaining final approval, the Columbia Provost's Office will review the request. Preference will be given to meeting high-priority equipment needs that will benefit the efforts of more than one research group.
 
3.     SPA will advise the PI, the LDEO Director, and the C&G Department Manager of the decision.
 
4.     If approved, a separate 6 ledger account number will be established to coincide with any resulting award period.