Direct Costs: Materials and Supplies

beaker iconMaterials and supplies are expendable items necessary to carry out the work of the sponsored project. Examples of items typically listed in this budget category include laboratory supplies, clinical supplies, glassware, chemicals, regents, and computing devices.

Costs for materials, supplies, computing devices, and fabricated parts that are necessary to complete the objectives of a project are allowable on a Federal award (UG §200.453).

Materials and supplies should be charged at their actual prices, less any discounts or rebates.

General purpose office supplies and materials used by departments for routine activities should not be directly charged to an award, unless specifically permitted by the sponsor. This includes items such as office supplies, cleaning materials, and copy paper.

Computing Devices

Computing devices are machines used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data and other information electronically, including accessories or peripherals for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information.

Costs of computing devices may be charged as a direct cost to an award when such devices are essential and allocable to an award, but not necessarily solely dedicated to its performance. Departments are required to document how a computing device is necessary and programmatically essential to each project being charged, and are required to document methods of cost allocation that were used to ensure that charges are reasonable. Computing devices may not be purchased for reasons of convenience or preference.

If the acquisition cost of a computer is greater than $5,000, it should be categorized as computing equipment.

Residual Inventory

If the department has overestimated the amount of supplies needed, there may be unused materials and supplies at the end of the project period. If this residual inventory exceeds $5,000 and isn’t needed for any other Federal award, the cost must be returned to the sponsor (UG §200.314).

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