Facilities And Administrative (F&A) Rates

DHHS Rate Agreement

Northwestern applies different Facilities and Administrative (F&A) rates to sponsored projects, depending on the nature of the individual sponsored projects. Northwestern negotiates its F&A rates with the federal government--specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services ("DHHS") every few years. Please note that F&A rates are sometimes called "indirect cost" rates. Current DHHS Rate Agreement.

In order to determine the applicable F&A rate for a sponsored project, consider the following: the funding source (federal or non-federal; grant or contract); the project type (research, instruction/training, other sponsored activity); whether the project is on-campus or off-campus; and the start date of the project. Note that solicitations occasionally include capped F&A rates.

Federal Projects

Nature of Sponsored Activity

On/Off Campus

FY 2013
09/01/12 - 08/31/13

FY 2014
09/01/13 - 08/31/14

FY 2015
09/01/14 - 08/31/15

FY 2016
Beginning
09/01/15 - 08/31/16 and thereafter
(Provisional)

Sponsored Research

On Campus
Off Campus

54.5%
26.0%

54.5%
26.0%

54.5%
26.0%

54.5%
26.0%

Department of Defense (DoD) Contracts

On Campus
Off Campus

55.5%
26.0%

55.5%
26.0%

55.5%
26.0%

55.5%
26.0%

Sponsored Instruction/Training

On Campus
Off Campus

51.0%
26.0%

51.0%
26.0%

51.0%
26.0%

51.0%
26.0%

Other Sponsored Activity

On Campus
Off Campus
 

36.0%
26.0%

36.0%
26.0%

36.0%
26.0%

36.0%
26.0%

For periods beyond 08/31/15, the FY 2016 rates should be provisionally used.

Non-Federal Projects

Sponsored Research

On Campus
Off Campus

64.4%
31.3%

64.4%
31.3%

64.4%
31.3%

64.4%
31.3%

Sponsored Instruction/Training

On Campus
Off Campus

78.3%
51.9%

78.3%
51.9%

78.3%
51.9%

78.3%
51.9%

Other Sponsored Activity

On Campus
Off Campus

42.8%
31.8%

42.8%
31.8%

42.8%
31.8%

42.8%
31.8%

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)

All rates shown above use the indirect costing methodology of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). MTDC is defined as the sum of all proposed direct costs, minus the following expenditure accounts/exclusions:

  • 77535: Fabricated Equipment (fabrication cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life of at least one year)
  • 75490: Space Rental
  • 75720: Hospital Medical Expenses (Research Patient Care Costs)
  • 76910-76960: Internal Telecommunication Expenses
  • 77510-77599: Capital Equipment (acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life of at least one year)
  • 78010-78080: Tuition and Stipends
  • 78510: Amortization
  • 78650: Subcontracts in Excess of the First $25,000

Total Direct Costs (TDC) is an alternative approach to the application of F&A. TDC applies F&A to the sum of all proposed direct costs.

For sponsors that publish and reimburse F&A rates lower than Northwestern's established rates (typically voluntary health organizations, or charitable foundations), a TDC approach should be used, unless an MDTC approach, or specific individual cost exclusions, is specifically identified in the sponsor's published rate.

Budget Justification Statement for Federal Proposal Budgets

Add the following statement to new, competitive renewal and supplement proposal budget justifications on federal projects (except NIH modular grants, which justifications do not require this language):

F&A has been calculated based on the following DHHS approved rates:

  • 54.5% MTDC 09/01/12 - 08/31/13 - Predetermined
  • 54.5% MTDC 09/01/13 - 08/31/14 - Predetermined
  • 54.5% MTDC 09/01/14 - 08/31/15 - Predetermined
  • 54.5% MTDC Beginning 09/01/15 - 08/31/16 and thereafter provisional

Other Sponsored Activity Projects

Per OMB Circular A-21, “other sponsored activities” means programs and projects financed by Federal and non-Federal agencies and organizations which involve the performance of work other than instruction and organized research.

Examples of "Other Sponsored Activity" include: 1) public service projects, such as sponsored health and/or community service projects, legal clinics and public information services; 2) contract-for-service activities, such as material testing agreements; 3) curriculum development projects; and 4) sponsored symposia, workshops, seminars and conferences.

Investigators should consult with OSR to determine a project’s appropriate F&A rate, given the sponsor, solicitation, nature and location of the proposed activity.

Northwestern University - Office for Research

Contact :
Chicago
Arthur Rubloff Building
750 N. Lake Shore Dr., 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 503-7955
OSR-Chicago@northwestern.edu
Evanston
1801 Maple St.
2nd Floor, Suite 2410
Evanston, IL 60201-3149
Phone: (847) 491-3003
OSR-Evanston@northwestern.edu