Fringe Benefit Rates

Northwestern University applies distinct employee benefit rates in the compensation of its personnel. These rates are charged to sponsored projects from which Northwestern personnel are paid.

Rates change annually on September 1.  A description of the components of the fringe benefit rates may be found within the current DHHS Rate Agreement (05/19/2014).

To facilitate the budgeting of proposals to external sponsors, the Northwestern Office of Business and Finance provides a four-year fringe benefit rate projection. However, rates for outyears are estimates; those rates are contingent upon a yearly negotiation process with the federal government.  For reference, please see Eugene Sunshine's Fringe Benefit Memo (06/30/2014).

Description Covers FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
(PROJECTED)
FY 2017
(PROJECTED)
FY 2018
(PROJECTED)
FY 2019 and THEREAFTER
(PROJECTED)
Full Non-Federal Benefits-eligible paid from non-Federal funds 27.2% 27.2% 27.4% 27.6% 27.8% 28.0%
Full Federal Benefits-eligible employees paid from Federal funds (direct federal and federal flow-through funds.) 27.0% 27.8% 28.0% 28.2% 28.4% 28.6%
Statutory Temporary employees, supplemental pay to regular employees 6.5% 6.1% 6.1% 6.1% 6.1% 6.1%
The Graduate School (TGS) student TGS teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate assistants 2.0% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3%
Other Student Hourly wages to student workers, non-Graduate School graduate students 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Exempt Federal Work Study salaries & wages, KSM consulting 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

For questions related to eligibility under any of the above indicated rates, see HR Benefit Eligibility or the FASIS manual.

For calculations based on a budget start month other than September, feel free to use the Blended Rate "Quick Chart".  The resulting dollar figure should be entered on your budget pages. Do not, however, list the blended rates on your budget pages as if they were Northwestern's negotiated benefits rates. Instead, use the budget justification statement shown below.

The quick reference chart is used for twelve-month budgets. For budgets that are not twelve months,  you will need to calculate manually using the following  formula:

How to Calculate Employee Benefits Across Multiple Fiscal Years:

  • Determine start date of project (e.g., July 1, 2014).
  • Identify the number of months in the budget period that will be assessed at each FY benefits rate (e.g. 2 months at the FY 14 rate and 10 months at the FY 15 rate).
  • Divide the salary total for the budget period by the number of months in the budget period (e.g. $45,000 / 12 = $3,750).
  • Multiply the monthly salary total by the number of months at the first benefits rate and the monthly salary total by the number of months at the second benefits rate. (e.g. [$3,750 x 2 x 27.2%] + [$3,750 x 10 x 27.2%] = $2,025+ $10,312.50= $12,337.50 total budget-year benefits costs.)

Repeat for remaining budget periods.

Budget justification statement for proposal budgets:

Add the following statement to all non-federal proposal budget justifications:

Employee benefits have been calculated based on the following DHHS-approved rates:

  • 09/01/13 - 08/31/14.... 27.20%
  • 09/01/14 - 08/31/15.... 27.20%
  • 09/01/15 - 08/31/16.... 27.40% (estimated)
  • 09/01/16 - 08/31/17.... 27.60% (estimated)
  • 09/01/17 - 08/31/18.... 27.80% (estimated)
  • 09/01/18 - 08/31/19 & thereafter.... 28.00% (estimated)

Add the following statement to all federal proposal budget justifications:

Employee benefits have been calculated based on the following DHHS-approved rates:

  • 09/01/13 - 08/31/14.... 27.00%
  • 09/01/14 - 08/31/15.... 27.80%
  • 09/01/15 - 08/31/16.... 28.00% (estimated)
  • 09/01/16 - 08/31/17.... 28.20% (estimated)
  • 09/01/17 - 08/31/18.... 28.40% (estimated)
  • 09/01/18 - 08/31/19 & thereafter.... 28.60% (estimated)

 

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