Cost Share Basics

Cost Share Overview

Cost Share is the portion of a project or program cost not borne by the sponsor. It is the University's share in the cost of conducting the project / program. Cost sharing occurs either when a sponsor requires, or the University commits in a proposal, funds beyond those awarded by the sponsoring agency to support a particular grant or contract.

Cost sharing may be required by federal or non-federal sponsors, and the obligation must be met using non-federal funds. Only charges that would be allowable as direct costs to the award are allowable as cost sharing. (Non-federal may be more flexible). Federal flow through funds may not be used as a cost sharing source unless prior written approval has been received from both the federal sponsor and the flow through sponsor. 

The "cost share" pledge may be either a fixed amount of money, or a percentage of the project costs, or the commitment of a specified level of effort. The term "cost matching" often refers to cost sharing where the amount required as cost share is equal to the amount received from the sponsor. This is also known as dollar-for-dollar cost sharing or matching.

Types of Cost Sharing - University of Massachusetts Lowell

Mandatory: Cost sharing that the sponsor requires as a condition of the award. Voluntary Committed: Cost sharing that the Principal Investigator (PI) commits in the project proposal budget or the budget justification that is not required by the sponsor. The University discourages cost sharing commitments when not required by the sponsor. The commitment is expressed as a dollar amount or a percent of effort. Voluntary Uncommitted: Cost Sharing is not initially promised in the proposal or otherwise indicated.

Contribution Sources

Commitments that are paid from University funds using gift, endowment, or other non-sponsored sources. These may also include in-kind outlays from internal and external sources. Below please find the order preference UMass Lowell uses for incorporating cost share in proposal budgets. Please see the Cost Share Priority Matrix and Guidance for additional details.

  1. Tuition and fees
  2. Faculty academic salary/effort
  3. Indirect costs
  4. Third party commitments (if applicable)
  5. PI / dept. / college Research Investment Funds (RIF) accounts or PI start-up accounts
  6. Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation (VCRI) funds

Cost Share Process

All proposals including cost share must have the required Cost Share Form approved and uploaded with the proposal 5 business days prior to the sponsor deadline. The internal budget must be finalized with your Grants and Contracts Administrator before you can route your cost share form.

The Form can be found on the Research Enterprise Solutions (RES) Build Form Page and Job Aids & Training videos on how to complete, route, and approve the cost share forms are available.

Letter of Institutional Support Process

Should the Sponsor require a letter of cost share commitment to be included in the proposal, please include this in the internal attachments tab in RES and submit it to OSP no later than 5 days prior to the submission deadline. The letter should be based on the final budget and approved cost share. Cost share letters of support should be drafted using the VCRI approved template. The Grants & Contracts Administrator (GCA) will transfer the letter to VCRI letterhead and obtain signature.