Awards from Federal agencies and other sponsors sometimes include funds for participant support costs. Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects. When calculating Facilities and Administration (F&A) costs, participant support costs are excluded from modified total direct costs (MTDC).
A participant is an individual who is the recipient of a service or training provided at a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short-term instructional or information sharing activity funded by a sponsored award.
A participant cannot:
Participant support costs may include the following expenses, when required to participate in the project:
Participant support costs are those costs paid to or on behalf of the participant(s) only. All costs that are reimbursed to or paid on behalf of participants must be incurred within the project period and specifically allowed by the sponsoring agency.
Participant support costs require prior agency approval and are not allowable for research projects without an education or outreach component.
Participant support costs can be included in competitive proposal budgets for agency approval. Guidelines must be reviewed carefully to determine whether participant support costs can be included as direct costs in an award budget. When participant support costs are proposed, a detailed justification is required that describes the purpose of the requested costs and the way in which the participant support will directly benefit the proposed award’s scope of work.
Participant support costs cannot be rebudgeted for use in other categories without prior written approval of the sponsor, however sponsor approval is not required for rebudgeting of costs between the participant support categories. For example, participant support subsistence allowance can be rebudgeted to participant support stipends, etc.
When a sponsored award includes participant support costs, the Principal Investigator (PI) and the Local Research Administrator (LRA) are required to be familiar with specific requirements as set forth by the sponsor and are responsible for ensuring compliance with those requirements.
The PI/department is also required to retain records detailing:
Central Post-Award establishes separate PeopleSoft scope accounts to house participant support costs. The award description is entered as “Participant Support for (Home Account)” to allow for identification and isolation of these expenses.