Facilities & Administration FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Facilities & Administrative Costs (F&A) Budgeting, Recovery, and Allocation

Q: The sponsor did not specify an F&A limitation in the call for proposals, but there is an overall cap on how much funds I can request. Can I budget the F&A costs at the rate that is less than Tufts rate so that I can use more funds for the project activities?

A: Tufts University requires the use of applicable Tufts rates for budgeting of the F&A costs on all proposals for sponsored funding unless the sponsor posted limits for the F&A rate. Schools may approve proposals that contain less than a full rate on a case by case basis. An offset from the PI discretionary account or a gift account may be required to reimburse the school for expenses normally paid for by the F&A recovery. As a general rule, proposed activities must be commensurate with the amount of funding available from the sponsor. If the funding cap is lower than the full cost of the project, the project scope should be reduced.

Q: Should my project bear an off-campus rather than on-campus F&A rate because more than half of the funds is budgeted for the partners through the subcontracts?

A: Tufts University rate agreement states that the costs should be apportioned between on-site and off-site components of the project, where each portion would bear the appropriate rate. Therefore on-campus F&A rate should be applied to the on-campus part of the project. Tufts F&A on the subcontracts (the first $25,000 of each subcontract for federal projects) is charged using the on- campus rate because subrecipient monitoring, reporting, and managing subawards are the functions performed on-campus. Please see additional details in the Policy on Application of Off-Campus and On-Campus F&A Rates.

Q: Investigators from two Tufts schools are collaborating on a sponsored project. Which school will receive the F&A recovery costs?

A: According to Tufts Collaborative Projects Policy, when each of the schools has requested a subaccount (“scope” or “child” account) for the project, F&A costs will follow the direct costs on each subaccount and each school will receive F&A reimbursement commensurate with the project activities supported by the direct costs. In the absence of the subaccount, F&A recovery will be returned to the school of the lead investigator.

Q: For a collaborative cross-school project, how do I determine how much to budget in a subaccount for each school?

A: The budget for each project in a collaborative proposal should reflect the amount of funds needed to accomplish the work in each school. For example, funds necessary to cover personnel effort (salary and benefits) and respective travel costs if needed, would be budgeted in the unit of the appointment. Costs of experiments would be budgeted in the unit that has a lab and/or equipment that enables the work.

Q: I am affiliated with a multidisciplinary center the role of which is to build collaborations between the schools. In this capacity our center often facilitates applications for sponsored funding. How can our efforts be reimbursed through the F&A recovery?

A: Arrangements for F&A sharing should be made via an agreement that governs each center’s operations developed per Tufts Guidelines for Proposing New Centers.  The agreements are documented with the Dean of the school where the center is located, or with the Provost and Vice President for Finance, as appropriate.

Related Policies & Guides

Facilities & Administration (F&A) and Fringe Rates
Collaborative Sponsored Projects
Collaborative Proposals Across Tufts Units
F&A Overview (PPT)