Budget Overview

After you have designed your project and developed your plan of operations, a budget must be developed. The budget should clearly detail how much will be requested from the funding source and how much will be contributed by other sources. A high level of detail should be included in every budget. Each line item request must be clearly defined and related to the plan of operation.

Usually, budgets center around direct and indirect cost items. Direct costs include: personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual, and other. Indirect cost is an accounting term used to describe costs that are common to two or more of a grantee's projects, such as: building space, procurement, personnel administration, and grant accounting. These costs are real and represent actual costs to the institution. Indirect costs are added to the total direct cost and retained by the Institution to offset the additional expense of carrying out the project for that agency. The staff of the institute is prepared to assist you, as you begin the process of developing the budget for your project.

A project may also receive matching funds from the institution to develop a financial package to fund the program. Matching funds come in two forms, hard and soft. Hard matches are required by the agency and will be considered in the program audit. Soft matches are not required and are not included in the audit, but are seen as commitment of support by the institution. Under certain conditions matching dollars can be in-kind. Each program requiring a match will specify the limits of the required match. These limits are described in the program guidelines.

A plan of operation that is logical in sequence and clearly developed will lead to a budget that is adequate to support the project, and reasonable in relation to the objectives of the project. Before turning in your budget projections, check your calculations twice.


Most discretionary programs fund projects that are addressing similar program-related issues. Since these projects are working on related issues, they tend to share and benefit from common information. A well defined dissemination plan is important to the overall design of the program. As this information is transferred to others who may benefit from its use, the value of your project increases as does the value of the agency program.

A dissemination plan should include what information will be disseminated, in what format, and in what numbers. Remember, printing costs are high, so be innovative in your plan. Next, decide who will receive the materials and reports, and determine how you expect them to share the information. Also, consider the time and expense required to continue to provide these materials after the grant is completed. Grant funds cannot be spent after the grant is closed. If the plan calls for printing and mailing material, these costs must be included in the budget.

Be sure to include in your plan what reports and information the agency should receive and how you will ensure it is accomplished. Final reports that are delivered on time leave a lasting impression.


Faculty and academic staff are encouraged to discuss their proposal ideas and budget requirements with the Institute for Public Service prior to the development of a grant application. All grant applications requesting financial support from an external agency must be presented for review and approval prior to leaving campus.

All grant expenditures must be made in accordance with federal, state and Shippensburg University policies and procedures.

Title to materials and equipment purchased with grant funds remains with Shippensburg University.

Projects involving human subjects in research must be approved by the Committee on Research and Human Subjects before projects are implemented.

Projects involving animals used in research must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before projects are implemented.

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