Cost Sharing

Rensselaer or external resources that are provided under special circumstances to supplement research grants and contracts are considered cost-sharing. There are two (2) circumstances under which cost sharing will be provided:

  • Cost sharing is required by the agency (mandatory)
  • Cost sharing will significantly enhance the probability of funding in a research area or program of high strategic priority to Rensselaer (voluntary)

Note that, under Uniform Guidance, the federal government has indicated that, in all cases, voluntarily committed cost sharing should not be used as review criteria by funding agencies.

Cost Sharing Request Form

Cash Contributions

Cost sharing with Rensselaer funds is defined by the federal government as a cash contribution. All costs which are allowable as a direct charge by the government can be cost shared. All mandatory cash contributions by Rensselaer, including funds for tuition, equipment, salaries and fringe benefits for the PI’s time, which is donated to the project, are tracked and verified in the Banner system.


Non-cash contributions by third parties, such as donation of space, services, or equipment, which are not expenditures incurred by Rensselaer and where the outside party is responsible for determining the value of their donation, are in-kind contributions. Documentation from the donor, usually in the form of a signed letter, is necessary in order for Rensselaer to include in-kind costs sharing on a project.


Rensselaer has instituted a Tuition Cost Share Policy which provides a commitment of 35% toward the total cost of the graduate student tuition on all proposals processed through RAF that include the federally approved indirect cost rates. Tuition cost sharing for programs paying less than full indirect costs will be prorated accordingly. Grant administrator assigned to your proposal record in Cayuse SP will ensure that the appropriate amount of cost sharing is included in your proposal.

Additional Cost Sharing

If additional cost sharing is required above the tuition waiver, cost sharing must be requested (and routed) through your department, school, and either the Office of Research or the Provost. The current guidelines allow a split of these commitments as follows: Department and School (30%), Office of Research/Provost's Office (70%).

Rensselaer Donations

Cost sharing can be supplied from other Rensselaer resources where no funds are transferred to the research project. Such contributions are usually the donation of the PI's time, or other salaries, tuition or other direct costs and include all applicable fringe benefits and indirect costs. 

Unrecovered Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs are a requirement for all sponsored projects and must be paid at the rate set by the federal government. There are instances when the sponsor will not pay the full indirect costs for a project. Rensselaer must contribute the unrecovered portion toward the full cost of the project. Any reduction in indirect costs done on a voluntary basis (i.e., the sponsor will pay but PI requests waiver), is regarded as a cash contribution and must be met by Rensselaer funds.

Outside Donations

Awards from outside organizations, such as corporations and foundations, where Rensselaer controls the expenditure of these funds, can be utilized as a part of Rensselaer's contribution or match to a sponsor. If such donations are used as cost sharing on a sponsored project, the costs are tracked and verified utilizing the Banner system. Such contributions are setup in separate funds and are not appropriated. Outside organizations can also provide support on an in-kind basis, (i.e., donation of time or services).


All cost sharing requirements, except for the tuition waiver, must be discussed with your chair or director, dean, and in some instances, the Provost or Vice President for Research before you forward your proposal to RAF. All waivers of indirect costs are approved by the Vice President for Research. Approval signatures are obtained during the circulation process for all cost sharing commitments.


All mandatory and voluntary cost sharing included in proposals becomes committed cost sharing once the award is made by the sponsor. The cost sharing will become a condition of the award and must be tracked and verified.

Cost Sharing Policy for External Research Grants and Fellowships

Effective April 15, 2016

Cost sharing may be granted for many reasons on sponsored research and other sponsored programs.

The goal of cost sharing is to enhance the competitiveness of our research proposals and to ensure optimization of resources that benefit the research enterprise. The Vice President for Research and the Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Education will consider individually or jointly cost sharing when one or more of the conditions outlined below are met.

  1. Required by Sponsor: Such involuntary cost sharing takes on many forms, including cash, in‐kind,
    tuition waivers, reduced overhead, etc. The VP for Research can approve cash cost sharing when all
    other forms of cost sharing have been exhausted. The relevant school(s) may augment cash cost
    sharing. Teaching release time is approved by the Pl's Department Head in consultation with the
    dean. Tuition waivers are approved by the Vice Provost, Graduate Education.
  2. Graduate Student Waivers for Training Grants: External Competitive Fellowships, and other
    training‐specific grants sometimes provide only stipend and some tuition allowance for students.
    The Office of Graduate Education will cover the remaining tuition required for students to maintain
    their full time status.
  3. Large Grant Enhancement: If a grant will pay for three students per academic year (including both tuition and stipend), the Vice Provost for Graduate Education will provide one additional student stipend and tuition waiver for that academic year. This 3:1 ratio will be be multiplicative, e.g., six students supported per year will result in two additional student lines. The 3:1 ratio may be adjusted from time to time based on availability of funds; however, commitments at the time of grant submission will be honored.
  4. International Student Fellowships: The Vice Provost, Graduate Education may provide a tuition waiver for International Competitive Fellowship Programs such as the Fulbright Fellowship.
  5. Overhead Reduction: The Vice President for Research will consider overhead reduction on a case by‐case basis. Reduction will be considered if the published instructions of the sponsor (including
    foundation grants) state specifically that reduced overhead is required. For federal programs, unless
    required by the specific federal program, no overhead reduction is allowed.


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