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: NSF Research Traineeship (NRT), External Competitive Fellowships, and other training‐specific grants typically support partial stipend and/or tuition. Tuition will be covered by the Vice Provost, Graduate Education when the grant covers the stipend. If the grant also covers a portion of the tuition, a tuition waiver will be used for the first semester and the grant will be charged for the second semester. Additional graduate student "slots" to augment NIH training grants will be covered by the Vice President for Research (stipend) and Vice Provost for Graduate Education (tuition).
  3. Center Match: If a center type grant will pay for three students per year (including both tuition and stipend), the Vice Provost for Graduate Education will provide one additional student stipend and tuition waiver. This 3:1 match will 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. Knowledge and Innovation Program (KIP) Seed Grants: The Office of Research will provide additional cost sharing on current KIP awardees at the discretion of the Vice President for Research.
  5. International Student Fellowships: The Vice Provost, Graduate Education will provide a tuition waiver for International Competitive Fellowship Programs such as the Fulbright Fellowship.
  6. Overhead Reduction: The Vice President for Research will consider overhead reduction on a caseby‐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. For _industry proposals, reduction in overhead can only be considered if the Rensselaer Standard Sponsored Research Agreement is accepted by the company and then only on a case‐by‐case basis.
  7. Subcontract Overhead Reduction: Normally, overhead on each subcontract is calculated as the Rensselaer indirect cost rate applied to the first $25K of each subcontract. For subcontracts less than $30K, the Vice President for Research will consider reduction or elimination of the overhead on the subcontract.
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