Direct and Indirect Costs

Direct Costs

Direct costs are those that can be specifically identified with a particular project and are necessary to fulfill the project’s objectives. Examples of typically allowable direct costs include:


Participant support costs:
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 (2 CFR §200.75). See the Participant Support Costs guidance document (PDF).
Internal service centers:
Internal transactions and expenses that arise when one department provides goods and services to another department within the university. More information is available on the CRAG Teamsite (GW login required).



Indirect Costs

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Cost Rates, otherwise known as indirect costs, represent the university's research-related costs that cannot be allocated to individual sponsored projects. These costs can include lab space, utilities, libraries, and department and central administration staff, among others. GW prepares and submits a periodic determination of F&A costs to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The current negotiated F&A Cost Rate Agreement outlines rates for on- and off-campus activities in addition to Organized Research (OR) and Other Sponsored Activities (OSA).

The appropriate F&A rate must be incorporated into all sponsored project budgets. The Categorization of Sponsored Projects information can help you choose the appropriate F&A rate for your project.


It is important to note that the Enterprise Accounting System (EAS) automatically calculates the indirect cost based on the F&A rate approved in the award notice and established in the system upon award set-up.