Tips and Reminders: Cost Principles under Uniform Guidance

The basic cost principles must always be applied when identifying cost allowability. All costs must be reasonable, allocable, necessary, and consistently treated both directly and indirectly (e.g., following the campus F&A Rate Proposal), as well as be allowable on federal awards under the Uniform Guidance. The Uniform Guidance calls out 55 specific cost categories in sections 200.420 – 200.475. They cover a wide range of costs and have enough breadth that you can use them when trying to identify whether almost any cost category is allowable on a federal or federal flow-through award. If the specific cost is not on the list, by identifying a similar cost you can determine if your expense is allowable. Generally unallowable costs are also specifically identified in this section.

The Uniform Guidance Website has been updated to include more details on using cost principles for reviewing cost allowability. Further inquiries on cost allowability can be directed to Costing Policy and Recharge Operations Director Nilo Mia at 415.476.3113 or [email protected], or to Costing Policy Assistant Director Darryl Lim at 415.502.3478 or [email protected] in the Budget and Resource Management Office.