The University of Iowa

Administrative and Clerical Salaries

Charging Administrative & Clerical Salaries to Grants

Uniform Guidance (200.413(c) - The salaries of administrative and clerical staff...)

Uniform Guidance ensures that federal funding is administered in a consistent way, outlining a set of uniform principles for budgeting and charging allowable costs to federally sponsored awards.

The salaries and benefits of administrative and clerical staff, as well as general expenses such as office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, and memberships in professional and scientific organizations, are no longer allowed as direct charges to federally sponsored awards except under special circumstances (see below). As a result, administrative and clerical salaries and benefits associated with routine services such as typing reports, filing, handling mail, making travel arrangements, answering telephones, etc., should not be budgeted or charged as direct costs, even when there is a direct benefit to the project.

The government recognizes that, in some instances, the direct charging of administrative and clerical salaries may be appropriate and therefor approved by the funding agency. Examples of such projects include major, complex, multi-investigator projects such as Center Grants, Program Project Grants, and other sponsored projects that entail assembling and managing teams of investigators -- where administrative/secretarial support would be an integral part of the project itself. It may also be permissible to charge these salaries to single-investigator projects that require an extraordinary level of clerical and administrative support, such as the following:

  • Projects that involve extensive data accumulation, analysis and entry, surveying, tabulation, cataloging, searching, and reporting, such as data reduction, epidemiological studies and clinical trials.
  • Projects that require making extensive travel and meeting arrangements for a large number of participants, such as conferences and seminars.
  • Projects whose principal focus is the preparation and production of manuals and large reports (other than routine progress and technical reports), books, and monographs.
  • Projects that are geographically inaccessible to normal departmental administrative services (e.g, off-campus research).
  • Projects that require project-specific database management, individualized graphics or manuscript preparation, human or animal protocols, IRB preparations, and/or other project-specific regulatory protocols, and multiple project-related investigator coordination and communications.

If you have questions concerning these federal regulations, contact the Division of Sponsored Programs at or 335-2123.