Proposing Cost Share

Cost share or cost sharing, also referred to as “matching,” refers to the portion of a sponsored agreement’s total project or program costs that is contributed by someone other than the sponsor.

Proposing Cost Share

The federal government does not recommend or expect voluntary committed cost sharing to be included in a research project proposal. Only mandatory (i.e., required) cost share is to be included, quantified in a sufficient manner as to adhere to the solicitation requirements.

Quantified cost share, reflected in the proposal budget or budget justification, is a binding commitment and must be accounted for in accordance with university policy. 

Contributions not quantified in the proposal budget or budget justification (i.e., voluntary uncommitted) are non-binding commitments and do not require documentation or reporting.

Allowable Expenses

Expenses eligible for cost share must be consistent with terms and conditions of the agreement.

Cost share expenses:

  • Must be reasonable, necessary and allocable to the project
    • allowable as a direct cost
    • cannot be considered a normally indirect cost (included in F&A rate)
  • Must be within the period of performance
  • Cannot be used for multiple commitments

Is Cost Share Required?

Review agreement documentation to identify cost share commitments. In the case of Voluntary Committed cost share, review the proposal budget or budget justification.  Cost share commitments are typically reviewed and approved institutionally before the proposal is submitted and should not be a surprise upon receiving the award.

Identifying Cost Share Requirement

The following identifiers are found in applications most commonly use at Cornell and are populated based on sponsored agreement documentation. 

Note: If the agreement documentation does not correspond to the data presenting in any of the tools you use, please contact the appropriate Source Accountant.

  • Kuali Financial System (KFS) Award: Cost Share Required Flag (Y/N)
  • Sponsored Programs Award Summary: Cost Sharing, includes total required
  • Sponsored Institutional Dashboard: Cash Position-Presents Cost Share Flag (Y/N)
  • Research Administration Dashboard: Project Overview-Presents cost sharing section
  • Sponsored Projects Portal: Overview presents cost sharing, including totals

Types of Cost Share

Waived Indirect Costs

This is a calculation of the project’s total indirect costs that would be expensed directly based on the university’s federally negotiated rate, less the amount the agreement approved for recovery. Waived indirect costs can only be used to meet a cost share commitment upon approval by the sponsoring agency although prior approval is automatically granted in some circumstances.

New York State Benefits

Most contract college accounts are not charged benefits directly and the Labor Benefit Rate Category on those accounts is CC (Contract College). If NYS benefits are utilized as a match component, those entries will not be recorded in the general ledger. This is a calculation of the benefits that would be expensed directly to the project based on the appropriate Employee Benefit Rates.

External Commitments

A subcontractor may be required to contribute to the project’s cost share. External commitments are not recorded in our general ledger and must be monitored by the unit throughout the life of the project. This is generally conducted through review of the subcontract’s financial report.

In-kind contributions require documentation to indicate the level of support provided, and the value of the services/donated items. Valuation must be consistent with that described in Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.306.

Relevant Policies

University Policy 1.1, Cost Sharing for Sponsored Agreements outlines critical guidance on cost share. Given that cost share generally comprises institutional funds, it’s important to understand the risks and requirements related to managing this activity.

Federal requirements are outlined in Title II of the Code of Federal Regulation, Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. See §200.306 Uniform Guidance - Cost sharing or matching.

Get Help. If you have questions on accounting for cost share, contact the appropriate Source Accountant or