MyFunding IDC Waiver Process FAQs
- What are indirect costs?
Indirect costs (also known as IDC, F&A costs, or overhead costs) are those costs associated with the conduct of sponsored projects that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore are not readily identifiable with a specific project.
These costs are legitimate costs incurred by the University in support of the performance of sponsored projects. Examples of costs normally considered to be F&A costs include, but are not limited to, administrative/clerical; facilities management and utilities; general-purpose equipment; office supplies; postage; memberships and dues; subscriptions/books/periodicals; and local telephone charges. Pitt’s IDC rates are negotiated through a formal process with the federal government and are computed on the basis of actual costs incurred.
- Where can I find Pitt’s indirect cost rates?
Pitt’s current indirect cost rates can be found on the CFO’S website.
- Am I expected to budget indirect costs on my sponsored project?
Yes, as indicated in Pitt’s current Fringe Benefit Rates and Sponsored Projects Facilities and Administrative (Indirect) Costs Rate Memorandum, the University requires the inclusion of applicable F&A costs (indirect costs) in all proposal budgets, unless specifically prohibited. The University also requires that F&A costs will be recovered to the maximum extent possible within the boundaries of statute or policy, because F&A costs are legitimate costs incurred by the University in support of the performance of sponsored projects.
- What is an indirect cost waiver?
An indirect cost waiver is a University approval to use an indirect cost rate in a sponsored project budget that is less than the University’s negotiated rate and less than the sponsor allows in a published policy or funding announcement.
- Do I need an indirect cost waiver for my proposal?
Indirect cost waivers are needed when the department uses an indirect cost rate that is less than the University’s negotiated rate and it is less than what the sponsor formally requires in a published policy or funding announcement. Emails from sponsors are unacceptable documentation and an indirect cost waiver would be required.
- What is acceptable documentation from a sponsor that shows they will only accept a lower indirect cost rate than Pitt’s negotiated rate?
If the sponsor’s indirect cost rate is in a published policy or funding announcement, then an indirect cost waiver would not be required. Emails from sponsors are unacceptable documentation thus requiring an indirect cost waiver. Sponsors should also not be contacted about indirect cost policies.
- If my sponsor provides a letter or email that indicates that they do not pay indirect costs or pay only partial indirect costs, do I need a waiver?
Yes, emails from sponsors are insufficient documentation for budgeting an indirect cost rate that is less than Pitt’s negotiated rate. Therefore, an indirect cost waiver will be required.
- If the sponsor does not have clear guidance on indirect cost rates, should I contact the sponsor and ask?
No, do not contact the sponsor to ask about indirect costs. If the sponsor does not have clear guidance in the funding announcement or on a website, then a waiver should be requested.
- Who needs to approve my indirect costs waiver?
If the proposal total budget is equal to or less than $50,000, only the Dean of your school or University-level center/Institute Director will be required to provide written approval of the indirect cost waiver. The Dean/Institute Director’s written approval will need to be uploaded in the MyFunding module for an indirect cost waiver.
If the proposal total budget is more than $50,000, both the Dean of your school or University-level center/Institute Director and Dr. Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research, must approve the indirect cost waiver. The Dean/Institute Director’s written approval (email or letter) will need to be uploaded in the MyFunding module, where it can then be routed electronically through MyFunding as documentation for Dr. Rutenbar’s review and approval.
- How do I request a waiver of indirect costs?
An indirect cost waiver must be requested through the PERIS™ MyFunding module prior to the submission of a proposal/project to the sponsor. Information and directions on how to submit a request for an indirect cost waiver approval through MyFunding can be found here . If a waiver request is anticipated, the department is strongly advised to allot time for the review and approval of the indirect cost waiver while preparing their proposal and adhering to the Office of Sponsored Programs internal deadline.
- What information am I required to submit when I ask for an indirect cost waiver?
The following information will be required when submitting an indirect cost waiver request through MyFunding:
- Budget (as an attachment or in the Budget of the MyFunding module)
- Scope of Work
- Deadline, if any
- IDC rate being requested vs. Pitt’s negotiated rate
- Justification for the waiver
- Written approval by the Dean/Institute Director (or equivalent) – Email attachment will be sufficient.
- Can I request a waiver of indirect costs after my proposal has received notification of funding?
No, indirect cost waivers will only be reviewed and approved during the proposal phase of funding.
- If I am working with a sponsor who does not have a published indirect cost rate, such as a foundation, who can I contact to help me determine the indirect cost rate to use and/or to determine if an indirect cost waiver is needed?
Please email Laura Kingsley, Senior Associate Director in the Office of Sponsored Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Do not contact the sponsor directly for this information.
- If I have questions about whether I need an indirect cost waiver or not, who do I contact?
Questions concerning indirect cost waivers should be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs Officer assigned to your unit.
Click here to Return to the IDC Waiver Request page.