Cloudy with a Chance of Overspending
November is quite a popular month for budget forecasting and cost projection among departments. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re doing your calculations:
- Remember, our fringe rates have changed! Gone are the days of 26.6%; we now have four rates that are divided in very different ways than they have been in the past. On sponsored projects, this is most often going to look like 21.4% for your faculty researchers and 33.0% for your non-faculty research personnel (research assistants, associates, etc.) There are, however, many different ways the rates will be applied! To make sure you are calculating your forecasts correctly, check the E-Class designation for each of your personnel and compare it to the current composite fringe benefit rates chart. Remember, just because it was awarded when the previous rates were in effect does not mean that the calculations stay the same for the life of the project.
- You don’t have to factor in termination payouts. If you have personnel on grants that you know will be retiring or leaving, there is a designated account for termination payouts so your project funds are not harshly impacted. for more information on this payout structure, contact SPA.
- Consider asking your PIs to do an inventory of their cages if they are working with animals. A per-cage charge may be inaccurately reflected in your projections if more or less cages are being used than originally anticipated at budget time.
- Tuition may not hit at the time of the grant. Make sure you account for future costs – such as tuition that is budgeted but not yet spent – that may not be projectable based on current/past expenditures.
For tips on calculations quasi-forensic forecasting, contact RAS anytime… we’ve all been here too!