F&A Rates and Costs

What are Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rates and Costs?

F&A Rates

The F&A rate is the mechanism used to reimburse the UW for the infrastructure support costs associated with sponsored research and other sponsored projects. The F&A rate is essentially an overhead rate. It is calculated as a percentage of overhead associated with, and allocable to, sponsored research and other activities, divided by the direct costs of sponsored research and other activities. To collect F&A, the UW adds the F&A rate to invoices or other billing instruments submitted to sponsors.

F&A Costs

F&A costs are defined in 2 CFR Appendix III to Part 200 as costs that are "incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity." F&A costs are sometimes referred to as indirect costs. Examples of F&A costs include:

  • Depreciation and interest costs associated with the UW’s physical plant
  • Operating and maintenance costs such as utility costs, security costs, and custodial costs
  • Common administrative functions such as payroll and purchasing

Because it is impractical to account separately for such costs, F&A costs are normally not charged directly to sponsored awards. See the PAFC web page on direct billing F&A costs for cases in which an F&A cost can be directly charged to a sponsored award.

How are F&A Rates Determined by the UW?

The UW negotiates F&A rates with its cognizant agency—the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Cost Allocation (DCA), San Francisco office. Rates are developed and negotiated approximately every four to six years. Eight specific rates are negotiated: 

  • On-campus organized research (which includes UW Seattle, UW Bothell, and UW Tacoma)
  • Off-campus organized research
  • South Lake Union organized research
  • Applied Physics Lab organized research
  • Regional Primate Center organized research
  • Vessel operations (which are then added to daily vessel rates)
  • Instructional sponsored research
  • Other sponsored activities   

For additional information on how rates are calculated, please refer to GIM 13: Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Rates. For additional information about rates currently in effect, refer to the F&A Rate Table. A copy of the UW’s current F&A rate agreement is available on our Historical F&A and Fringe Benefit Rate Agreements page.

F&A Rate Application

Although the UW negotiates F&A rates, not all sponsors reimburse the UW at the negotiated F&A rates. Review GIM 13 for more information on how F&A rates apply to sponsored awards.

F&A Rates on Cost Share Contributions

  • The UW will apply the applicable negotiated F&A rates to cost share contributions unless prohibited by the sponsor. 
  • This is true even if the actual rate funded by the sponsor on an individual award differs from the federally-negotiated rate (i.e., the actual rate is less than the negotiated rate).
  • See the GCA cost share web page for more information on cost share F&A.

F&A Rates Not Charged

  • Gift budgets (after 1987).
  • UW-funded research, such as bridge funding or awards made through the Royalty Research Fund (RRF).


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