What are Facilities and Administrative Rates and Costs?

The Facilities and Administrative Rate (F&A Rate) is the mechanism used to reimburse the University 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, an allocable to, sponsored research and other activities, divided by the direct costs of sponsored research and other activities. To collect F&A, the University adds the negotiated F&A rate to invoices or other billing instruments submitted to sponsors.

F&A costs are defined in CFR 2 Part §200.420 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 cost associated with the University’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 agreements.

How are Facilities and Administrative Rates Determined by the University?

The University 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, please refer to the F&A Rate Tables.  A copy of the University’s current F&A rate agreement is also available on our Historical F&A/Fringe Benefit Rates page.

Facilities and Administrative Rate Application

Although the University negotiates F&A rates, not all sponsors reimburse the University for F&A costs at the negotiated rates.  Review GIM 13 for more information on how F&A rate apply to Sponsored Programs.

Determining cost share contributions:

  • The University will apply the applicable Federally-negotiated rates to cost sharing expenses 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 rates (i.e., actual rate is less than the negotiated rate).

F&A is not charged on:

  • Gifts (after 1987) 
  • University funded research, such as awards made through the Royalty Research Fund or on bridge funding

Review GIM 13: Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rates for more information.