Mobile Devices


Mobile Devices include the cost of the device itself (cell phone, tablet, etc.), monthly rental or other usage fees (data plans), and any ancillary items that work with or support the device (headsets, speakers, chargers, etc.). Mobile Devices can be used to benefit more than one Award and can also be for personal use. It is very difficult to determine how the cost of the device benefits one or many Awards, and prove that it was not also used for personal reasons. Thus, Mobile Devices are typically provided by the UW and covered as an Indirect (F&A) Cost. See UW’s Mobile Device Guidelines and APS 55.1 “Mobile Device Use and Allowance Policy” for more information on provision of a Mobile Device by the UW.

If a Mobile Device is charged to a Sponsored Award, there must be proof that the device is only used to benefit the Award, and that it is not also being used for personal reasons. If the device is allocated to more than one Award, it must also be proven that the allocation of the cost is representative of the benefit provided to each Award. This is not recommended, as these requirements can be very difficult to prove.

If the cost of the device is being charged to Sponsored Award(s), then APS 55.1 does not apply, as the device is being provided by the Sponsor and not the UW.

Also, because Mobile Devices are typically an indirect cost, see the requirements to direct bill an indirect cost.

End of Use or End of Award

If a Mobile Device has been purchased on a Sponsored Award, disposition of the item depends on its current market value (CMV). 

  • If the CMV is greater than $5,000, then the item is defined as Equipment and its disposition should follow EIO equipment disposition guidelines. For federal awards, additional information can be found on PAFC's page on Federal Award Equipment Disposition.
  • If the CMV is less than $5,000, then the item is considered to be a supply item and is disposed of at the discretion of the department.

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