Get Your Rates Straight

You know that moment when you’ve finally become comfortable using new-ish fringe rates on proposals, and then it changes again?  Guess what: BAM!  The moment has arrived (actually, it arrived a month ago).


The most current DHHS rate agreement was ratified on July 13, 2016 (use this date on your submissions, folks), and can be viewed on SPA’s website.  If, for instance, you’re not using 24.2% for your non-administrative faculty, check you numbers before that proposal goes out!  These are the numbers that must be used for projects beginning on October 1, 2016 and after; there’s nothing being submitted now that would start before that date, so here’s looking at you. 😉


Fiscal Affairs has also updated the Composite Fringe Benefit Rates to reflect the new agreement (you can check all of your employment classes here).  As in the past, past composite rates are publicly archived for your reference.  Questions on how to adjust your budget to the new rates?  You know where to find us!

Like Peas and Carrots

In case you haven’t heard, DMC and Karmanos/McLaren have reached a collaboration agreement.   In short, the collaboration settles all previous litigation and provides for the integration of Karmanos into McLaren.  Karmanos Cancer Center will continue to operate out of DMC’s Harper-Hutzel hospitals, and McLaren, Karmanos and DMC intend to explore expansion at other DMC sites.


If you have research with any Karmanos component, be sure to check with their CTO to clarify how this may affect future renewals or submissions.  If you have any other DMC components, also be sure you are using the latest DMC fringe rates, available here!  If you’re not sure whether you’re affected, drop us a note and we’re happy to help you decipher your roles 🙂

Do We Have An Accord?

New fringe rates take effect in two weeks’ time (October 1), and it’s worth a reminder that any projects awarded with budgets under the previous rates will be responsible for the application of the new rates.  This may mean some re-budgeting so now may be a good time to do a cost projection with the new rates.  Some projects will feel little to no impact; others (particularly those with a lot of non-faculty research persons) will have significantly higher personnel costs.  You may need to rebudget some of your funds; if this is the case, be sure to check the terms of your award to see whether you will need to request agency permission to do so.


If you find yourself with a significant budgetary hardship once you’ve projected your expenses on the new rates, reach out to your GCO for options that may be available to you through the university.

Fringe Media

As you’re wrangling project budgets and preparing submissions, be aware that Wayne’s fringe rates have changed, as have some of the employee groups of job classes.  Think your PI is going to be 26.6%?  Think again; most investigators will fall under a fringe rate of 24.7%.  The biggest difference you will note is that research assistants will no longer have the same rate as faculty; most research personnel will now have a fringe rate of 33.2%.  This will significantly affect your budgets, so plan accordingly.


Take a look at the new composite fringe rates here, which are in effect for any proposal of project period starting after October 1, 2015 (eProp rates are being updated to reflect the changes). For a comparison to other years, Fiscal Operations keeps past composite fringe rates posted for reference.

Raising a Glass to Raising the Cap

Consider this post a virtual toast to the NIH for agreeing to cover more of your salary! In case you missed it last week, the NIH salary cap has been raised from $181,500 to $183,300.  This means that all proposals going out after January 11, 2015 should use the $183,300 cap, and all internal cost sharing should be calculated using this number as well.  Remember, NIH competing grant awards with salary levels below the new cap(s) that are issued on or after the January 11, 2015 effective date, are allowed to reflect adjustments to the current and all future years; that is, you may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level and contractors may charge at the higher level. Keep in mind, however, that your award amount will not increase and total estimated cost of the contract will not be modified.  For more information on applicability of the salary cap, see NOT-OD-15-049.


As always, if your investigator is over the salary cap, his or her department must absorb the difference.  Cost sharing must be requested and documented before the application is submitted, and the cost share form can be found here.  Here’s a calculation refresher for a PI with 10% effort and a $200,000 base salary:

[Non-Allowable Salary in a Year] = ( [Investigator Institutional Base] x [Investigator Project Effort] ) – ( [NIH Salary Cap] x [Investigator Project Effort] )

[Non-Allowable Salary in a Year] = ($200,000 x 10%) – ($183,300 x 10%)

= $1,670

And of course, don’t forget the fringes:

[Salary Cost Shared] x [Applicable Fringe Rate] = [Fringes Cost Shared]

[$1,670] x [26.6%]

= $444.22


For further details on the magic of cost sharing, take a look at our previous post entitled “Pop a Cap in Your Salary“; you may also find this over-the-cap calculator helpful.  If you need help with your calculations or figuring out which rates apply, drop us a line.  Cheers!

Fringepocalypse Redux

The October 1 fringe rate adjustment has been rolled back to the pre-October rates.  That is, the 26.6% combination that was previously in place is now in place again, replacing the 21.4% combo that was temporarily in place.  This will remain (we think) until October 1, 2015, when the rate will be revisited again.  These rates have been in effect since November 17, so all proposals since that time period should use these rates (note that we are back to nine classes); any proposals that went out with the four-class rates will still be charged at the currently enacted rate, should they be funded.  Also note that a new rate agreement underscores these changes; the new date for our DHHS rate agreement (for your proposals) is 11/06/2014.


Note that a BAO memo was released earlier this week, clarifying the steps taken to ensure rate adherence in the system.  The re-updated values have been entered into Banner to identify the rates for each corresponding e-class, effective October 1, 2014. This update has been done and should be reflected with Pay Period 25, so be sure your personnel are aligned to match their new/old classes.  Budget adjustments on affected indexes will also be enacted to make up for previous adjustments and reclassifications on the 4-class rate.


We know this can be confusing.  We’re happy to help you sort things out if you’re not quite sure what you are seeing on your accounts.  Give us a shout if you need us!

Lunatic Fringe

Our friends in Sponsored Program Administration recently announced adjustments to the fringe benefit rates, based on the amendment to our Federal Rate Agreement.  These changes are effective today (10/1/14); here are the highlights, in case you missed them:


  1. There are now only four fringe rate categories (reduced from the previous six).
  2. Employee classes are allocated by new role/function definitions.
  3. The “premium” rate that was previously applied to certain designated funds has been eliminated.


These changes will impact the charges to non-General Fund funds, depending on the categorical mix of employees that are charged to those funds.  A schedule showing the “old” and “new” rates by employee class was provided by the Associate Vice President for Fiscal Operations and Controller (Jim Barbret), and is accessible here.


Mr. Barbret has indicated that the Fiscal Operations website will be updated as soon as the updated rate agreement is in hand.  Gail Ryan, Assistant Vice President for SPA, has also offered to answer any questions that you may have.  And, as always, RAS is here to help as well!

Hip Hip Hooray for New F&A

Wayne State University recently received its final Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs rate agreement.  It’s very important that, when you are calculating your modified total direct costs, they reflect the following numbers for all forthcoming RESEARCH projects ON CAMPUS:


Project Period

F&A Rate

Now until 09/30/2014






10/01/2016-09/30/2018 (and later, until a new agreement is in place)


 ** As most projects have an earliest start date of 04/2015 at this point, this will be the first-year rate for most projects at this point.  Please contact RAS if you are unsure.


Beginning 10/01/2014, the University fringe rate for faculty and administration will change as well, to 26.6%.


The new rate agreement (dated May 14, 2014)  in its entirety has been posted by SPA, and can be viewed here.  In addition to the commonly used rates posted here, you can also find the new rates for off-campus research, instruction, and other activities.  Fringe benefit rates are also provided for employee classes other than faculty and administration.  If you have any questions about calculating F&A costs for your upcoming submissions, drop us a note!

Forms “C” and Fringe Rates and Agents, Oh My!

The NIH recently released the latest versions of the Form C required for use in grant proposals.  The templates provided here are for use the R01, R03 and R21 projects. *Please keep in mind that all additional document fields within these PDF files need to also be in PDF format; the Word DOC versions that are currently included are guides and will need to be replaced (or deleted, if the section is non-applicable) before the Form C is submitted or your application will be returned with an error* :

NIH also provides annotated versions:


Also be aware that, as of the time of this post, the new fringe rates have NOT been updated in eProp.  The IT team at SPA is conveying their prompt attention to the change, but please be sure that your application reflects the correct rates.  To do this:

  1. Consult the FY2014 Composite Fringe Benefit Rates chart (or the updated DHHS agreement circulated by SPA on August 28,2013);
  2. Once you are in eProp, find the section labeled “Proposal Rates”;
  3. Manually change the fringe rate to reflect your needs according to the new agreement.


Finally, our new contact to be listed for Cognizant Auditing Agency (DHHS) information is Arif Karim; Director, Division of Cost Allocation; (214) 767-3230.  Remember this personnel change as you’re putting together your applications!


RAS is pleased to post this information as our first official blog entry!  We aim to have a new post every Wednesday morning, updating you with hints and help relating to issues that arise throughout the week.  Please check back with us often, or use the provided “Subscribe” options located in the upper-right corner of this page to receive the updates in your inbox.  As always, we are reachable at, and would love to hear about any topics you would like to see discussed here.