Skip to main content


A proposal budget gives sponsors a line-item projection of the dollar amount needed to complete the proposed work.

The sponsor's funding opportunity announcement will give you budget requirements and categories. Typical budget categories include:

Personnel Costs

Personnel costs are the costs associated with salaries and fringe benefits for Illinois State employees working on the project.

  • For existing employees, the compensation listed in iPeople is the baseline for salary calculations.
  • Graduate Assistants must be paid at least the minimum monthly stipend as set by the Graduate Assistant Handbook or higher as the hiring unit requires or allows.
  • Hourly students must be paid at least the current Illinois minimum wage or higher.
  • Proposal budgets include a 3% annual salary/stipend increase as per standard university practice. This increase is for proposal purposes only; actual increases vary as determined by the university.
  • For proposed new employees, contact Human Resources to determine the appropriate job classification and compensation for the work to be performed.
  • Student employees and extra help employees are limited to working a maximum of 28 hours per week during both the academic year and summer months.
  • If you plan to include SURS Annuitants (retirees of any State of Illinois College or University) in your project, please contact Human Resources to determine eligibility and pay restrictions.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefit costs are the non-salary costs associated with employee compensation that the university is responsible for paying. The State of Illinois sets the rate for medical and other insurance costs, SURS retirement costs, and medicare contributions.

Beginning in FY23, August 1, 2022, the University will be using pooled fringe rates rather than actual costs to assess fringe benefit costs to all funds not considered ‘exempt’ under 5 ILCS 375/11. For University purposes, the funds considered non-exempt are restricted and foundation funds. These costs may differ for each individual involved in the project based on their hiring classification.

For more information, visit the Fringe Benefits FAQ page.


Common travel expenses include airfare, mileage, ground transportation, per diem, and lodging. Budget using the university's approved travel rates.

Most sponsors require approval of international travel. If plan to travel both domestically and internationally, you will need to budget them separately.


Equipment, including instrumentation or special purpose equipment, for a sponsored project is defined as a single item (or an item that functions as a single unit comprised of multiple components purchased separately) that costs $5,000 or more. Items that do not meet this cost threshold should be listed under materials and supplies.

Your budget narrative for equipment should describe how the items are essential to the success of the project.

Materials and Supplies

Materials and supplies used in the performance of the project with an individual cost of less than $5,000.

Your budget narrative for materials and supplies should describe all items, including commodities, and how they help the success of your project. You should provide detail regarding unit cost, number of units, and total cost of the items.

Publication Costs

Many grants will allow publication costs such as open access charges, page cost, etc. You should include these in the budget if this is appropriate for your discipline.

Consultant and Contractual Services

Consultant and contractual services are paid to an individual or vendor to give a service for the project. Illinois State employees cannot be paid as consultants.

Your budget narrative for consultant or contractual services should include the nature of the work and its benefit to the project. This includes:

  • Speaker honorariums and external evaluator cost.
  • The nature of the work and its benefit to the project. If a specific consultant or vendor is desired, name them in the proposal and budget narrative with justification (if awarded, the University's procurement process must be followed). This may (but not guarantee) streamline the procurement process when funded.
  • Non-standard computer services such as website development or server space would be included in this section. Any technology requests outside what is already provided by the University will need to be reviewed by the AVP for Academic Technologies.


Subawards are for funds going to external parties that, unlike contractual services, perform work with intellectual and technical independence, and are evaluated by the program requirements of the project, rather than simply supplying deliverables. Subrecipients are most commonly other Universities, although private (non-profit and for-profit) and public (local government and education agencies) can be subrecipients as well.

  • Subrecipients are allowed to include indirect costs in their budgets. Illinois State is allowed to assess our indirect costs rate on the first $25,000 for each subaward to cover our costs to administer the agreement.
  • In order to enter into a subaward relationship, Illinois State requires a separate budget, budget justification, scope of work, and commitment document signed on behalf of the subrecipient institution. These are required prior to proposal submission.
  • The sponsor may require subrecipient information as part of the proposal, for example: biographical sketch, current and pending support, facilities and equipment, etc.
  • Provide your pre-award manager with contact information for the subrecipient’s sponsored projects office at least 6 weeks prior to the submission deadline if you plan to include a subaward in your proposal, as this may impact how your proposal will be submitted.

Participant Support

Participant support costs are for items such as food, housing, travel allowances, and registration fees in connection with conferences or training. The funding agency determines whether participant support costs are or are not allowed on a given proposal.

Participant support costs are exempt from the indirect costs calculation.

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are the institutional expenses that cannot be directly attributed to a specific sponsored project. These include items such as space, maintenance, utilities, and administration services.

University policy requires the use of the appropriate federally negotiated rate unless the sponsor indicates a different rate should be used.

Cost Sharing and Matching

Some sponsors require a financial commitment from the University to support the project. In these cases, the budget and budget narrative should include the costs being contributed as cost sharing/matching, including the dollar value and the relationship to the project. Approval and an account number from the unit providing the cost share is required prior to submission. Cost share commitments from external (third party) entities require a letter (on letterhead) signed by an authorized individual describing the type, amount, and time period the cost share will occur.