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Determining staff benefits on a real cost basis
The following reports can assist you in determining or estimating benefit costs in the proposal.
- The first resource presents the benefits as a percentage of a salary and is based on the fiscal year. It is typically renewed in July each year.
- The second resource presents the maximum chargeable to a federally sponsored project and is based on the calendar year. It is typically renewed around March each year.
Questions about these resources can be directed to the HR Benefits office.
Fringe Benefits as a Percentage of Salary
The University Costs for Benefits as a Percentage of Salary spreadsheet will help view the costs of benefits based on a range of salaries. It displays the benefits as percentages, and it is updated each year in July. (With thanks to Brian Watson for providing this.)
- FY24 Final Fringe benefit sheet (University Office Benefits as a Percentage of Salary Report for Fiscal Year 2023)
(Last updated March, 2023)
Fringe Benefits - Maximum Chargeable to Federally Sponsored Projects)
This Staff Fringe Benefits Table for the Current Calendar Year will help you determine appropriate staff benefits to be included in sponsored proposals. This is not available until the first of the calendar year.
For various salary categories, this spreadsheet presents the maximum levels of staff benefits chargeable to sponsored accounts. It displays these levels as flat costs and is updated each January. (With thanks to Brian Watson for providing this.)
You can also view previous Staff Fringe Benefits Tables for historical calendar years on this page, below, under References & Resources.
Determining costs using benefit estimators
In the proposal stage, it may not be possible to determine the actual configuration of staff benefits for a particular research project. Therefore, an estimator often is used based on an average percentage of salaries committed to the project. However, if the mix of salaries for faculty and staff is distributed over a broad range (e.g., from $25,000 to $180,000), it may be appropriate to use several estimators to ensure adequate funds for staff benefits are provided in the proposal budget.
Benefits percentages vary widely--from 25% for salaries of $180,000 to almost 81% for salaries of $24,000. One estimator often used in the past, 30%, had been the midpoint in previous ranges. Units are encouraged to examine recent benefit expenditures to determine if a different estimator or several estimators should be used.
Also, see Graduate Student Research Assistants Salary and Benefit Costs
See GSRA Cost Estimates for more information.