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United States Department of Education (USDE)

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Proposal Guidance      

The United States Department of Education’s (USDE) ( mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. USDE engages in four major types of activities:

  1. Establishes policies related to federal education funding, administers distribution of funds and monitors their use
  2. Collects data and oversees research on America's schools
  3. Identifies major issues in education and focuses national attention on them
  4. Enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive federal funds

Most solicitations require online submission of proposals. Please read your Request for Proposal (RFP) to determine whether or paper submission is required. If submission is required, please see information on how to prepare a S2S package in KR.

More information on grant programs available through USDE, eligibility and application information can be found on the "Grants" page of the USDE website. Common application forms for application submission are available on the USDE's "Grant Application and Other Forms" page.

Budget Guidelines

The guidelines listed here are generally applicable to this sponsor. Please refer to the solicitation for any deviation to standard guidelines or specific requirements for a program.


Salaries should be based on KR values unless a known increase/decrease is expected, for example due to a change in title/rank; salaries are usually escalated in the out years using 2-3% inflation
Fringe should be based on KR values
Research Associate (Post Doc) Salary
Salaries should be based on KR values if a current employee; the current minimum salary for a Post Doc can be found at this link
Research Associate (Post Doc) Fringe
Fringe should be based on KR values; Post Docs are eligible for retirement in the 4th year of employment, or immediately if they had participated in a retirement plan at a previous employer that made employer contributions. Please contact HR for more information.
Graduate Student Stipend
Stipend amounts should be based on standard/published college/department levels or HR levels
Graduate Student Fringe
Appropriate health benefits should be applied based on the current Grad Fringe Chart; 7.65% for summer hourly work
Undergraduate Labor
Usually based on hourly rates; see HR standard rates
Undergraduate Fringe
Fringe of 7.65% applied during the summer; fringe only applied during AY if student is not expected to be enrolled full time
Administrative Staff
Allowable per Uniform Guidance if justified and integral to the project; salaries and fringes should be based on KR values


Allowable; equipment quote should be provided to OSP, or the department and/or PI should retain the quote for use at the Just in Time stage

Participant Support Costs

May be allowable for participants (not employees) who participate in conferences or other training projects; stipends, subsistence, travel, and registration fees may be included


Justification should include the purpose of travel, destination, dates of travel (if known) or estimated number of days, and the number of individuals for each trip
Justification should include the purpose of travel, destination, dates of travel (if known) or estimated number of days, and the number of individuals for each trip

Other Direct Costs

May be allowable if not otherwise treated as F&A costs; should be allocable to the project
Computer Services/ADP
MSU services should be based on the established computer service rates (Financial Analysis approved rates); quotes or other justification for how rate was determined are helpful; if quotes/rates are not available at the proposal stage, they may be required at the Just in Time or award stage
May be allowable if the conference is necessary to the performance of the project; allowable expenses may include facility rental, speakers’ fees, meals and refreshments, etc.; alcohol and entertainment are unallowable costs; refer to the solicitation for any restrictions on conference costs. Grantees are strongly encouraged to contact their project officer with any questions or concerns about whether using grant funds for a meeting or conference is allowable prior to committing grant funds for such purposes.
Consultant Services
Justification should include: services performed, total number of days, travel costs, names and organizational affiliations
Equipment/Facility Rental
Allowable to the extent rates are reasonable
Graduate Student Tuition & Fees
Should match the graduate student tuition chart; tuition should be prorated based on project dates  
Unallowable; speaker's fees or other payments for services are allowable
Materials & Supplies
Budget justification should include a description of the supplies; computing devises may be included if less than $5,000
May be allowable as part of conference costs; alcohol is unallowable; see Conferences above
Service Charges/CORE Services
If using an MSU service center, the rate must be based on Financial Analysis approved rates; quotes or other justification for how service rate was determined are helpful; if not provided to OSP at the time of budget review, quotes/justification should be kept on file by PI/research administrator for use at Just in Time/award stage
Subaward budget, budget justification, scope of work, and commitment form must be on file internally




NICRA rates should be used if not limited by the solicitation. Training grants allow an 8% F&A rate using an MTDC basis. Other grant programs may use a restricted rate, please refer to the solicitation. A memo of F&A restrictions on USDE projects is here:


Human Subjects

If the project includes human subject’s research, IRB approval will be required prior to account set-up.

Conflict of Interest

Project-based Conflict of Interest disclosures are required for all key personnel prior to account set-up.

Award Guidance

No special award terms for USDE


OSP Contract Teams draft subaward documents for USDE awards. Aside from the documents required at the proposal stage (commitment form, Statement of Work, budget, and budget justification), copies of the subrecipients F&A rate agreement and financial audit are needed.

Prior Approvals

Common prior approvals include, but are not limited to:

  • Change in scope of work
  • Reduction in PI effort (25% or more)
  • No cost extensions
  • Subawards not budgeted


Financial Reporting

This information must be collected with the frequency required by the terms and conditions of the federal award, but no less frequently than annually nor more frequently than quarterly except in unusual circumstances, for example where more frequent reporting is necessary for the effective monitoring of the federal award or could significantly affect program outcomes, and preferably in coordination with performance reporting.

Performance Reporting

Annual Grant Performance Report - The report should contain current performance and financial expenditure information for this grant. This is due 30 days after the end of the reporting period. A final performance report is due within 90 days after the expiration or termination of grant support. Contact CGA Cash Management Group for assistance with the financial portion of the performance report.

Other Reports

See award terms for applicable reports

Effort Reporting / Cost Share

Effort Reporting

Key personnel and their required effort is listed in box 5 of the award notice. Reduction of 25% or more of the required effort requires prior approval.

MSU effort reporting overview and FAQ’s can be found on the Sponsored Program Administration website at the following link:

Effort reporting instructions can also be located on the Sponsored Program Administration website:

For additional questions and information, please contact the CGA Effort Reporting inbox at,

Cost Share

If cost share is required, it is listed in box 7 of the award notice.

Information on cost share can be found on the Sponsored Program Administration website at the following link:

In cases where salaried cost share has been committed, MSU uses the effort reporting system for tracking and documentation.  Non-salary cost share is documented through PI certified operating statements.

Record Retention

Three years from the date of submission of the final financial report.

Sponsor Resources

Grants, Eligibility and Application information:

See Award Enclosure 3, using funds for conferences and meetings, as a guide when hosting a meeting or conference.

Forms and Templates

Grant Application and Other Forms:


None at this time

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