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Post Award

NIH Expense Allowability

Below is an easy-reference general allowability grid for NIH grants. Please note that there can be exceptions, usually stipulated in the award notice. If you have any questions, please contact the PAF Team at 713-500-4940 or

Expense Allowability Grid for Federal Grants
Based on the NIH Grants Policy Statement

Expense Category Allowable as a direct cost Unallowable as a direct cost Generally unallowable as a direct cost (requires detailed justification)
Administrative Services     X
Advertising X (limited)    
Alterations/Renovations X (limited)    
Animals X    
Audiovisual Activities X    
Bad Debt/Losses to Theft   X  
Bids and Proposal Costs   X  
Books/Periodicals     X
Communications-Long Distance     X
Communications-Local Calls   X  
Communications-Cell Phones     X
Contingency Funds   X  
Consultant X    
Contracts for Materials X    
Copying     X
Custom & Import Duties   X  
Donor Fees (Subject Incentives) X    
Drugs/Medicine X (limited)    
Dues/Membership Fees   X  
Entertainment   X  
Fines and Penalties   X  
Fringe Benefits X    
Fundraising Costs   X  
Honoraria (Speakers’ Fees) X    
Information Services (Internet Charges)     X
Insurance     X
Leave X    
Legal Costs     X
Library & Information Services     X
Memberships   X  
Meals (for subjects and patients) X    
Meals (for others)     X
News Release Costs X    
Office Supplies     X
Patient Care Costs X    
Postage/Express Mail     X
Publication Costs X    
Recruitment Costs X    
Rent & Utilities (Offsite) X    
Sabbaticals   X  
Sales Tax – State of Texas   X  
Sales Tax – Other States X    
Secretarial Services     X
Stipends (under Fellowship and Training Grants) X    
Stipends (under Research Grants)   X  
Tuition     X