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Sponsored Projects Administration


The funds or resources under the university control that are contributed or allocated to a sponsored project over and above the support provided by the external sponsor of that project. It is that portion of a project cost that is not borne or reimbursed by the sponsoring agency.

Below are the various types of cost sharing:

  • Mandatory Cost Sharing: Cost sharing required by the sponsoring agency as a condition of its support of a particular project. Mandatory cost sharing is usually specified in a program announcement or application package. Mandatory cost sharing is a binding obligation of the university.
  • Voluntary Cost Sharing: Cost sharing the university contributes to a project at its own initiative without any requirement for any cost sharing imposed by the sponsoring agency. There are two types of voluntary cost sharing:
    • Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing:Voluntary cost sharing offered by the university at the time of proposal submission. The proposed cost sharing amount is included in the budget. Once an award is made, voluntary committed cost sharing is a binding obligation of the university.
    • Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing:Voluntary cost sharing not offered by the university at the time of proposal submission. Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing is not included in the budget but is contributed after the award has been granted and more resources than awarded are needed to complete the project. Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing is not a binding obligation of the university.Examples of this type of cost sharing include the portion of a faculty member’s salary that exceeds the funding agency’s salary cap, or the portion of indirect costs that will not be recovered because a funding agency either does not allow such charges or limits the recovery rate to one that is lower than the University's established recovery rate.

The most common form of cost sharing is contributed effort. This typically includes faculty and other employees’ salaries and benefits, including their related indirect costs. According to federal guidelines, any time that a UTHealth grant application includes (either in the line-item budget or in the budget justification/narrative) faculty members contributing effort on the project without requesting an equal amount of salary support for that effort, then UTHealth has entered to voluntary committed cost sharing.

It is the responsibility of the principal investigator and their department/school to identify and document the source of funds proposed to be used for cost sharing and to comply with applicable regulations. Please note that cost sharing cannot take place on federal accounts. In addition, adherence must be made to salary caps established by sponsors. For instance, if a faculty salary exceeds the NIH salary cap and is not reimbursable by NIH, the salary in excess of the cap may not be used as cost sharing for NIH awards.

Reporting Cost Sharing

If a cost sharing commitment was satisfied, but the project is not listed on the effort card to document cost-shared effort, the effort coordinator should make the adjustment, by adding the account, entering the percentage to the to certified effort column.

If payroll dollars are incorrect, the effort coordinator should submit a retro personnel action to have these dollars transferred and the system will produce this account for you once the PASS transaction has gone through the system. This may delay the certification process.

For more information about cost sharing, see the University's policy under HOOP 75.


A salary cap is a legislatively mandated provision limiting the direct salary (also know as salary or institutional base salary, but excluding fringe benefits & F&A Costs) for individuals working on certain federal & CPRIT projects. The salary cap serves as the base for determining the amount of salary that an individual may be paid from awards issued by these agencies. It applies to subcontracts on applicable sponsored projects.

Individuals with salaries over the cap must provide cost sharing from non-federal funds to cover the portion of their salary that exceeds the salary cap.

The federal salary cap is linked to the federal Executive Level II executive pay scale and is adjusted whenever federal salaries are increased. This usually happens in January of each year. The federal salary cap can be found here.

The CPRIT salary cap can be found here.

PI's are responsible for ensuring that salary over the cap is not charged to their sponsored project account and that the associated cost share is recorded.

How to Avoid Overcharging a Project for Salaries

The best way to avoid salary cap problems is to be pro-active when setting up funding for an individual with a salary that is over the cap. Based on the percent of effort the individual has committed to the project, first determine the amount of salary that is allowable to be charged to the project account and the amount that must be paid from a non-federal account. Please see below for examples and a link to a salary cap calculator. Set up the payroll distribution on the PASS transaction based on these calculations. Then, at effort reporting time, record the amount charged to the non-federal account as cost share to the project; this will demonstrate that the individual met their effort commitment. 

**Note: The over-the-cap cost share dollars cannot be used to meet a committed cost share requirement as these expenses are unallowable on a sponsored project.

Examples of methodology for charging salary on a federal project when salary exceeds the Executive Level II salary cap:

Salary Cap Example 1: Salary- $200k; Commitment- 10% 12 months perspective

Institutional Base Salary $200,000
NIH Salary Cap $189,600
Over the Cap Amount $10,400
Effort Commitment 10%
Proposed Salary @ 10% effort (without salary cap limitation) $20,000
Proposed Salary @ 10% effort (with salary cap limitation) $18,960
Difference charged to Non- Sponsored Account $1,040
Salary Cap Example 2: Salary- $200k; Commitment- 75%; 1 month perspective

Institutional Base Salary $200,000/12= $16,667
NIH Salary Cap $189,600/12= $15,800
Over the Cap Amount (monthly) $16,667-$15,800= $867
Effort Commitment 75%
Proposed without the Cap 75% x $16,667= $12,500.25
Monthly Salary Allowed to be Directly Charged to Project 75% x $15,800= $11,850
Monthly Salary to be Charged to Non-Federal Account 75% x $867= $650.25

For additional assistance with salary cap calculation, please use the Salary Cap Worksheet here.


If the payroll data included with a statement is incorrect, this data must be correct with a PASS Transaction. 

If the payroll transaction is related to a sponsored project Post Award Finance will handle the transaction. For all other transactions, please get in touch with SDR.

A PASS Transaction, which include payroll transaction/adjustment take 1 month from final approval to apply to a statement.

For detailed information about Personnel Actions, please visit the PASS transaction section of the website here.

A person's FTE status can never be greater than his or her recorded effort. Also, when submitting Retro PAs, pay attention to the potential need for a Cost Transfer, as well as the potential effect on the accuracy of the Effort Report. All three of these components should be considered together as an integrated whole.