Grant Budgets

Developing a Budget 

The following information is a guide to developing a typical budget. Questions about grant budgets can be addressed to Debbie Sharp or Mitzi Sicking. 

Proposal Budget Preparation

The Institutional Advancement Office is responsible for ensuring that proposal budgets accurately reflect the costs of running the proposed project. This includes direct costs and indirect costs. In developing a proposal budget, the grant developer should provide the best estimate of anticipated expenses for the project. Avoid either inflating or under-estimating the expenses. The Institutional Advancement Office will assist you in this process.

Project proposals need a budget summary form, with as few budget line-items as the funding agency will allow. Use the agency's budget summary form, if it provides one. If not, use NCTC's approved budget summary format. Many applications also require a budget narrative, with explanations to support the amounts requested. 

Identification Numbers

Grant budget forms often request identification numbers for D-U-N-S (Dun & Bradstreet), OPE (Office of Post Secondary Education), or FEI (Federal Employment Identification). The Institutional Advancement Office will provide these numbers for the proposal.

Salaries and Wages

Human Resources determines salary figures for each individual who will be employed on the project. Grant personnel salaries align with all other NCTC employees and follow the same salary schedule. If preparing a multiple year budget, please allow for an annual 3% increase. Grant personnel will receive the same raises as other college personnel.

There can be a wide range of salaries based on a variety of factors, especially when hiring new staff. Always check with Human Resources before calculating faculty or staff salaries.

Pay attention to the funding source's distinctions between calendar and academic year.

Fringe Benefits

Charge to the grant the same fringe benefit rates that apply to all other college activities. For 2007, that rate is approximately 27%, but check with Human Resources for the actual amount to use in your grant calculations.


If new or additional computer equipment is being requested, contact Information Services to ensure that all expenses relating to installation and networking have been considered. Some requests may require financial assistance for resources that are not already available in an existing IS service.

Many funding agencies do not fund equipment purchases, including fax machines, telephones, etc. Those that do might require a 1:1 match or fund only leasing. Read the guidelines carefully before including equipment in the budget. 

Consultant Agreements

Consultant fees are direct payments for the services of experts not otherwise employed by the college. Consultants are hired to accomplish specific tasks of brief duration. It is important to understand the differences between consultants, subcontractors, and state employees.

Always consult with Human Resources to determine the appropriate use of external services. In the budget, the consultant's name and approximate daily rate must be included. Federal projects may have limitations for the maximum daily rate for consultants. This information is usually found in the application guidelines.


Subcontracts are agreements between the college and other organizations or institutions that will perform part of the work for the principal grant recipient. If work is to be performed by a subcontractor, include the subcontractor's authorized proposal and budget. In the proposal's budget narrative, document the reason for choosing a particular subcontractor.


The purpose of all trips should be stated. Domestic and foreign trips must be shown separately. The actual cost of accommodations, meals and local transportation should be specified and the costs must be reasonable. Use the current approved mileage rate.

Indirect Costs

The Institutional Advancement Office will work with the Business Office to determine indirect rates if they are allowed by the funding source. Indirect costs are all costs that are not part of the specific project, but that are necessary to the general operation of the college to support the project. These are also called facility and administration (F&A) costs. Included in the calculation of the indirect cost rate are utilities, general and departmental administration, library, accounting, and purchasing services. For most grants, indirect costs are calculated by totaling all budgeted salaries and wages in the proposal budget and multiplying by the current approved indirect cost rate. Some agencies specify a rate to use, sometimes only allowed on total direct costs (TDC). Read the guidelines carefully.