What is Cost Sharing?

What is Cost Sharing?

Also known as “matching funds," cost sharing is the portion of the total project costs of a specific sponsored project borne by the Amherst campus (or in rare circumstances, by a third party), rather than the sponsor. Cost sharing typically represents a reallocation of departmental or school/college resources to partially support an externally sponsored project. Cost sharing on federal projects must be from non-federal sources.

The University limits the budget categories that can be used as cost share. Examples of allowable categories include contributions of personnel effort and associated fringe, equipment, tuition waiver and unrecovered indirect cost. Please see our Cost Share Guidance for more detailed information.

Cost sharing is classified as either mandatory or voluntary.

  • Cost sharing is "mandatory" when it is a written requirement of the sponsor, and the ability to apply for and receive an award is contingent on the campus' willingness to comply with this requirement.
  • Cost sharing is classified as "voluntary" when it is not a requirement of the sponsor and the campus voluntarily proposes to cost share an expense, whether on the budget page or in the text of the proposal.

An agreement to cost share, whether voluntary or mandatory, represents a commitment, subject to audit, of the Amherst campus to provide the stated services or assets during the performance of the project. Principal investigators are urged to discuss proposed cost-sharing arrangements well in advance of submission of the sponsored agreement proposal with their department chair and the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS). In all cases, commitments to cost-share must be approved in advance by Research & Engagement (see processes below).

See the Cost Share Guidance page for assistance in determining what project costs can be shared or matched.