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Developing a Budget

  • Is the total dollar amount requested within the limit published in the RFP? (For a private foundation, the Director of Grant Development can investigate what the funding ranges is). 
  • Is the Villanova maximum IDC allowed by the funding agency? 
  • Are you asking for the maximum IDC allowed? If not, you need to explain why.
  • Have all budget lines been calculated accurately and explained in the budget justification?
  • Have the proper sponsor budget forms and format been used?
  • Are any budgeted items considered unallowable by the sponsor?
  • Are there requirements for cost sharing or matching?
  • Are there other supporting documents required by the sponsor? (Don't leave this for the last minute!)
  • Grant budgets tell the "story" of the project by identifying the cost of all work effort, deliverables, facilities, etc. required to support a proposed project. A budget includes two parts: a budget and a budget justification. Some reviewers will look at the budget before they look at the narrative!   
  • You can Google sample funded applications! Many federal agencies provide examples of funded proposals and budgets.
  • First, without worrying about cost, make a comprehensive list that includes everything necessary for a successful project. This includes Direct Costs – which are items such as effort salaries (e.g. one month summer support) and a percentage of fringe, paid students or personnel, supplies, equipment, travel, and Indirect Costs (IDC).  Every three years, the University negotiates an IDC rate with the Federal Government to make determining IDC easier (it includes such things as clerical support; telephone, computer and internet costs and support; general equipment; postage; office space; utilities; insurance; etc.) Some funders, including many private foundations, do not allow full or partial IDC rate reimbursement, so you might need to estimate a percentage of the standard operating costs of indirect that will be needed for the project. Currently when applying for a government grant, Villanova’s IDC rate effective 6/1/15 - 5/31/19 is 49.70% of Salaries, and the direct cost of Fringe Benefits is, 32.71% for FT and 7.73% for PT (including graduate).
  • the Research Administration Office's budget template with formulas
  • Information you might also need such as the EIN, DUNS, updated IDC rate, release time, rate suggestions, etc, are found on the Research Administration Office’s FACT SHEET.
  • In most cases, the budget presented is exhaustive, even if it exceeds the normal grant size of a particular funding organization. Simply make it clear that you are seeking additional funding from other sources. This technique will make it easier for you to combine awards down the road should you have the good fortune of receiving multiple grants.
  • Some reviewers prefer to go directly to the budget before reading the narrative.  You usually need to include a spreadsheet or table with detailed budgeted line items.  Even when proposal guidelines do not specifically mention a narrative, be sure to include a one or two paragraph of the budget (can be directly within in the spreadsheet). 

Funders may require a cost share or matched funds to be included in a proposal budget. They come in the form of cash funds, in-kind contributions or donated services. All cost share and match commitments must be approved in advance by your Department Chair and the Dean of Research as part of the standard institutional approval process as described in the Submission of Proposals. Cost Share requires an additional column in the budget.

Questions should be directed to:

Lyla Kaplan
Director of Grant Development
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
SAC 190
Phone: (610) 519-8411