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WSU Research Facilities + Administrative Costs

A Breakdown of F&A Costs

Learn what F&A costs mean for you, your research, and Washington State University.

If you’ve been a part of any research project during your time at WSU, you’ve certainly heard phrases like facilities and administrative costs, F&A, indirect costs, and overhead. These terms all describe those kinds of costs used to run the WSU research enterprise, such as the electricity you use in your lab, the journals you can access via our libraries, and the grant support staff you rely on to further your research.

These costs are generally paid for by the University, but when a researcher secures sponsored funding, such as a grant, the sponsor will usually commit to sharing these costs. To keep things simple, the sponsor will reimburse the University. This reimbursement is a percentage of the project’s expenses and is based on the preexisting WSU’s federal rate agreement.

Once WSU has received the reimbursements, the University distributes these funds to help maintain our research infrastructure and programs.  For example, in 2017 WSU received about 20 percent of its sponsored research funding as F&A, and redistributed it to units, such as, our academic areas and campuses, WSU Libraries, our Office of Finance & Administration, the Graduate School, Office of Research, and more (e.g. a portion to WSU’s benefit pool).  By supplementing these areas’ budgets, we can ensure that our faculty and students have access to the best resources to support their research endeavors.

Here is a chart of how F&A is allocated at WSU, a summary of the $32.7M in F&A collected in FY2017, and the detail of how that was distributed within WSU.