Unallowable Costs

Because your proposal has been coordinated through OSP, you are aware of the OMB Circular A-21 guidelines that must be followed in the creation of budgets.

Occasionally, during the course of your contract, you will need to re-budget some items. Additionally, some corrections in expenditures might be necessary due to errors.

As a reminder, the following costs are unallowable. For a more detailed explanation and noted exceptions, please contact your Sponsored Project Administrator. The source of this list of unallowable costs is OMB Circular A-21. Briefly, there are 27 unallowable costs, as follows:

  1. Advertising and Public Relations 
  2. Alcoholic Beverages
  3. Alumni Activties
  4. Bad Debt
  5. Commencement and Convocation Costs
  6. Severance Costs in Excess of Institution's Normal Severance Pay
  7. Contingency Provisions
  8. Depreciation Reserves
  9. Contributions or Donations Rendered
  10. Entertainment (includes amusement, diversion, social activities, and any costs directly associated with such costs)
  11. Food (unless an integral part of the program as designed by the agency, and articulated in advance in the award document budget)
  12. Fines and Penalties (including late fees)
  13. Interest, Fund-Raising, and Investment Costs
  14. Executive Lobbying Costs
  15. Losses on Other Sponsored Agreements or Contracts
  16. Membership in Civic Clubs, Community Orginizations,Country Clubs, Social or Dining Clubs or Organizations
  17. Defense and Prosecution of Criminal and Civil Proceedings, Claims, Appeals, and Patent Infringement
  18. Pre-agreement Costs Prior to Effective Date of Agreement
  19. Selling and Marketing of Products or Services of the Institution
  20. Student Activity (unless specially provided for in the Sponsored Agreement)
  21. Airfare Travel in Excess of Lowest Available Commercial Discount Airfare or Customary Standard Coach Airfare
  22. Goods and Services for Personal Use
  23. Housing and Personal Living Expenses
  24. Local Civil Defense Project costs not on Institution's Premises
  25. Institution-Furnished Automobile for Personal Use
  26. Insurance to Protect against Defects in Institution's Materials or Workmanship
  27. Specialized Service Facilities Charges in an amount More than Aggregate Costs of Service Over a Long-
    Term Period

Interpretation of the items on this list frequently changes.  OSP stays up to date with these changes.  We can assist with detailed interpretation of the items listed or any additional disallowances under OMB Circular A-21.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Federal government does not allow contract dollars to be given as a gift in any circumstances.  Do not purchase "gift certificates" or "gift cards" at stores to use for purchases under a contract.


Weber State UniversityOgden, Utah 84408

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