UC San Diego SearchMenu

Sponsored Project Fiscal Compliance Overview

If you are responsible for the financial management of sponsored project funds, find out about campus fiscal policy related to these funds.


To comply with sponsored project rules and regulations, you must understand the rules and regulations of fiscal compliance. The following pages make these rules more understandable and easier to apply:

OMB Circular A-21

Anyone authorizing the expenditure of federal funds needs to have a working understanding of the underlying cost principles set forth in OMB Circular A-21. These principles govern costs that may be charged either directly or indirectly to the government by educational institutions. UCSD generally applies these same cost principles to non-federal funding as well, although in some cases non-federal sponsors define allowable and unallowable costs differently than federal sponsors.

Awarding agencies

Each awarding agency has the right to establish its own terms and conditions for its awards. Specific award terms and conditions take precedence over the provisions of A-21. For example, although travel is not defined as unallowable in A-21, your particular award may designate travel, or more likely foreign travel, as unallowable. In that case, you may not charge foreign travel to that project.


Costs must be classified in a consistent manner. Costs incurred for similar purposes and in like circumstance are to be consistently classified as either direct or indirect. Costs within a department and among departments, under similar circumstance, are to be treated the same.

For a complete guide on fiscal compliance for contracts and grants, see Contract and Grant Fiscal Compliance Fundamentals.