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Facts about Facilities & Administrative (F&A)/Indirect Costs

Find information about UC San Diego's Facilities & Administrative costs and impacts.

Indirect costs - also referred to as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs, IDC, or Indirects - are those costs not specifically identifiable for any one project or program, but which are real expenses of conducting research, instruction and other sponsored activities at UC San Diego.

UC San Diego’s Research Funding Highlights

 Negotiated F&A Rate

  • When seeking the reimbursement of indirect costs on a sponsored project, the University is recovering for costs already spent to support these activities.
  • Rates are typically negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) every 4-5 years.
  • UCSD Federal negotiated rate = 57.5% though FY2021 and 58% through FY22
    • Sponsored program activity types fall into three major functions as defined by Federal Uniform Guidance: Organized Research, Instruction, or Other Sponsored Activity (OSA).
  • For every $1,000 in direct research costs, UC San Diego actually spends ~$756 (75%) in facilities and administrative costs to support the research
  • Administrative portion is capped by Feds at 26%, regardless of actual costs
  • UCSD receives ~ 28-34% F&A (referred to as “effective rate” calculated as an average across all sponsored research expenditures)
  • Why is it less than 57.5%? These factors impact the effective F&A rate:
    • F&A applies to modified total direct costs; excludes equipment, capital expenditures, portion of sub-awards in excess of $25K, patient care costs, graduate student tuition remission, rental of off-site facilities, etc.
    • Off-campus F&A rate = 26%
    • Clinical Trials F&A rate = 30%
    • Some sponsors establish policies for lower F&A rates e.g.; non-profits, , foreign governments, etc.
  • Refer to UC San Diego F&A rate table

F&A (Indirect Costs)


  • Building depreciation, equipment depreciation and debt service costs
  • Operations and maintenance such as utilities, repairs, custodial
  • Environmental health and safety
  • Libraries


  • Department, sponsored research and central services administration
  • Student services administration

Comparing Negotiated IDC (F&A) rate of peer institutions (FY2021)

idc rate graph

Links and supporting correspondence

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