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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.

 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

For more information contact the Client Experience team at