What is the purpose of the budget justification?

CU Boulder has fiduciary responsibility as a steward of Federal and other sponsored funding that requires us to demonstrate on all proposals submitted and awards received that the costs budgeted are allocable, allowable, and reasonable. A Budget Justification:

  1. Provides details that demonstrate adherence to these critical qualifications and assures that, if awarded, a submitted budget will be charging against costs meeting those standards.
  2. May be required for prior approval of some costs, such as administrative salaries, as well as detailed justification for costs, including equipment, travel, participant support, materials and supplies, and the F&A rate.
  3. Is used at the end of a project for award closeout to confirm that all costs charged are allowable and, as needed, had prior approval from the sponsor. 

Instances where a sponsor does not require a Budget Justification at proposal phase are rare; however, beginning in April 2018, OCG and the Campus Controller’s Office will no longer require a Budget Justification if one is not required by the sponsor. In some cases, sponsors require additional budget information after the proposal has been submitted which could include a justification of costs. In these instances the justification of applicable budget items will be requested from the PI, submitted to the sponsor as required, and will become a permanent part of the proposal record.

Even if a sponsor does not require a Budget Justification at proposal or award, costs supported by sponsored funding must still be allocable, allowable, reasonable, and abide by University policy. See the Cost Principles for more details.