According to federal regulations, an expense qualifies as a direct cost of a sponsored project only when it meets all four of the following criteria:


Allowable and unallowable costs are defined in OMB Circular A-21, the Uniform Guidance, and in the terms of specific awards.


Only those expenses that benefit a project may be charged to that project.


Costs must reflect what a “prudent person” would pay.


Costs must be handled consistently across the University by following CU Boulder policy.

Prior to your purchasing or incurring an expense you must assure that it is allowed by the University and by the sponsor.

It is crucial to use the correct account code and SpeedType expenses correctly to comply with CU Boulder’s obligation to the federal government for both direct and indirect cost recovery. Our ability to obtain federal grants and contracts is dependent upon our performance in meeting federal requirements.

We must understand the distinction between allowable and unallowable costs whenever we record University expenses. The integrity of the University’s financial systems depends on the knowledge and skill of each of the individuals who process the thousands of financial transactions here every day.