Resources: About Burdening

Certain infrastructure, administrative and benefit costs that the University incurs cannot easily be attributed to specific programs or activities. Examples of these costs include expenses incurred to maintain and protect the University's land and buildings, to support the University's financial processes and systems, and to offer health benefits to employees. In these cases, the University assesses a charge, or burden rate, on certain activities to recover a portion of these costs. These burden rates are described below.

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Facilities and Administrative Costs (or Indirect Cost)

To charge facilities and administrative (F&A) costs to externally sponsored projects, Stanford uses the principles set forth under the requirements of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (A-21). A-21 defines F&A costs as those costs "incurred for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity." To recover these F&A costs on externally sponsored projects, Stanford charges rates that are negotiated with the federal government. The Veterinary Service Center has its own animal care rate which is charged separately to federally sponsored project.

For additional information, see Facilities and Administrative Cost on the DoResearch web site.

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Fringe Benefits

Benefits provided to Stanford employees include the employer's portion of social security, retirement programs, health and dental insurance, faculty sabbatical and staff development programs, among others. Stanford recovers these costs by applying fringe benefits rates to salaries and wages. Several rates are developed to reflect different categories of benefits paid to employees (e.g. faculty and staff versus graduate research and teaching assistants.) These rates are established under A-21, Section J.10.f “Fringe benefits” which specifies they may “be assigned… by allocating on the basis of institution wide salaries and wages of the employees receiving the benefits..” Funding for Stanford's Tuition Grant Program (college tuition payments for children of eligible employees) is recovered via a TGP charge applied to salaries that are not charged to government sources of funds.

For additional information, see Fringe Benefit Rates and Charging the Tuition Grant Program on the DoResearch web site.

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Vacation Accrual / Disability Sick Leave

Like most employers, Stanford provides vacation and disability sick leave (DSL) to its regular staff employees. Stanford records vacation/DSL as it is earned by an employee through an accrual rate, rather than waiting until the employee actually takes vacation or uses short or long-term disability or workers compensation leave (DSL).

For additional information, see Vacation / Accrual / Disability Sick Leave on the DoResearch web site.

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Graduate Student Stipend

Stanford levies a surcharge (Graduate Student Stipend or GSS for short) on Stanford-funded graduate student fellowship stipend expenditures to subsidize the health care benefit for graduate students.

See Other Rates on the DoResearch web site for additional information about this charge.

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Infrastructure and administrative costs are incurred to support activities associated with restricted and designated funds. Infrastructure costs are primarily building-related operating and maintenance costs such as custodial costs, routine maintenance, insurance, fire protection, and other safety costs. A portion of these costs is recovered through an infrastructure charge assessed as gift funds are used (expenses or transfers) and as designated revenue is received.

For additional information, see Other Rates on the DoResearch web site.

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Stanford Infrastructure Program (SIP)

Stanford Infrastructure Program (SIP) is an assessment applied to all expenditures for capital projects (including new buildings, renovations, deferred maintenance projects), regardless of size, funding or management. The funds collected from this Program are used for the betterment and general support of the University's academic community and its physical plant. This infrastructure will be developed as necessary to improve public safety and service and to promote conservation in land use and resources.

See Administrative Guide Policy 8.3.1 Capital Projects Section4 for additional information.

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Miscellaneous Receivables

When Service Centers receive money for non-sponsored activities (Miscellaneous Receivables), the University applies a burden rate to offset related infrastructure and administrative costs associated with these activities. Expenditure Type 56910 Facilities and Admin Charge is used to charge the burden rates. Miscellaneous Receivables are not subject to the Stanford Infrastructure Program (SIP) charge.

Guidance for these activities, including applicable rates is available at Miscellaneous Receivables.

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