Calculating Cost Share/Cash Matching

Sometimes a sponsor requires you to match the funds they will give you. They may require a 1:1 match (i.e., you must match the funds received dollar for dollar) or some other percentage. You should include the projected cost share in your proposal budget, and it should be itemized just like the costs you include in your request. Additionally, you must describe the cost share and its source(s) in your budget justification.

  • Cost share can include items or services with a cash value (such as equipment or faculty members' time and effort).
  • It can also include the value of donated space or unpaid volunteer time (which is usually referred to as an in-kind contribution).
  • Third-party match is cost share from another institution or organization.

Note: If you include a subcontract with another institution/organization on a project that requires match, you may ask them to provide cost share as well. This would be third-party match.

Additional things to keep in mind with cost share:
  • Always read the guidelines carefully for whether or not cost share is required, and if so, how much (1:1, 25% of the total project costs, etc.).
  • Federal grants must use non-federal money as cost share.
  • Items shown as cost share must generally be accounted for during the approved project period (not before or after) and only for that particular sponsored project (and no other projects).
  • Discuss possible sources of cost-share with your chair and/or dean.
  • All cost-share must be documented in the same manner as actual expenditures.
  • Documentation of cost share can be audited, just as expenditures paid for by the sponsor.

allowable allocable reasonableRemember: Like all costs paid by the sponsor, all cost share must be ALLOWABLE, ALLOCABLE, and REASONABLE!


Office of Research
John E. Thomas Building
287 Rivers Street
Room 382
PO Box 32174
Boone, NC 28608-2174
Ph: (828) 262-7459
Fax: (828) 262-2641
Staff Contacts
Skype us at: appstate.grants1
Follow us on Twitter: @ckhowson

QEP Global Learning

Upcoming Events & Workshops