Office of Research

Budget Categories

Clemson University maintains budget categories as follows:

Classified Salaries (CLASS)
Includes technical, professional and clerical personnel employed permanently in a state pay-graded position.

Unclassified Salaries (UCLASS)
Includes faculty and executive staff not in a state pay-graded position; NIH has an annual salary cap of $171,900 per individual for an allowable direct cost salary charge. The amount paid in excess of the $171,900 rate must be recorded as cost sharing. NSF allows only two-ninths (2/9 or .22 ) of the academic year salary for summer pay.

Graduate Salaries (GRAD)
This category is for graduate students on a teaching or research assistantship.

Hourly Salaries (WAGES)
Includes graduate and undergraduate students paid on an hourly basis. Technical, professional and clerical staff members employed for a specific limited period of six months or less are classified as temporary personnel and are paid on an hourly basis.

Fringe Benefits (FRINGE)
Fringe benefits are allowable as a direct cost in proportion to the salary charged to the grant in conformity with applied organizational policies. Specific fringe benefits charged to grant and contract accounts include Social Security, South Carolina retirement, health insurance, dental insurance, unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.

Travel (TRAVEL)
When project personnel employed on the project must engage in travel for sponsored project purposes, their expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence and related items are allowable, unless restricted in the project award document. First class air accommodations are unallowable, except when customary standard airfare would:

  • require circuitous routing;
  • require travel during unreasonable hours;
  • require excessively prolonged travel;
  • greatly increase the duration of the flight;
  • result in increased costs that would offset transportation savings; or
  • result in accommodations not reasonably adequate for the medical needs of the traveler.

The PI must document the relevant condition(s), which justify airfare costs in excess of the customary standard commercial airfare, e.g. use of first-class airfare, on a case-by-case basis.

Foreign travel requires prior approval by the sponsor. If approval is not obtained in advance, foreign travel expenses may be disallowed on the grant or contract account.

Foreign travel is any travel outside the United States, its territories and possessions, and Canada. Requests for foreign travel to be charged to a grant account must be forwarded to Grants and Contracts Administration for necessary approvals. When sponsor approval is necessary, the PI should allow sufficient time to submit the forms to the sponsor and to receive necessary approvals before the travel begins.

In addition, the University is required to follow the Fly American Act. The University agrees to use United States-flag air carriers to transport personnel and property when costs are charged directly to the project. This includes any air transportation to, from, between or within a country other than the United States when U.S.-flag air carriers are available even though the following may exist.

  • Comparable, or a different kind of service can be provided at less cost by a foreign-flag air carrier.
  • Foreign-flag air carrier service is preferred by, or is more convenient for, both the agency or traveler.
  • Service by a foreign-flag air carrier can be paid in excess foreign currency.

The following rules apply unless their application would result in the first or last leg of travel from or to the U.S. being performed by a foreign-flag air carrier:

  • A U.S.-flag air carrier shall be used to destination or, in the absence of direct or through service, to the farthest interchange point on a usually traveled route.
  • If a U.S.-flag air carrier does not serve an origin or interchange point, a foreign-flag air carrier shall be used only to the nearest interchange point on a usually traveled route to connect with a U.S.-flag air carrier.
  • If a U.S.-flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes the traveler via a foreign-flag carrier, the foreign-flag air carrier may be used notwithstanding the availability of alternative U.S.-flag air carrier service.

Use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible to and from the United States if the airport abroad is:

  • the traveler’s origin or destination airport and use of U.S.-flag air carrier service would extend the time in a travel status by at least 24 hours more than travel by a foreign-flag carrier;
  • an interchangeable point and use of U.S.-flag air carrier service would require the traveler to wait six hours or more to make connections at that point;
  • would extend the time in a travel status by at least six hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier.

Use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible for travel between points outside the United States if travel by a

  • foreign-flag air carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en route;
  • U.S.-flag air carrier would extend the time in a travel status by at least six hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier.

For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if the elapsed travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by a foreign-flag air carrier is three hours or less and service by a U.S.-flag air carrier would double the travel time.

Communications (OTHER)
Long distance telephone charges, postage for special bulk mailings, Federal Express or UPS charges that are directly incurred for the benefit of the sponsored project are allowable. Local phone calls, service or installation costs should not be charged to sponsored projects. The long distance charges must be documented.

Publication Costs (OTHER)
Costs for publishing results of research are allowable.

Working Meals and Coffee Breaks (OTHER)
Meals/breaks that are an integral and necessary part of a conference (where business is transacted) are allowable. In some instances sponsors require approval. Please check with Grants and Contracts Administration for specific guidelines.

Other Direct Costs (OTHER)
Photographic services, computer charges, animal care and shop charges are allowable. In order to charge copies made on department copiers, a metering system must be used and all users must be consistently charged at the same rate.