Computing Devices

Defines computing devices as supplies and allowable as a direct cost if essential and allocable, but not solely dedicated to the project.

Last Update: 3/5/2015

Stanford Summary

Computing Devices are machines that cost less than $5,0001 and are used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data and other information electronically, including accessories (or “peripherals”) for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information.

  1. Charging computing devices as direct costs is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable (provide benefit), but are not solely dedicated, to the performance of a federal award. Such devices are also allowable if solely dedicated to the performance of a federal award.
  2. Federal sponsors may impose requirements for these costs to be included in the proposal budget and may require a budget justification. Until the federal agencies release specific information, budget justifications may be used at the discretion of the principal investigator.  Requirements may be forthcoming from each sponsoring agency in fall 2014 or winter 2015.
  3. Inventory tags may be affixed to computing devices at the discretion of the department; inventory tagging facilitates accountability, availability for reuse, and appropriate disposal.

Non-federally Sponsored Projects: Direct charging of computing devices to a non-federally sponsored project is appropriate if the computing device benefits the sponsored project.  Some non-federal sponsors may have specific requirements for direct charging of computing devices.  Such requirements need to be addressed in proposals.

1There is no change in policy regarding treatment of items over $5,000.  If the acquisition cost of a computer is greater than $5,000 (and has useful life of more than 1 year), it should be categorized as computing equipment.  For the correct expenditure type click here.  See the Property Management Manual for more information regarding capital equipment.

Application at Stanford

The Uniform Guidance is effective for federally sponsored agreements and new funding increments awarded on or after December 26, 2014. Federal awards received before December 26, 2014 you must continue to follow the requirements in OMB A-21 and Stanford Policy.

You can immediately begin proposing computing devices in proposals with expected award dates on or after December 26, 2014 that meet the requirements for the direct charging of computing devices.

Please review the document Common Expenditure Types Used for Property and Equipment to select the correct expenditure type. 

Care must also be taken when it comes time to dispose of computing equipment which has been used to store non-public data. Please follow University guidelines for disposition/transfer of computer equipment, they can be found here.

Affected  Stanford Policies

  • RPH 15.4 Charging of Administrative and Technical Expenses