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Cost sharing is that portion of the project costs represented in the proposal budget borne by Stanford rather than the sponsor. Cost sharing must be proposed and accepted by the sponsor and must be accounted for in its own task. Any direct cost that is allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistent can be cost shared. However equipment cannot be offered as cost sharing unless it is specified in the award announcement.

Mandatory Cost Sharing

Required by the sponsor as a condition of obtaining the award. It is quantified in the proposal and is legally binding.

Voluntary Cost Sharing

Is not required by the sponsor as a condition of obtaining the award. It must be included in the proposal.

Committed Cost Sharing

Is when an award is received and there was either a mandatory or voluntary cost sharing commitment by Stanford in the proposal. The cost sharing activity becomes a binding commitment which the University must provide as part of the performance of the sponsored agreement. This commitment must be tracked in the accounting system as cost sharing.

Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing

Faculty donated effort or other direct costs agreed to as part of the award. Since it was not proposed and constitutes “additional” time or materials it is not considered a binding agreement and is not accounted for as cost sharing.


Refers to the sponsor requirement that the University match grant funds in some proportion with funds from another party, either from the University or more typically another sponsor (with both sponsors’ approval). Matching requirements may be in the form of actual cash expenditure of funds or may be an “in-kind” match, which is the value of non-cash contributions to the project. An in-kind or matching contribution made by a party other than Stanford requires documentation from the third party supporting the use of the funds as in-kind/matching and may require a certification of fair market value.

Created: 12.21.20
Updated: 04.15.21