Facilities & Administrative Rate (F&A)

LAST UPDATED: June 12, 2019

What You Should Know

The facilities and administrative rate (F&A rate), frequently referred to as the indirect cost rate, is the federally-approved percentage applied to sponsored projects in order to recover the allowable overhead costs associated with conducting organized research. 

According to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, F&A costs are “costs that are 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.”

Under Princeton University’s current F&A rate agreement, our F&A rate is 62.0% for FY2015 to FY2021. This predetermined rate is based on a study of actual costs of on-campus, organized research in FY2010-2011. See our main campus rate agreement.

The federal reimbursement for administrative costs is capped at 26%. The total rate submitted for FY2011 was 68.5%, vs. the final negotiated predetermined rates of 61% and 62%.  The off campus research rate is 26%.  See our Off-Campus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rate policy.

Facilities & Administrative Rate Cost Components

  FY2013-2014 FY2015-2021
Building Depreciation 9.6% 9.6%
Equipment Depreciation 2.0% 2.0%
Plant Operation & Maintenance 11.4% 12.4%
Interest Expense 7.5% 7.5%
Library 4.5% 4.5%
Subtotal : Facilities 35.0% 36.0%
General Administration (G&A) 8.2% 8.2%
Departmental Administration (DA) 11.5% 11.5%
Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) 3.8% 3.8%
Faculty Administrative Effort 2.5% 2.5%
Subtotal: Administrative (Federal Cap of 26%) 26.0% 26.0%
Total F&A Rate Charged 61.0% 62.0%
  • Plant operations and maintenance includes costs of building maintenance, utilities, grounds, building services, and public safety.
  • Interest expense reflects the allocable portion of interest on tax-exempt debt.
  • The G&A cost pool includes the President, Provost, Treasurer's Office, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and other business functions.
  • DA consists of the administrative costs incurred in academic units.
  • SPA includes ORPA, Technology Licensing, Sponsored Research Accounting, and the Dean for Research.
  • All the administrative cost pools and the library include allocations of building and equipment depreciation, plant operations and maintenance, and interest expense.
  • The library, DA, and SPA pools also include an allocation of G&A.

Historical Facilities & Administrative (Indirect Cost) Rates

The F&A rates reflect the negotiated rates with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Fiscal Years On Campus Off Campus
FY 2018 - FY 2021 62.0 26.0
FY 2015 - FY 2017 62.0 26.0
FY 2009 - FY 2014 61.0 26.0
FY 2005 - FY 2008 58.0 26.0



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