Office of Research Administration

Policies, Procedures & Guidelines


Participant Support Cost

Last Revised: 19 November 2003
Cost principles: OMB Circular A-21
Administrative Requirements: OMB Circular A-110


Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects. Funds provided for participant support may not be used by grantees for other categories of expense without the specific prior written approval of the awarding agency.

Stipends or Subsistence Allowance

To help defray the costs of personal maintenance that participants incur through participation in conference or training activity, grantees may pay participants a stipend, per diem, or subsistence allowance based on the type and duration of the activity. Such allowance must be reasonable, in conformance with the usual policy of the grantee organization and limited to the days of attendance at the conference plus the actual travel time required to reach the conference location by the most direct route available. Where meals or lodgings are furnished without charge or at a nominal costs (e.g., as part of the registration fee), the per diem or subsistence allowance will be correspondingly reduced. Although local participants may participate in conference meals and coffee breaks, grant funds may not be used to pay per diem or similar expenses for local participants in the conference. In training activities that involve field trips, costs of transportation of participants are allowable.


On all projects, regardless of the funding agency, participant fees/stipends will be recorded by charging the expense to the PeopleSoft account 750120. All other participant costs will be recorded by using a Mocode with a class assigned.

In addition, National Science Foundation (NSF) awards that have participant support costs in the approved budget will be given two chartfields for the project: one to record participant support costs and the other to record all other expenses. If the award is solely for participant costs, only one chartfield will be set up.

Principal Investigators (PIs) will prepare and use sign-in sheets at trainings/seminars, meetings, etc., for which participants will be paid a stipend. These sign-in sheets will be kept with the PI’s grant records as backup for the stipends paid for the event. The sign-in sheet should show the date of the event, the typed name of each participant, and the purpose of the event. Each participant should sign in/out next to his or her typed name.