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Policy on Unallowable Costs

Policy Number ACA-021
Effective Date July 18, 2006
Responsible Office/Person Academic Affairs
Related Policies
Additional History
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University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Academic Affairs Division

Policy on Unallowable Costs



The purpose of this policy is to identify costs that cannot be charged to federal programs per federal regulations.


Allowable costs on sponsored projects are defined by specific sponsor guidelines as well as federal, state and university policies and guidelines. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21 “Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions” provides principles for determining allowable costs on sponsored agreements. The Circular indentifies specific costs that may not be charged to sponsored agreements.

Unallowable Costs

The following costs have been identified in OMB Circular A-21 as not being allowable to sponsored agreements as either a direct charge or as part of the F&A recovery:

  • Advertising, except for help wanted and other advertisements for services necessary to carry out the award.
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Alumni Activity
  • Bad Debts
  • Contingency Reserves
  • Commencement and Convocations
  • Donations and Contributions
  • Entertainment Costs
  • Excessive Employee Recruitment Costs
  • Fines and Penalties
  • Fund Raising and Investment Costs
  • Goods or Services for Personal Use
  • Housing and Personal Living Expenses
  • Lobbying Costs
  • Losses on other Sponsored Agreements
  • Memberships in Civic or Community Organizations or in Social or Dining Clubs
  • Costs of Selling and Marketing any Services of the Institution
  • Student Activity Costs
  • First Class Travel

This list may exclude expenditures that have been explicitly unallowed by the University of Massachusetts. See the University policy for “Management of University Funds”.