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Office of Sponsored Awards Management

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are monetary benefits to an employee that do not affect the employee's salary or wages. At USC, these are composed of health plans, insurance plans, social security and retirement plans (or a subset thereof). The portion of the employee's fringe benefits paid for by USC comprise the fringe benefit dollars included in sponsored research budgets.

Fringe benefit costs are established annually and are based on real costs.  If salaries/wages are listed in the sponsored project budget, then fringe benefit costs should also be included as a separate line item in the budget.  The rates are determined by the employee’s classification (faculty, staff, post-doctoral, graduate student, undergraduate student or temporary hourly wage employee) and are applied as a percentage to an employee’s proposed annual salary/wages. To calculate fringe benefit costs, multiply the salary by the applicable benefit rate and then add the dollar value of USC's contribution to the employee's health coverage. Health insurance amounts are calculated based on the employee's choice of health plans and dependent coverage (see insurance costs below). 


Fringe Benefits (Effective 07/01/2018 - 12/31/2018)


State Retirement 20.61%


FICA (Social Security) 7.65%


Unemployment Compensation .01%


Worker's Compensation .55%
  Total 28.82%


Calculation of Fringe Benefits

Faculty, Staff and Postdoctoral Associates

(A+B+C+D) × Salary + (E-Health Insurance × % EFFORT)

28.82% × Salary + Health Insurance Calculation

Faculty Summer Salary Only

(A+B+C+D) × Salary

28.82% × Salary

TERI Employees

(A+B+C+D) × Salary + (E-Health Insurance) × % EFFORT or person-months EFFORT

28.82% × Salary + Health Insurance Calculation

Students (Graduate and undergraduate when enrolled and regularly attending classes)

(D) × Salary

.55% × Salary

Temporary Help*, Unclassified, Students during summer (when not enrolled and attending classes)

*Temporary Help (non-student) may elect to participate in the SC Retirement System. 

(B+C+D) × Salary

8.21% × Salary



Health Insurance (all rates effective 01/01/2018 - 12/31/2018)

Health insurance: twelve-month appointment

Coverage Type State Health Plan  Dental  Total Per Month
(12 mo. appt.)
Total Annual
Employee Only $ 378.50 $ 13.48 $ 391.98 $ 4,704
Employee / Spouse $ 746.26 $ 13.48 $ 759.74 $ 9,117
Employee / Child $ 579.02 $ 13.48 $ 592.50 $ 7,110
Full Family $ 933.44 $ 13.48 $ 946.92 $ 11,363


Health insurance: nine-month appointment

  Coverage Type Total / Month
Employee Only $ 522.64
Employee / Spouse $ 1,012.99
Employee / Child $ 790.00
Full Family $ 1,262.56