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Office of Sponsored Awards Management

Materials & Supplies

For federal sponsored awards, materials and supplies are defined as items with an acquisition cost under $5,000 per unit. Refer to 2 CFR 200.314 Uniform Guidance (UG) for additional details. Other sponsors (states, for profit companies, nonprofit organizations) may have different dollar thresholds or definitions of materials and supplies (refer to the sponsor's guidelines for details). USC has two policies governing the purchase of materials and supplies and equipment. Please review BUSF 7.00 Purchasing [pdf] and BUSF 5.00 Property Accountability [pdf] before purchasing items with grant funds.


Incorporating Materials and Supplies into Your Budget

  • Examples of materials and supplies include project-specific computing devices (laptops, tablets, iPads, etc.), software, lab supplies, chemicals, glassware, small electronic components, animals and animal rations, manuals, etc.
  • Check sponsor's proposal guidelines to determine if supplies and materials are to be itemized.
  • Refer to Policy BUSF 2.00 [pdf] for a list of supply categories.
  • Refer to the USC Purchasing website for available state contracts for assistance in estimating supply costs.

Important notes:

  • Office supplies are generally unallowable as direct costs under federal funds whereas laboratory supplies are typically allowable. See the SAM Guidelines for Determining the Allowability of Costs on Sponsored Projects [pdf] [pdf] document for information on determining the allowability of office supplies. If the project involves project-specific supplies, then this should be stated in the budget justification submitted with the proposal.
  • Most federal sponsors do not allow food as an expense. However, in some cases, such as conferences or training, food may be allowed by the federal sponsor. For non-federal sponsors, the allowability of food varies. Review the proposal guidelines and sponsor policies carefully to determine if and when food may be charged to sponsored award. For sponsors that do allow food, the inclusion of food should be noted in the budget and described in the budget justification. Under state sponsored award policies, food must be for individuals who are not employees of the state of South Carolina in order to be an allowable expense (e.g. food for workshops, training, subject incentives and meetings involving attendees not employed by the state).

Office of Sponsored Awards Management

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