UG-Participant Support Costs

Participant Support Costs are excluded from the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) base for federal projects.  Indirect costs may not be applied to Participant Support Costs for federal projects.

                                                                                                                                                              Updated: 09/01/2015

Participant support costs are defined in the Uniform Guidance as 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 conferences or training projects.   MTDC is the base to which F&A (indirect cost) rates are applied.  The Uniform Guidance excludes participant support costs from the MTDC base and defines this base for sponsored projects awarded on or after December 26, 2014 as follows:

  • MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award).  MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000

Participant is defined as an individual who is the recipient of a service or training provided at a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short‐term instructional or information sharing activity funded by a sponsored project. An MBL employee may not be a participant.  Funds provided for participant support typically may not be used for other categories of expense without specific prior agency written approval. Review the terms and conditions of your award.

Uniform Guidance Section:  200.68, 200.75 and 200.456

For NIH awards these costs are only allowable when specifically identified in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).  For the purposes of Kirschstein-NRSA programs, this term does not apply.  NIH will continue to use the terms trainees, trainee-related expenses, and trainee travel in accordance with NRSA Regulations.

Reference: 45 CFR 75.456 /NIH Interim Grant General Condition (Section 5.4)

NIH FAQ link:   Are participant support costs allowable?