Unallowable Costs

The federal government does not allow certain types of expenses to be charged to federally sponsored research projects. These "unallowable" costs are detailed in section J of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circular A-21.

A selection of these unallowable costs are:

  • Advertising and public relation costs (with specific exceptions)
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Alumni Activities
  • Bad Debts
  • Commencement Costs
  • Contributions and Donations
  • Entertainment
  • Fines and Penalties
  • Goods and Services for Personal Use
  • Housing and Personal Living Expenses
  • Interest, Fund Raising and Investment Management Costs
  • Lobbying
  • Memberships in Country Clubs, Social, Dining, or Civic Organizations
  • Selling and Marketing

Please see also the Allowable Costs on Grants presentation and Charging Sponsored Projects from the Office of Cost Studies.