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Cost Studies


The Office of Cost Studies (Cost Studies) provides analytical and cost accounting expertise to the management of Northwestern University's research enterprise. The Office of Cost Studies establishes and oversees conformance with University policy, procedure, and practice in matters relating to cost accounting for sponsored programs.

Specific areas of focus include:

  • The University's Facilities & Administrative (F&A) rate.
  • OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, including a) allowability of costs on sponsored programs, b) distinctions between direct and indirect costs of sponsored programs, and c) Cost Accounting Standards and the University's Disclosure Statement (DS-2).
  • Recharge/Service centers, particularly the rate setting and approval process.
  • The functional classification of accounts and space (NUFinancials Class codes and Space Information Management System (SIMS) activity codes, respectively).
  • Ad hoc analysis and reporting on sponsored program data, including direct and indirect expenditures, salary & effort, space, and relationships between them.


Contact Information

Questions about cost studies? Contact Jennifer Mitchell, Director, Cost Studies & Effort Reporting, Office of Financial Operations, at 847-467-2473 or