Unless specified by program guidelines, a funding agency, or donor; the Sam Fox School will require a minimum of 20% overhead on all grants, contracts, and gifts over $20,000.  Unrestricted gifts, general support, and gifts that support students (i.e., scholarships, fellowships, tuition, etc.) are all exempt from overhead.  Federally-funded projects should adhere to Washington University’s federally negotiated overhead rate.    All exceptions to this policy, including any cost sharing/matching requirements, require approval of the Dean.

Please ensure that you are working proactively with Sam Fox School administration on fundraising activities.  Please contact Sarah Sligo, Senior Director of Advancement, for support with gifts, alumni, and donor relations.  Please contact Chad Henry, Director of Research & Innovation, for support with research, grants, and contracts.  They can help support your efforts and ensure that University standards are followed to help expedite processing and approval timelines.

Many foundations and art funders do not provide overhead. Overhead, or what is also called F&A (Facilities and Administration), has a cost to it regardless of what type of activity. They are the collective things that make the school function but are not simple to quantify into discreet expenses, for example the lights or network connections. Internal WU funding sources do not need overhead. Federal rates are listed here. Descriptions of what each sponsored activity type are at this link and the overhead for each are as follows for the Sam Fox School.

  • Federal funding agencies have a specific negotiated amount that may range from 11.5% to 52% and will be included automatically per each agency.
  • A list of what each percentage amount is may be seen at this link.
  • Foundations and corporations may or may not list an amount in their application forms.
  • When no amount is explicitly stated a minimum of 20% is to be requested.
  • Overhead for contracts will depend on the type of agreement for services delivered. These must be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Discuss overhead with the SFS Research Office as part of the budget preparation and proposal prior to any contract proposal.
  • Gifts have a 20% overhead included automatically unless otherwise stated.
  • Funders may request a detailed budget in which case 20% should be listed as a line item in the ask amount.
  • If budgets are generated for internal review only they must include 20% overhead as part of funds requested so that all internal stakeholders know this is part of the ask.
  • Exceptions to this are when the funder states they will not provide overhead or request a reduced overhead percentage for their gift(s). The Dean must approve this waiver or reduction.