From the University Controller's Office:
How to Determine Allowable Costs on Sponsored Funding
Link - http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/gc-admin/gcadmin2008/G&CDirectandIndirectCosts.htmHow to Determine Allowable Costs
Administrative and clerical salaries must have been explicitly budgeted and not specifically disallowed in the award notice or other written communications from the sponsor to be allowed.
Memberships in professional or scholarly societies and subscriptions to scholarly publications may not be charged directly to a sponsored program. OMB Circular A-21, section J.28 lists institutional memberships and subscriptions as allowable. Generally, the library will provide access to periodicals, books and other forms of scholarly publications. These costs are included in the Facilities and Administrative (F&A) (indirect) costs.
General office supplies, including paper, pencils, pens, file folders, staples, etc., may not be directly charged.
General purpose computer supplies, including computer disks, paper for printers and toner cartridges may not be directly charged. Also included is the general-purpose office software, such as word processing and spreadsheet programs. These items may not be directly charged unless they are specifically justified in the budget and not specifically disallowed.
Postage is included as an indirect (F&A) cost with exception of shipping cost applied to the purchase.
The basic telephone line charge and local calls may not be charged directly to a sponsored project, except in the rarest circumstances when a separate, dedicated telephone line is necessary solely for the performance of a sponsored project. Local telephone charges may be directly charged for major projects/activities when justified in the budget and not specifically disallowed.
The costs would need to meet the general criteria for direct charging in OMB Circular A-21, Section D.1. -I.e., "to be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project....relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy," and the special circumstances requiring direct charging of the services would need to be justified to the satisfaction of the awarding agency in the grant application or contract proposal.