Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Unallowable Costs

The following are examples of generally unallowable expenditures and are not all inclusive.

Entertainment Costs

Costs incurred for amusement, social activities, entertainment, and any related items such as meals, lodging, rentals, alcoholic beverages, transportation, and gratuities.

Goods or Services for Personal Use

Costs of goods or services for personal use of the institution’s employees regardless of whether the cost is reported as taxable income to the employees.

Pre-Agreement Costs

Costs incurred prior to the effective date of the sponsored project, whether or not they would have been allowable if incurred after such date, are unallowable unless specifically set forth and identified in the sponsored agreement, or approved through prior approval procedures.

Memberships In Civic or Community Organizations

Costs of an individual’s membership in civic or community organizations are not allowable, likewise memberships in any social, dining, country club or organization.

Items Not Normally Treated As Direct Costs

The following items are normally included in facilities and administrative (F&A) costs. Direct charging of these costs may be appropriate where a major project or activity explicitly budgets for them and can be specifically identified with the project or activity. “Major project” is defined as a project that requires support which is significantly greater than the routine level of such services and or supplies provided by academic departments. Examples of items include:

  • administrative and clerical staff salaries
  • office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, and memberships

Additional Information

OMB Circular A21 – Cost Principles for Educational Institutions