Participant Support Guidelines

Version: May 2019

Participant Support is defined in the Uniform Guidance § 200.75 as the “direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects”. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have provisions that allow for Participant Support (PS) costs, and sometimes require use of this category. As such, Lewis & Clark is providing guidance herein to define when an individual will be considered a Participant, and not an employee.

A Participant is the recipient, not the provider, of a service or training associated with a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium, or other short-term instructional or informational-sharing activity. At Lewis & Clark, an undergraduate student will be considered a Participant 1) when required under the terms of grant agreement, and/or 2) for any portion of a faculty-mentored research training experience held outside of the United States. Where a federal grant requires costs be charged as Participant Support (for example in NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program), federal regulations will take precedence.

A Participant may receive a stipend for their participation, as well as other direct support in accordance with federal guidelines, sponsor policy, and available funds. These expenses will be paid through Accounts Payable.

Participant Support Costs in proposal budget development
Participant support is a restricted budget category for federal agencies. Agency prior approval is required to transfer any funds out of the Participant Support cost budget. Prior approval is not required to increase the Participant Support Cost budget. The Uniform Guidance states that participant support costs are exempt from Facilities & Administrative Costs (F&A) on federally sponsored projects. Because of these restrictions, Participant Support Costs must be tracked separately; the Business Office has established the following object code, which must be used:

  • Participant Support Travel Expenses: 7007
  • Participant Support Meals and Lodging: 7017
  • Participant Support Stipends: 7407

Participant Support Costs may include the following in direct support of a Participant: subsistence, travel, registration fees, stipends, research supplies for a Participant’s project, and other direct costs necessary for their participation in the program. Items such as promotional material, swag and entertainment costs generally are not allowed, and may only be permitted with substantial justification and approval from the sponsor.

Participant Support Costs will not include the following: general event and hosting costs, such as supplies, room rental and AV rental; personnel costs for support staff that help host or run training events; the proportional share of any group meals provided to support staff; other expenses for support staff members, including travel and registration fees; expenses incurred for invited speakers and/or trainers, including travel, subsistence, and honoraria.