Matching Contributions

Some sponsors or funding agencies require applicants to provide a portion of the project funding through matching funds or cost sharing.  Matching funds or cost share can be categorized as cash or in-kind.  Cash match is defined as a cash outlay by the University.  An in-kind match is a third-party contribution.  Examples of third-party in-kind contributions are donated items (supplies, equipment, etc.), donated space, and volunteers. 

If matching funds/cost sharing are a requirement for submission, the PI or PD must work with their unit leader to identify the responsible party (parties) in advance of routing the proposal. Documentation must be provided to OSP describing the cost sharing/matching agreement, and which offices have entered into the agreement.  Any office that has agreed to provide funds through such an agreement, will be included in the proposal routing process. As stated in the Responsibilities of PIs/PDs and Campus Offices During the Routing Process the department chair’s or unit director’s approval certifies that the cost-sharing commitments described in the proposal or budget have been identified, and the Dean’s or Vice President’s approval certifies that any cost-match has been appropriately committed. Failure to identify these commitments prior to routing the proposal, may cause the proposal not to be approved for submission.  

All matching or cost sharing resources must meet the following criteria:

  • Verifiable from the University’s accounting records
  • Must be necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of the sponsored project or project scope of work
  • Must be allowable and identified in the approved project budget
  • Must occur during the time frame of the sponsored project

Miscellaneous points regarding matching funds or cost sharing:

  • Federal funds cannot be used a match for other federal funds.
  • Unrecovered indirect costs may be used as cost share
  • Faculty release time may be used as cost share
  • Graduate assistants can also be a matching contribution. If a graduate student assigned to a particular department by the Graduate School works on the project, the cost of that graduate assistant to Bradley University is a valid matching contribution. 


Cost Sharing: The portion of the total project budget that the funding agency is not being asked to cover.  

Matching Funds: A type of cost sharing where the sponsor requires the university to match a specified proportion of the budget, such as a 50% match or a “1 to 1” match.