Student participant costs in NSF budgets counts as direct cost

A common budget question gets asked about students who participate in the National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources NSF EHR grants and get paid for items such as focus group participation.  Does it count as direct cost?  Yes, it does.  Just read the language on page 53 (Page II-19) of Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1)

Human subject payments should be included on line G6 of the NSF budget under “Other Direct Costs,” and any applicable indirect costs should be calculated on the payments in accordance with the organization’s federally negotiated indirect cost rate.

Author: Autar Kaw

Autar Kaw ( is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. He has been at USF since 1987, the same year in which he received his Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award. With major funding from NSF, he is the principal and managing contributor in developing the multiple award-winning online open courseware for an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods. The OpenCourseWare ( annually receives 1,000,000+ page views, 1,000,000+ views of the YouTube audiovisual lectures, and 150,000+ page views at the NumericalMethodsGuy blog. His current research interests include engineering education research methods, adaptive learning, open courseware, massive open online courses, flipped classrooms, and learning strategies. He has written four textbooks and 80 refereed technical papers, and his opinion editorials have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s