With a few exceptions, grant directors have certain flexibility in modifying their budgets once a grant is awarded. Budget transfers are typically permitted without funder approval, as long as the change does not constitute a change in the scope of work. Some funders also have limited on the amounts or percentage of the award that may be transferred between budget categories. Some funders have limits on certain budget categories but not others. For example, NSF requires program officer approval for any transfers into or out of the participant support budget line.
Transfers into or out of a salary line require special care. Since fringe benefits are calculated as a portion of salary, fringe must also be transferred when making changes to salary. If Spelman is recovering indirect costs from the grant, these must also be taken into account, because Spelman’s indirect cost rate is based on salaries and wages paid from the grant.
For every dollar transferred from another budget line into salary, you must transfer 27 cents to fringe and 60 cents into indirect costs. That means the amount available to you for salary is probably less than you think.
If, for example, you decide to transfer funds originally earmarked for a consultant to salary so you can do the work yourself, you would need to do the following calculation:
Funds available / 1.87 = Salary available
If you have $13,000 in consulting, you would transfer
$13,000 / 1.87 = $6,952 to salary,
$6,952 * .27 = 1,877 to fringe benefits, and
$6,952 * .6 = $4,171 to indirect costs.