Equipment, materials and supplies, and travel


Definition: Any item having a unit cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life of one year or more. General purpose equipment, such as office furniture, copiers, PC’s, fax machines etc., is generally deemed unallowable by most sponsors.

  • Most grants to federal agencies for equipment deal with specialized equipment as opposed to general-purpose equipment.
  • Use catalog prices and/or vendor quotes to obtain best estimates.
  • Items with a life of one year or more that cost less than $5,000 per unit should be budgeted in the Materials/Supplies category.
  • Check the program guidelines to determine whether the sponsor imposes certain restrictions on equipment purchases or prohibits such purchases.

Materials and Supplies

Definition: Expendable items with a useful life of less than two years or a cost under $5,000.

  • Expendable items (paper products, lab supplies, chemicals, etc)
  • Use catalog prices and historical records to determine best estimates.  


Travel includes costs for air & ground transportation, lodging, meals, registration fees, etc. Follow guidelines in the University’s existing travel regulations to budget for travel expenses related to the project.

  • See for auto mileage reimbursement rates, per diem, airfare restrictions, etc.
  • Foreign travel is budgeted as a separate line item in many federal grants. If the grant you are applying for does not have such separation, then cover foreign travel as a separate paragraph in the budget justification.
  • Note that many federal grants require foreign travel take place on U.S. flag air carriers if available. Use fares from U.S.-owned airlines in budget estimates.