Skip navigation

Office of Research Administration

Participant Support Costs Guidance

Page Content


In conjunction with USM’s policy on Participant Support costs, found within USM’s Post Award policies (, the following guidance is provided to help determine if a cost element should be considered a Participant Support cost.


Participant: An individual who is attending a training event that is funded by a sponsored project.

Note that a participant is NOT:

  • Anyone who is receiving compensation from the sponsored project. (For some educational projects conducted at local school districts, however, the participants being trained are school employees. In such cases, the costs must be classified as participant support if payment is made through a stipend or training allowance method.)
  • A research subject receiving incentive payments

Participant Support Costs – Costs associated with meetings, conferences, symposia, or training projects to support individuals who are receiving training through an instructional or informational activity. Participants are not required to deliver anything to USM in return for these support costs.

  • What costs can be included?
  • Registration fees
  • Meals and refreshments as part of the instructional event
  • Stipend for housing and subsistence
  • Direct payment for housing only if the benefit is for the participant
  • Travel costs for the participant (including transportation, meals, and incidentals in accordance with USM policy) when the purpose of the trip is to attend the instructional event
  • Training materials
  • Lab supplies allocated to the participant
  • These costs are generally NOT included as participant support:
  • Travel for PI or project staff
  • Consultant fees
  • Human Subject incentive payments
  • General event support costs that are not attributable to one individual, such as meeting room rental
  • Honoraria, stipends, or wages paid to speakers or presenters delivering the training
  • Subaward or contractual services costs for preparation or delivery of training sessions

~ ~ ~


Managing Participant Support Costs

  • As with all other cost categories, all expenditures must be allowable and occur within the project period
  • In general, funds that are provided for participant support cannot be rebudgeted for use in another category, and unspent funds must usually be returned to the sponsor
  • Evidence that a participant actually participated in the event must be maintained with project records in the department (e.g., registration lists, sign-in sheets)
  • Participant support costs ordinarily do not incur F&A charges

Be sure to read the sponsor’s guidelines for any special treatment or restrictions on the inclusion or treatment of Participant Support Costs.


[Back to Policies and Compliance]