Fringe Benefits

For the purposes of grant applications, fringe benefits are considered a direct cost. They should not be calculated as part of indirect costs

Fringe benefits are estimated according to the employee’s salary contract, which varies from individual to individual and can vary from paycheck to paycheck, depending on a number of factors, including whether they are enrolled in UCA’s health insurance and/or retirement plans. The actual cost of benefits will be charged to the grant. Any amounts that fall under the estimates stay with the funding agency. So it is wise to estimate for more than what will actually be charged. 

Professional staff from the Division of Finance & Administration, Human Resources, and Sponsored Programs developed these estimated fringe benefits rates in conjunction with IRS guidelines.

Estimated Fringe Benefits Rates

Employees Working on a Grant Project Benefits IncludedPeriod of WorkHow Much in Fringe Benefits to Estimate
Faculty with 9-Month ContractAllFall and Spring31%
Faculty with 9-Month Contract FICA/Medicare, Retirement, Worker's Comp, UnemploymentSummer20%
Faculty with 12-Month Contract AllCalendar Year31%
Classifed and Non-Classified Staff AllCalendar Year31%
Extra Help Working 30+ Hours / Week AllCalendar Year31%
Extra Help Working Less Than 30 Hours / Week FICA/Medicare, Worker's Comp, UnemploymentCalendar Year8%
Graduate Assistants Enrolled Full TimeWorker's CompAcademic Year.3%
Graduate Assistants Enrolled in At Least One Credit Hour Worker's CompSummer.3%
Undergraduate & Graduate Student Workers Enrolled Full TimeWorker's CompCalendar Year.3%
Undergraduate & Graduate Students Enrolled Less Than Full Time (& Graduate Students Not Enrolled in Summer) FICA/Medicare, Worker's Comp, UnemploymentCalendar Year8%

To calculate fringe benefits for student workers at .3%, multiply the salary/wages by .003. For example, the fringe benefit charge for a graduate assistant making $10,000 from a grant during the academic year is $10,000 x .003 = $30.


Graduate students must be enrolled in one credit hour during the summer in order to be eligible for a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistants who do not enroll in coursework during the summer are treated as student workers and are paid an hourly wage. It can take up to one month for this status change to be processed, meaning there will be a gap in students’ pay that can have a serious negative effect if they have not budgeted their expenses for a period of time without pay.

Students (graduate and undergraduate) may only work 20 hours/week unless a PI has obtained approval from the appropriate vice president. Students working more than 20 hours will pay more in fringe benefits. Please consult the grant administrator for your division to calculate the fringe benefits rates for students working more than 20 hours.  Under federal law, international students may only work 20 hours a week unless they have a work visa.

A termination PAF should be filed with Human Resources for ALL graduate assistants who vacate their positions or whose position expires. This enables the university to track keys and key cards.

Breakdown of Benefits

Fringe benefits may include the following.

  • Dental Insurance 
  • FICA/Medicare Tax 
  • Health Insurance 
  • Life Insurance 
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance 
  • Misc/Fee Waivers/ Athletic/ Event Admission 
  • Retirement 
  • Sick Leave/Vacation 
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Unemployment


Latest Update: February 2018
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