Watch our recent webinar, How a Library Cost Analysis Study Can Benefit Your Research Library, to learn more.
Increase funding at your institution by leveraging library usage to negotiate a higher F&A cost recovery rate
Higher education revenue sources are limited, so when a research university is working on negotiating an F&A cost recovery rate, they often look for as many ways as possible to increase their reimbursement. The United States government allows educational institutions to seek reimbursement for library expenses related to funded research via the university’s F&A cost rate using OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards 2 CFR Part 200 (“Uniform Guidance”), Appendix III – Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment and Rate Determination for Institutions of Higher Education.
In other words, researchers use the library and its resources, and the university can claim more reimbursements based on how much the library is used for funded research.
A proven methodology
Attain Partners is the only consulting firm with a Library Cost Study methodology approved by the federal government. For decades, universities have depended on our expertise to provide Library Cost Studies. The standard full-time equivalent (FTE) approach only accounts for the salaries of full-time employees without considering all of the library services, resources, and spaces that contribute to funded research projects.
Through our approach, universities can assign a specific percentage of library use to funded research projects, designating salaries and benefits and also physical spaces, collection materials, and online resources for funded research reimbursements. Attain Partners’ approach has been used successfully as part of F&A rate negotiations and has consistently helped raise universities’ rates at an average of 1.2 points, which equals approximately $1.2 million/year on a $100 million base. To read more about the methodology behind the library cost studies, check out this blog post.
Will a Library Cost Study benefit your university?
Take a look at your past F&A rate and pay special attention to the library’s points. The library should be contributing at least one full point to the F&A rate. The standard FTE approach typically means the university is chasing down financial information and making educated guesses about which employees can be counted. Through a Library Cost Study, Attain Partners pinpoints exact and specific salaries, space, and resources allowable for reimbursement.
In the table below, we highlight seven university clients comparing their FTE allocation to the Library Cost Study allocation. The Library Cost Study allocation yields a higher point contribution (86% average increase) to the F&A rate.
|Client||FTE Allocation||Library Cost Study Allocation|
The power of data
An additional benefit of the Library Cost Study is valuable assessment data useful to the university library and campus administrators. This Library Cost Study data provides insights for library leaders, Libraries receive cross-tabbed data on library use and expenditure by
- Purpose of library use: sponsored research, instruction/education, (non-sponsored) research, patient care (if applicable), other sponsored activities, and other activities
- Library collections (e.g., databases, journals, books), by purpose of use and affiliation
- Library expenditures, by purpose of use
- In-person library use, by purpose of use and affiliation
- Electronic resource use, by purpose or use and affiliation
- Library services utilized, by purpose of use and affiliation
- Space allocations by function
The Study highlights the library’s impact on the university mission and informs library leaders as they make budgetary and programmatic decisions.
Attain Partners – Library Experts
Attain Partners is the only consulting firm that offers this federally approved methodology for library cost studies. Contact our team today to find out more about how our consultants will work with your library to conduct a Library Cost Study.
Learn more about our Library Planning and Strategy services here.
About the Author
Ms. Blake Norby is a Senior Library Consultant for the Research Enterprise Services practice of Attain Partners. During her time with Attain Partners, Ms. Norby has been involved in multiple library consulting projects with higher education institutions. She has participated in various stages of Facilities & Administrative Expense (F&A) strategic planning, proposal preparation and submission, and space functional usage studies with a focus on library spaces. Ms. Norby brings over 13 years’ experience working in libraries with extensive knowledge of using patron data to create inclusive, accessible library spaces and programs. She is currently a member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), the American Library Association (ALA) including the Public Library Association, and several additional roundtables and special interest groups.