1. Principal Investigator’s best estimate based on past experience purchasing similar items, written or oral quotes from a vendor, or catalog price; include shipping costs for each item.
  2. Inflation suggested at 5% per year but not mandatory.
  3. Individual components to be used for equipment fabrication should be identified as such and should be included under the Equipment Category if the final capitalized cost of the fabricated equipment is anticipated to exceed $5,000 (see Fabricated Equipment under Equipment above).
  4. Non-capitalized equipment, such as sufficiently justified PERSONAL COMPUTERS costing less than $5,000 should be listed here. Below is a special note on Personal Computers that extends to other multi-use costs:Personal Computers are allowable costs and can be charged direct to a contract or grant. If a PI needs a personal computer beyond current computing resources to accomplish technical goals on a project, the cost of the personal computer can be charged directly to the project based on the pro-rata benefits thereto. That is, if the PI plans to use the new personal computer 75% of the time for the project and 25% for general purpose, 75% of the cost should be charged directly to the project. Likewise, for other hardware, software licenses and maintenance. Personal Computers rarely cost more than $5,000. As such, contrary to popular belief and in compliance with OMB Circular A-21 they are not treated as an equipment item at NC State. Even though, in RARE circumstances a sponsor may still promulgate inclusion of certain items in the equipment category those costs over a value less than the NC State $5,000 threshold, University accounting recommends including the item in the Materials and Supplies category and include in your budget justification the reason you have presented the budget in this manner. Also, substantive justification is necessary for personal computers and a good example is as follows:

    “[FIRST DESCRIBE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PC, THEN...]A Personal Computer is necessary to carry out X, Y, and Z efforts under this project. Because the personal computer may also be used for A, B, and C efforts over the course of the project and these efforts may or may not be directly attributable to this program, we request that XX% of the total cost be covered by [SPONSOR]. Also note that because NC State, under our federal cost accounting disclosure statement must treat as equipment only those items that meet certain other capitalization qualifications AND meet or exceed $5,000 in cost, the [pro rata] cost of this Personal Computer is included in the Supply category of the budget.”

For specific guidance on this matter call SPARCS at 515.2444 or email