Best Practices: SHIP insurance costs – allowability on sponsored projects

SHIP is a Student Health Insurance Plan is a comprehensive insurance plan for UW-Madison students. For specific information about the plan, go to:

SHIP insurance costs are allowable on unrestricted funding.

In regard to applying SHIP insurance costs on sponsored projects, such is typically not allowable. In past inquiries to RSP, the straight forward response to “can SHIP insurance costs be applied to a federal award,” the answer would be “no.” Typically insurance costs are a component of fringe benefits. Fringe benefits are provided to individuals in accordance with institutional policies based on appointments held by the individual. Salaries/wages and fringe benefits for individuals working on the project are indeed allowable. The issue in regard to SHIP insurance costs becomes one of established institutional policies and costing principles (e.g., allocability, consistent treatment, permissibility). In general, SHIP insurance would not be allowable. Occasionally, exceptional circumstances may exist.

To evaluate issues involving SHIP insurance, the typical questions which need to be addressed for each individual include:
1. Student name?
2. Visa type?
3. Is the individual a student, visiting scholar, or other (please designate)?
4. Who initiated the visa application — UW-Madison or other entity?
5. If initiated by UW-Madison, what was indicated on the visa in regard to how SHIP insurance costs would be covered?
6. What is the individual’s role on this project; will the individual be involved in other projects or dedicated to this project?
7. What type of appointment will the individual hold? What did the individual’s letter of offer indicate in regard to appointment, support, etc.?
8. If a stipend is being provided, under what funding and on what basis?

Note: It is critical that individuals who will be coming to a department under a student, visiting scholar, or other appointment, who will require SHIP insurance, and who will be working on a specific sponsored project during their appointment period – if there is an intent that costs associated with SHIP insurance be assessed to the sponsored project – that approval be granted prior to their arrival and such be documented within their visa application. It should again be noted that typically, SHIP insurance costs are not allowable on sponsored projects. However, in those cases where such might be allowable, the exceptional circumstance approval should be in place in advance of arrival/appointment.

Requests for consideration as exceptional circumstances on sponsored projects should be prepared for each individual addressing all of the questions outlined above. Submit to CALS Research Division at — please indicate “Exceptional Circumstance Request” in the subject line.

Questions about allowability of SHIP insurance costs on sponsored projects, please contact Sandy Fowler in CALS Research Division at 2-3947.