Best Practices: Thesis Binding Costs

The cost to bind or copy theses is typically not allowable on federally sponsored projects. Many theses copies are made as personal copies for advisors, committee members, the graduate student and their family members. These copies are thus unallowable and should not be charge to a sponsored project.
Many departments also require graduate students to provide a bound copy for a departmental library. Library costs are considered costs that should be covered by F&A, thus the copy for the department should be paid by unrestricted funding or departmental funds. Many departments already pay for the required copy. Currently the Memorial Library and Graduate School only require electronic versions and there is no cost to submit.

It is possible that one copy could be charged to a sponsored project. To be considered allowable, the cost must be necessary to perform the project, it must be allocable, the cost must be reasonable, and allowable under the award terms. It needs to be used solely for the one project. If the thesis is going to be used as a research tool overtime on other projects then the cost should be charged to unrestricted funding.

If the criteria (as noted above) is met, then an exceptional purchase request should be sent to the CALS Research Division for approval. This can be sent to . Written justification should be kept in the award file and with the purchase documentation.

Further questions regarding this topic can be forwarded to Sandy Fowler at or by calling 262-3947.

**As a side note, Steenbock Library offers thesis binding through their vendor at a fraction of the cost of other vendors. For more information about their binding services, call Steenbock Library Binding, 263-2047.